Back by Popular Demand

“Did you make Grammy Jammies this year?” 

Ben in the first Jammies 2010

The frequency of the question came as a surprise.  Apparently my annual sewing spree has spawned a following. It’s nice to know that a simple, homespun and creative work of love can capture an audience. Amidst the stress and anxiety surrounding our Covid-laden lives, it’s heartwarming to be able to contribute some whimsy to the world.

The answer is “Of course!”

What started with a single pair of slipper jammies 11 years ago has blossomed into seven pairs of Grammie Jammies and six Grammie Jammies for special friends this year. Thinking that a newborn was a bit young to have adopted a favorite friend yet, I added a matching stuffed animal to the assembly for him.

With each passing year, the kids get older, the Jammies bigger and I hold my breath as I check with the oldest ones to see if they are still “in.” Now topping out at 11 and 9, I realize this ritual may be nearing the end of its lifespan for them. But this year they came up with their own creative solution. “Can we have them without feet?”

“Yes! I can certainly do that!” and the tradition lives on.

I admit that I let this venture consume my fall. Once the Jammies are all cut and ready to sew, my obsessive side comes out. I develop tunnel vision, waking only to ponder how many Jammies I can complete by the end of the day. I feed material through the machine, clip threads, insert zippers, zigzag seams, top stitch, stretch ribbing, wind the bobbin and start new spools of thread all the day long. Admittedly, I still do my share of ripping out stitches and do-overs as well. Practice doesn’t always make perfect.

To date, I’ve made 51 pairs of Grammy Jammies, out of 16 different patterns of fleece. Expanding into friend Jammies four years ago adds another 20 miniature Jammies. Taking the numbers game even farther, here’s what it took to produce this year’s Grammy Jammies:

  • 13 zippers
  • 9 yards of fleece fabric
  • 5/8 yard ribbing fabric
  • Gripper foot fabric
  • 1 snap
  • 3 large spools of thread
  • 3 old Kwik Sew patterns, sizes newborn to kids XL
  • 1 44 year old sewing machine

By now the kids all know what comes in fabric bags, and I’m always as excited as they are when the latest creations are unveiled. And the best part is snuggling in together, surrounded by soft fleece clad bodies and a whole lot of love. Just like what went into the Jammies.

I can only hope that they will be back by popular demand again next year!

Grammy Jammies by the Dozen

The annual tradition starts soon after Labor Day. I hunt down yards and yards of cheery Christmas fleece and commence sewing Grammy Jammies. What started with one set of jammies has blossomed to 12 pair and counting.

Grammy Jammies 2020 on couch

I have six grandchildren and they get one pair each. They know the drill by now. I try to finish them by Thanksgiving so that they can wear them for the season leading up to Christmas (and beyond, of course). Each is wrapped in a cloth bag, and as soon as I bring out the stack, I hear “I know what’s in there!”

Isabel and Michael opening Jammies
Kennedy kids with Grammy in Jammies
Maren and Crosby in Grammy Jammies

But that is no longer enough. It started with Ben’s Bear, who he claimed was cold. That led to jammies for Mya’s Puppy, Isabel’s Bunny, and Michael’s Puppy. Each year now, they too get new Grammy Jammies.

Kennedy friends in Jammies

Maren and Crosby didn’t have jammie-friendly friends, so that had to be rectified. They each have a room with a woodland theme – foxes for Maren, deer for Crosby. Favoring the soft and cuddly JellyCat animals, I hunted down one of each. And now they get Grammy Jammies too. (And a seamstress secret – JellyCats all have the same body shape. One size jammies fits all, with modifications for tails!)

Fox and Deer in Jammies

Over time, I’ve gotten to know these little friends pretty well. Through multiple measurements, try-on sessions, alterations and fittings. We’ve had some good times together. But I didn’t realize how attached one in particular had become.

As Karen and family departed after Christmas I waved from the deck until they were out of sight. It was only half an hour later that I discovered that Bunny had defected. She had jumped out of Isabel’s arms on the way to the van and hidden on the walkway by the garage as they drove away. Bunny was ours for the weekend, until the post office would re-open Monday morning.

I texted a picture of Bunny to Isabel, to reassure her that Bunny would be in good hands.

Bunny stayed behind

But that was only the beginning of Bunny’s adventures. Bunny accompanied us every where we went for the next two days. She joined us for dinner and watched our favorite TV series before I tucked her into bed. Bunny went birding with Rich in the morning and attended virtual church with us. She even helped me with the laundry.

Bunny's adventures

I’m going to miss the little gal when we send her home to Isabel. She’s getting a First Class passage through the mail. With tracking. After all, she’s still wearing her new Grammy Jammies.