Posts Tagged ‘knits’

pjs from t shirts

pjs from t shirts

I said I would and look! I actually did: I made summer pajamas from a bunch of thrifted tees.

pjs from t shirts

And the kids actually like them! There is no Iron Man or Perry the Platypus or Elmo or whatever character they’re into this minute in sight. I’m not against the odd licensed character, but I cannot deal with the weird, plastic, pajama fabric they are printed on. When they’re new the fabric feels like slimy alien skin, and after a few washes it turns into pill-y, old, molted alien skin.

pjs from t shirts

Obviously I have some issues with kids’ pajamas. Not these suckers though! They are all 100% handmade from 100% second hand clothes.

pjs from t shirts

Here are all the sewing details:

fabricthrifted tees pictured here

pattern: For the shorts I used the sleeping johns pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made the sleeping johns a few years ago and they still fit my daughter. So the fit is obviously pretty generous. My 7 year old daughter is wearing a size 5T, my 6 year old son is wearing a 4T, and my 3 year old son is wearing a 3T

The shirts are made with Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. The only time I actually followed the pattern was for the gray shirt in the middle. For the other two shirts I used the pattern more as a guide. The tank top is far from perfect, but it works for pjs.

sewing: The shorts went super fast and were not a problem at all. The shirts were a bit more fiddle-y, because I chose super soft, super thin material. My sewing machine prefers to eat material like that rather than sew it. Arg!

pjs from t shirts

The plan was to have two pairs of pjs for each kid, but only the youngest got two (the second pair is pictured above). For that gray striped top, I used Kristen’s Flashback Tee –> Tank Top tutorial and blatantly copied her style while I was at it. There are two more pairs of pjs in the works. Both are half done, but I think I hit a pajama making wall. Maybe I’ll climb over it this weekend :)

pjs from t shirts

kcwc guest post: kelli from true bias

I only discovered Kelli’s blog, true bias,  a little while ago, but once I did I was hooked. She sews beautiful garments for herself–we’re talking handmade blazers here, people. But every so often some beautiful little clothes she made for her daughter would pop up on her blog. So I asked if she would be interested in kcwc. Lucky for us she said yes. I mean just look at what she did with a tee shirt pattern! 

kelli from true bias

I was really excited to be part of kcwc this year.  I am a bit of a selfish seamstress and love sewing for myself, so it’s good when I get a bit of an extra push to sew for my daughter.  I just got my first serger about a week ago so sewing up some knits with Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern was a perfect way to break it in.

I used the skinny tee pattern to make two boyfriend cardigans for my 2 year old daughter.  It was a really easy conversion.  I lengthened the front and back pieces by about an inch.  Otherwise the back and sleeves were left exactly the same.  I then cut the center front of the front piece and cut out a deep v at the neckline.  I added a 2 inch wide band to the bottom of the cardigan and a 1 inch band all the way from the hem, around the neckline, and back down again to the hem.  I added a few button holes and cute buttons, a little edge stitching and there you have it, a boyfriend cardigan to get us through chilly spring days.

edit to add- I asked Kristin how she sewed buttonholes on knit fabric without it turning out a disaster (like when I do it). Here’s what she said:  I found that if I put a bit of interfacing on the backside the buttonhole went much better.  Then you can just cut around the buttonhole to get rid of the excess.

I hope you will try some too.  It took me about 4 hours start to finish to make both of them on my serger.  I am super happy with the outcome.  Can’t wait to be inspired by all of you next week.  I will be sewing along as well.

kcwc guest post: meg from sew liberated

meg from sew liberated

I started following Meg’s blog, Sew Liberated, back when she was a Montessori teacher in Mexico. She’s moved back to the states and had a few boys since then, but her loving, teacherly voice is always present. Meg’s patient, creative Montessori spirit shows through not only in her parenting, but in her home and sewing too. If you haven’t seen her latest book, Growing Up Sew Liberated, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy!

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

At first, I had visions of using one of his dad’s old tee shirts to make him an indie-chic Flashback Skinny Tee. But then Finn entered the sewing studio. And, as we all know, almost-three-year-olds have very strong opinions about certain things. (Well, I’ll be honest – at first, he just wanted to cut the car fabric. Cutting, his all-time favorite activity, was just what I was about to do (with another fabric) so we went ahead and cut the car fabric together for his shirt.) In the end, I can most certainly say that this was our first creative collaboration.

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

He handed me pins, pulled out pins, and trimmed threads. Thanks to Rae and her super straightforward pattern, the boy and I had a lovely time together. I now have a sewing assistant.

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

Why stop at the tee, though, when the tee came together in less than an hour? Finn needed a pair of shorts, so I shortened the Basic Pocket Pants pattern from my book Growing Up Sew Liberated and altered the waistband so that I could use the knit fabric instead of the conventional woven-with-elastic method. I attached the stretchy knit waistband in the same way that you attach the collar to the Skinny Tee.

