Notebook of a Beginner Sewist 2: A Flannel Quartet

Good morning. Six more days until Mother’s Day Sunday. I’m still pondering on what to get my mama as we’ll be going up to her house on Saturday for lunch while also celebrating my paternal grandmother’s 90-something birthday. I am to bring a salad, any kind is welcome. I also plan to bake my Yin Yin some cookies as she likes my sweets.

My sewing was still stuck in the land of flannel last weekend, but I’m proud I stuck to it to do it right. And oh boy were there a few more beginner mistakes! But before I get into all that, yesterday I made my husband set up the tripod so we could take this picture:

A close up of the materials…

Patterns

  1. McCALL’s M7299 (for the girls, size 10-12)
  2. Simplicity 8022 (for me, size S, and for the husband, size M)

Fabric

  • (Jellybean) Snuggle Flannel Fabric 42″ – Watercolor Cat Faces
  • (Coconut) Snuggle Flannel Fabric 42″ – Watercolor Feathers
  • (me) Snuggle Flannel Fabric 43″ – Tossed Llama Teal
  • (E) DC Comics Superman Flannel Fabric 42″ – Man of Steel

What I Learned

The proper iron setting for flannel is 4, the lowest steam setting, not 6 which is for cotton.

  • I had to ungunk my iron plate which is a pain.

When buying a pattern, double-check what sizes it contains.

  • I had originally bought the McCALL’s pattern back in December, thinking it was for the whole family because of its picture. Nope, it was just for kids.

Figure out body measurements and where they fall amongst the pattern numbers, but look at the finished garment measurements before choosing a size to cut out.

  • Remember how my first pair of pants came out super big?

Pay attention to the diagram layout of fabric before laying out the pattern pieces. Ask myself, am I using a directional print? This affects how the fabric should be laid out + how pieces should be placed and cut.

  • LOL, you can’t tell but the print of half of my husband’s Superman pants are upside down. I had folded the fabric where the selvages ran parallel to one another. With the Simplicity pattern it’s one pattern piece where you cut two of it out. So the top piece had the print going the right way while the bottom piece’s print ran the other way.
  • When I was making mine Saturday, the pattern has you put one leg right side out into the other leg that is inside out so I can sew the curved, crotch seams together. Well, the sides were way off from one another, not lining up. I then realized I didn’t cut a piece right. Soon enough, when I checked the instructions, I didn’t do it right when having the flannel at a single thickness. Doh!

Measure from the grainline to the edge of the fabric before pinning.

  • Very important as this affects how the fabric will sit and drape on your body. Good thing I had remembered last-minute this old lesson I had learned from my mum.

Shorten before cutting, but leave a hem allowance.

  • Jellybean’s pants were made first. When she tried them on, they were a bit shorter than I had intended to make them, LOL.

After shortening, use your quilting ruler:

  • See that double line? For a Simplicity pattern, how is a beginner supposed to know that’s where you can shorten or lengthen the pants? I only knew what to do b/c I did this step with the McCALL’s pattern (which labels it) for the youngest’s.
  • It made me feel unsure to cut blindly as you see shortening the pattern creates that gap. So I then thought to use my quilting ruler to draw a line with a water-soluable marker so the edge of the pattern before the lines meets up straight with the bottom of the leg area.

Do not cut out fabric with pinking shears.

  • I had done this with the cat flannel and when I was putting together pieces to sew, I felt everything was so uneven.
  • For the pairs of pants afterwards, I would pink the sewn seam allowances and then iron them flat out.

Hemming pants is tedious!

  • For the crew’s pants, I just winged it with folding. However, by mine I decided if I was going to make more of these, I better kick my lazy arse into gear and do it right. I had also figured other clothing projects would involve hemming as well.
  • Not wanting to buy a hemming tool as I needed one right then and there, I got a piece of scrap, card stock and drew lines with Sharpies and a quilting ruler. Let me tell you, this really made a difference and gave the waistband and pants cuffs a more polished look.

