Christmas Pyjamas for the Tropics // Margot Pyjamas Pattern Review

Continuing with Merry Making 2014, today’s post is a brief pattern review and hack of Tilly and the Button’s Margot Pyjamas from her book, “Love at First Stitch“.

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If the multitude of blog posts on Christmas pyjamas (or pajamas in this context) that have sprung up over the last few weeks are any indication, it would seem that Christmas pyjamas are a big thing in the States.  Though we don’t have that practice over here, I can totally see the appeal of it – if presentable sleepwear means more time bumming around in my jammies, then I’m down for implementing this new tradition in my household!

With this in mind, I whipped up this pair of Margot pyjama shorts in anticipation of an upcoming family stay-cation at the Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore. … I may or may not also have been motivated by the prospect of getting to photograph my brand new shorts in a luxurious hotel room and bed, as opposed to my orange bedroom walls and comically colourful $10 cartoon sheets. (Also a big thank you to my sister and cousin Joelynn for helping with the photos!)

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My pattern of choice was Tilly’s Margot pyjamas from her book, Love at First Stitch, but in shorts rather than trouser form. If there’s one thing warm humid nights in the tropics don’t need, it’s long pyjama pants! It was a quick and easy make, especially as they weren’t meant to be fitted and I omitted pockets; it must have taken me at most an hour from cutting to hemming.

Margot Pyjamas as pictured in Love at First Stitch

If I could remake this pattern again, I would definitely go with a different fabric – I found that this one creased terribly once it was sat on. I would also shorten the pattern a tad bit more as I found this make a little too long! I ended up cuffing the shorts at the hem, if you can tell from the mismatching vertical stripes (I couldn’t be fussed to match the print properly… it’s meant to be pyjamas after all).

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All in all I love this pattern, and will definitely be making it up again soon. I would highly recommend using the Margot pattern if you’re thinking of making matching Christmas PJs for the entire family – imagine how cute that would be!! If you’re leaning towards a full pyjama top and bottom set, I would suggest pairing it with Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank pattern – I’ve actually got a tank dress made from the same fabric as these Margot pyjama shorts and they look adorable paired together.

Do you have a tradition of getting new pyjamas on Christmas day? If anyone knows the history behind it, do let me know in the comments below!

Merry Making 2014: 10 gifts below $10 for People who Love Sewing

It’s a necessary evil of the quintessential Christmas party, the one that everyone loves to hate but hates to love, which can pay off spectacularly or end up with yet another addition to your growing office mug collection. That’s right, today on Merry Making, we’re talking about the Secret Santa gift exchange.

We’ve all been there – the last-minute scramble to buy secret santa gifts on a budget of $10 for a co-worker or friend that we know nothing about apart from the fact that she sews in her free time, seems to like buying fabric and posts an awful lot of pictures of clothing seams on her instagram. Well, never fear because the 10 gifts below $10 for Sewing People guide is here!

1. Water Soluble Marker US$2.99

2. Glass Head Pins US$3.49

3. Bias Tape Maker US$8.99

4. Hem Facing US$2.99

The thing about these sewing tools and notions, is that you can never have too many of them. I always find myself losing pins or running out of bias tape, so I imagine that anyone who sews regularly would be more than happy to get one of these in a gift exchange.

For a longer list of tools that a beginner sewer might need, hop on over to Sunday’s post here.

5. Ribbon & Trimming 

Jacquard Trim from Sticker Club on Etsy US$4.87 for 2 metres

Magyar Cross Jacquard Cotton Trim from Sticker Club US$3.58 for 2 metres

6. Sewing Charms 

Singer Sewing Machine Charm from wholesaleretail US$0.20

Thread Spool Sewing Charm from Bohemian Findings US$2.50

Great for anyone who has a charm bracelet, or even to attach to a wallet or bag zip. Given how cheap they are you can even pick a whole collection and make a full bracelet as a gift!

7. Sewing Labels 

Sewaholic ‘Handmade with Love’ labels CAD 4.98

Sewaholic ‘One of a Kind’ Labels CAD 4.98

Printed Ribbon Label by CrabTreeLaneShop US$2.75 /m

Vintage Style Linen Labels by SugarBSupplies US$6.25/yard

Any dressmaker or quilter deserves to be proud of their makes! These sewing labels are sure to be a hit with anyone sewing for themselves or as gifts for others.

8. Sewing-Related Posters 

Sewing Love Poster by Nook and Pine starting from US$4

Sewing Typography Poster from Nook and Pine from US$6

Pin It Pin It Real Good Poster by Boo in Stitches from US$10

You can’t go wrong with these fun sewing-related posters, these would look great in anyone’s sewing studio!

9. Club BMV Membership US$9.99

A membership at Club BMV will let your giftee buy patterns and other goodies from Butterick, McCall’s, Vogue and Kwik Sew at a standard discount 20% off (even with sales). Be sure to do some snooping to check that they don’t already have a membership though!

10. Gift Certificates

Who doesn’t like gift certificates?? I certainly do! If you’re really at your wit’s end, or you want to make sure the your giftee likes what they get, then a gift card or gift certificate from their favourite fabric store or indie pattern designer is definitely the way to go.

If you’re feeling REAL generous (like US$36 and above generous), consider gifting someone who loves dressmaking a 6-month subscription to Seamwork Magazine. This subscription will get him/her 2 free patterns a month at a cost of US$6 a month and guarantee you a lifetime of eternal gratitude and free cookies (your giftee might even be so grateful that they’ll make up a pattern or two in your size!) Unfortunately, Seamwork isn’t offering 1 month gift certificate options at the moment or this would definitely have been number 1 on my list.

