McCall’s M5248 – Candy cane pajamas

It must seem like all I ever make are aprons and pajamas…and there will be at least one more apron since I recently won an apron pattern!!! It’s a digital reproduction of a 1938 Pictorial pattern by Anna Depew of A Few Threads Loose.

What’s even better than winning a pattern is winning one that you’ve really, really wanted! Anna wrote a post about this pattern back in July, and I fell in love with it, but she hadn’t yet decided to make a reproduction. I looked around and found another fantastic vintage apron pattern which I used for my gingham apron. I’ve kept an eye out for the Pictorial version, but I haven’t seen a single one listed anywhere…and now I have the reproduction! Yay!!!

Back to pajamas…

A few weeks ago we had a snowy weekend, and that was the perfect inspiration for making another pair of flannel pajamas. Fortunately it’s been warmer lately, since I refused to wear the pajamas until they’d been photographed. My photographer has been busy getting ready to launch his software product, so I finally figured out how to use the automatic timer. I’m also running into a challenge because all the walls in my house are painted in pretty bold colors that are great to look at every day, but not so great as backdrops. I’m going to go with the notion that everything doesn’t have to match.

This is the same pattern I used for my polka dot pajamas, with a few modifications.

I lowered the waist scientifically instead of doing another cranky hack job, so this time I took off 2.5″ at the front, 1.5″ at the rear, and 2″ at the sides, tapering along a straight line drawn with a ruler. It is possible, and perhaps even likely, that a French curve would have been wiser – but the end result fits so well that I don’t care. I also shortened the length, and actually did so using the handy lengthen/shorten line on the pattern. These two changes resulted in several minor adjustments to the crotch and inseam that I didn’t think would make a difference, but which turned out to be quite useful. Next time I’ll take off another inch off the length, but now that I’ve learned my lesson I’ll do so in the proper place.

I am almost done with several other projects right now, all of which are significantly more challenging than making pajamas. One of the dresses is my Peony, which has been mostly educational and only a bit frustrating. I say “only a bit” because I’ve been wanting to learn more about fitting, and boy did I get the opportunity with this pattern! The other projects include the Sureau dress, Thurlow trousers, and the lone pattern that doesn’t have a sew-along to be late for: a vintage McCall’s dress that’s done except for the buttons. Apparently I don’t enjoy sewing buttons, because I’m averaging one button per week. Or less.

The flannel I’ve been using is fantastic. I found it at, and took advantage of their holiday sale to order even more…so I’ll be making one more pair of winter pjs!

Butterick 9578 – Polka dot apron…round 1

The apron won this round, but I control the scissors…

I acquired a copy of Butterick 9578 a few months ago, and was very excited when the Did you make that? Apronalong came along because it gave me a reason to try out this pattern instead of finishing all the projects I’d already started.

I made my first apronalong apron using a free tutorial by Bari J. It was easy, fun, and very convenient because I caught a cold and discovered that the pockets are perfect for carting around tissues.

My second apronalong apron was a half apron – version D from Butterick 9578. I love this apron. I keep wanting to wear it, but I feel like I should only do so if I’m going to clean or cook. Since I rarely do either I’m going to have to come up with another reason because it’s so adorable I can’t not wear it. I even posted about it on WeSewRetro – my first post there – because of its charming vintage-y goodness. (The pattern is from the 1950s – unfortunately the exact year isn’t listed.)

And then I moved on to the apron I really wanted to make…version A from the same Butterick pattern.

No, I’m not wearing the apron. I’m too cranky to want to be photographed in it; I’d just have a big scowl on my face.

The tie belt is quite nicely done. It’s in two pieces; you sew the unfinished ends inside one of the pleats. The half apron has pleats on the outside; the full apron, which uses the same skirt pattern, calls for the fabric to be pleated on the inside instead of the outside. That makes sense because for the half apron the waistband covers the top half of the pleats, whereas with the full version the tie belt starts in the middle of each front half, and therefore wouldn’t accomplish the same thing.

That’s a close up of the tie belt and its enclosing pleat.

The pockets look very cute. I wasn’t sure if I’d like them because they were folded down for the half apron, but they turned out to be just right for this variant.

You may be wondering what’s wrong… The bodice, of course…I always run into trouble with bodices. This apron is almost like a dress in that the bodice wraps around. Here’s a shot of the button in the back.

Those are sparkles in the fabric – it’s a really fun print! The button isn’t very exciting. The apron really should have a hot pink button, but this was the best I could come up with since I wasn’t about to run out to purchase one button for a pattern that’s irritating me this much.

I thought I’d be safe with the bodice because this is an apron, but apparently not. It bunches up in a weird way in the front, and in the back it’s poofy and doesn’t lie flat. I can fix this, but not in my current cranky state. So…technically the apron is done in time for the apronalong, but I won’t be wearing it until I can figure out how to correct these issues. I’m toying with the idea of changing the back to be more like the gingham apron I made in the summer, but that feels a bit drastic. Probably.

On a positive note, I finally found the right fabric for my Peony dress!

It’s Japanese cotton I found at Elfriede’s, the nicest fabric shop in Boulder. I bought a few other things, but was smart enough to restrict myself to buying fabric for only three patterns…nicest also means most expensive! I picked up a lovely floral print for the Sureau Sew-along (no, I haven’t learned my lesson…yay for sew-alongs!!!), and two different wool crepes for a fantastic Simplicity pattern from 1942. I’ll undoubtedly be making several muslins for that dress. The very nice lady who was helping me clearly thought I was a beginner. I wanted to say: thank you, but I’m an advanced beginner! I was very polite when she explained what a muslin is, and didn’t even react (hopefully) when she told me that she makes her muslins out of $12/yard fabric because it’s less expensive. I’m making so many muslins these days that I can’t even keep up with the math to figure out what that would cost me! But she was very helpful, and while it did take three people to help me settle on the colors for the wool crepe dress, it was a lot of fun. And I can finally make my Peony! Of course, the sew-along for that pattern is over…but at least I’ve found a fabric that I love!

Butterick 9578 – Black and pink half apron

I’ve been wanting to try out Butterick 9578 for a while, and the Did you make that? Apronalong gave me an excellent reason to make yet another apron in spite of the fact that I rarely cook.

I blame my pose on my photographer, who gives me directions like “wave your hands around” or “look at the ceiling.” Most of my photographs are clearly pictures of me caught in the middle of telling him how ridiculous his instructions are.

There’s no copyright on the pattern, but it’s probably from the late 1950′s.

I’d been planning on making the full apron, but thanks to Karen’s apronalong and the convenient timing of a fabric sale, I decided to make both a half and a full apron. I started with the half apron so that I could experiment with the pattern.

The apron has four sections of pleats; no gathers. The pleats are a really nice touch.

The pockets are made by sewing squares of both fabrics together, then the top corner is turned down to display the contrasting fabric.

The directions just say to fold the pocket down. I was planning on tacking it down, but they lie pretty flat. There are four pockets total, and they line up at the corners.

The apron goes pretty far around, unlike the last apron I made.

Here’s a side view so you can see about where the pockets stop.

I really love how this turned out. Now I’m off to finish the full apron since the apronalong ends tomorrow!!!