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October 3

Unselfish Sewing: Mom’s Pajama Set(s)

My poor mom… Let it be known that I can’t be trusted to turn over sewing gifts in any timely way.  :|  I know… I’m bad.  I don’t mean to be, but it just happens.  Once it feels like *work* I just can’t bring myself to do it.

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve worked on my mom’s silk charmeuse pajama set.  But (yes, there is a but here) I had good reason not to finish them.  Besides all of the moving houses and whatnot, my mom’s size had changed since I first took her measurements and we both knew the silk camisole top wasn’t going to fit anyhow.  So I didn’t feel like I had to rush on this.  The shorts had been primarily done, save the waistband.

As I’ve picked up my sewing pace this summer, I wanted to dedicate some real, quality time to finishing up her pajama set and get this project off my plate.  I just hate it when I have projects lingering over my head, don’t you?

Silk Charmeuse PJ Set

Since this has been a long time coming, how about a recap on this old project.

Tap Shorts:

I constructed the tap shorts pattern myself, with the help of Sew Vera Venus’s drafting directions.  I made some fit adjustments and also modified the waist to be an elasticized waistband since I think they’re more comfortable for lounging.  Additionally, there are no side seams.  Fancy huh?!

I hand stitched most of the lace motif and did some fancy lace seaming work (aka applique seam) to achieve the curve, pointed at by the pencil below.

Tap Pants Side Lace

 

 

Thanks Meg for this lace trim – you gave it to me in a swap ages ago.  You can see I put it to good use.

Fully Finished Shorts with tiny rolled hems & lace at the side seam.

Tap Shorts

 

I would like to say here that yes, I did indeed use my rolled hem foot on silk charmeuse!  It was evil and crazy, but I totally told this fabric who’s boss.  heh

 

Lace Detail:

Tap Shorts_Lace Detail

Isn’t this color wonderful?  It’s a pinky-orange coral (changes in different lighting) that really goes well with my mom’s skin tone.

All seams are french seams to prevent any unraveling of the silk charmeuse, on both the bodice and the shorts.  I added that silk-satin ribbon to the back so she knows which is the front and which is the back.  I bought 1/8″ yard of this silk ribbon for like $2.  Can you imagine what the cost of a full  yard (or yardage) would be?!  I really didn’t want her to feel any scratchy ribbon next to the skin so I splurged on the good stuff.

French Seamed Shorts

I created a casing for the elastic, as I didn’t think an exposed elastic waistband would be the most glamorous, given all of my hand stitching on this lace section.

I had my mom close her eyes to try on the shorts to test the correct fit of the elastic waistband so she wouldn’t spoil the surprise of the finished project.  :)

Cinnamon Camisole:

Since my mom has a much larger chest than I do, sewing this camisole was all new for me.  FBA whaaaat???

Silk Camisole

In addition to changing the size of the cups, I also had to ensure that the camisole stays put and more importantly, the girls stay put.  I came up with a creative solution of layers of silk organza coupled with seam tape to stabilize the underbust band.

Upper Waistband_Partially basted

The silk charmeuse is so delicate that I didn’t want to risk stressing the fabric out or *shudder* tearing at any of the seams.

Bodice Seam Tape

Then I finished all of the seams with an additional layer of silk charmeuse & more hand stitching.  I believe there may be a whopping four layers of silk in this under-bust band – not to mention all of the seam allowances.  I trimmed it when I could but left a lot as it lent itself to more support.

I finished every seam off either with french seams or by hand stitching under the seam allowances.

Yes, this is the inside of the camisole, not the outside.  I wanted the insides to be just as pretty and finished as the exterior.

Interior of Camisole

I wanted to construct a lovely, timeless piece of lingerie for my mom.  She’s often complained that since she’s well endowed she can never find a camisole to cover appropriately, have an underbust line land under her bust (not across like most do) and actually look attractive while doing so.  I really hope this camisole is a *win* for her in all three categories.

Really hard to take decent photos on my 34″ bust for a >40″ bust gal, but I tried.  It might be hard to notice, but on the V-shaped underbust band, I used the matte side of the silk charmeuse to give the bodice a bit more interest.  I just love how this turned out.

Silk PJ Set

So… due to the fact that I feared that this silk camisole might not quite fit her yet I went and made her a second one of a luscious eggplant purple knit fabric, too.

Second Pajama Set:

Purple knit pj set

Perhaps I went knit fabric shopping the very next day after I made my Renfrew with Meg & Michelle, my first fabric expedition specifically for knit fabric.  I found lots of remnants that were all wonderful and reasonably priced.  After finding a few remnants of the same fabric I knew I could combine them for a knit set for my mom.  I snagged this purple and also a baby bluish-mint color.

Sneaky & stealthy, I went to my mom’s to prewash my fabric.  She was downstairs at the time and commented on how pretty the purple was.  Not knowing my ulterior motive, besides clean clothes, she had unwittingly picked out her own fabric for her pajama set.

I have no idea what kind of fabric knit this is, terry maybe?  It looks like jersey on the right side but has lots of small loopy loops on the wrong side.

I used exactly the same pattern for the camisole and tap shorts with just a few mods.

On the camisole underbust seam, I added clear elastic for light seam stabilization.  I finished all of the hems with steam-a-seam to hold it all in place, then I went and did a zig-zag top stitching finish.  And I finished all of the seam allowances with serging even though the fabric wasn’t fray prone, I wanted it to look nice and ‘finished’.

Inside of Knit Camisole

*Sorry they’re so dark*

On this knit version, the bust cups were gaping at the top sides, so I had to go back and take in that area by 1″ on both sides.