Any of you have any other recommendations for great secret santa (or sewing santa) gifts? I’d love to hear them!

Merry Making 2014: A Christmas Gift Guide for the Beginner Sewist

It’s just around that time of the year now when people start getting REALLY excited for Christmas, so what better time than to kickstart a Christmas-themed series here on the blog – Merry Making 2014! For the next 12 days (ie. the 12 days before Christmas), I’ll be posting all about Christmas-related projects, ideas for gifts, decorations and recipes and updates on how I’m prepping for Christmas this year. I’m really excited about it and I hope you guys are too (fingers crossed I can keep up with posting everyday!)

To start things off, today’s post is a Christmas gift guide for beginner and “pre-beginner” sewists. A lot of my friends have told me that they would love to learn garment sewing but don’t know where or how to begin – if you know someone like that and would like to encourage them to begin sewing this Christmas, then read on for a list of gifts that might help them get started!

BOOKS

I don’t own a great deal of sewing books, though from what I’ve seen, a large majority of sewing books out there cater to the beginner sewist. I do own the following two books though, which I would recommend to anyone learning sewing for the first time.

Tilly & the Button’s Love at First Stitch

You’ll hear me enthuse a lot about Tilly’s great beginner patterns later, but honestly, Tilly writes great beginner instructions and I’m so glad I had this book when I first started out! This book eases the reader into the scary world of dressmaking, beginning with setting up your sewing machine, shopping for fabric (a personal phobia of mine), and sewing straight stitches, all the way through to installing invisible zippers and sewing buttonholes! It also comes with 5 patterns in 8 sizes, as well as instructions for drafting a skirt – a great deal at only GBP20 if you ask me.

Mend & Make Fabulous by Denise Wild

This book is targeted more at people wanting to get into refashioning and mending clothes rather than dressmaking itself. It includes full illustrations of creative ways to mend things (think: darning, stains and frayed hems) and also ways to freshen up an old garment that needs a new lease of life! Though I haven’t used this book extensively yet, i can see myself referring to it a whole lot when I finally get round to tackling the huge pile of clothes in my closet waiting to be mended!

PATTERNS

When I first took an interest in sewing, I had no idea that sewing patterns existed. To my mind, drafting was the only way to make a garment and the thought of having to learn something that complex before I could make my own outfits was a HUGE mental barrier to learning how to sew! I would have loved to receive an easy beginner-friendly pattern (or even a kit!) as a gift for Christmas, and it probably would have played a big part in encouraging me to tackle my first sewing project.

Here are a couple of great beginner patterns that I would recommend to anyone sewing their first garment:

Tilly & the Button’s Miette Skirt 

Specifically designed as a first dress-making project, this flared wraparound skirt from Tilly is simple to sew and doesn’t have zippers or buttonholes (or anything else that would discourage someone from sewing!) It even comes with pockets, how great is that?!

Sewaholic’s Rae Skirt

If wraparound skirts aren’t your thing, this offering from Tasia of Sewaholic is a great alternative! Also designed as as a very first sewing project (in collaboration with a sewing instructor no less!), this elastic skirt is quick to sew and is a great way to show off printed fabrics. It also looks totally wearable and not at all like a beginner’s first garment (which is more than I can say for some of my first few makes!).

Tilly & the Button’s Coco Dress and Top

The Coco pattern happens to be designed for knit fabric, which many beginners shy away from. In this case, Tilly has produced a great pattern for double knit (a stable knit fabric) that is both suitable for beginners and looks a lot more complicated than it actually is! This was the third garment I ever sewed (and for someone else, no less!) and can vouch for how easy this was to make. As a bonus, Tilly ran a step-by-step sew-along on her blog earlier this year with extra tips on how to sew up the Coco dress as well as ideas on how to customise it, take a look at it here!

Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank Top and Dress 

This is was actually the first real pattern I attempted solo! Not only was it a breeze to sew up (no darts, zippers or buttonholes!), it fit like a dream and graded easily between sizes. If you’re feeling a little more generous, you could also consider Megan Nielsen’s Beginner Pack, which include 4 patterns targeted at beginners for the price of 3!

Colette Pattern’s Ginger Skirt 

I haven’t sewn up this pattern personally, but I’ve seen many gorgeous versions of it floating around the internet. Plus, with Colette’s reputation for great, easy-to-follow instructions I’m pretty sure a new beginner will be able to tackle this with ease!

SEWING LESSONS 

Of course, one always learns best with one on one coaching. Consider checking out your local sewing shops or sewing schools for any classes they may be running and sponsor a friend to attend a sewing lesson there, or gift him/her a gift card or voucher so that they can sign up for their class of choice!

There aren’t too many options in sunny Singapore, but for those of you who live locally, try checking out this list of places offering sewing classes.

TOOLS & NOTIONS

Another gift option would be to assemble a kit of tools that a beginner sewist might need. If so, the following are some great gifts that would supplement any standard sewing kit:

Clover Chaco Pen 

Chalk in a pen form! Great for marking fabric and brushes away easily.

Air Erasable or Water Erasable Pens 

Pinking Shears and Embroidery Scissors 

Tracing Wheel and Tracing Paper 

    

Seam Gauge

For those of us who have already dived headfirst into the wonderful world of sewing, I’ve seen some Christmas gift guides out there with some really great ideas. I want pretty much all the books in Heather’s sewing book gift guide and am loving the “How Much Fabric?” Reference Cards suggested by Dixie, they’re so useful!

What’s on your wish list this Christmas? I know I would love me some Spotlight gift vouchers or if anyone out there is feeling really generous, maybe a new overlocker… *hint hint*