Tag Archives: PJs

Simply Renfrews, PJs and Vintage Blinds

So I have to admit to feeling subject to implosion.  I seem to have started many things, indeed there are 5 UFOs gracing my sewing room upstairs (& only 1 dummy, so you can imagine my sense of order, tidiness & control is under threat).   Out of the things I showed as W.I.P in my last post, I can record that just the bamboo knit Renfrew is completed, and as it is a present I have not taken any pictures.  The lucky lady who will be receiving it has no idea what a Renfrew is, unless she continues to read the rest of this post….but I sincerely doubt she is dipping in at the moment.  Mum – don’t read any more, OK?!  I know I should be organising Christmas makes, but am finding it hard to start (apart from the aforementioned).  I am experiencing a weird case of prevarication, opting to start many projects for myself, & then not quite finishing them out of guilt.  Or that’s my analysis, any way!

I have been also “taken up” mentally & creatively with work & ensuring that my commitment to getting better at running & all that entails stays on track.  It’s maybe meant I’ve found it harder to visit & comment, but I’ll get back up to steam soon, promise.  Let me tell you, it’s the most serious I have ever been – running-wise, I’d better get a personal best next March or there’ll be trouble!  Anyway, thank you to everyone who wished me well in my race – it was so kind & unexpected, one of those almost throw away comments & I hadn’t been fishing for wishes.  BUT, even if you don’t give two hoots, the 10k trail race was ace – my perfect race – a beautiful autumnal day, running across fields, through woods with fallen leaves underfoot accompanied by one of my running buddies.  What a way to spend a Sunday morning.  Unfortunately there are no newsworthy pictures as it was just my shoes that became mud-carriers.  I seemed to escape unscathed.  Oh well, there is always next time (this is one of a series of 4).

So, onto a few pics, taken in this dire indoor artificial evening light.  I have not been around to take pics in daylight, & I’ve noticed others out there have said the same thing.  Never mind, these are indoor cosy shots showing off some indoor cosy things – as the title suggests, a Renfrew for me, some new flannel PJs and those vintage blinds.

Now the Renfrew surely is the star of the show as it is made out of, wait for it, some genuine New Zealand Merino all the way from Wellington, New Zealand.  It was sent totally unannounced by the awesome Mrs C aka The Hectic Eclectic who has now moved blog addresses to sentfrommyiron.blogspot.co.uk, somebody who I am sure you are familiar with, one who offers some great sewing advice when I’ve struggled based on her own extensive experience.  She has what seems to be a dream job, having taken over the ownership of a craft shop, Made on Marion .  Of course, I am sure it is not as glamorous as the idea, but this had been one of my dreams for years….& here she is living my dream, running classes, helping others to unleash their creative tiger (or insert your similar beautiful & powerful animal of choice if you have a problem with tiger).  Anyway, I was bowled over by her kindness & generosity, struck speechless if you can believe it possible- she’d picked a colour to coordinate with my sewing plans, can you believe it?!? & had my address from a giveaway I’d been so lucky to win (that vintage dress pattern is also itching to be made up still ).  She gave me some great advice for pre-treating it: wash several times in the machine (I did it at 40 degrees even though I usually use a 30 wash) & tumble dry it (gasp, tumble dry this precious fabric I thought?) Why yes, this gives it as much of a beating as it needs to behave for ever after, apparently.  So I did, & it was all there waiting for me to draw up courage to cut into it.  So it was through making the bamboo knit Renfrew that made me leap into action & attack my my Merino.   Even though it seems “more knitted”, it still behaves as jersey & doesn’t unravel (why should it?! Derr brain!!).  It’s beautifuly soft & I understand its thermal properties are second to none – perfect – I can make it in anticipation so that it is ready for our next cold snap.  It needed to be snuggly so the cowl neck version it was, however I couldn’t quite get a whole cowl out of the fabric, so went with as big as I could get (I perhaps had to miss about 6″ off the depth?)

I sewed it exactly as I would any other knit fabric on my overlocker, using tape in the shoulder seams & also mobilising my twin needle to secure the neck’s seam allowance (but none of the others).  No problemo.  I have a cosy sweater-type Renfrew.  I’m wearing it as I type (with the PJs in the pics too) – what fantastic evening slouchy wear which I know will double up as a useful warm & stylish sweater for work &/or play.  Mrs C, you are a star, I want to give you such a big hug for making this possible for me.  I have been reading about how you facilitate others’ fantabulous creations.  I think you & the lovely lady herself, Miss Joie De Vivre deserve some plaudits here for AWESOME dress creation of the year - blogged at CharmofMagpies.  Catch a look at this people & say you’ve seen one like this before:


You need to check out the rest of the post to see it in full dancing action & paired with the most co-ordinating partner (full flame theme going on) ever & to discover Mrs C’s enabling role ….

I’ve gone & exhausted myself with the excitement.  How can a pair of PJs compete with a dancing dress of flames?  Well, there are two things, no make that three things, that I can say about them.   Let’s keep it to the point:

  • They truly took an hour to make from cutting out to finishing them.
  • They are super cute & cosy as the brushed cotton/ flannel still has its cotton-wool like pile still
  • Check out this button so that identification of front & back is swift.

What you mean you can’t see it?

OK here it is- it’s actually two buttons, one on top of the other….

And the vintage fabric blinds?  Gary reckons that his Mum may have had curtains out of similar material.  It’s the kind that is a sort of brocade with lots of shine- very tactile.  The reverse of the fabric shows the reverse weave of its pattern.  I allowed what amounted to a long afternoon to sew these.  They then hung over the bannister waiting to be hung.

I’d snaffled some black out lining from a carboot sale, & as the curtains were from Ebay, they came out pretty cheap.  I have two windows side by side in my bedroom.  You’d think they were the same size wouldn’t you?  Well, big confession here, they are not.  One of my blinds is too big, too wide for the window.  However I made two the same size based on window #1.  But compared with the poor excuse of the blind that was barely hanging there before, from a thread, constantly closed for fear of the whole track coming down, it’s liveable.  Do you honestly think that with 5 UFOs I can be bothered to “go in” & alter my blind?  Looking on the bright side it does what I need it to extremely well – no gaps when closed for daylight to peep through.  And they look well enough.  Are you shocked?  Possibly not if you know my aversion to sewing for home furnishing ….

That’s me done.  Are you as ready for a snuggle up with a hot drink as I am?  Time to be off & catch you later xx

Pyjama Party

Hi Karen,

How are you feeling?  Did you get any sleep last night? ……………………..Ha, funny!.  I love your PJs by the way & your split jumps are really impressive!  I think I’d have fallen off the bed.  ………………………………..Yeah, I know.  Meryl is kind of cool isn’t she.  I wish I could pull off dungarees like that, but I just channel Bananarama ……………..

Well, you know, *stuff*………..  Of course we did!  ………………..Well it’s kind of glam I suppose.  Sherry went a bit crazy on the blusher………..Yeah, Chardonnay, as usual, you know what she’s like!

No, there isn’t any glitter – oh, except I’ve found some glittery blue nail varnish.

……………..Oh no!  Far too cold !  Tights and boots but I just got in the mood.  Gotta go …. they’re calling for me.  Bridget Jones is just about to start…..wish you were here with us!  See you soon xx

So what do you want to know?  (Apart from what we talked about ALL night?)

I did find the old duvet cover, it is from Ikea & any dreams this piece of reclaimed fabric had of being paraded as a beautiful dress have declined.  What started for the bed, has gone full circle back to bed.

If you remember I used the Sweet Nothings bloomer pattern, really easy to sew, with one piece per leg- not side seams, just inner seams – very quick to sew.  I used the rolled hem on my overlocker to finish the flounce edges (something that is always incredibly satisfying!).  And for the top I found a camisole pattern & managed yet again to introduce rick rack!  Yeah! zigga zigga ah!  The top was designed to be lined, but for bed I thought that it would be too hot to have lots of layers, so I used bias binding rather than make facings up.  And the buttons?  They are also reclaimed from the duvet cover.  What a great cheap make :-)  And how nice not to be wearing an old half marathon t-shirt with PJ trousers.

Great sewalong Karen!  Thank you for hosting it.  And for once I have hit the timescales!!!

And I’m still reading “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall – it’s not a big book, but I’m just not getting much reading done. It’s great – all about ultra running, but not in a scary way, written in a very engaging & at times quite exciting way!!

Can’t wait to catch up with the rest of you – later though.  The sewing machine is shouting for me.