If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a pair of pyjama shorts from an old shirt (and a pillowcase!) then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Sons and daughters…’
‘I’m sick of it,’ moaned Jaz. ‘I’m nearly 30 and they still want to know where I’m going, what I’m doing, when I’ll be back.’
‘To them you’re still their little girl,’ I said, ‘and while you’re under their roof it’s hard for your mum and dad to see you as an independent adult. You’ve probably just outgrown living at home.’
‘Trouble with parents? I know the feeling!’ said Gary as he whisked past us on his way out of the shop.
‘What’s Beryl done to Gary?’ Jaz asked.
‘He doesn’t seem to be happy that Beryl and Tommy are getting married. I can understand a child being apprehensive about his mum getting a new husband but Gary’s had his own life with Kim for years so I don’t know why he can’t just be delighted for her,’ I replied evenly, although inside I was seething at the way he was treating Beryl.
Kim flew over. ‘What did Gary say?’ she demanded.
‘Oh, he was just sympathising with me over trouble with my parents,’ said Jaz.
‘I swear I’m going to swing for him!’ cried Kim. She was fuming. ‘Beryl’s having a wobble because she knows she hasn’t got Gary’s blessing and it’s just not fair. He asked me what Tommy could give Beryl and I said love, companionship, security. But he just gave a derisory laugh and said Tommy didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Just look at her.’
We all turned to watch Beryl at work clearing a table of dirty cups and plates, completely devoid of her usual sparkle.
‘I’m going to sort this out,’ said Kim decisively. She whipped off her apron and stormed out, nearly knocking over a customer in the process. Steady on Kim, I thought – we’d been quiet in Tulips that morning so we needed all the customers we could get.
‘Hi Ruth,’ said Jaz to the young woman as she recovered her balance. ‘Ooh, love your Darcy Florals,’ she continued, looking down at her feet. The girl’s boots looked like a pair of fancy Doc Martens to me but what would I know? Her fishnet tights had more holes than originally designed and her mousey brown hair was held in place in what I’m tempted to say was a pony tail but there’s no way a pony could swish that bulk of matted dreadlocks. Anyway, Jaz was pleased to see her and I was pleased to see a potential customer.
‘Jenny, this is Ruth who I met on the anti-fracking march. Ruth, this is Jenny, co-owner of Teacups & Tulips, and my boss,’ said Jaz and we politely shook hands.
‘Fancy a coffee?’ she asked Jaz. And I had to concede it was yet another customer for Teacups at the back of the shop rather than someone wanting flowers from us here in Tulips.
‘Sorry, Ruth but I’m working,’ said Jaz.
‘It’s fine,’ I said, ‘you go. I can mange here. I’ll give you a shout if I need you.’ And off they went to get some less than sparkling service form Beryl. Poor Beryl.
Jaz had a long chat with Ruth and was beaming when she came back over. ‘You’ll never guess what, Jenny. Ruth shares a flat in a big house on Wesley Road and someone’s just moved out so there’s a spare place and she said I could have it!’
‘That’s a bit sudden isn’t it?’ I said, and then regretted sounding like her mother.
‘Sudden? I’m nearly 30! Actually, Jen, I was hoping you’d do me a favour. Mum and Dad are away at the moment. Would you help me move my stuff in next week?’
I was happy to help, even though I did think it was a bit impetuous. Sharing a flat on a busy main road was not my idea of fun but Jaz was excited and she’s more than 20 years younger than me so maybe it would have appealed to me at that age too.
Just then Kim came striding in with Gary a few paces behind. He was looking less than enthusiastic to be there but it didn’t stop Beryl smiling at the sight of him. ‘You take your break now, Beryl,’ said Kim, ‘Gary would like to have a word with you.’
Without privacy or sincerity, Gary proceeded to say to Beryl, ‘Look, Mum, if it’s what you want then I’m happy for you.’
Beryl was ecstatic. ‘Oh, thank you son, that means the world to me,’ she said and she squeezed his arm.
‘But don’t come running back to me when he lets you down,’ he continued. Kim scowled but Beryl seemed not to notice the unkind remark and she trotted back to work with her spirits lifted.
