Tag Archive | piping

Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 2

DSCN2088When I started this jacket, I decided to go ahead add the optional cuffs to the sleeves.

The cuffs looked so cute on the jacket on the pattern envelope, that I wanted this jacket to have the cuffs. But when it came time to sew the cuffs on, they were not turning out very well. They were just too bulky. The cuffs are made from two pieces of fleece. The first piece is sewn to the sleeve, then the next piece is sewn to the first piece and then folded over to make the cuff. I cut out the cuffs, sewed the cuffs to the sleeves and then removed the cuffs. In my opinion, this was a bad design for a fleece cuff due to so many seams in the cuffs and the bulkiness these seams caused. There are four layers of fleece in the top seam of the cuff, and that is just too many layers of fleece.

DSCN2084If I wanted to keep the cuffs, I had to come with a solution, so I gave it some thought and came up with some ideas.

First, the sleeves could be cut longer to make the cuffs. This would eliminating the bulky seams, but I had not cut my sleeves longer so this solution was out for this particular jacket. Another solution would be to use a thin lining fabric as part of the DSCN2086cuff, but I did not have it in me to dig through the stash to find a matching fabric. My third solution was to skip the cuffs, and make more bias tape. I would finish the edges of the sleeves with yellow bias tape to match the pockets. (My first thought was to use the bias tape to finish the edge of the cuffs, but eliminating only one of the layers in the bulky cuff was not enough.) So, I choose this as my plan. This jacket would not have cuffs, and I would finish the sleeves edges with the yellow bias tape.

Thinking back, I could have had cuffs on this jacket by combining the solutions. I could have used a lining fabric and the bias tape to make the cuffs and eliminate the bulk. Hmmm. Maybe I will try that on the next jacket.

DSCN3414By using the bias tape on the sleeves, I did not have to worry about a hem or the fact I had not cut the sleeves longer to accommodate a hem. I applied the bias tape to the edges of the sleeves, trimmed the seams and turned the bias tape to finish the seams. I noticed that the thin bias tape looked weak at the bottom of the heavy sleeves. The way I got rid of this weak look was to not trim the seam inside the bias tape so much, which was different from any other time I have applied bias tape. Previously, when I applied bias tape, I wanted the seam allowance trimmed out before folding the tape over. If the seam allowance was left inside the bias tape this time, the look was much fuller and it looked better.

DSCN3418It was now decision time. Which way did I want the jacket to cross, left over right or right over left? After a lot of thought and debating, I decided to cross the fronts as if it were a boy’s jacket, the left front on top of the right front. This will probably drive the little girl that wears this jacket nuts as she tries to button the jacket backwards, but the half froggy’s that I got from folding the jacket the other way just didn’t look good. Hopefully whoever wears this jacket won’t mind the backwards buttoning buttons if it is a girl.

I was dreading making the buttonholes on this jacket. I was not sure how my sewing machine would handle sewing buttonholes on fleece. Sometimes, even with thin non-stretch fabric, my sewing machine has a mind of its own when it comes to making buttonholes and sews whatever it wants to. To help combat this problem, I made horizontal buttonholes, and held my breath as the buttonholes were sewn, but my sewing machine did great and the buttonholes turned out just fine.

DSCN3413If I had known then, at the beginning of the sewing of this jacket, what I know now, nearing the end of the sewing of the jacket, I would have added piping to the peter pan collar to coordinate with the finished design of jacket. It would have been really cute to have had the bright yellow piping around the collar to match the piping on the pockets and the bias tape on the sleeve. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for the next jacket.

DSCN3416With the sewing on of the last button, the jacket was finally done!

The making of this jacket was a learning experience from the beginning to the end, from the cutting of the fleece, to the sewing of a back facing, to the piping curved pockets to the designing of the fleece cuffs. There were many lessons learned on this fleece jacket.

All in all, I think the jacket is very cute and I hope some little girl will be willing to wear it and will enjoy it!

Until next time, sew forth and fleece on!

Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 1

DSCN3413Over the years, I have accumulated a massive amount of polar fleece in the stash. At first, these fleeces were only purchased with blankets in mind, but over time, my ideas for fleece fabric has expanded. So, when I saw this pattern, McCalls M4981, especially designed to be made from fleece, I knew what I wanted to sew next.

IMG_0002 (2)M4961 is a pattern for a girl’s unlined fleece jacket with a peter pan collar, patch pockets and buttons closures. I was excited to get started, but I quickly learned that this project was not going to be an easy sew or a fast sew.

To start, I selected a piece of fleece from the stash. I chose this cute girl’s design of froggy’s, bees and rainbows on a brown background. I did not have to launder the fabric before I got started since their was no preshrinking needed with this fleece. I traced the pattern, size 6, and got started with the cutting process.

DSCN2575Cutting out this jacket was not an easy or quick task. The print on this fleece was so far off grain that it was almost impossible to cut the pieces so the froggy’s and rainbows were standing up straight. I pulled the fabric and repositioned the pattern pieces until I finally got the pieces cut out. When I finally finished the cutting process, I realized I had lined up the right and left front backwards from each other.

DSCN2572When I folded the right front over the left front for a girl, I got a nice froggy edge on the right side and half of a froggy edge on the left side, but if I folded the front as you would for a boy, left front on top of the right front, then I had a nice froggy front. So, should I have a poor looking front with half froggy’s and cross the jacket for a girl or have a nice looking front and cross the jacket for a boy? That was the question. This question did not have to be answered right away so I decided to move on.

DSCN3411I did add some thin interfacing to the facings and the collar. The husband thought I was crazy for adding more bulk to the fleece, but I explained to him that was why I was using such thin interfacing. I just wanted something to stabilize the fleece at those spots and keep it from stretching while sewing, particularly when it came time for buttons and buttonholes.

DSCN2074To start the sewing process, I did not read the pattern guide at all. Looking at the pattern pieces, the sewing of this jacket seemed pretty straight forward, So, I just got started. Who needs directions anyway? Am I right? I sewed and pressed the collar, serged the facings edges, folded them over and sewed the facings to the collar. Normally, my next step would be to sew a piece of twill tape to the collars inside edge to finish it and then tacked the facings to the shoulder seams. This pattern has a back facing as well though, and I stopped for a moment as I pondered how I was supposed to sew it on. I then turned to the pattern guide and read that sewing the back facing to the side facings should have been the first step before adding the collar.

Too late now!

DSCN3410I was certainly not unpicking all my sewing that I had done up to this point. My first instinct was to grab my twill tape and just throw away the back facing but then I came up with plan to attach the back facing. After some tedious sewing, I got the back facing sewn on, only to find out that I had sewn it on backwards. The wrong side of the fleece was facing out. Augh! There was no way I was unpicked the back facing just to flip it over. It would just remain backwards. Sometimes, just when you think you know it all, and you certainly know better than some pattern maker and you get ahead of yourself, you find out too late just how wrong you are…

DSCN2080When it came time to sew the pockets, I debated about how to get nice smooth curved pockets since the use of the iron was of limited use with the fleece. I had read about using piping to help curve the pockets so I decided to give it a try. I cut bias strips from yellow cotton scraps and made the piping for the pockets. When it came to sewing the piping to the pocket, I was having trouble starting the bias tape in the fold of the pocket because of the bulk of the fleece. I turned to some liquid stitch for help. I folded the yellow fabric over the top of the cording in the piping and glued it down with the liquid stitch. This gave me a finish at the top of my piping so I did not have to keep tucking it into the fold. I did the same thing at the other end of piping on the other side of the pocket.

DSCN3409I don’t know if I really like the look of the piping at the top of the pockets done this way but it is fine for this time. I think I need to read more on how to start and stop the piping on pockets. The piping did do its job and it helped to curve the edges of the pockets and hold the curve in place as I stitched the pockets on.

Plus, it looks really cute and makes the pockets stand out from the rest of the jacket.

There is a lot more to say about the sewing of this jacket but I’m going to stop here and give you a break from the long list of lessons I was learning on this project. Stay tuned for the finale of this backwards jacket next time!

