Thursday, 26 November 2009

Any excuse not to sew cushions....

Nighties! My oldest daughter has seriously outgrown the last lot of nighties I made her so it was about time she got some new ones. Ottobre pattern again, Winter 2009 #36 in a size 122cm. It's a size up from what she needs but the raglan design is very forgiving (they would have looked ridiculously wide with regular shoulders) and the length came out perfectly, it falls to just on her ankle. We'll get a few years out of these! I made six in two hours today. How do you make six nighties in two hours? Like this.


Cut everything out then press all of the neckbands and cuffs in half, decide you can live with everything being serged in white thread and stitch all the neck/cuff piece into circles in one go - no stopping to snip threads, just chain piece them. When they're all done trim the threads, press them again and quarter mark the neckbands so they're ready for attaching.


Stitch and press all of the raglan seams. The pattern instructions specify lapped seams for this but honestly, I couldn't be bothered setting up the coverstitch :) Stitching a regular seam works just as well. It helps if you quarter mark the neckline now as the neckbands go on next.


Attach the neckbands. I never pin for this, I just stretch the ribbing till the next quarter mark is lined up and then hold it in place while serging. Works for me!


Press the neckband when you're done - optional, but doesn't it look prettier when you do? I had an issue with the neckband size on this pattern, the first one I made I swear the neckband piece was the exact same length as the neckline - not a good idea! It was very floppy and also very narrow, not at all how it looked in the magazine photo. I re cut it, taking 2.75" off of the length and making it 2" wide and it looks much better.


I also press and pin the bottom hems just now, before sewing the side seams. I don't stitch them yet, just get them ready.


After sewing all of the side and sleeve seams and trying to ignore the hideous noises coming from your poor overworked, under-serviced serger (or is that just mine? I really must take the time to give it some TLC) it's time to put on all of the cuffs. The sleeve opening was too narrow to fit easily over my serger free arm so instead I place the cuff inside the sleeve, right sides together, and carefully serge it on like the inside of a teacup, stretching the ribbing to fit the opening. Again, once it's done, I press it. (You would be forgive for thinking I have an iron fetish at this point, I do press things rather a lot when I sew. In my defence, this is pretty much the only time anything sees an iron in our house. Honestly, if I didn't sew I don't think I would own one!)


All that's left now is to stitch those already pressed and pinned hems and Ta Da! All of a sudden you have six finished nighties (yes, there are only five in the photo. She pinched one to wear straight away despite it not being near bedtime when I was done!). I like to use a triple zigzag for hems on knit fabrics, my girl likes to sit and stretch out them hems with her feet and this is the only stitch I've found that doesn't instantly pop.

There you go! That's it for today. I'm off to see what else I can find to do other than more cushion covers....


  1. This is such a great blog!! I love the nighties and the baby vests! I love the step by step pictures that you've put on the blog too, they are a huge help to a novice like me! I'm finding sewing stretch fabric very tricky, so it's great to see close ups of how you've done it.

  2. Very cute nighties. Great job!

  3. Thank you :) Pippa, my serger is my best friend when it comes to knits. When I started sewing it was all I had so I had to figure out how to do *everything* from seaming to hemming with it. It limited what I could make but it also got me over my fear of knits very quickly lol! Do you use one?

  4. Hi, yes, I have a serger, I love it, though it's a bit scary and I'm still not sure what I should do with the loose ends. It's when I use my sewing machine that I find sewing stretch fabric is tricky. It seems to squish it under the foot too much and I'm not sure if I can release the pressure of that or if there's another way.

  5. Such cute nightgowns! I wish I had the patience for assembly-line sewing.

  6. Pippa, the loose ends are a matter of preference. I used to unravel them and then tie them into a knot, sometimes I would thread them through a large needle and then pull them back through the serged seam. Know what I do now, after six years more experience? Tug them slightly then snip them close to the edge, I've yet to have one unravel :)

    My sewing machine has a dial on top to adjust the presser foot pressure, I always turn it as lose as it can go when sewing knits. It would be worth a try if you can do the same on yours, I find it helps a lot.

    Ruth, thanks :) It doesn't really take a lot more time to do six than it does to do one, I always make my kids jammies in batches so I've gotten good at it now!

  7. I love this! Thanks for sharing it. I need to learn how to sew faster and often sew a few pj sets at once for nieces and nephews! Great organized process you have.

  8. Thanks for this and the kick CK, I have 3 on the go now for O :-) Plus 3 pairs of pj's waiting to stitch for A.