There is a certain way to wear these pants.

  • There is that bit of more material below the horizontal seam because of course you need more room in your pants for your backside. This is how you’ll know which side is the front of the pants.
  • So the husband and the kids could tell, I machine-sewed a line in contrasting thread inside the waistband on the center seam, so they’d be able to tell which side was the back.

To Recommend or Not Recommend

I would recommend the McCALL’s pattern for kids only because the finished dimensions of the pieces for adults are extremely large to me.

The Simplicity pattern is perfect for kids, teens, and adults. I can’t wait to make more. Flannel prints are so cute and fun to shop for at the craft store. I’ve been wearing mine and they are absolutely comfortable. My husband wore his most of Sunday and he told me he loves them. *fist pump*

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post. I wanted to be as detailed as I could because if there are other beginning sewists like me out there, I want to be helpful in any way I can, especially if she is about to embark upon making the same type of project.

Have a good Monday and thanks for poppin’ by. TTYS.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Look how happy everyone is!! You did a fantastic job!

    Like

    1. Stefanie says:

      Thank you, Karen. ^__^ It was a Mama mandate to brush one’s hair and to change into their pants for a family photo.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hena Tayeb says:

    Adorable and a great picture! I have no patience or skill.. I have been known to hem each pant leg at a different size. I don’t know how to use the machine so I usually do it by hand.. and I start out with nice small neat stitches.. and then they get wider as I get bored.. lol.

    Like

  3. Ohhhhhh, I love the family photo!!!!!!! Love it. You guys are super cute.

    And it is a tribute to your sewing skills. And perseverance too…

    Just wish it would enlarge, when clicked on. But it doesn’t. -pout-

    Cute!

    Like

  4. Your pajama bottoms look great! I need to get my sewing machine back out. I keep planning to make some project bags (for my knitting), and I have some fabric for tea cozies that I need to make as well.

    Like

  5. Yay new PJ bottoms for everyone! They look good.

    Like

  6. Oh my gosh they are adorable! Family pants pj photo! I see a Christmas photo coming!!!! You did so well!!

    Like

    1. Stefanie says:

      ^__^ Thank you, Kathy! It was a good start to sewing clothes for sure. I’m working on the teen’s Slytherin socks again; I told her I’ll have to make her some Slytherin pants when it’s time for the photo shoot in the future.

      Like

  7. MrsMcD918 says:

    That Simplicity pattern is my go to for pj pants! All but one pair of mine are made from that easy, simply pattern. I want to hack it to make cotton pj shorts for the summer. Great job making them for your family! I look forward to more in this blog series!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stefanie says:

      Thanks. Whenever I check out sewing pins on Pinterest, I look for helpful bits. I hardly see anyone analyze what she’s done. I guess its the teacher in me. If I make more for myself, I hope to maybe slim it down a bit but this was the best pattern out of the trio.

      Like

  8. Patty Magyar says:

    OMG! In spite of all of your issues..you all look so cute! I can’t wait to see your Christmas ones!

    Like

    1. Stefanie says:

      Thank you, Patty. Yes! You’ve reminded me I’ll need to make some Christmas ones that we can cozy up in when we have our annual Harry Potter marathon.

      Like

      1. Patty Magyar says:

        You will be a sewing pro by then. I love how your creative energy is everywhere! What’s next?

        Like

  9. Love your family photo with everyone wearing something stefanie-made. 🙂
    Hope you have a lovely mothers’ day weekend with your family and your elder generations too!

    Like

    1. Stefanie says:

      Thank you so much! Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll be posting again before the weekend. Maybe this next, quickie sewing project.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool. Sounds like you’re going to be busy.

        Like

  10. you have a beautiful family!! love your flannels and your sewing journey – you are my hero!!!

    Like

  11. Becki says:

    Look at all of you in your new jammies! What a great post. I’m glad you stuck with it and had this sewing success. And thank you for sharing what you learned, Stefanie.

    Like

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