Well it’s done and dusted friends…I’ve finished the sleeping bag project! And none too soon I might add as I was getting itchy feet mid-way through the project. But this time, I refused to give into the ‘mid-project itch’ and I successfully stayed on task. You’d be proud of me folks…I didn’t even allow myself the pleasure of looking through my sewing magazine & book collection for inspiration on what to do next. So…shall we do the obligatory critical analysis of the project?
The garment is the sweet little pink sleeping bag…not to be confused with the purply-blue bunting which is essentially a sleeveless sleeping bag with an odd name! The sleeping bag is a classic raglan sleeved long nightgown with a draw-string/elastic casing.
Let’s talk fabric. It’s a gauzy Japanese cotton that I bought for about $20 a metre at The Drapery – a divine little fabric store here in Adelaide…yes they do have an on-line store but this fabric isn’t listed. I love this fabric folks; I really do…it’s oh-so-soft and so very drapey, but it’s not without its challenges. It frays very easily and it can become an issue when you’re handling the fabric a lot during construction. The fabric would be fabulous for a baby swaddle; it breaths beautifully.
My second concern/challenge with this fabric is that it’s interlined. I like that it’s interlined as it adds to the stability of the fabric so that its applications are more flexible, but that said, it makes it a little bulkier to handle. This was most apparent when working the teeny neckline bias band.
The pattern didn’t specify to stay stitch the neckline and this isn’t surprising given that it’s from 1943; a time when sewing skills were a given because a gal would have just known to stabilise the neckline. She would have learned her skills from her mother and other female family members and then subsequently through compulsory Home Economics at school.
This fabric SCREAMS out for added stability in the neck area. I didn’t have any fusible knit stay tape on hand (I’ve since ordered some), but if I did, I would have fused the knit stay tape to the neck band as it would have help enormously with the fraying. The worst part about the neckline was trying to fold in the ends of the bias band; the fabric was a nightmare…on further thought, maybe stay tape would have made the fold even more difficult to create??? Food for thought!
In modern patterns it’s rare that you’ll ever sew the side seam and the sleeve seam as one seam; it’s the opposite in vintage patterns. Normally, when I sew a French seam, I make it really small, but as this fabric isn’t very stable and this sleeping bag will probably experience some rough treatment, I made the French seams quite wide.
And this created an issue with the bulk under the arm and in turn made the seam less than smooth under the armpit. You can see a little waviness to the fabric in the sleeve picture two above. Ordinarily that seam should be smooth. I’m fairly sure that when this garment is worn, you won’t really notice the ripple in the seam area under the arm.
I decided to use snap press buttons rather than vintage mother of pearl buttons (my usual choice when sewing from a vintage pattern) – this was mainly because I wanted the garment to be easy to put on and off and allow easy access for nappy changing. This brings me to my next alteration; I used elastic in the sleeve hems and the bottom hem. The pattern has no gathering in the sleeve but does have ribbon to draw the bottom of the sleeping bag closed. Friends…I’m a worry wart…I’m the kinda gal that looks for the emergency exit in the cinema, the gal that actually listens to the emergency spiel on an airplane…in fact, I count the seats to the closest emergency exit – ya know; just in case. So it was with this ‘just-in-case’ mentality that I decided not to use ribbon.
I really worry about the excess ribbon tying up on little teeny toes and cutting the circulation off. Or heaven forbid, it coming loose and getting caught around a baby’s neck. You can call me a worry-wart all you like; I’m okay with that, but I wouldn’t be okay if I ignored my inner-voice telling me “don’t use ribbon” and then the worst happened. I left the tiny hole open in the sleeve casings so that I could loosen or tighten them when they are actually used in the future.
The other alteration I made was down at the bottom of the sleeping bag at the casing. The pattern instructs the sewer to fold the raw edge 1/4″ to the wrong side and then make another fold 6″ wide and sew it closed. This makes a huge casing for the ribbon/elastic to sit in – all I could think was that the ribbon/elastic has 6″ of space to move around in. So I added another row of sewing, 5/8″ above the hemline fold to create a small casing so that the ribbon/elastic wouldn’t move higher up the garment.
So, readers the Vogue 2329 sleeping bag project has been officially put to bed [pun intended]. And the only remaining questions to be asked are:
1. Would I use the challenging Japanese cotton gauze again? and;
2. Would I use Vogue 2329 again?
The answer to both questions is a resounding YES! Despite the Japanese cotton gauze being a somewhat challenging fabric, I would definitely use it again – the remaining piece will probably be made into a swaddle for a newborn. I can’t really imagine this fabric would stand up to the demands of children or adult garments but most certainly it would for baby garments.
I’m heading back to the ‘work in progress’ box that has the bereavement bear fabrics & pattern – I have four more to make. One is already cut out and interlined with calico so i’ll be at the sewing machine again with haste!
What’s YOUR next project?