Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite

Now my hatbox wallhanging is complete and in situ, I realised that my sewing mojo has returned – woohoo! – and so I thought I’d start with a pair of pyjamas and why not?

This is the pattern I used and this is a vintage sheet I unearthed from my ‘vintage sheet stash’  – hasn’t everybody got one of those?  I wanted to make a pair of these (the shorts version) for both myself and for Mlle Tialys the Younger but we are different sizes so I thought I’d trace off the size I thought she’d be and make a muslin we could both try  on and then go from there.  I’m trying to be good about tracing off patterns – especially those I might use more than once and for different people.

This is an easy make but it re-acquainted me with basic collars, cuffs, elastic casing, buttonholes and top stitching after the knitting and crochet fests that have been my crafting activities of choice lately – the wall hanging doesn’t count as I really only had the assembly to do.

I wasn’t going to do the contrast bits but I decided to go with it in the end and used some fabric sent to me by my Susanna over at Pins, Needles and Threads who was my sewing Stitching Santa for Christmas 2015 (was it really that long ago?).  I think it makes a difference.

The shorts have an elasticated back and then you make ties from the fabric which are joined to the elastic at the sides and emerge through buttonholes on the front so very adjustable and handy if you decide you want to make room for a midnight feast.   I had lots of fun turning a narrow tube of fabric the right way out again – I might use ribbon next time!

I did all the seams on my overlocker which is very underused at the moment and, considering I paid a small fortune for it, deserves to be used much more and for more varied tasks than it is now.  I need to get online and do some ‘different ways of using your hideously expensive overlocker that you are currently only using to do stuff you could do on a very basic one’ tutorials.  Anybody know of any good ones 🙂

Mlle Tialys wouldn’t pose in her P.J.s but I’m not so proud – at least the photo is relatively blurry and you can only just make out the unmade bed behind me 😮

This is a very wearable muslin for Mlle T and has shown me that, when I make mine, I need to go down one size for the top and two for the bottom (as I no longer have one 😦 )

It’s sometimes a nuisance that dress forms only have one leg but you get the idea.

You may remember that I bought some rather striking Liberty tana lawn with which to make my p.j.s.

This was the seller’s photo I showed you before and the pears looked enormous.

However, when it eventually arrived in France in Mr. T’s cabin bag, they were a much more discreet size as I have tried to show by artfully placing a spool of cotton on top.

So I’ll get on with them while the mood is upon me but I might have another rummage through my vintage sheets too – I need the space.

Have you ever used vintage sheets to make anything wearable?


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  1. #1 by Jo on February 5, 2018 - 14:28

    Fabulous. I like the contrasting fabric and I think they’ll look fab made up in the pear fabric.

    • #2 by tialys on February 5, 2018 - 15:07

      Thank you. I love the pear fabric – it’s a bit different isn’t it? – and a bargain too so a win win situation 🙂

  2. #3 by katechiconi on February 5, 2018 - 15:12

    Very, very pretty, and they look both comfy and covered up enough to walk around in without putting it all on display. I like the sheet fabric very much – I don’t have any patterned vintage sheets, but I have made nighties and hankies from old white cotton sheets. You’ve made me remember that I have an overlocker on long term loan but I never, ever use it. Bad me… I must do something about that!

    • #4 by tialys on February 5, 2018 - 15:37

      Those sheets are very easy to find here – I don’t know why. Some are less faded than others but there are some nice examples to be found for a few euros. The P.J.s do seem comfy (even more so, I imagine, when I make them in my size) and, as I’ve said before, the ready to wear ones I always find are cut in a ‘below the waist’ style which is all very well but, when you’re asleep, they forget they are supposed to be below the waist, ride up and are the opposite of comfortable 😮
      If I find a suitable tutorial for making the most of your overlocker I’ll share it with you. Actually, the company itself provides lots of online help and ideas it’s just that I’ve been too preoccupied/lazy to look.

      • #5 by katechiconi on February 5, 2018 - 16:56

        Yes, hauling down your PJ bottoms so they’re not trying to slice you in half is a bit of an occupational hazard. One more reason why a nightie is more comfy, in my book. To be honest, round here, nightwear of any kind tends to only go on when you get out of bed and need to be vaguely decent, otherwise you’d boil, even in the aircon. Winter’s another story, and flannel pjs are mandatory!

      • #6 by tialys on February 5, 2018 - 17:14

        Yes, we try not to scare the postman or unexpected visitors 😉

      • #7 by katechiconi on February 5, 2018 - 17:36

        Same here!

