Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keeping clothed at night

Last year I found a few fleece blankets at the second hand store for a real cheap price.  They looked fairly new.  One was in a camo pattern.  It's no longer a blanket.  I made boy a pair of pajama bottoms tonight.  They aren't finished.  I need to take a pair of his pants out of his room tomorrow and measure the waist.  Then I'll be able to put in the elastic at the waistband.  This is a present for him so I couldn't just have him come in and get measurements taken.

About once a month the local fabric store sends me a flier with their latest sales.  The price of material was ridiculous for fleece.  On sale it was between five and eight dollars a yard.  On Sale!  This means a pair of pajama bottoms could cost around $10-15 for one pair.  If I wait until Target has their sweats go on sale I can get a pair of sweat pants and have a couple dollars left over.  Depending on whether the kid wears it out or outgrows it first, and whether there's someone to pass it down to will depend on which way is the best way to go.  (I'd rather wear nice fleece than sweats to bed. - Yeah, you can tell I'm single!)

In my case, by buying the blankets, I was able to make his bottoms for about two dollars.  They are thicker than what you'd buy at the store.  I will also be able to make the length just right, with a hem that can be let down if he grows.  I expect this pair to last for at least two winters. 

This blog tonight isn't really about my great sewing expertise.  I can, and have, made entire outfits for myself using just a needle and thread and no sewing machine.  For these projects the sewing machine comes in handy.  No, it's about keeping well clothed. 

Living in an area that doesn't get snow, and even the bug-out place doesn't get snow, we don't have to worry about subfreezing temperatures too often.  That isn't to say that we don't need warm clothes.  Around here the fog will chill you quicker than a cold sunny day.  But right now I'm thinking about sleeping clothes.  We wear them.  I don't know how many of you forget to put something on when you go to sleep. 

I remember the Northridge earthquake.  My sister was in college there and I was bringing a couple of my kids to her apartment in Northridge to spend a couple of days.  When was this trip planned?  The day of the earthquake.  We put the trip off for a day but that was it.  I brought the kids and left them there for a couple of days.  I didn't want them afraid of earthquakes.  I explained that the apartments that collapsed were the ones built over the underground parking garages.  The apartments on solid ground for the most part came out OK.  Now there was plenty of damage all around but since her apartment held up just fine I didn't see much of a problem with it.  Of course, I was only 10 minutes away by car since I was working in the area, and could get back into the city with out much problem if needed.  Even back then they all had "escape" bicycles and backpacks.  Why am I bringing up this story?  Because when the earthquake hit in the early morning most of her neighbors went running outside.  Naked.  While it sounds sort of funny, it wasn't for those who couldn't get back into their apartments.  Oops.  No clothes. 

The wood stove at our house doesn't heat the bedroom area only the living area.  I don't usually heat the house at night unless it's going to get down into the 30s at night.  The main reason isn't the cost of the propane, wanting to conserve, or anything like that - although I do not like paying the propane bill!  I don't like hearing the heater running while I'm trying to sleep.  I'd rather it didn't run.  I suppose it's good practice to not heat the house at night if TSHTF and I had to conserve my 400 gallons of propane for cooking or heating water (I would probably shut off the water heater since it's a propane hog!).  This means extra blankets on the bed and warm clothes to sleep in. 

We usually sleep in sweats or fleece.  Fleece is much more comfortable which is why I buy up lightly used fleece blankets.  Now if you buy childrens fleece PJ's from the store the material will be fire resistant.  If you buy fleece from the fabric store some will be fire resistant but most will not be.  The blankets probably aren't.  But so what.  The grand kids don't smoke in bed.  Neither do I.  I'm not worried about our cigarette ashes starting a fire.  (OK we don't smoke at all, I was just being funny.)  We don't use electric blankets so I don't see the need for the fire resistant material.   

It's easy to make PJ bottoms.  There are only two pieces.  The right side and the left side.  To make PJ bottoms you need to take your fabric, fold it in half, lay your pattern on the fabric and cut it out.  You sew up each leg (the seam is on the inner leg).  Then you turn one leg with the right side out and put it inside the other leg.  You then sew from the center front to the center back.  That's mainly it.  Three seams.  Then you turn over a bit of fabric at the waist and sew it.  A friend of mine doesn't use elastic at all.  She just puts in paracord and you pull it tight.  I'd rather use elastic and paracord.  The elastic keeps the pants up, the cord makes it adjustable.  Then you sew the hem to the right length.  (Girl doesn't like hers hemmed.  It just sort of rolls up at the bottom.) If you know the waist size and hem length the entire PJ bottoms can be completed in less than 1/2 hour from cutting out the fabric to finishing up the sewing.  What's my pattern?  Their last pair that's too old and ripped up to reuse.  I cut the pants along the seam and lay it out on top of the fabric.  I just add a few inches all the way around to get the next size or two larger.  I can also take some newspaper or butcher paper, tape the pieces together and cut out a paper pattern for the next time if I don't have an old pair to use as a guide.  Tonight I did have an old pair that is ready for the rag box.  

Why such detail about bottoms?  Easy.  If the SHTF, or if you just don't have anything appropriate to wear during cold weather you could easily make these.  Kids grow out of things when you least expect it.  You may not be able to run out to the store to pick up clothes for the kids.  You could just go to the store now and buy some in every size.  That way you'll be prepared.  Or realize that they don't take too long to make, even if you had to sew the seams by hand.  If you don't sew - LEARN. 


  1. We only have an old wall heater in the dining room and a wood stove in the livingroom. The woodstove heats most of the house, except for our bedroom. My wife and son sleep in sleep pants all winter long. I get too hot so I don't, but I always have clothes close at hand in case I need to run out. At our cabin the wood stoves are so old that the fire burns out unless you get up every hour or so to add wood. So the fire always goes out. I just rebuild them in the morning. Up there I have to wear light sleep pants and a T shirt. It's all about being prepared for the environment you're in.

  2. I live where it is very cold in the winter - many degrees below zero. And I live in an old drafty farm house. Even with good central heating it gets cold at night. I have discovered what our ancestors knew. Night clothes are wonderfully helpful. I have even taken to wearing a night cap (not drinking a nightcap)lol. A simple knitted stocking cap bought for about a dollar makes a huge difference in my comfort.

  3. I agree about wearing a knitted cap. I wear one almost all winter. A lot of people I know don't wear one because they say it looks stupid. Army daughter says a knit hat looks stupid on her but fine on me. I think it's because she's not used to seeing herself with a hat on (unless it's Army!).