Luxurious lounging (and lots of gadgets!)

Hi there!

Today sees my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network (and the reason that I’ve been a little quiet on here of late – this one was time consuming!)  I’ve finally made the Carolyn pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns, and whilst they took some doing, I’m so pleased with myself for managing them; there’s no way I could have done this a year ago.

carolyn 4

Head on over there now for all the details on the make.

One of the reasons I could do these now where I would have struggled a year ago is I am now far better equipped with various gadgets and tools that just make life that much easier.  So I thought I’d extend this post into a bit more detail on what went into the make, just in case you’re wondering.

So the photo above includes most of the tools (excluding the obvious sewing machine, iron, ironing board and (very briefly) overlocker) I reached for repeatedly through this make; let’s pick on them one by one, shall we?


OK, this isn’t news to anyone, everyone needs pins, but one thing I’ve found is that, whilst there are times when you can get away with a lot less pins than you might think, equally there are others when pinning the life out of things is the best way to go.  I found that for me, piping and collars are two of those times. Also, magnetic pin cushions are awesome!

Duck billed scissors

A very new addition to my sewing box, but in certain circumstances, these are a life saver.  Turns out, they’re amazing when you’re doing french seams and don’t want to cut into more than one layer of fabric.

Zipper foot

Not just for zippers, this allowed me to get up close to the piping when attaching the cuffs and facings on this project.  Moving the needle position on my sewing machine also added to the neatness of my topstitching, keeping things nice and close together.

Clear view quilting foot

This clear plastic foot also comes with metal bits you fasten on to allow you to do “perfect” 1/4″ and 1/2″ topstitching.  This pattern calls for 1/8″ topstitching, so I simply lined up my seam with one of the red lines on the clear plastic foot and blithely sewed away.

Hand sewing needles and thimble

I really went to town on getting a good finish inside and out on these pyjamas and, in several areas, that involved basting rather than pinning before stitching on the machine.  Enter the humble needle and thimble.  This Prym thimble is by far the most comfortable and best fitting one I’ve ever found; most seem to fall off my fingers.  I also used my trusty beeswax to prevent thread tangles; can’t recommend it enough.

Prym bias maker

As I mention in the Minerva post, my maths was embarrasingly bad when working out how big of a square to make my continuous bias tape for the piping from (I mean, REALLY bad, I had miles of the flippin’ stuff).  But this meant that I was able to make the insides even more fancy by enclosing certain seams in matching bias binding.  Which saved me from doing french seams on the sleeves, which can only be a bonus.

Enter these magic gadgets; is there anything more satisfying than making your own bias tape with these things?  Simply insert your bias strip through the thick end, wiggle it through to the thin end and then iron away as you pull the gadget along.  Magic.

Seam ripper

Yep.  This is one of THOSE makes.  The ones where you feel to have sewn one seam several dozen times and it STILL isn’t quite right.  I will admit that there are a couple of places where the “good enough” approach eventually kicked in (collar/ front facing join, I’m looking at you. Again).  And so this little beauty got a lot of action.  And my carpets got covered in little bitty bits of thread. Hurrah.


I also used my Simflex gauge to mark the button and button hole position, which is my preferred method; that way I can be sure of ending up with a button exactly where I want it over the boobs, preventing gapeage.   Less of an issue with pjs, to be fair, but still.  And my silicone finger protectors are simply magic when ironing many miles of bias and piping, for example.

So, there you go, my extensive selection of kit.  There’s a reason I had to have a large sewing box as a gift recently!

What do you rely on when it comes to trickier makes? Any great gadgets I should be adding to the wish list?

Becca x

15 thoughts on “Luxurious lounging (and lots of gadgets!)

Add yours

  1. If you can’t get the maths right then there would be no hope for me! I’m definitely going to get some of those duck billed scissors and, having sizzled my fingers several times ironing seams and neckbands on the tiny baby clothes I’ve been making, I think I need some finger protectors! Your PJs are gorgeous by the way! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous JimJams ☺️ I’ve just asked my MIL for some of the scissors for my birthday in a couple weeks so I’m glad they are a good bit of kit, I so need a bias maker, for the Luzerne coat I made it all by hand (never again!!!) will try the thimble too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, all by hand?! You must have the patience of a saint! The bias binding gadgets are brilliant, I saw May Martin demonstrating one last year and couldn’t believe how easy it looked!


  3. Totally with you on the duckbilled scissors. Why didn’t I realise before that grading seams would be so much easier with these?! Ideally I would have worked this out before I made three coats… The PJs looks great. And I agree with jen – if you’ve made the Carolyns you can no longer count yourself as a novice!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s always something new to learn, so I think we all forget how far we’ve come sometimes. Even my Grannie, who sewed for 50+ years and could rustle up a tailored jacket without instructions, still described herself as ‘middling’.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Maybe that’s easier these days too, surrounded by so many fabulous dressmakers on the internet, so easy to find all the things others are making which you wouldn’t attempt yet. Worth it I think for the never ending inspiration and encouragement!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

Red W Sews

Adventures in dressmaking from an improving sewist!

Susan Young Sewing

Passion for sewing, fashion and fabric

Button & Pip

Sewing a Handmade Wardrobe

run | sew | read

and all things related that make this a good life.


Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,

Naomi Sews

All things sewing with Naomi

The Little Dressmaker

Finding my Style & Sewing a Practical Wardrobe


A Sewing Blog for Everyone

jessamy b makes

building a handmade wardrobe and home

Jodie Laura

Buttons, bows and pearls

DIY Wardrobe

Making clothes for real people

Spare Room Style

My sewing show and tell

Sew Make Me

Sewing Making and Me

Merrymaking Sewing

Adventures in learning to sew

%d bloggers like this: