Getting Crafty Again! Sewing a Machine Cover for my Serger / Overlocker…

Ah finally the six weeks of bedlam and mayhem that constitutes the summer holidays are over! The minute the children were shooed on their way back to school, I took a sweeping look at the devastation left in their wake and took to frenzidly cleaning, tidying and organising the house. And, of course, once that was sorted, my attention turned to my sewing space!

It’s not that long ago I assembled my ‘bijou’ sewing area – the beginning of the year in fact. But, like my middle-aged waistline, the area has continued to expand! It seems I’d consoled myself with having my sewing time curtailed during the school break with planning; buying a shedload of fabric and patterns, as well as a number of new sewing tools.

So my sewing space got a bit of a makeover too! And as part of that I decided to get crafty and sew myself a new machine cover for my serger, using the free downloadable pattern from Closet Case Files. Read More

Carolyn Pajamas : Sewing the Collar & Lapels – a Photo Tutorial type thingy!

I’ve sewn two pairs of Carolyn PJ’s to date with a third pair in my sewing queue. I think it’s fair to say my love for this pattern has been well documented both here on my blog and over in my Instagram feed! A few of you have commented that you’re keen to sew them up too but are perhaps a little daunted at the prospect of constructing the notched collar/lapel. I know I certainly was at the start!

So I took photos of the main steps in the process of sewing the collar and lapel when I made my second set, which I thought I’d share here in case anybody else would find it useful. And, let’s be honest, as an aide-memoire to myself in case my ageing/befuddled brain forgets everything by the time I get around to the third pair!  Seriously! Certainly it’s not meant as a substitute for the pattern instructions or the really useful post on the Closet Case Files blog, which are both really excellent. I guess I’m hoping this just aides what you will find there; I’m a very visual person so the more photos or diagrams from different perspectives that I can study when approaching a new technique, then all the better! If you’re the same, then this is for you! :-))

Enough waffling, let’s sew already!

1. You’ve already part constructed the collar. Now comes the part where you join the bottom collar to the shirt. Take care to match notches and circles. Just take it slowly, stop occasionally with your needle down, lift your presser foot and adjust your fabric as you sew so your seam is nice and neat.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas closet case files sewalong

2. At the centre back neckline, you want to make sure that your top collar slightly overlaps your just-sewn seam so it’s completely hidden. Topstitch.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas

3. Pin and baste each side shirt neckline/top-collar seams.

Sewalong tutorial closet case files collar lapels

4. Once you’ve finished the raw outside (straighter) edge of your lapel facings as directed in the pattern instructions, pin lapels to shirt fronts, right sides together, being ultra careful to ensure you are again matching circles. Pin and sew from the bottom. You will need to curve your lapel when you reach the top to join your previously basted side neckline/collar seams. Make sure you STOP sewing when you reach the shoulder seam.

Closet case files sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas

5. Notch and grade seams and turn right side out. When you press make sure your seam lines are pressed away from the visual front to the underside. Remember, on your lapel, this changes at the point where the first button will go. use your button guide pattern piece to determine where this is.

Sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas pyjamas

6. Then wrap under the raw edge of the remaining lapel ‘flap’, placing it over, and matching up with, the line of the shoulder seam (securing in place with WonderTape helps), then stitch in the ditch from the outside. It’s also worth noting that when you sewed your shoulder seams earlier on in the construction process, the pattern instructions don’t mention finishing the seam. But, do! 

Carolyn collar shoulder seam.jpg

Tada!!!! All done!!! You will enclose the lapel facings and topstitch around the entire edge of the lapels and collar at the very end (if you’ve got an edgestitch or stitch in the ditch foot, all the better!)  There’s nothing else fiddly or head-scratchy with this pattern, honest!

Let me know, was this in any way useful?!

If you’re wondering how to pattern match the cuffed breast pocket of View B & C, I also have a tutorial on that here.