Until then, sew forth and fleece on!

What About The Scraps? – Part Two

DSCN2060The second set of scraps that were sitting on the cutting table that were not large enough to return to the stash were the pink fleece from the jackets I had recently made. This piece of fabric has already served its purpose in making two jackets, the little girl’s peplum jacket and the adult pocket jacket, but there was still enough scraps left over to make something else.

DSCN2061My first thought with fleece is always a sweatshirt, so that is what I decided to make with these scraps. Loving the white accents on the pink fleece of the adult pocket jacket, I decided to make a raglan sleeve sweatshirt and add white piping and white ribbing as an accent. I traced the pattern for a size 4 raglan sleeve sweatshirt from my Kwik-Sew book and I was ready to get cutting and sewing.

DSCN0863As I cut out the pattern pieces, it became obvious that I did not quite have enough scraps for a size 4 sweatshirt. I was only short by 1 inch or so on the sleeve length. Debating about cutting the pattern down to a size 3, I decided to stay with the size 4 pattern and just make larger cuffs. Maybe like me, the little girl that will wear this sweatshirt will have shorter arms and the sleeves will fit great instead of always being too long.

DSCN0866I used the white scraps from the pockets of the adult jacket and a thin cording for the piping. Using my machine’s zipper foot, I made the piping and then applied it to the sweatshirt sleeves. The sewing of the piping was a little time consuming, since I had to be careful to sew close to the piping but not sew into the piping, but was not too difficult. It was easy to pick another Smirk design to embroider on the sweatshirt and soon enough the sweatshirt was completed. And, it looks great! It is very cute. Plus, I don’t think that the bigger cuffs/shorter sleeves will be a problem.

DSCN0915I was so excited about the end results of the pink fleece sweatshirt, especially the piping portion, my creative mind went nuts and my next sewing project was quickly started. Using the same pattern, the size 4 raglan sleeve sweatshirt, the white fleece, although not a scraps, were quickly cut out. Red ribbing for the neck and black ribbing for the cuffs were cut out next. I grabbed some black denim scraps from my scrap pile for the piping and some larger cording from the closet and got started sewing.

DSCN2058There were no difficulties sewing the piping until it came time to sew the sweatshirt together. Because of the heavier denim fabric and the larger piping, it became a challenge to sew the ribbing to the neck and to sew the side seams together. Once I got these seams sewn, I had to finish the edges. I tried to use the serger but it was just too bulky. I finally used an overcast stitch on my sewing machine to finish the edges. Since the white fleece won’t fray, I think that the overcast stitch that I used will withstand the wear and tear from a 4 year old without any issues.

DSCN2066A Snoopy embroidery design was, of course, the design of choice for this shirt, but which one? Since the sweatshirt was simple basic Snoopy colors, I picked a simple basic Snoopy design, and I love the end results. Despite the bulky piping, the Snoopy sweatshirt is just adorable, and I learned several lessons about making and sewing piping on that I didn’t know before.

DSCN2059With these two sweatshirts completed, the usable scraps had been taken care of and the cutting table is now clear and ready for the next sewing project. Thank goodness! Waste not, want not.

Until then, sew forth and scrap on!

A Comedy of Errors

Oh yes, a grand comedy of errors that in the end left me not feeling very humorous.

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IMG_0002As I mentioned before in a previous blog post, I wanted to make my Simplicity 2771pajamas with piping pattern, one more time to help me retain what I had learned from the first pair of pajamas I made from it and also to try some variations on the pattern. Also, I wanted this version to have shorts instead of long pants and short sleeves instead of long sleeves as my previous project had, and since adding piping to Simplicity 3897 didn’t accomplish this, I decided to start by altering the original pieces of Simplicity 2771 to get what I wanted.

