& to prove it, behold my pajamas.
I am still suffering from some sewing malaise. I’ve been working through a spell of moderate depression, which has been dragging me down. One of these days soon I will muster up the energy to move some furniture around & create more of a cohesive sewing studio in my bedroom. I think that will be a big step toward getting motivated to sew more, but a lot of books need to be moved in the process, so I’ve been putting it off.
Which is really too bad, because I have been needing these pajamas for a few months. In my quest to wear a 100% handmade wardrobe, I have needed to make a lot of pajamas, because let’s be real: I wear pajamas ALL THE TIME. I have shorty pajamas with open backs & ribbon ties, cozy flannel old man-style pajamas sets, even a few comfy dresses that can double as pajamas if I’m feeling especially lazy. But I’ve really been needing some medium-weight pajamas with full length legs & short sleeves. What do you wear to bed when it’s like 65 degrees? Flannel is too warm, but shorts & a tank are too chilly.
My solution is a basic Blanc tee from Blank Slate Patterns teamed with self-drafted pajama pants, sewn from this Lizzy House cat print jersey (I think the fabric is called “Cattitude”). & yeah, I didn’t have quite enough, so I subbed in solid fuchsia for one of the back legs. I probably could have eked the whole thing out of the yardage on hand if I’d made the pants a little shorter & a little slimmer, but oh well. The contrasting back leg kind of helps break up the sea of cat faces.
Incidentally, I fully did wake up like this. No bra, uncombed hair. This is basically how I look 23 hours out of everyday, minimum.
This was a really straightforward project, kind of a palate cleanser in between all the work I am doing on another project. That project is the newest release from Colette, the dreaded Rue dress. I decided I wanted to try it for myself & see how poorly–drafted it really is. (Note that almost every participant in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee contest either “does not recommend” the pattern or “recommends with modifications”.) Yes, I actually purchased it with my own money. & the answer: it’s a complete disaster. It really deserves a whole series of blog posts of its own. the whole thing is a mess, but I actually just sat down yesterday & drafted a sleeve & an armscye from scratch because no human arm could possibly fit comfortably into the Colette draft. (Beware the pattern sample photos in which the model is obscuring the fit with a cardigan.) I really feel sorry from any brand new sewers thinking they’re going to have a good outcome with that pattern. I feel even worse for the people following the insane sewalong & picking a size based on their waist measurements. (My waist measurement puts me in a size 18. I cut a 12 & was absolutely swimming in it in the shoulders & bust, & I have a larger cup size than that for which Colette drafts.) Anyway! Those are war stories for another day.
I have a real love affair with the Blanc tee, just because it’s so damn comfy. There are more flattering t-shirt patterns in the world for sure, but this thing is quick & easy to sew, & just basically my platonic ideal of an easy tee.
I do a few construction things differently: I stabilize the shoulder seam so they don’t stretch (I used satin ribbon for this). The directions say to finished the neckline with a bias tape facing, but instead, I do a small, narrow zigzag where I want the turn to be. I press it under & then do a straight stitch at a slightly longer-than-usual stitch length.
Voila! This gives a nice, tidy finish with no rippling or puckering, & without having to fuss with stabilizers. I’ve experimented with a few different ways of hemming knits, & I think this is my favorite. A zigzag stitch looks a little homemade (not in a good way), turning under clear elastic is bulky & sometimes it’s hard to get all the elastic tucked in, & turning under without the aid of that zigzag can result in an inconsistent hem width. I also love a banded finish, but if you’re aiming for simplicity &/or economy of fabric use, this is a quick & easy solution.
I turned the bottom under with some hot pink ribbon. Just for fun.
I’ve used this self-drafted pants pattern a few times for other pajama pants & shorts, & it even served as the base for my shorty overalls. Obviously it has a lot of ease, which I like in a pajama pants. I like being able to curl up & roll around without feeling constricted by my pajamas. & of course, there are pockets:
I didn’t make a separate waistband piece. I just added a little extra (like 1.5″) to the rise & then sewed on elastic like you do with lingerie. I zigzagged it to the front, stretching the elastic as I went. Then I turned it to the inside & zigzagged in place. I find this method a lot easier than making a casing & feeding the elastic through, & it also precludes the possibility of the elastic getting twisted.
I mean, this isn’t blue ribbon quality sewing, but for a basic pair of jammies, it’s fine.
My favorite part of these pajamas is this cute little ribbon piping detail on the cuff. I had to cut the cuffs on the cross-grain due to fabric limitations, but with such a loose silhouette, it doesn’t matter. Truthfully, I had to cut the pink back leg on the cross-grain too. I only had half a yard of 60″ wide fabric. It worked out fine. I originally bought this cat print to make another Lady Skater dress, but I’m really glad I used it to make loose-fitting jammies, because the print is easily distorted under the most minimal degree of stretch. It would have looked awful on a dress bodice fitted with negative ease.
So that’s that! I wish I was wearing these pajamas right this second because they are so damn comfortable. I wish I was wearing them while curled up in bed with Sady Doyle’s book Trainwreck (I just can’t get enough of reading about feminism through the eye of pop culture–this is actually what I studied in college almost twenty years ago, believe it or not), but we’re going to a birthday party for one of Ramona’s preschool classmates this afternoon, so I am wearing real clothes instead (black Blanc tee & gray wrap skirt). There’s just no justice in this world.