Now that I have the serger, I have a renewed interest in garment sewing, especially some kids’ clothes and active wear items like, for example, dance shorts for the girl. PJ bottoms are also big on the list of garments to sew since my kids seem to have very specific PJ likes and dislikes. Especially that goofy boy of mine who loves silky/shiny PJ bottoms. Sure can’t find a lot of silk PJs for boys in the department stores. AND… a huge bonus is that he still loves it when Mommy makes something for him – he really seems to appreciate it and be proud to strut his stuff in Mommy made things. Although, his next few requests have been dress-up things like Vampire costumes and Star Wars costumes.
On Sunday, I finished a pair of sweats for the little man. The pattern is McCall’s #6393. I used size 8 for his measurements. The pants had two version, one longer and with elastics in the bottom like true sweat pants and the other pattern option was for a more cropped style of pant with just a plain hem. Well, by all my best measurements – and it is hard to measure a 6-year old bouncing boy – I figured that I’d best cut the crop size version of the pattern to get a normal length leg for him. If I had gone for the full length, they would have been so long. I also omitted the pocket detail because I thought that wasn’t necessary and really kind of silly.
Everything went quite well with the pattern until I hit the point of inserting the elastic. I serged all the other seams and that went super quickly. I did measure the elastic around his belly and tried to figure out where he naturally wears his pants at the waist. He’s got a bit of a belly on him. I decided to serge on the elastic (rather than sew a full casing) and I reviewed several YouTube videos on that technique. Sorry, I didn’t save the links but a search on YouTube about “serged elastic waist bands” will give you several good hits. In basic terms, you join your elastic in the round so that it becomes a continuous piece and then you pin it to the much bigger waist on the garment at each quarter. Then you stretch the elastic as you serge it to the garment, working around each quarter. That worked quite nicely. Then you turn over the elastic and stitch it down. I tried to stitch it down the first time using a twin needle and top stitching it but to be brutally honest, it didn’t look so great. I just didn’t get it perfect so that the stitching around the waist band on the inside looked nice and even. I talked to my serger class instructor that night and she didn’t recommend that method and suggested I just use a straight stitch from the back of the work and if I wanted the double seam effect I could stitch a second line.
To make a long story short, after doing all that, I had the boy try on the pants and they were okay but the elastic was too big. I didn’t make it tight enough and it sat too losely for an elastic waist. I guess I still don’t really know how tight I should have measured that. Well, first I was going to write-off the pants altogether and make a new version using the reverse fabric (I have enough red left to do a red pair with grey accents). Then my boy said he’d love them for PJs so I thought I’d just finish the hems and let him wear them as PJs. Then my sewing friend suggested that I could take the folded over hem back out and around the back insert a 2nd piece of elastic that was shorter so I contemplated that as a fix. So, I decided to unpick the whole twin needle top stitched folded over elastic casing. Since the whole line from the crotch to the top of the waist was quite long, I then contemplated just hacking off the serged elastic at the stitching and get a new piece of elastic and re-do it all. But, as I was sitting there on Saturday night (with no place to go and while playing a match of Battleship with the girl), I started picking out the serged elastic and undid all of the stitching. I cut the elastic, made it shorter and re-started the whole process. I then applied the same elastic insertion process to make elastic hems at the bottom as well. I used skinnier elastic and those elastics I could have left a little bigger. It took a long time but it was worth it because they went from being garbage to maybe becoming PJs to actual pants he can wear which is a good thing because we are in desperate need of pants for him and we have searched all the department store and kids clothing stores for basic pull-up pants the last few days and everyone has switched over their inventory to summer and shorts but it’s just not that kind of weather yet. We’ve sadly come up empty handed in our attempt to find RTW pants in his size to tide him over for a couple of months. Now I can just move on to the red pair with grey stripe and I can just quickly get them done since I know what I’m doing.
Here’s the result of the photo shoot and although he’s cuter than cute, he’s not a great or very patient model:
And look at the great label – Zombie Approved!!! I got a bunch of these labels from a friend – she was super kind to share with me and I love, love, love them!!!
Tomorrow I start my spring break and tomorrow I am without kids or husband (just one day of freedom) and I WILL tackle my big sewing room project. Tonight, I’ll try to get some before pictures (even though that embarasses me). My goal for tomorrow is to get everything put away, cleared away and/or into a state where everything that doesn’t need to be in the room can be removed. A clean slate…. then we are going to add some new furniture and fixtures. Maybe I’ll even add a coat of paint. It’s been so many years and I’ve talked about it so much but now is the time, this is it!!! I’ve commited here to getting it done. Watch for pictures and updates!! I am really pumped.