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I started this project off by selecting the fabric. Since this was going to be another trial of this pattern, I picked a piece of brushed tricot that was actually in my donation box and on its way to be donated. After a trip through the washer and dryer, I laid that fabric and pattern out to be cut. While trying to decided where to cut the pants off at to make shorts, the thought struck me that I have some really nice kid’s shorts patterns. So why was I fussing about with trying to modify a pattern? Instead I grabbed my Kwik-Sew kids book, traced and cut out the pattern for a pair of size 4 shorts. At this point in the project is where the errors started to occur.

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Error #1

P1030353I decided to try my luck again and I made my piping from a piece of fabric not cut on the bias. It worked ok the last time I did it, but I know one of these times it is not going to. The piece of green cotton I wanted to use to make the piping was just 1/8 of a yard so it wasn’t really big enough to be cut on the bias for the piping even if I had wanted to. But not cutting on the bias was not my error. The error came when I finished stitching the green cotton around the cording and then realized that I had only made the piece of piping long enough for one side of the shirt. I then cut more of the green cotton to make more piping for the shirt, but I really hated to just throw away the first piece of piping. I then had the brilliant idea to add the piping to the side seams of the shorts instead. Since I was using my Kwik-Sew pattern which has a side seam instead of the pattern from Simplicity 2771 that does not have a side seam, it would be easy to add the piping to the shorts. Or at least that was what I thought.

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Error #2

P1030343Because the side seams are straight, the piping sewed in easily, but unlike on the shirt, there is no facing to hide the inside edge of the piping. Without piping, I would have just serged the side seams to finish off the seams, so I decided that should work ok with the piping. As I worked to feed the piping through the serger, I did not notice that the bottom of the shorts had folded over until I saw the serger cutting off the fold. By this time I had cut a nice hole in the back of the leg right beside the side seam. This hole is labeled error #2 for this project. I unpicked the serging, ironed some iron on tape to patch up the hole and then darned it. It is on the back of the leg and does not look too bad, and since this is just a trial run of the pattern I decided to continue on with the shorts.

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Error #3

P1030346Tired and a little flustered from the the whole “hole” experience, I was done sewing for awhile and I reached up to close my blinds. Instead of watching what I was doing, I gave the cords of the blind a tug and tangled the cords of the blind up with my serger thread. I tried to untangle them but they were knotted together tight. I got the blind’s cords untangled enough to finish closing the blinds but the serger thread was now a total mess and I was in no mood to rethread my serger, so I said to myself that that would be the first project that I would tackle the next day. As you can guess, when I returned to my serger the next day, I forgot about the knotted thread problem, and focusing on serging the side seam and feeding the piping through the serger. As I serged the side seams together I got a total mess. Since this was the second time I had serged this same seam, I decided just to let the messed up serged seam be broken on this part of shorts.

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Error #4

P1030351I finished the elastic and the hems with no problems until I noticed the way the piping was laid. As I always do, I stitched the side seams at the waist and the hem so they lay towards the back of the shorts. This is how it is supposed to be without the piping but doing this with the piping caused the piping to lay forward. This makes the shorts look backwards. But I really did not have it in me to unpick the hems and the waist to fix this problem. So, I did not and I left it as it was as well.

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I have at this point finally declared the shorts finished and I am now ready to move on to the shirt. But. even with all their errors, I feel that these shorts are certainly wearable. They are certainly not my best sewing job but they are good enough for a trial run, and as always, I have learned from my mistakes. Hopefully, I will not have the same types of errors with the construction of the shirt.

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It just goes to show you that no matter how smug you get and how great of a seamstress you think you are, you still have a lot to learn. Just like all of the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee series that recently aired on the BBC, you can always be humbled by the seemingly simplest of things that you thought you knew backwards and forwards.

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And that is why my motto is SEW FORTH AND SEW ON!

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Until next time! Happy stitchings to you and yours!

PJ’s, jamas, jammies, jams, puh-jah-muhz

IMG_0001I wanted to make my Simplicity 2771 pattern, the pajamas with piping, one more time so that I didn’t forget all I had learned about sewing piping, but I wanted to change it up a little this time around. I wanted the second version to be made with short sleeves and shorts for the summer. I had just thought about cutting the sleeves and legs of the pants off on the pattern 2771 to accomplish this, that is until I saw my Simplicity 3987 pattern hiding in the closet. I decided I could just add piping to the edges of the shirt from the 3987 pattern thus practicing adding piping and I would be trying out a new pattern as well. I purchased Simplicity 3987 on the same sale as Simplicity 2771 but I had not made something from it yet. So, this was a good plan.

