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The Overlocker Diaries #3

The Overlocker Diaries #3

You say pyjamas, I say pyjumbos!

Thus far my overlocker journey has been stress free, and so I have taken the next step, which is to work with jersey fabric, and use the overlocker as the main stitcher, with the sewing machine for top stitching and some hemming (though I know that the overlocker can invisible hem with another foot).

The thing that drew me to the organic cotton interlock fabrics was the softness and wearability of the fabrics. I am not a ‘lounge pants’ person, but I can see that these cuddle soft fabrics will make wonderful pyjamas, and pyjama bottoms are some of the simplest clothing items to make. Fortunately, my daughter has hinted that her much loved pyjamas are reaching the point of no return, and I have had a good excuse to play with fun patterns. I ‘made in bulk’ on this occasion, and put together three pairs. I chose the Lounge Lizard Interlock (which I’d already had my eye on), to make up a soft casual top with loose sleeves, Army of Frogs, and the first to be stitched, Elephants on Parade. With the fabrics being cotton, prewashing in the washing machine was swift, and whilst I used a pattern, which one is immaterial since a pyjama bottom is essentially four pieces - two fronts and two backs.

Using the overlocker to seam as well as neaten edges is not difficult, but I think having played with the machine a little on edging only fabrics helped me. I could keep the fabric close enough to the needles and knife to avoid a ‘loopy’ edge and obtain a neat and sturdy seam. Something handy to note about interlock jerseys are that the edges don’t curl up like they do in singles jersey either, I find that interlocks are better behaved than the majority of others. Bonus!

 

The pyjamas were a great success and also very swift to complete. The fabric itself snuggles up to the skin and cocoons perfectly for nightwear. When I had finished the Army of Frogs, which is almost the inverse in colouring to the pea green Elephants On Parade, I decided to make a top in the Milk White Organic Cotton Tubular Interlock as well as a Leaf Green Rib one. (This had the added advantage of also matching the Lounge Lizard too).

With the tops, I cut the seam binding edges to pattern length but did not follow the amount of stretching they advised. The instructions for a neck or armhole binding are to stretch the binding when basting it to the neck or armhole, so that it does not gape and sag. Whilst the patterns have a recommendation I would go by your sewing instinct for this, keep the binding as stretched as feels right to the hand and looks good to the eye. It will pucker the whole thing a little with your basting, especially if you have long stitches, so I recommend being generous and taking a little more time, using shorter stitches for a more polished eventual look. Then you have an accurate guide to how the finished edge will look. Also remember that using a steam iron on the finished seam will ‘close it’ a little too!

The pattern had top stitching, but on this occasion, I hand sewed the inner hem of the binding, because that guaranteed no extra stretch and actually looked far better on the pale cream fabric.

Elephants On Parade pyjama bottoms + Milk White vest Army of Frogs pyjama bottoms & Leaf Green Rib  matching vest

 

So with really very little effort I have made three pairs of bottoms, two tops, and yes, a little jacket for a cuddly moose. Melmotte Moose did look as if he would love a new PJ top and there were scraps about so . . .

This project has given me confidence to go on to bigger projects using interlock jerseys, and also encouraged me to make more things in this type of fabric for myself. The fabric quality and softness was such I cannot resist.

As a side note, don’t think that the organic cotton interlock jerseys are only suitable for pyjama styles, there is a good range of colours and designs available, the handle is beautiful and the eventual look can be as smart or 'loungey' as you like. Adding to that, the thickness of the interlock jerseys is so much so that it suits long sleeve T-shirts as well and will still keep you cosy warm more so than if you were use a lightweight single jersey.

And there, at least for now, my overlocker diaries draw to a close. Next up: wool throws - THE perfect Christmas presents and cosy bits for round the home!!

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