Jams for Bea and Other Distractions

I haven’t really sewed in ages.  When my girls were younger I sewed them lots of dresses, and mostly enjoyed doing so.  But in the years since my little boys were born I have found sewing to be too much trouble.  I don’t have a space to keep things out and handy, lest they be destroyed (by my little boys) and it is just so much easier to pick up a knitting project.

But lately I’ve been kind of antsy, wanting some faster gratification.  I am less and less mobile and not being able to do housework is making me a little crazy.  I need to do something that feels productive!  And Beatrix needs shorts.  Shorts are pretty easy, and I have a good bit of fabric stashed away from my sewing days.  I pulled out my copy of Carefree Sewing for Girls, because it has an easy pattern for making pants or shorts.  It didn’t take long to sew a couple of pairs for Bea last week.  Jonny was quick to point out that what I made are not actually shorts, but “jams.”  Just like the ones his grandma used to make for him when he was a kid.  Yeah, I guess he’s right.  I totally remember jams, though mine were store bought.  At any rate, while our memory of jams is that they were dorky, ours weren’t made from linen blends.  Linen blend jams are surely quite stylish.  At any rate, Beatrix likes them.

I’m still distracting myself with yarn dyeing, though that process is slower.  Right now, it is looking like I will have a shop update next week.  Wednesday, I think.  I did a huge outdoor indigo vat last weekend, my best yet.  I feel like I learned a lot, and I am really happy with how my skeins turned out.

New for this update, I will have a handful of sets of fingering weight mini-skeins.  I used all plant based or natural dyes and created a pastel rainbow.  These sets are really cute!  Jonny is also promising to finish up some more bird shawl pins.  We’ll see!

I am hoping to do more sewing in the coming weeks.  I bought the Dottie Angel Child’s dress pattern, planning to make one for Bea, and maybe Larkspur too if I can size it up a bit.  Larkspur is also requesting a skirt.  I made this one years ago, and think I will try that pattern again.  I have turned my bedside desk into a little sewing spot, and that is working well for me.  We recently moved the little boys out of our bedroom (!!!!!) and now I can actually have some privacy and quiet after they go to bed at night.  It feels like such a luxury and not one I am accustomed to!  Not for long, or course.  Though I am actually looking forward to sharing my bedroom with a baby again, so that will be just fine as well.


  1. My favorite aunt used to sew “jams” for me! She would let me choose the fabric- the louder and crazier the better. I love that you helped me remember that!!!

  2. Dotties adult dress pattern of almost the same style has an extra small option that might work for you. I made it for my 12 year old daughter and it fits great 🙂 don’t get caught up on binding all those seam allowances though, as the pattern directs, unless you want to!

  3. Oh I can feel that “getting close” feeling emanating from your post! I have no idea what jams are but they look great! Lucky girl!

  4. I am new to sewing, but I am falling in love with it! However, I don’t have, and won’t for awhile, a good space to do it in. It means dragging out my machine from its case and taking over the kitchen table for awhile. I love sewing, but I hate having projects out everywhere. Sigh. I tend to stockpile projects and then find an evening with several hours to just sew. They are rare! 😉 I love her shorts, jams or not! They look cool and comfortable and modest! Perfect!

  5. Can I just say Beatrix might be the cutest kid ever…? Then again, I think your family as a whole is excessively adorable :).

    I’ve never sewn anything, so I’m really impressed by those pants (or jams). She seems super happy with them, so who cares whether they’re stylist or not? Personally, I think they look great.

    Hope you keep having some of that nice weather I see in these pictures! Have a good weekend, Ginny.

  6. My husband made me a sewing desk a few years ago but until recently it was mostly just covered with junk since I never really had the mental energy to pick and figure out patterns. I have been sewing a bit more lately and just love it! Today I am making a baby doll carrier for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. It is such faster gratification than knitting and I find I am loving that more instant gratification. Knitting will always be my main love I think, but I am learning to love sewing as I gain confidence! That book is now on my Amazon wishlist, mainly because of your jams! They are so lovely and just look completely comfortable.

  7. Erika W. says:

    I’m a long-time reader of yours and enjoy you very much–thank you for sharing your family as you do..

    Same problem of no space–now you have nudged me into digging out a nearly finished jumper and a dress, both are for myself. I sewed for my daughter and grand daughter for years but now they are past those ages. Although my married daughter, in her early 20s once sidled up to me and asked “Would you sew me one of those blouse and matching skirt thingees you used to make, please, please?”

    I was charmed, but not so thrilled at the material she bought. I hand sew only–no machine work at all. It had a black background with tiny scattered subdued flowers in various colors–very hard on the eyes, but it turned out well and she wore the outfit to pieces.

  8. those yarns! those colors! I really hope I catch an update because I’ve missed all of them so far! I would really love to sew. I wish I had the room for more crafting but I don’t and thats probably a good thing or we’d be broke. The shorts came out very cute and your kids look like they have a lot of fun!