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This project started with laundering the flannel, because I know how flannel LOVES to shrink, then I traced and cut out view B in a size 3 from the flannel. The flannel I used was just small scrap pieces so it was nice to use them up. It was at this point that I realized that piping was not going to work on this particular shirt top. Half of the piping would be hid under the buttons. Crap, why didn’t I think of that in the first place? Oh well. I was already too far in the process to abandon this project so I just continued on with it. At least I would still be trying out a new pattern that I hand’t made before and wanted to try out.

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P1030274I started sewing by following the pattern guide and sewed the pocket on the front of the shirt, but that is as far as I followed the guide. The pattern guide called for the side seams and the sleeve seams to be sewn next and then the sleeve inserted into the shirt. I decided to sew the sleeve to the shirt and then sew the side seam and the sleeve seam as one seam instead. I don’t know which way is the proper way to sew the sleeve to the shirt, but I don’t see that it really made a difference in the wearing of the shirt once it was done. The pattern guide also called for easing stitches in the sleeve cap. I decided to use my 10 fingers and about 50 pins (well, maybe a few less) to ease the sleeve onto the shirt. Although I was able to get the sleeve eased on to the shirt without any puckers or tucks, it might have been easier to use the easing stitches instead. Most shirts I have sewn have a dropped sleeve, so the sleeve cap is not as tall, but not with this shirt. The sleeve looks to sit right at the end of the shoulder. This was actual good practice for me to insert a sleeve fitted at the shoulder and may be why the guide wanted you to sew the side and sleeve seams first and use the easing stitches to set the sleeve in. I will give it a try the way it recommends the next time I make this pattern.

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P1030283The next learning experience with these pajamas came with the button holes. The pattern guide called for the button holes to be horizontal. I usually sew buttonholes vertically. On a shirt for me, vertical button holes keep me from having that gaping hole at the bust line that happens with horizontal button holes when you stretch in the shirt. I figured for a 3 year old’s pajamas it really would not make a difference and went ahead and followed the pattern guide. I shouldn’t have. I started at the bottom of the shirt and I didn’t think that where I started would make a difference, but it did. The bottom two buttonholes came out great. Then the trouble started. Because of the P1030286pocket, my automatic buttonholer had all kinds of issues. Because the surface was not even, it would not work over the thickness of the top of the pocket, so I turned the shirt around and did a lot of measuring but even with that the buttonholer hit the pocket at the top of the buttonhole and left me with misplaced half sewn buttonholes. If I had been making a girl’s shirt or made the buttonholes vertical or sewed the pocket on after making the buttonholes, none of this would have been an issue, instead I got uneven and poorly stitched buttonholes. I am not happy with the buttonholes on this project, but they are good enough and I doubt that the buttonholes with keep a little boy from wearing these pajama.

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P1030287The shorts bottoms were super simple. They don’t even have a side seam. One thing I did not like on this pattern was the fact that neither the shorts hem or the sleeve hem had the small extended edge to help with the turning of the hem. Both of them are just cut straight. Due to this, a small hem was all I was willing to do on both the shorts and sleeves. Now, for me that’s not a bad thing. I like smaller hems on the items I sew. The problem that arises is that because I am sewing empirically, I may need to shorten or lengthen the shorts and the sleeves and not having a healthy hem width decreases how much I can alter them. I added a small piece of flannel to the back seam to indicate the back from the front of the shorts since they are so basic in design.

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So, my final say on this pattern, Simplicity 3987, view B, is that although the final pajamas turned out fine and are very cute, this will not be my go to pajamas pattern for kids. My reason for this is the difficulty in putting the sleeves in and the missing hem edges. Because of these problems, I will go back to my Kwik-Sew book if I need to make more pajamas for kids. I will not part with the pattern just yet because of the night gown pattern in it and if I decided  I do want to try the set in sleeves again, I can. I may someday want to make this pattern again. We will see.

