I got a couple of Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop patterns in the bundle I bought back in February. I just pulled out the Alex and Anna Summer PJ’s a few weeks ago to make some PJ’s for my oldest daughter. This pattern is really easy to follow and has sizes 6 months through 8 years – so it will grow a long ways with your child. The printable pattern pieces don’t take up much paper either. The only thing I don’t like about printing my own patterns is the amount of paper it takes to print all of the pieces. This layout is well thought through to save you time gluing and paper too!

I made size 6 shorts and lengthened the sleeveless top to make a nightgown. The sizing worked really well. The top is a bit big – but I was expecting that based on the sizing chart. The two pieces went together fairly quickly. I think it took me just over 2 hours to finish both pieces – and that includes matching the stripes. Though I did take a shortcut and didn’t hem the nightgown to save time. Since it is a knit it won’t fray anyhow. The knit came from my Ottawa Street shopping trip. At $4 a metre I think the total price for the pj’s comes out around $2 and I still have more to make another set. Can’t complain about that!

I usually use my stretch stitch when I sew knits, but I decided to try something different this time. I have had two different patterns suggest stitching the whole thing using a double needle recently (this one and the Heidi and Finn Skort). I was a bit wary of this because it seemed like overkill to sew two rows of stitching when I could just use one. To save time switching needles I decided to sew the PJ shorts almost entirely with my double needle and I am super happy with the results.

If you have not used a double needle before, check out the picture above. The top of your stitching looks like two straight stitch rows. The bobbin thread on the back view weaves between the two top threads and creates the stretch you need when sewing knits. I have a ballpoint double needle – because you should use a ballpoint tipped needle when stitching knits. A regular needle point is sharp and will cut through your individual fabric threads, creating tiny holes in your fabric. The ballpoint tip will push the threads aside as it goes through the fabric so they don’t get cut.

Here is a quick explanation on how to thread your machine to use a double needle.

(1) Grab two spools of thread and your double needle. If you don’t have two spools of the same colour you can quickly make a bobbin to use as your second spool. (2) Check out the top of your machine – you should have the option to use two posts. One for each spool. If you don’t have space for two spools check out your machine instruction book – I’m sure it will show you where to put them. (3) Put one spool on each post. (4) Thread the machine as usual – using one thread from each spool – they should both follow the same path through your machine.

(5) Get your double needle. It should have a flat spot on one side of the shank (the post above the plastic that holds the needles together). Remove your current needle and note where the flat spot is. On my machine it is at the back. Put your double needle into the machine with the flat spot in the correct place and tighten it. (6) Separate your two threads and thread one through each needle. My machine also has two hooks to hold the threads separate. One on each side where I change and tighten my needle. (7) Set your machine to a normal length straight stitch. Set your needle position so the double needle comes down in the centre of your presser foot – so you don’t break it by accident the first go ’round! I also set my tension a bit higher to 8 (normally it is set at 5) when I stitch with my double needle. Now, stitch – easy peasy!

Hope that helps! Try it – it’s easier than it seems and really does make stitching and hemming knits look more professional.

Come back tomorrow for Sew Essential #12. (and click here (if you haven’t already) to enter to win a bundle of Tula Pink fat quarters!)