A cozy travelling duo: Simplicity 5271 and Butterick 5934

I know, another sewing post! Don’t faint.

Today we have a double post: pajamas and a duffel bag.

(Both of which were made for a trip, although both were needed too. The pajamas because I haven’t had a proper pair of new winter pjs for decades; and the duffel bag because the last one I bought was in university and is falling apart, and also sucks.)

(And the trip because I was totally exhausted and feeling burned out on the job/house/dog/kid/kid’s medical needs/my medical needs/climate action overload, and happened to read about an author’s trip to the middle of nowhere with her kids so they could have a night dark enough to see stars. And I thought, oh god, yes, a night dark enough to see stars … but maybe without the kid, just this one time. And I booked a teeny cabin in the middle of nowhere over Canadian Thanksgiving.)


(Simplicity 5271)

This is a Simplicity pattern that I’ve used for Frances many times. You know it’s old, because I bought this Simplicity pattern in a Fabricland store, and they haven’t carried them for years (cost dispute). But it’s a good basic pattern.

This lovely cotton french terry I picked up on sale at Needlework. I think it’s gone now, but it’s so gorgeous. Almost too gorgeous to make into pjs. (Almost.) Neck band is a bit of scrap cotton ribbing.

I actually chose the size based on my measurements (for a Big 4!) since I wouldn’t care if the PJs were too roomy and the finished measurements looked ok. As a unisex pattern with all sizes in one envelope, I didn’t have to worry about not having the size I needed. Very much appreciated.

And look! Look at these! These are perfect PJs for hanging out in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere with a book and a cup of tea.

Luckily, they’re the perfect PJs for hanging out on a sofa in the suburbs with a book and a cup of tea as well. I am set.

Duffel Bag!

(Butterick 5934)

Alice in Wonderland was one of the first books I ever read. I read it and its sequel probably dozens of times when I was in elementary school. I used to dream about finding portals to other worlds (Narnia too).

So when the anniversary Alice fabric was released a few years ago, I snapped up some of the canvas–again from Needlework–and good thing too, because it didn’t last long.

Yes, it does have Bill the lizard flying through the air! There are teapots and cups full of tea stacked willy nilly! The Cheshire cat’s floating grinning head is hovering in mid-air! The dodo bird is marching in his goal-less circles! There’s the Queen, the King, and the White Rabbit! And yes there are little metallic flourishes all over it! It is perfect.

I haven’t read the book or watched the Disney movie for decades, but every time I look at poor Bill on the duffel bag, I think, “There goes Bill!” And I guess if you were less of a die-hard fan and don’t remember Alice eating or drinking yet another thing she shouldn’t and growing to fill the house she’d entered, to the point where her leg is jammed up the chimney, and they send poor Bill the chimney-sweep in to try to flush her out, and she kicks him sky-high when he tries, that might not mean much to you. But basically, this duffel  bag was loaded with memories as soon as it came off the sewing machine, which is pretty well perfect.

It’s lined with two quilting cottons: one for the main, and a Tula Pink snails print for the zippered pocket, both again from Needlework, probably neither still available. The contrast handle fabric is a cotton twill from King Textiles in Toronto, and the bottom contrast fabric is a Merchant and Mills oilskin–also Needlework, and still there! It gives a bit of extra toughness and waterproofing that’s useful in a travel piece, I think.

The pockets that came with the pattern
The zippered pocket that did not come with the pattern, but is very easy to add in.

Two layers of interfacing: I had to move the sewing machine to a big table to squeeze the bag through the throat for the last few steps, but it was worth it.

This pattern is OOP, but overall it worked out well. All the pieces fit together, the instructions were good, and it makes a nice roomy bag.

(I haven’t yet made the detachable strap; I didn’t have the right hardware. The zippered pouch I added following the instructions in Lisa Lam’s The Bag Making Bible.)

Sizing Note

Wonder of all wonders, I used a body measurement chart to pick a size for a Big 4 pattern, and it actually worked. Of course, this is a loose-fitting garment where the penalty for getting it slightly wrong is very low.

11 thoughts on “A cozy travelling duo: Simplicity 5271 and Butterick 5934

  1. May I ask where this accommodation you rented is located?

    Here is an article from the New Yorker that you may have already read. It is the approach I have taken to some extent. I have removed a non native vine that blanketed my yard and seeded it to a native to Ontario pollinator/wildflower blend. I see it is starting to germinate approximately two weeks post seeding. It was a lot of work to remove the vine/ground cover, however, it feels like I am trying to do my part this way and via my dietary choices.


    What If We Stopped Pretending?
    The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.
    By Jonathan FranzenSeptember 8, 2019

      1. Thanks very much for providing the link to the rebuttal. I completely understand you taking out the article that I cut and pasted. I was not sure if the reply box would hold such a lengthy post.

      2. I read the article and I agree with what is being said. The key is rich countries need to help poor and developing countries and lead by example. We need to change our diets away from meat, re-plant our forests that were decimated centuries ago where possible and stop flying as much. I have not been on an airline flight in years, however, it always struck me when landing that southern Ontario (and everywhere else) is an archipelago of little woodlots and not a continuous band of forest. If we stopped producing so much corn, and leased this land from the farmers using tax payer dollars and replanted the forest it would help with CO2 sequestration, provide habitat habitat for birds and rebuild a lost ecosystem. I suggested a three km band of forest to an ornithologist I know and he said all we would need would be one km for the birds. It could then be used as a park for tourism/hiking and environmental awareness. Reduced fossil fuel burning with less acres for agriculture and needless acres of corn production could be put to rest. I am sure you have a great knowledge base than I, however, I thought it would be an easy start given that Trudeau want to plant two billion trees.

  2. I adore that Alice fabric. A night to see the stars sounds terrific. Every time we have anything celestial happening, we can’t see it at all unless we drive north. We are forever missing the full moon as it’s always faded and clouded over here. I read the Franzen piece and wondered what you would think of it (I was going to bring it up at the crumpets afternoon but alas, life interfered.)

    1. In general, Franzen can be ignored whenever he starts writing about climate. 😉

      It turned out to be too cloudy for stars, but the silence was beautiful and I miss it very much. Sigh.

  3. I don’t know of any groups (nor am I involved with any) that would be interested and I would not know where to start. It would need to be a group that approaches government regarding the two billion trees proposal, lobbying them to side with the idea and then finding the dollars to lease the land. The money would need to be enough per acre to cover the bushels produced minus the cost of fuel and labour incurred by the farmer. In my mind it is similar to someone leasing their land for a solar farm. I feel the areas would need to be fenced until the trees matured enough that deer would not decimate them which would be a large cost. Gates could be installed for public access while the trees are small. Controlled hunts could keep deer at manageable levels once fences were removed. I know hunting is a bad word for environmentalists, however, we have removed almost all the predators from our ecosystem and it might be a way of bringing indigenous people into the mix.

    1. There are probably groups near you that purchase tracts of land to create wildlife corridors and conservation areas, which might be interested in this kind of work. If you haven’t looked into that, I would recommend it!

  4. Serious pajama envy here. We have silence and stars most nights … paid for by having to drive a half hour to medical appts, shopping and anything else, even friendship.

    1. Yeah, I hear you. What with my and Frances’s medical appointments, we could never live in a rural area, and there’s a lot of benefits to being close to people. But a weekend of total silence was seriously perfect.

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