Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Sewing Questions

A long weekend is good. Since I usually work on Saturdays, it's nice to sometimes get two days off with everyone home. Yesterday there was sewing in the morning. No pictures because I was too busy doing it to document it. But my first border is done! Hooray! I am over the hump of fear. 
But now I pose a question: how does one go about (accurately) cutting such a long length of fabric, for my NEXT border (6.5" wide)? I just have never dealt with a piece of fabric this big and unwieldy. Help? Please? I own the big cutting mat and rotary cutter, if that's part of the solution here. Perhaps it's good, old fashioned scissors and chalk?
A clever person 
and her homemade grilled-cheese toasting stick
(note the grill lines!)
Also, for you true seamstresses out there, I am thinking of making some pajama pants for my boys. How thrilling that, although it appears I have a pre-teen on my hands (thanks, Lex!), when I told him of this idea, his response was AWESOME! I am thinking simple, perhaps using the Owl fabric we so adore. 

Wild lady slipper, rare and lovely
(why it's called a lady slipper when it looks like a scrotum, I am not sure)

My thought is to simply take two pairs of PJ pants that are comfortable (but now capri length, so fetching to see those boy ankles hanging out), fold in half so the crotch part is neatly pulled out to one side, then trace around and add some length. 

View from the top
Here's sewing question number two. Is there a reason why I shouldn't just fold my fabric and cut it so that there is no seam on the outer leg (that would be the fabric fold part), only a seam on the inner leg? I am asking out of laziness, but I will take advice to the contrary.

The trick to hiking with kids is: Food and Other Kids. We had both. Our snack up top was fresh pineapple and apricot-coconut-maple scones, displayed here on my Maine tea towel. With other kids, the grown-ups don't have to listen to whining and they are free to talk and visit! With your own kids, alone, it's nothing but "when are we getting there?" every other minute. It's our favorite summer blueberry hike, and I am happy to tell you there were many bees hard at work on the blueberry flowers.

It was a perfect hike on a perfect day: the sun was sunny, the bugs were deterred by the light breeze, it was warm, but not too hot. I felt especially lucky to live in Maine today and be on a mountain with friends.

So, please advise on those two sewing questions, if you are able to. And thank you!


  1. Hmm .. about the pant cutting. When you have an elasticated waist band there is no reason why you can't cut the piece on the fold.

    Children's over trousers are often cut that way to make them more waterproof. (waterproof fabric is punctured by the needle and rain can seep in) Using this method you have one less seam to worry about rain getting in.

    Also when you are making such a loose fitting pant there's not much difference between the front and back anyway.

    However, I noticed with Benjy's overnaps that the back is too small. That's because the pattern didn't allow for a huge cloth nappy underneath, so this was a case when the pieces needed to be different sizes, and therefore a side seam would be necessary.

    My sister is a wing it kind of gal, I'm a buy a pattern and do it officially kind of gal. Both systems have merit. Let your sewing nature be your guide. (how disappointed would you be if it was not perfect)

  2. For big pieces of fabric, (I used to sew drapes for a living~blech~I don't anymore) I would fold the 6.5" in half to make it 3.25", then pin or chalk. You need really good scissors to cut through the layers. As for the PJ pants, that is absolutely how I would do it. One less seam~perfect. You actually can cut so the bum is a bit bigger. If you take apart your capri jammies just at the inner seam and unfold (for a pattern), you will see what I mean, the back curve is longer than the front. This makes a better fit. Good luck and feel lucky your kids will wear homemade, mine would jump off a bridge first. Brats.


  3. I'm with you on the homemade pj's. I tend to wing it a lot...but Lisa has a point about making sure they fit right by ripping out that seem. Heck the tank tops I make my girls are winging it...the first one I made about 4 years ago now was just traced from a tank dress we had been given for Melodie. Have fun with your sewing!

  4. Hey Iris,

    Here's one more person weighing in with an opinion...

    You are on the money about the PJ pants... most patterns have you cut on the fold anyways and PJ pants are most certainly done that way in every pattern I have ever seen.

    Your border fabric is easier to do than you think:

    You have to lay the fabric out with wrong sides together so that the two selvedges meet at the top and there is a fold at the bottom (the exact same way the fabric looks when you buy it at the store). The left and right raw edges may not match up but just make sure that the selvedges are running parallel to one another. Then just cut 6.5" strips from your fabric. The strips will be 6.5" wide x the width of your fabric (which I think in your case is 54", right?)

    You'll have to sew two strips together per side to get the length of your quilt, so you'll need a total of (8) 6.5" x 54" strips.

    Make sure to add the two longest sides on first (otherwise there won't be enough fabric!) and pin your borders on starting from the middle and working your way out (not from top to bottom as that stretches the fabric).

    I know it seems like you should cut a strip the long way, but if you do it that way there won't be enough fabric.


    Let me know if you need any more help and I will see you soon!



    (I'm so glad I can talk about your Gift Certificate now!!!)

  5. Maybe a little late, but a design school trick - if you still want to cut the fabric - is to drag a pin along the grain to get an accurate edge. Also, if I have enough fabric, I generally start a small cut and rip the edge for accuracy.

    Keep enjoying life - Deborah Divis