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Goodnight Blues Clues! (Part 2)

Let’s see. Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah… Simplicity 2771, Blues Clues pajamas with piping.

IMG_0002Another reason I say this pattern is not good for a beginner is that it is also tricky to stitch the back facing on with the curves. According to the pattern guide, you sew the back facing to the front facing, flip it over to the back, then fold over the raw edge, and finally you stitch in the ditch along the piping while making sure to catch the facing in the back too. Sure it sounds easy enough, but not without a lot of pins holding things together and folding and ironing, and sweat and tears. On the straight parts of the facing, it was easy to stitch in the ditch on the front and catch the facing in the back right through the folded raw edge, but on the curves it was too easy to stitch too far into the facing and not along the edge, missing the folded raw edge so that when you were done sewing, the raw edge just folded back out. Because of this when you come to the curve, you must fold more in to make sure and catch the raw P1030206edge, but then you end up missing the facing altogether. So then you try to fold it back out a little more and then you miss catching the raw edge again, or, like I finally ended up with, and you barely caught the raw edge here and barely caught the facing there. ARGH! I don’t know if it is just a matter of practice to stitch the facings on more easily, or if I need to come up with a better way of stitching them on. I stitched and unpicked and restitched and unpicked and restitched until I was tired of the process so I called the wavy mess I had on the inside of the shirt good enough for this try and moved on. (I hate to see a beginner try a project like this, get discouraged and quit sewing altogether due to the frustration of it. I certainly don’t claim to be the world’s best seamstress as shown by the wavy seam on that facing, but I have had successes in the past and so I have built up some patience with my sewing as time has went on. )

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P1030158Here is where I ran into a little snag because I did not follow the pattern guide when I started this project. In the guide, hemming the shirt is the step you are supposed to do before starting the piping, so the facings are shorter than the front of the shirt because IMG_0001you had already shortened the front of the shirt with the hem before you added the facings. But because I had sewed the piping and facings first, I had to unpick the ends so I could do the hem and get the facings length to match. Luckily this was less of a problem than it could have been because it was on the straight part of the facings and not the curved parts. It was just a minor annoyance, and I had to take a much larger hem than I would have liked to since I like longer shirts. If I make this pattern again, and I probably will, I am going to cut the facings longer at the start so I can finish them differently. Because I had sewed this the way the pattern had called for on the hem and the finishing of the facings, it will be difficult to shorten or lengthen the shirt if I need to later. Plus the finishing of my flannel piping was a little bulky as I sewed through the 6 layers of fabric. If I had purchase some cotton piping, it would have been much less bulky to sew, but I still think it turned out ok and I learned a LOT.

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P1030159I had similar issues with the way that the pattern guide said to finish the piping and hem of the sleeves so I did it my way instead. I sewed the facing to the sleeve before I P1030162sewed the sleeve up. Then after sewing the sleeve, I folded the facing up and stitched in the ditch of the piping. Even though I was stitching in the ditch again around the sleeves, it is a straight line, so it was not that difficult to do. And by sewing it this way, if I need to shorten or lengthen the sleeve later, it will require less unpicking. It was a little tight stitching around the cuff, but I did it without any problems and I will say that practice make perfect. The second sleeve was much easier to stitch than the first one was.

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P1030192My third reason for saying that this pattern may not be the best choice for a beginner is the buttons. It took time and patience to get them placed down the center and looking in the right spot between P1030185the piping. There was no forgiveness on placement. They had to be centered or they looked funny. I won’t say I did a perfect job on the buttons but I tried.

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With the shirt finished, the pants were an easy sew to complete the pajamas. The pants have no pockets and no piping. I thought about putting some piping on the pants at the hem or down the side seams but decided not to. Four seams, some elastic at the waist and 2 hems and the pants were done!

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Like I said, I will probably make this pattern again and hopefully soon so that I don’t forget all I have learned, but for now on to more projects!

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