By: Brad Schultz
“Baby, it's cold outside,” and there is nothing better than getting cozy in comfy pajamas, wrapping up in a blanket, and bingeing the latest Netflix craze while candles flicker in the background. Talk about hygge! Well, nothing is better if your pjs are covered in cute little birds (or other adorable prints), that is! These prints by Marketa Stengl for Fabric Merchants turn up the personality volume, creating the perfect mix of coziness and fun!
- Fabric Merchants T-Knit Ribbing Navy
- Fabric Merchants Marketa Stengl Double Brushed Stretch Poly Jersey Knit Flying Small Blue Bird White/Blue
Marketa Stengl brings a colorful, almost childlike whimsy to her prints, which could not be better for pajamas. Fish, birds, dogs, fruit, paper cranes, oh my! These prints will steal your heart and awaken a bit of your inner child. This was the first time I've used a double brushed stretch poly jersey knit, and let me tell you-it does not disappoint! This ultra soft jersey fabric is brushed on both sides and feels heavenly against the skin.
I chose to use the Flying Small Blue Bird, and its whimsical nature reminded me of a classic-the footed pajamas. I wanted the same vibe, but didn't want an actual footed pajama jumpsuit (although, I was very tempted). Instead I used a jogger style pant (Hudson Pants from True Bias) and a matching paneled t-shirt (Tulia Tee from Sewing Patterns by Masin).
Small scale prints can sometimes be overwhelming when worn full body. To solve this, I used a solid contrast to highlight the pattern’s details, and give a visual focal point. I used the contrasting rib for the cuffs, pocket edges, and waistband on the joggers, and the neck band on the t-shirt. I also wanted a white center front panel on the shirt, but found it hard to find a perfect match for the white in the print. If you encounter the same problem, try using the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric like I did! Not only was it the perfect shade of white, but the print also subtly peeks through, tying it all together while still giving a paneled effect.
Working with Stretchy Fabric
The rib knit definitely has a large amount of stretch-more than what the fashion fabric had. I kept this in mind as I was working and found the only place I needed to handle it differently was the pocket opening. I wanted the pocket opening to keep its shape and hold tight to the body so I shortened the pocket ribbing by 1⁄4-1⁄2”. Once pressed, it laid snug against the body-the beauty of working with knits. This will be different for each fabric you use, and the amount of stretch each has.
Fusible, or sticky, hem tape is also very helpful when hemming knits. It allows you to precisely ‘set’ the hem in place before taking it to the sewing machine. It also adds a bit of stability and keeps the hem from stretching out of shape as its sewn.
I have not been shy about my love for Steam-A-Seam and its many uses in the sewing room. But, I’m not going to lie, our relationship may be fading because I have a new romance with Wonder Tape! Both tapes are great and can make hemming knits a breeze. But, Wonder Tape has an added bonus-it also washes away after its first trip in the washing machine, leaving a perfect hem!
Can't get your Wonder Tape to stay in place? I had the same struggle at first, but here’s a tip which changed that. Iron your tape on just as you would with SAS.
- Position your tape
- Iron it in place with the paper backing still on.
- While the paper backing is still on fold up your hem the desired amount and press a crease.
- Remove the backing and fold the hem over the correct amount, using the crease as a guide. The tape will be tacky and will hold the hem in place.
- Now to set the tape and hem in place, iron it all together again.
- Sew the hem as normal.
Use a Double Needle
To hem my knits I use a double needle. A double needle gives a professional looking double stitching, and forms a zigzag on the underside, giving plenty of stretch to the hem. Remember the stability from the hem tape I mentioned earlier? It will give enough stability to hold the hem in place and keep the double needle from tunneling the fabric. But keep in mind, that some tunneling may be expected when using a double needle.
One last quick tip! Having a hard time finding professional looking drawstrings that are soft enough to hang without creating bulk when tied? Try using shoelaces! Shoelaces are easy to find online, come in a variety of colors and lengths, and look professional.
Now, go get your cozy on!