achievement unlocked: Mariner summer jammies


Yeah, I wasn’t going to go outside to photograph these. & I have a three-year-old. There is no part of the house untouched by her maelstrom, so you’re gonna have to deal with seeing some kid mess.

Cool & easy summer pajamas were a big hole in my handmade wardrobe. I had some stuff for cool weather, but as soon as it got hot, I was reaching for RTW tank tops, old maternity tees, & RTW  jersey pajamas bottoms worn almost to tatters. I am on a quest to banish all RTW from my wardrobe by the time I turn 38 (so, I have one year & four days to fill all the gaps), so I needed something easy & comfortable to wear for hot weather sleeping & lounging.


& of course it had to have pockets too. Actually being remotely “flattering” was way less of a concern.

My first thought was to make the freebie Madeleine bloomers for Colette Patterns & some kind of a matching tank top, probably from a light, silky jersey. I even printed out the bloomers pattern. But have you ever looked at the actual construction of those things? It’s so fussy & impractical. There’s so much threading of ribbons, & the legs are cinched with ribbon too, which might look pretty when you are standing around posing for a photo, but seems ridiculously impractical for actually wearing your bloomers to sleep, or sit on the couch reading blogs & eating Ritter Sports, or to chill on your porch swing with a “New Yorker” while your kid plays with her sand table…You know. The stuff I actually do.

So I just ganked the bloomers idea & went my own way. I started with the same pajama pants pattern that was the seed for my shorty ovarees. I added width for my waist & hips, shortened them into shorts, & added jeans-style pockets (my fave). I was going to make a separate waistband, but I just didn’t have enough fabric. I wound up making three garments with the yardage I bought in this print, & by the time I was done, there were just slivers left. Luckily the rise was high enough that I was able to zigzag some waistband elastic to the top & fold it under.


I actually made these pajama shorts before I made the ovarees, & thank goodness for that, because I actually added too much width. Even with the waistband elastic pulled as tight as it will go, the finished result is right on the verge of being too big. Which is fine. Better too big than too tight when it comes to sleepwear, right?

I considered just doing a hem on the legs & calling it a day, & that probably would have been a better way to showcase the border print. But I had this garter elastic in my stash that matched the print pretty nicely, & it’s not like I am ever going to use garter elastic on actual garments that I will wear out of the house. So I used it to cinch in the legs & create the bloomer effect.


So yeah, the finished effect is perhaps a bit diaper-y, but I don’t care! They are really comfortable, & for what it’s worth, Jared has complimented me on them.


& yeah, some of the print placement is a bit unfortunate. But like I said, I had just enough fabric to eke these out. I was able to maintain the border print, so I didn’t worry too much about the whale setting a course for my uterus.

The top is a hacked version of the Blanc tee from Blank Slate Patterns. I redres the front & back necklines & eliminated the sleeves to turn the tee into a tank. I redrew the front to have more of an A-line shape. I converted the back into a tulip open back situation, & then I added ribbons to tie over the shoulders as straps.


Such a lovely showcase for all of my most unfortunate tattoos. I keep thinking about doing cover-ups, but they’re on my back & my neck, where I can easily forget about them. Maybe someday…It also shows off the tan line I am developing from my swimsuit.

I finished all the edges with wide bias tape. I fully concede that this is not the tidiest bit of sewing I have ever done, but comfort? Yes. Keeping cool in hot weather? Yes. A menacing kraken emerging from the depths of the ocean to menace a boat? Yes.

The fabric is one of the in-house digital prints from Hawthorne Threads, specifically from their Mariner collection. This is the first in-house fabric I have bought from them. I loved the print even more when I saw it in person, the colors are great & have help well to washing so far, but the hand of the fabric is completely weird. It’s 100% cotton, & I expected something along the lines of quilting cotton, since that is mostly what they sell. But this stuff feels both thinner & stiffer than any quilting cotton I’ve ever worked with. Supposedly it softens up with washing, but it hasn’t happened yet. Certainly the stiffness of the fabric is part of what is contributing to the weird toddler-y lines of the top. It’s certainly not draping over my womanly curves, you know? It wound up being kind of a really shitty fabric for the other garment I made from it (yet to be blogged)…which isn’t to say that I haven’t been wearing it non-stop with no plans to quit any time soon. It also feels a bit more fragile than other quilting cottons. I sewed it with a microtex needle because it needed a little babying.


That print though!


So close to some unintentional pattern-matching in the back. Oh well.


Pretty sloppy bias facing. It got the job done though.


I had Jared tie the ribbons in place & then I sewed through the bows so they don’t come untied when I’m rolling around in bed (I sleep like a rotisserie chicken) or if Ramona plays with them. I would have liked to enclose the ends under the bias tape, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Oh well.

Ocean-themed jammies wound up being a perfect choice for last night. We had an insane thunderstorm with thunder like I have never heard in my life. It was just a constant roll & rumble for well over an hour. It sounded like the ocean, or, more terrifying, a tornado. I have experienced several tornadoes, & they are LOUD. I kept wondering if I should spring out of bed, grab Ramona, & head for the basement, but we live half a block from the tornado siren & it wasn’t going off, so…


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

12 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: Mariner summer jammies

  1. You look very happy in these pjs. The fabric is too wonderful. I think I’m getting hooked on border fabrics. Can’t wait to see what else you made from this print.

    1. Hopefully I will blog the other garment tonight or this weekend. I love border prints. I really want to find ways to incorporate more of them into my wardrobe.

  2. Looks great! The Collette pattern has waaaaaay more of a diaper vibe. 🙂

    I have some in-house fabric from Hawthorne Threads as well. It is definitely an odd weight. I am still working on the quilt I’m making with it, so I guess we’ll see what happens after a good wash!

    1. I searched pretty extensively after I got the fabric, & no one else seems to be saying boo about the weird feel of the Hawthorne Threads digitally printed fabric. I wonder why not? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a thing a person might like to know before they place an order, especially since you truly don’t have the option of touching the fabric before you buy. The other garment I made with it is a gathered skirt, & the stiffness prevents the gathers from draping like I expected. Obviously I wasn’t expected voile-quality draping from what I assumed was a quilting cotton, but this stuff can practically stand up on its own. It is softening up with wear though & starting to look closer to what I expected.

      1. It’s totally fine for a quil… the stiffness actually makes it easier to work with. I’ve actually been using best press when doing my cutting, and the Hawthorne fabric kinda has that nice stiffness already. But I’d definitely be concerned about lack of drape if I used it for anything else.

  3. I just got some of this stuff last week and it is very strange. I didn’t realize it was digitally printed somehow, so I was really confused by the wide selvage when I first opened the package. The dress I want to make doesn’t need a fabric with much drape, luckily, because mine hasn’t softened up in the wash either. It also hasn’t faded, though, which is a pleasant surprise for a digitally printed fabric. I love the print you chose for your jammies!

    1. I was also super-confused by the enormous selvages. But the print itself is truly 44″, so I guess that’s what counts.

      I think it has a good hand for, say, a shirtdress. Something fairly structured. I used it to make a very gathered skirt (I still need to blog it…I keep taking photos when my house is putting my yard in shadows, so the photos are too dark to use), which was not the all-time greatest choice.

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