  3. #8 by nanacathy2 on February 5, 2018 - 15:37

    I would never have thought to use sheets to make pjs, and very nce they look indeed. I am very vaguely thinking of trying to make nightwear for myself at some point, like next year!

    • #9 by tialys on February 5, 2018 - 15:41

      Well these have gone all soft and comfy as they are vintage so seem ideal. My pear fabric is new but is tana lawn so should be soft, comfy and silky. I vaguely think of lots of things to make – some I do, some I don’t. I amassed lots of very pretty elastics a couple of years ago as I was ‘vaguely thinking’ of making knickers but then I decided that life is too short 😉

  4. #10 by claire93 on February 5, 2018 - 16:53

    that’s a lovely pair of shortie PJs Lynn!
    I’ve used bedsheets for PJs before too. When we cleared out MIL’s flat a few years ago, we found half a dozen brand new, unopened bedsheets so I used those. I did also make myself some PJs using one of our old quilt covers but that was a bit of a waste of time as fabric was so worn in places, Le Bleu has made holes since with his claws (you know how cats like to pad on all our soft bits when in bed?). The ones you made look very swish, with the contrasting fabric – are you going to have enough fabric to make a second set in florals or are you going to dive in and make pears for yourself?

    • #11 by tialys on February 5, 2018 - 17:14

      Thanks Claire. That one was a single sheet so, not enough for any more – I’m going to dive right in with the pears I think.

  5. #12 by craftycreeky on February 5, 2018 - 18:47

    Very pretty and a great use of a vintage sheet!

  6. #14 by anne54 on February 5, 2018 - 22:36

    You are certainly back in the s(e)wing of things! 😂(Well, I made myself laugh!) and with great results. How flattering to have to drop down a couple of sizes too. I would be needing to increase! I would love to know how you get on with your over-locker. Not because I have one, nor will ever get one, but I am sure I will enjoy your adventure.

    • #15 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 12:04

      I’m glad I gave you the opportunity to enjoy a little jest there 😉 I do use the overlocker quite a bit but mainly for seams and I know it’s capable of so much more – at least it should be judging by the price I paid for it. I’ll let you know if I get the time or inclination to branch out a bit more.

  7. #16 by brennacrocheter on February 6, 2018 - 00:03

    Love the pjs, so cute!

    • #17 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 12:05

      They look cuter on my daughter but she’s shy 😉

  8. #18 by sewchet on February 6, 2018 - 01:31

    Yes, old sheets are impossible to throw away as they’re sure to be useful when reinvented as a tee pee/dressing up costume/pyjamas! As you might have guessed, I also have a vintage sheet collection:) So these are just a muslin, eh? Pretty good, I’d say – they’ll look fab in the pear fabric.

    • #19 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 12:08

      I knew you would! I sort of started gathering them as I thought they’d be useful for quilt backings but not all are suitable as the thread count is often too high and then the quilting is difficult. Still, now I’ve discovered this use for them I will be having a good old rummage to see what else I have in that stash.

      • #20 by sewchet on February 6, 2018 - 14:28

        I think ALL of my quilts have a sheet as backing!

      • #21 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 19:14

        I can’t see a problem either and it’s perfect recycling or repurposing (which doesn’t sound like a real word). Just don’t tell the quilt police 😉

  9. #22 by KerryCan on February 6, 2018 - 14:26

    That’s a pretty fine-looking “muslin”! Someone will actually use those, won’t they? I like the idea of using old sheets–they are probably better quality than any today and would be all soft and lovely. Having said that, I look forward to seeing the pears when you’re done that project!

    • #23 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 19:21

      Thanks Kerry – yes, my daughter has them in her wardrobe now ready for the warmer weather. I sort of knew they would fit one of us but, as I have the pear fabric, I made the muslin more to her size so that I could try it on too and judge what size to make from the good Liberty stuff for me. Those sheets are already lovely and soft – not ‘crispy’ as newer ones would be – so they should be nice and comfortable to wear. I have some nice blue and white vintage sheets too which might work although, after the pears, I suppose I ought to have a change from p.j.s for a bit.

  10. #24 by Shirley on February 6, 2018 - 15:38

    The pyjamas look lovely, well done. On amazon uk you can get a turning tubes of fabric gadget, made by clover I think and comes with 3 different sizes. A very useful tool to have stashed away.