  9. Andrea G in Morgan Hill, CA says:

    Cute pictures. Looks like good weather for shorter pants. When I was a young girl in 3rd grade or so, my mother made me a skirt. As I remember it, it was a dirndl style, just gathered with a kind of wide waistband. I doubt that she used a pattern. It was made with a shiny chintz-like fabric that was an orangey color with small dark figures of some kind all over. The thing I loved about it was that it had a secret pocket hidden in the inside of the waistband. It was for my lunch money, $.35 as I remember it. I loved that skirt because of that little pocket. Hope you have fun with all the projects you are working on. Glad you are feeling so well too.

  10. Love the jams! And what a nice stitch around them. Great photos of your sweet Beatrix.

  11. Beatrix looks nice in her jams. I love the related posts.

  12. I love the jams! They are very lovely in linen. I vividly remember my mom sewing me a pair of jams when I was a kid and they were popular in the 80’s. She refused to pay a ridiculous amount for something that could be so easily sewn! I remember being slightly embarrassed that mine were handmade (oh, the 80’s!) while also thrilled with going to the fabric store to choose the fabric.

  13. anniekitching says:

    Susan and Aidan are moving to Pittsburgh! I need to make one more trip out that way so I can beg you on bended knee to take a few photos of my Monnie. Your photographs are just beyond wonderful. In that outfit, as you photographed it Bea looks like she’s on the cover of a catalog!

  14. Nice for you to have your sewing mojo back, I can’t find mine anywhere! I have finally knit a sock though!!!! Has some mistakes so I am on to another one. Your photos are beautiful as always.

  15. Oh my, I remember “jams” !!!! I think they were mostly “Hawaiian”prints and maybe with a ropey drawstring—wow!!!!! Yours are cuter!!!!!! Thanks for the flashback!!!!!! I love your site!!!! Xox 💕💕

  16. I love those mini skeins!

    I don’t know if this is something you’d want to do, but our city just lifted the ban on having chickens, so I’d love to hear more about yours, I think you have some right? Any tips, or breed recommendations!

  17. Oh, I’ve missed your sewing posts! Cute shorts too, and that yarn. You are amazing with all you do! I love to squirrel myself away in a closed room to sew, read and craft without the house making me crazy with it’s all consuming need to be attended too.

  18. Wow, I’m amazed at all the colors of your dyed skeins!! They’re beautiful. And I love Beatrix’s shorts. Just the perfect thing with the warmer season upon us. 🙂

  19. I love those shorts on her. She wears them well. I love how you say they are easy! For someone who doesn’t sew well it sounds scary.

  20. Jillian J says:

    When I read the title all I could think of was making jam in the kitchen, and with your littles and the one on the way I was worried you would have a strawberry explosion in your kitchen with multiple meltdowns (I speak from experience, and I did not have little kids in the house!). Now that I know the long shorts are also called jams I am relieved! They are cute and I really like the embellishments on the hem!

  21. I love the beautiful yarn and the jams. I am not familiar with Jams, so I googled the word jams. I got an 80s website that had a picture of two girls in their homemade jams. I had to look at the credits because with the hair one of the girls looked just like a friend from high school! I don’t think it was, but I guess we wore jams without knowing it!

  22. I just got my sewing machine out a couple of weeks ago, after a long hibernation. It must be spring. Ever year I get the urge, but the machine doesn’t always make it out. Good luck and stay well.

  23. Seriously lovely. All of it. The Jams, the yarn, the butterfly, the kids. Thanks for sharing!
    Julie C

  24. Hi, I admire you greatly, you can do anything, you live, you’re wrong, processed wool, and to a beautiful large family, I wish you health and especially all the luck and joy of life.
    Greetings from the Czech Republic from Europe …
    I can do little English, it helps me compiler ….

  25. I love this length for pants (I call them short pants, but I love ‘jams’) and those colours are fab.

  26. The jams are adorable!!

  27. ~ Inspiring !! ~ Ginny, your machine looks quite happy on the green table. Nice space.
    I have yet to learn to sew. I traded knitting lessons for a Singer, and named it MissTina, in hopes that she will be kind to me and not snarl and tangle bobbins constantly. I’m very horrid with any mechanical items. I tell my friends that I can knit curtains faster that I can sew them, …. but one day that will change. The fabrics are so beautiful.
    Actually, spinning is my next creative endeavor, … then sewing.
    BEAUTIFUL yarns.
    LOVE the jams. My Mom sewed us each bib snowpants, … it was the hey-day of velcro !! ha. Who remembers that ? I would have enjoyed jams far better !!
    Shell ~

  28. Oh, and I’m glad you found a spot for a sewing machine – it makes all the difference. 🙂

  29. I love the shorts! I think they’ve been around so long now, they aren’t dorky anymore. You know, eventually all strange-looking styles get so familiar, they seem more normal. But you’re right – linen elevates everything anyway.

  30. Your yarn colors look like the swallowtail was your inspiration! 🙂

  31. Oh, how, oh, how, to you find the time for all this wonderfulness? Don’t get me wrong. I do think it is great and so happy that you can stay focused and see these projects through. Go for it. I’m impressed. I haven’t done any plant based dyeing since last summer and I ripped out half my knitting project last night and have another one in disrepair. I will use your productiveness as inspiration and persevere.

  32. What beautiful yarn colors (and cute happy kids!).

  33. Awesome. Just thinking about m sewing machine makes me break out in a fearful sweat.

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