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.
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?
Since this has been a long time coming, how about a recap on this old project.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. :)
Since my mom has a much larger chest than I do, sewing this camisole was all new for me. FBA whaaaat???
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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’.
*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.
I really tried to set the set up on my dress form, but you can see it looks really frumpy. :(
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