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

The boy and his pockets, which are always filled with sticks and weeds.

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

For Finn’s Skinny Tee, I opted for the 1 inch cuff finish, and used my all-time favorite lazy person’s finish for the shirt’s hem: Lite Steam-a-Seam2. Just apply the strip close to the raw edge on the wrong side of the fabric, remove the paper, fold up the hem, finger press, then make the bond permanent by pressing with an iron.

matchy matchy skinny tee + basic pocket pants

Happy sewing, everyone!



When Rae asked me to talk a bit about sewing with knits, I thought it was odd, because I’m rather crap at sewing with knits. But then I looked back in my archives for pictures of things I’ve sewn and hey! it’s not that bad. My first experience with sewing with knits was pretty horrible.  Now it looks like I remember that failure more than any of the successful knit projects I’ve made, which is ridiculous. With that realization, I cut out a huge pile of knit fabric for this awesome undies pattern:

piles of fabric for undies

I didn’t finish them all, because my daughter is a little between sizes so I have to adjust the fit, but oof! the boy undies are pretty damn cute. The pattern is very clear and nicely laid out with plenty of pictures. I noticed she’s not selling it at the moment and I’m not sure why, because it’s a very popular pattern. It’s popular for a reason: you only need a little bit of fabric, old t-shirts are perfect, and if you screw up who’s going to see them anyway?


I wouldn’t say this is a beginner, beginner project, but if you’ve sewn with knits a few times then these shouldn’t be a problem. They come together quickly, but the waistband and leg holes take a bit of time. And people will look at you funny when (or rather if) you tell them you’re making your children’s underwear.

lightening bolt undies!

But come on, lighting bolt undies?! What little boy wouldn’t be excited about that?

Want to see all the kniterviews? Look here! and mine is here.

growing up sew liberated: crossover top

Meg from Sew Liberated asked if I would kick off the book tour for her new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. How could I say no to a fellow Meg, especially one as talented as Meg McElwee? I loved her first book, so I knew this one, which is devoted to the littles, would be fantastic too.  And it is! Not only is it full of beautiful things to sew, but the projects are organized around a child’s day: waking up, eating, playing inside, going out to play and getting ready for bed.

crossover top from growing up sew liberated

This shirt I made from the book, the crossover top, is in the “greeting the morning” chapter. It is meant to be a simple top, but is so perfect for jammies that I couldn’t resist. I had some super soft knit squirreled away for something and this was just the something.

crossover top pattern

This is a very quick and easy project. There was one step that tripped me a up, but I still finished the whole shirt in about an hour and a half. Next time it’ll be under an hour for sure. And there will be a next time, because the boys need summer jammies too. Obviously my heart fabric makes the shirt a little girly, but the pattern itself works for boys as well. And really all the projects in the book are refreshingly unisex.

sleeping shorts

And quite simple to customize as well. Like these shorts: the pattern was for sleeping johns (what a great name!) but seeing as it’s suddenly 90 degrees here shorts were in order. I added the ribbing detail on the bottom because I had the ribbing out for the shirt–and because it’s cute. Meg has designed clothes and accessories with simple details that are lovely on their own, but also would look fabulous all embellished up!

sleeping johns pattern in growing up sew liberated

Many of the projects are just right for gifts as well. We are pretty much past the bib stage in our house, but the all-by-myself bib, which is cleverly based on an envelope style shirt (there’s a pattern for those in the book too!), looks pretty much like the perfect bib. I’m big on giving useful gifts–for babies and older kids–but I want something that is awesome as well as practical. Honestly, pretty much every project in the book fits this description. It’s nice to sew a pretty gift, but unless it’s going to get played with it, it’s not doing anyone any good. A play cape, an art satchel, a sleep sack, a cloth doll, an adjustable messenger bag, I would enjoy making all of them and I know they would all be well received and loved.

projects from growing up sew liberated

Growing up Sew Liberated is a fantastic book, simple as that. Please follow the book tour to see other sneak peeks and beautiful projects from Meg’s new book!

Growing Up Sew Liberated Blog Tour

Join Interweave Books in a celebration of the launch of Meg McElwee’s new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. The launch kicks off with a 15-day blog tour visiting education blogs, sewing blogs, parenting blogs, personal blogs, eco-living blogs, and some that are simply a combination of all of the above.  You’ll meet some extraordinary women, see stunning photography, hear inspirational stories from Meg and many of her friends, and of course learn more about the book. Perhaps you’ll find some new favorite bloggers to follow along the way? Join us each day as we visit with:

6/6         Elsie Marley

6/7         Made By Rae

6/8         The Artful Parent

6/9         Rhythm of the Home Blog

6/10       Uncommon Grace

6/13      Simple Homeschool

6/14       Burda Style

6/15       Maya Made

6/16       Wise Craft

6/17       JC Handmade

6/20      Frontier Dreams

6/21       Made


pjs from growing up sew liberated