The Pajama Game

Pajamas make a great Christmas gift because they're easy to make, easy to customize, and easy to fit since they're so forgiving. This week, I'm sharing three of my favorite free pajama shorts patterns with you. When paired with a coordinating cami or tank top, any lady would be thrilled to receive these handmade jammies.

City Gym Shorts

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While technically not a pajama pattern, there's no reason these can't serve as jammie shorts. You can make them from voile or rayon for a soft, luxurious feel, or from flannel for a cozy pair. I made a pair from cotton because I love this print but wasn't sure it would fly as actual clothing on a grown ass lady.

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The City Gym Shorts pattern is available in sizes for all ages from Purl Soho. They have a distinctly athletic look, which I love. The pattern calls for bias tape, so be sure to check out my easy bias tape tutorial to make what you need for this project.

 

Madeleine Bloomers

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This pattern from Colette is feminine and cheeky as well as a breeze to sew up.

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The little details like the bows at the legs and the frilly, cinched waist make these really special. I sewed mine from some beautiful sheer cotton voile, but there are so many luxurious fabrics you could choose from.

 

Easy Boxer Shorts

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Last but not least, these easy boxer shorts from eHow are incredibly comfortable and incredibly simple to make.

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I used some soft waistband elastic in a fun color as suggested in the tutorial, and I couldn't be happier with how they fit and feel.

Covered Button Earrings

To kick off my Handmade Holiday series, I'm sharing these scrap-friendly covered button earrings.

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Supplies needed: covered button kit, earring posts, E6000 adhesive, scissors, pliers, pencil, small fabric scraps

Cost: ~$10.00 for 3 pair of earrings

Time: 10-15 minutes, plus drying time

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If you've not used a covered button kit before, you'll find that the back of the packaging is very instructive. It also includes a template for cutting your fabric.

Cut out the button pattern from the packaging and trace the circle onto your fabric. You'll need two circles to make a pair of earrings.

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For each earring, you'll need one circle of fabric, one button front, and one button back. You'll also be using the mold and the pusher from the button kit to assemble these.

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Center your fabric circle over the clear plastic mold and place the button front on it, face down. Using the blue pusher, pus the button front down into the mold.

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See how all of the fabric is tucked around the button front? Now you'll place a button back on top of this, and use the pusher to push it in until you feel it click into place.

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You'll need to remove the shank from the back of the button. Using a pair of pliers, squeeze on either side of the shank loop as shown below and squeeze gently. This will release it and it should pull away easily.

The button kit comes in odd quantities. My kit had 7, which is an awkward amount for pairs of earrings. You can always buy two kits and solve this problem, or consider that 7th button as insurance in case you screw one up. At any rate, here are my 6 earrings.

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Place a dot of E6000 adhesive on the button back and push an earring post into the glue.

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Let the glue dry overnight, and you have a lovely gift for someone you love...or to keep for yourself!

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Cotton Baby Crib Bumpers

With several family members expecting babies this spring, I've been busy sewing up baby gifts, like these easy flannel burp cloths. Significantly easier to say 3 times fast and much easier to make than rubber baby buggy bumpers, crib bumpers are a lovely way to personalize a nursery and are a great gift when paired with baby bedding. (Before you go nuts in the comments section, let me say that crib bumpers are discouraged for newborn and young infants. We are constantly learning better ways to care for infants and children, so check with your pediatrician for the latest recommendations. I haven't had a baby in 13 years and am certainly not an expert.)

I purchased a selection of prints and solids for making crib bumpers and a quilt from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

I purchased a package of Fairfield Nu Foam crib bumper pads and used their free pattern, which you can download here.

The pattern was easy to follow and in an evening I was able to make the set!

Happy Hour Tea Towel Calendar

Every year, I design a tea towel calendar as one of my Christmas gifts. My friends and family have come to expect them, and I look forward to coming up with a new theme each year. I knew that we were going to need lots of cocktails in 2017, so I featured 12 of my favorite grown-up beverages.

I sketched each of the drinks in pencil, and included simple recipes. I knew that the recipes would be too much text for the tea towel, but who knows what else I might do with these illustrations?

I inked my drawings and pulled them into Illustrator for finishing.

After I finalized the layout, I uploaded my design to Spoonflower for printing. The calendar is sized to fit on a single fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas, and a simple hem around the edge is all that's needed to make a towel that will liven up any kitchen or bar!

If you'd like your own Happy Hour tea towel calendar, you can purchase this design in my Spoonflower shop!

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads

When I was a child, no occasion went unmarked by a festive pillowcase. It began with Christmas pillowcases for me and my sister, lovingly sewn by my grandmother. We were so delighted that she kept making them. Birthdays, Valentine's day, Tuesdays - any reason was good enough for a special pillowcase. As time passed and fabric selection improved (along with her sewing machine), the pillowcases became more spectacular. My children have pillowcases she made with glow in the dark embroidery of their names! Our home now has no shortage of festive pillowcases for most occasions, so this year I decided I would spread some cheer and carry on this tradition by making pillowcases for my nieces and nephew.

 

These make a great gift and are super-quick to sew up in a pinch. You can even use them as gift bags! To make a pillowcase, you'll need one yard of fabric (I pre-wash mine...shrinkage after sewing isn't a big issue for pillowcases, but it softens the fabric up nicely). Fold it wrong sides together from selvage to selvage. I don't bother trimming off the fuzzy selvage edge - we're going to use French seams, so that will get trimmed away eventually. I simply sew along the selvage in this step. You'll sew across the top/short side and down the long side opposite the fold. Leave the bottom open - you have to be able to get the pillow in!

Now you're going to trim away that fuzzy bit and most of the seam allowance/selvage. You want less than 1/4"...just trim as close to the stitching as you are comfortable doing.

Now turn the pillowcase wrong side out and press the seams you just sewed.

Now stitch across the top and the long edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Now, before you get excited and flip the pillowcase right side out, let's do the bottom hem. Turn up and press 1/4".

Now turn up 3 1/2" and press. This will make the cuff, so to speak, of the pillowcase.

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Now stitch about 1/8" from the turned up edge. I moved the needle over because I have a fancy sewing machine, but you can eyeball it or mark it if your needle doesn't move. The goal is to make sure you close in that raw edge you turned under, so 1/4" is too much.

And that's it! Turn it right side out and your pillowcase is ready to enjoy!