Until next time,

Sarah X

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Closet case files Carolyn pyjamas

New PJ’s! Sewing the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Woohoo I have new PJ’s! Let me tell you these were long overdue because I was too busy sewing clothes I could actually leave the house in! But the time came when my very last pair developed holes in unmentionable places and I could overlook this pattern no longer. I think  Closet Case Files  released the Carolyn Pajamas in early 2015 and the pattern has been on my radar ever since, so it was an obvious choice. I guess you could say I was late to this PJ Party…but better late than never, right?!

I spent a long time trying to decide what fabric to use. Is anybody else also addicted to online fabric browsing?! I can lose myself for hours. Hours, I tell you. I initially fell in love with a gorgeously cute double gauze print but I didn’t want to pay out £16 a metre on a relatively fabric hungry pattern on my first attempt. So I opted instead for this lilac gingham cotton with daisy prints from Minerva Crafts (see here) I’m really glad I did; it was an absolute dream to work with, it’s lovely and soft and it barely creased/crumpled even after a nights sleep.

Carolyn pajamas

This was my first CCF pattern and I was, admittedly, a bit nervous regarding certain elements of the construction, namely the collar and lapels. (See below for construction photos). The pattern also features a faux fly and front facing pockets; none of which I’d come across before. I opted for View A; the most basic option. Given what I needed to learn, throwing piping into the mix felt like an additional skill too far at this stage. I decided against cutting straight into my fabric and instead proceeded to make a toile and practice the techniques involved using old bedsheets.

The pants are a straightforward sew. Turns out sewing a faux fly is a doddle. As were the front facing pockets. You can easily knock a pair of these pants out in one sitting. Which is good as I’ll probably make more pairs of the pants and shorts than I will tops so that I can wear them just with a tee in warmer weather. The recommended 1.5″ wide elastic makes for a very comfortable waistband and I like the way it’s stitched in to prevent it twisting/rolling.

Buoyed by this, I began on the toile for the top. Now, even the pattern instructions themselves state that the construction of the collar is fiddly. And it is, but only a bit! It’s no more fiddly than sewing a set-in sleeve for example; possibly less so. And, incidentally, this pattern calls for you to sew the sleeves in the flat and then sew up the sleeves and side seams in one, which couldn’t be simpler.  When putting in the collar and lapels it definitely helps to remind yourself that you’re sewing a 3D garment, therefore matching up concave and convex shapes. I’m probably making it sound more complex than it is, hopefully these pics help show the construction:-

Collar lapel construction sewing Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Collar lapel Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas how to closet case files

(If you would like to see a step-by-step photo demonstration then I’ve written a detailed separate post on sewing the collar and lapels hereor, in short, you will need to make sure you accurately transfer your pattern markings to your pieces; in terms of getting your lapels to accurately butt up against your collar those dots are your friend. Heather wrote a detailed blog tutorial on this element of the make too which is really useful.

The bedsheet toile confirmed that the only alterations I needed to make to the pattern pieces were to remove 2.5″ from the legs and shirt length (and therefore the lapels) and 1″ from the sleeve.  There’s no cut/lengthen lines on the sleeve pattern – I took the excess from the elbow point.

Once I’d ‘got my head around’ the techniques involved I proceeded to cut into my fabric and sewed everything up in three sittings. I spent more time than necessary on cutting out the fabric because I wanted to have a go at pattern matching. I know this is probably overkill on PJ’s but, heck, I was on a learning roll!

Closet case files Carolyn Pajamas pocket

I’m absolutely thrilled with my lovely new PJ’s! The pattern is wonderfully drafted; the fit is feminine and flattering and the instructions very considered. The resultant make is an incredibly comfortable, luxurious and quality wear. I’m delighted with what I learned; it’s been an real confidence booster.

Oh and remember the £16pm double-gauze? It WILL be mine 😂 This pattern deserves it! Twist my arm and I might even have a go at the piping!

Until next time,

Sarah x

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or scroll down to click/tap on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

Carolyn pajamas