For the shorts, I used a 1″ wide cotton elastic for comfort and I created a separate waistband piece for the casing, instead of folding down the short top waist and loosing length.

This is a closer picture of the true color of the PJ purple knit set.  This is a tiny bit brighter than in real life, but it’s closer than the dark images from above.

Purple Knit Camisole

 

I really tried to set the set up on my dress form, but you can see it looks really frumpy.  :(

Mom's Knit PJ Set

But, it fits my mom perfectly, hugging in all of the right places.  :)

My mom unfortunately did end up seeing these pre-fininshed, since I had to have her try on the camisoles once more to test the strap length and also the shorts for the elastic waistband sizing.  I got this set done just in time for a trip to California my mom is currently on.

Perhaps I should have mentioned this in the beginning… But this whole project precipitated from the fact that large-bust gals (namely, my mom) have a really hard time finding pretty camisoles that actually fit like they’re supposed to.  She was bemoaning this fact one time too many- and I’m like hey, I sew…  So this became the perfect mother’s day gift idea.

It took some doing as this was the first time I’ve actually sewn for another other than myself.  I’m a standard 34b, so I never have to do a sba or fba.  (Don’t envy me yet, since I do have a whole host of other fit adjustments I regularly make).  My mom is NOT a 34b, but more in the 38-40 realm with a DD or DDD.  So yeah, I have NO experience with that.  I had to adjust the fit quite a lot, but I just worked the way I normally do with making a muslin first then assessing.  I didn’t do any research but tried to come up with my own creative way to address the “support” structure of a camisole that is not supposed to have any support.  I think I did okay, but only time will tell with the silk charmeuse version.  The knit version I’m not worried about at all since it is very forgiving, being a knit fabric.  (I just stuck to a more structured knit for hers to provide a bit more support.)

All I can say is, my mom was very excited and happy to receive her finished, well fitting sets of pajamas in time for her vacation.  :)  I bet she’ll be asking for a new set of these every birthday & Christmas & Mother’s day from now on, too.  heh

  1. Lauren / Oct 3 2014

    Both of these are BEAUTIFUL – especially that silk chaurmeuse set (*drool*). Your mom is so lucky and I can just imagine how stunning both of these sets look on her :)

    • Liz / Oct 3 2014

      I know! I don’t have anything as nice, either. I’m going to have to remedy that soon – but winter isn’t the best time of year to be wearing silk charmeuse either… Perhaps come springtime. I have the prettiest pale blue in my stash that I’ve been saving to make a set of my own.

  2. Michelle / Oct 3 2014

    Liz, these are amazing! The silk set you made looks super, duper swanky. I bet it feels incredible against her skin too! I’m sure your mom thinks that these were well worth the wait!

    • Liz / Oct 3 2014

      Aww yeah, she was really happy (practically giddy when trying them on). :) I ironed them & gift-wrapped them all up in a box with pretty tissue paper when I gave them to her officially.

  3. K-Line / Oct 3 2014

    What gorgeous work! I’m impressed if that stabilizing tape actually keeps things perky. I sense it wouldn’t be adequate for me, but then some breasts are more self-supporting than others :-) I love both versions…

    • Liz / Oct 8 2014

      Hmm… Well I wouldn’t say it keeps things perky. Lets say the underbust area is snug (but comfortable) and isn’t going anywhere so it does end up helping to support the gals.

      My mom’s B’s (she wouldn’t like me talking about her B’s online so not saying the word) are not self supporting in any way.

  4. Olga / Oct 3 2014

    This looks so wonderful and carefully finished. I think your mother is really thrilled with it. My mother has always been on a heavier side (yes the DDD while I am a modest B) and it is incredibly difficult for her to find something not just practical but beautiful nicely fitting and supporting. Thank you for sharing this wonderful project.

    • Liz / Oct 8 2014

      Happy to help Olga. My mom and me are about the same as you and your mom with the bust differences. It is hard for larger gals to have pretty delicates to wear…

  5. Siri / Oct 4 2014

    Both sets looks lovely and glammy! Your tiny hems are really impressive, I fear slippery fabrics like the devil. Well done!

    • Liz / Oct 8 2014

      All I have to say is “Spray Starch”. :)

  6. Annabelle / Oct 4 2014

    Liz, you are so generous to make these sets for your mom, what a lucky gal she is! I’ve never been particularly drawn to Colette’s Cinnamon, but upon seeing this set I have to reconsider. Oh my goodness, is it ever lovely. What you did with the lace accents on the tap shorts is also beautiful. I’ve really been inspired by a lot of your sewing lately, and must admit that pattern stash has grown rather rapidly now that you have been posting more often! I’m also on the hunt for beautiful fabrics :)

    • Liz / Oct 8 2014

      Lol. Sorry to make you grow your pattern stash – sorry but not sorry. :)

      It actually feels really good picking up my pace with sewing. I’m doing all sorts of good sewing – meaning I’m using those stash fabrics I’ve always made to make in “X pattern” but just never got around to. I’m sure that will change soon as I splurged on some new fabric in NYC. But it does feel good to get my ideas out as a finished project.

  7. Marie / Oct 4 2014

    What thoughtful and luxurious gifts, your mum’s a lucky lady!!!

  8. Liz / Oct 7 2014

    I can totally relate to your mum’s woes – I can never fit into that style of camisole so just wear a knit singlet – mmm sexy :) She must be so happy to finally have a set that not only fits, but looks great, and then the added bonus of a second set of knit pjs! Nice job!!

    • Liz / Oct 8 2014

      Thanks Lizzie. :)

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