    • #25 by tialys on February 6, 2018 - 19:17

      Thank you Shirley – I usually use a blunt ended stick thingy which generally works O.K. but I do need to get one of those gadgets for these narrower tubes. I’ll add one to my next Amazon order – I’m sure it won’t be long :/

  11. #26 by Kim on February 6, 2018 - 22:01

    A very fine pair of pj’s. I don’t have a vintage sheet stash – please do encourage me to start one!.
    You can use your overlocker to make those ties fairly easily. Make a long thread tail to fold inside the tube (long enough to poke all the way through) and overclock the side closed. Pull on the tail and, providing you haven’t caught it in the stitching, it pulls the fabric through easily. Voila! Hope that helps for next time 😃

    • #27 by tialys on February 7, 2018 - 09:58

      It absolutely helps! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that – I was sort of wondering if I could do a similar thing on the sewing machine but then put that wonder aside and just spent a lot of time poking. I’m going to cross ‘ribbon’ off today’s shopping list and make a tie with the same fabric I’m going to use for the contrast cuffs, collar and pocket top which is a sort of pumpkinny orange – haven’t got any peary orange. Thanks Kim.

  12. #28 by magpiesue on February 9, 2018 - 22:55

    Wish I could find pretty floral sheets, but for my bed, not for clothing! Your pj’s are as cute as they can be; what a great way to repurpose the sheets. I’d probably make a loose fitting caftan before I made pj’s but I’m not a garment maker.

    • #29 by tialys on February 11, 2018 - 10:01

      I imagine the U.S. equivalent of a charity shop (thrift store?) would yield something similar Sue but I’m guessing they might not be an ideal environment for you.

  13. #30 by dezertsuz on February 10, 2018 - 23:44

    You are such a slender little thing! The pajamas made from a sheet look fabulous (I only wish I had a vintage sheet stash!), and I’d wear them, but with the long pants, probably. I like the pear fabric for the “real” pjs, though, and that was VERY artfully placed thread. =)

    • #31 by tialys on February 11, 2018 - 10:03

      My daughter actually asked me for the long pants but I wilfully ignored her. It’s not that I’m a bad mother but I wanted to make sure I got her size right before wasting too much fabric. The next pair (after mine) will be long.

  14. #32 by Beads and Barnacles on February 11, 2018 - 11:56

    Ooh these look great. I have been planning to make a pj’s set like that (from a burda magazine) but still haven’t got round to tracing it out…

    • #33 by tialys on February 12, 2018 - 11:10

      There aren’t many things I’m short of in my wardrobe and cupboards but pretty, comfy P.J.s are one thing I could do with more of so I think this pattern will be well used.

      • #34 by Beads and Barnacles on February 12, 2018 - 13:01

        Yeah the number of times I end up sleeping in an old oversized tshirt is worrying. I do have some decent pjs as when I worked on ship I could be woken up in the middle of the night to work and working with children I decided I needed good covering pjs that could cope with being ‘day wear’ if needed. But none of the shop bought ones are quite what I want/fit me properly.

      • #35 by tialys on February 12, 2018 - 14:02

        I find the shop bought shorts are usually too short – even though I’m only 5’2 – and they end up trying to slice me in half 😮

      • #36 by Beads and Barnacles on February 12, 2018 - 19:57

        lol yeah, I know that feeling.
        I always find the arms are too tight. 😦

  15. #37 by Dartmoor Yarns on February 11, 2018 - 18:51

    I think all our vintage sheets are in LH’s dust sheet collection and rather paint covered. Your vintage sheet is very pretty. Mine are nothing like it, but your pretty PJs are making me want to scour LH’s dust sheet collection for one with enough gaps between the paint.

    • #38 by tialys on February 12, 2018 - 11:13

      This sort of vintage floral sheet is very easy to find in France, I don’t know why. I have a whole box full so you might see some more transformed into nightwear before too long.

      • #39 by Dartmoor Yarns on February 12, 2018 - 11:37

        Lucky you. I don’t ever recall seeing sheets here as pretty as yours.

  16. #40 by jendavismiller on February 11, 2018 - 21:59

    I love those pears! Large, or not so large, they’ll make a grand set of pj’s. I’d have to make below knee length ones, but some cute jamms are on my to-sew list. Lucky daughter to have the super soft sheet jamms.

    • #41 by tialys on February 12, 2018 - 11:09

      I can recommend the pattern. Just got to sew the buttons on and the pears will be revealed.

  17. #42 by Donnalee on February 15, 2018 - 21:49

    I ove the pjs and I love the Liberty tana lawn, although can see that if tyou were expecting the scale of the print to be different that you might be in for a shock!

    • #43 by tialys on February 16, 2018 - 12:22

      It was a nice shock though because I prefer the smaller ones. Nearly ready to post photos of them as I finished them last weekend.

      • #44 by Donnalee on February 16, 2018 - 17:59

        Good. The original photo wasn’t very specific as to scale, seemingly. I am not a prints sort of person sometimes, but this one seems charming to me.

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