In past years and especially when our family was smaller, I really strove to keep our Christmases largely handmade. And while that sounds lovely, and it really was, it created so much work for me. That was fine when I enjoyed it, but as the years went by, my mile long 'to make' list just made me feel overwhelmed, pressured and stressed out.
So this year, I've whittled down my sewing to-make list to Christmas Eve pajamas. I hope I've found my sweet spot with this goal. Just enough sewing to nurture my creative center and give my kids something handmade this Christmas, while still leaving plenty of time for all of the other things we'd like to do this month.
I started with a nightgown for Iris. Dan and I sometimes joke that Iris looks like the Littlest Who in Whoville. So what could be more fitting for our Cindy Lou Who than a 1950's red and white striped nightgown?
The pattern, Butterick 8247, inaugurated me into the world of vintage sewing.
Opening the pattern was like discovering a time capsule. The original pattern owner had cut out the pattern pieces perfectly, which is saying a lot since I'll bet she used scissors and not a rotary cutter. (A little sewing trivia: The first rotary cutter was introduced in 1979.)
If two pattern pieces needed to be taped together, each was properly labeled, in perfect penmanship (cursive, naturally).
I even found a little girl's wrist measurement penciled in next to the instructions on cutting the elastic for the wrist casing.
I could tell based on the way the ruffle piece was cut out that the original owner cut the ruffle in the same way that I did. I cut it in one long strip rather than three, which had to later be sewn together. We both wanted to save a little time.
It was an awesome experience to use a pattern owned by someone who so lovingly poured over every detail and took such care to preserve the pattern over the years. I found myself wondering, if even daydreaming, about her story.
With one nightgown done, my Christmas to-make list is now 25% shorter. Which leaves me wondering if I might even have time to eke out a Christmas dress for Indigo. We are on our homeschool winter break, after all.
We'll see if that fits within my sewing sweet spot.