‘Happy now?’ asked Gary but Kim just stared at him in disbelief so, with nothing more to be said, he left and went back to his office.
‘I’ll see whether Beryl would like the day off tomorrow so she and Tommy can go and choose the ring.’ said Kim. It’s lovely to see that Beryl has Kim firmly on her side these days. ◊
How to Make a Pair of Pyjama Shorts
I was very happy to be getting back to my own sanctuary that evening. No scowling partner, no queuing with flatmates for the bathroom – just Blue and me (in my new pyjamas) curled up on the couch watching television.
I’d been given an old shirt ages ago but I’d already used most of the front for something else so I knew I’d need to improvise and add this old white pillowcase into the project as well. (Apologies for the shocking lighting in the photographs this week!)
The shirt was really well stitched together but it was worth carefully unpicking it to get the maximum fabric out of it. The sleeves were made from a surprisingly large amount of fabric.
I printed the pattern from this website. It’s from Jessica Abbott for eHow and the instructions for taping the pieces together were very clear. Because I wanted mine for pyjamas, and because I wanted to do French seams (shown here by Anna from Tea and a Sewing Machine), I used a bigger sized pattern than I would normally.
The next thing to do is cut the fabric pieces out. I had to join the shirt sleeves together for one of my back pieces. I could have joined several other sections of shirt together for the other back piece but I decided to make it simple (and quirky) so I used an old pillowcase instead, but teamed it up by using the shirt pocket and adding some other embellishments.
It’s important to attach the embellishments before you start sewing your pieces together. I used Bondaweb to stick my hand drawn flowers on, then did a small running stitch round each one to be sure it was secure. (You’re correct – I did need to unpin the pocket from the white piece in order to attach the flowers!) Then it was easy to follow the original stitching line on the pocket to sew it into place. The white piece with the pocket is the back right of the shorts and I added another flower on the front left piece.
The first seam to pin and sew is the front crotch seam (just the long straight bit and the short curve). This is a photograph of the seam stitched with the right sides together. If you’re not doing French seams then finish your edges off with zigzag or pinking shears.
Here’s what it looks like opened out.
Then do the same for the back crotch seam
Next it’s the two side seams.
Then the inner leg seam.
Hem the bottom of each leg.
And here’s what they look like at this point – first the front view, then the back.
Here’s an inside view of my French seams (with leg hem). I decided just to zigzag the top at the waist, although it would have been neater if I’d turned the raw edge in, as I did with the leg hems.
Now for the elastic (my first time!). The width of elastic I used was 2” (5cm). To work out how much length you need, measure your own waist and add about 10cm. Fold the piece of elastic in half (making it half the length) and stitch the two ends together about 5cm from the raw edges to make a loop of elastic that fits your waist.
Open out the raw edges and fold them under. Stitch a square or rectangle to hold it all in position, making sure you’re maintaining the loop.
Slip the loop over the shorts and line up the edge of the elastic with the top of the shorts, right sides together. I made sure the join of the elastic was at the back of the shorts.
Now carefully pin them together. Start with the middle back and middle front, making sure the elastic is even. Now pin the sides, again making sure the elastic is even. The fabric will be bunched up inside. I found it easier to also pin (evenly) in between the four pins.
Next it’s time to to stitch the two things together around the top of the shorts (normal seam allowance), stretching the elastic as you go to make it the same length as the fabric.
My first attempt at this went really well. But then I realised I’d made my loop of elastic far too big. Once I’d got that right it was harder to stretch the elastic to the full length of the fabric but I managed.
When you fold the elastic up so your seam is on the inside, the inside looks like this.
And the finished shorts are beautifully gathered. Here is the front and back view of the finished article.
All you need to do now is team them up with a vest and you have a pair of pyjamas to be proud of.
- Have a go! My clothes-sewing skills are non-existent but I managed these.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match your pieces according to the salvaged fabric you have available.
- Old shirt
- Old pillowcase
I’m so pleased with the way these turned out and I can honestly say they are very comfy to wear.
Look forward to seeing you again next week.
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