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April 2

Sewing Without a Plan & The Silk Pajama Set

This past fall & winter, I’ve been a sewing renegade; I’ve been sewing without a plan.  I generally like to make lists and sew what I feel I need in my wardrobe – there’s nothing better than checking off items in a list, ya know?!  But I did quite the opposite in this past winter & I LOVED it!

I’ve had a few sewing projects that I’ve always wanted to make in the back of my mind, but never got around to doing them.  Something practical, or needed, or a new pattern came out to distract me and I just never gotten around to doing making those original garments up.  This winter I decided – what the heck – why not just do it?  So I did.  :)

One of these projects was a kimono robe that I already shared with you in September.  The second of these projects was pajama set – a silk charmeuse 40’s pajama set, to be exact!

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

As you can see, I took these photos quite a while ago as I had long, long blonde hair still.

I bought this New York 1028 pattern on etsy shortly before moving into my house.  It never got officially packed up – which made it easy to find and even easier to get swayed to make this up.

New York 1028 Pattern

Pajamas & lounge wear has always been on my to-do list but why sew pajamas that no one will see when you could make a cute dress to wear out?!  Without my sewing list to reference, I felt free to sew some of these more “novelty” type items.  Nothing I need but things I’ve always wanted.  Let me tell you… I was so happy whenever I sat down at my machine to stitch these puppies up.

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

I maaaay have been inspired by Miss Phryne Fisher of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries when I paired this menswear charmeuse fabric with my pajama pattern.  :D  It’s a brown and marbled grey square pattern – kinda reminds me of dominoes.  Whenever I see this fabric, it makes me think of a ‘gents smoking jacket or bathrobe.  lol

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

I’ve had this charmeuse fabric in my stash for at least a year.  I found it at my local fabric store and I bought juuuust enough to make the set.  I had to piece together the sash and had to cut a few pieces on the  cross grain to make it all fit.  Lets just say – it’s lucky I’m so short otherwise I would have needed more fabric.

I had the hardest time cutting this fabric out on the grainline.  Not because it’s silk charmuse (but that was tricky in itself) but because the squares aren’t printed quite square like, more like some squares, some stretched out diamondy-squares.  I wanted to be on grain, but also match the squares on the trousers and I had quite a tricky time with it.

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

You can see the seam on the side of the trousers is not quite in line – but it was the best I could do given the wonky squares…

All seams were sewn with french seams and I used silk organza as a sew-in interfacing on the waistband and the button band area, and collar.  The organza gave the silk charmeuse the perfect crispness and stabilization for these tricky areas, while allowing the charmeuse to still be soft and silky.

Of course I made a muslin of the bodice portion of the pajama set – but I underestimated my narrow shoulders & the 40’s wide shoulder silhouette.  I stitched the sleeves on and serged those seams oh so narrow and then tried on my top.  The sleeves looked like they were falling off my shoulders!  This was a *I wanna cry now* moment because I can’t unpick this.

Shoulder Gather Detail

I’m very pleased with myself in my solution and I actually think it adds to the charm of the pajama top.  I added in several rows of basting lines right at the shoulder edge (on the front and back bodice) and made a little smocked area just to pull in the shoulders – but no where else.  It worked like a charm and the shoulders fit perfectly and it transitions to the bust nicely too.

Shoulder Gather Detail

Besides being a little rough on the inside, it actually looks like a design feature. (Inside, back neckline area with collar up top and sleeve to the left.)

Shoulder Gather Detail

I think my favorite part of this pajama set is the long, swishy peplum.  I’m almost certain it makes me look uber short, especially paired with the wide legged trouser bottoms, but I love it so.

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

Speaking of trouser bottoms…

I made a muslin of these too (because I’m crazy like that).  But I was glad I did, like always.

When I tried the trousers on for the first time they were hideous.  I was showing Felix all of the adjustments I’d have to make and they looked like rubbish.  Then…. I realized I had them on backwards.  *Facepalm*

They fit much better when I had them on properly, but I had to take in the the tucks a bit as it felt too loose.

Yet… when I stitched up my silk charmeuse set, I had to unpick my tucks and put them back to the original position.  Unfortunately all the previous stitching lines are visible in the silk charmeuse, but luckily I’m the only one who will ever see it, plus the peplum covers it up anyhow.

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

After making this set up, I meant to make another one in a flannel, with long sleeves but I never got around to it.  But this is my go-to pattern now, anytime I feel like making some more pajamas.

The one downside is that I really can’t wear this set much at my house.  (These pics were taken at my mom’s house.)  Besides having a cold winter, my house is just really dusty from construction and I don’t trust myself enough to not snag them on something sharp.

Silk Charmeuse Pajama

But they always get packed whenever I go on a trip and get lots of wear that way.

P.S.  It’s cranberry juice. hehe

  1. Faye Lewis / Apr 2 2015

    GORGEOUS!

  2. Qui / Apr 2 2015

    beautiful set Liz, you look so elegant! And great fix on the shoulders–I figured it was just an interesting shoulder detail. Good idea :)

  3. Bonnie Brannon / Apr 2 2015

    Charming. CHARming! What a challenge – and your brainiac smocking adjustment is a Significant improvement on the original pattern – I am sooo happy for you. Your problem-solving spirit is a joy to follow as you grow in expertise across such a wide variety of skill sets. The photos taken in the warm, inviting, and elegant ambiance of your Mother’s home are lovely – and I suspect that Felix’s talent is responsible, once again. I look forward to seeing your interpretation of the pattern in a fabric you’ll look forward to wearing while cuddling up with a Georgette Heyer or Clara Benson mystery on a cold Chicago winter night :)

  4. Annabelle / Apr 2 2015

    I love your pictures better than the pattern art! I think that making the top and bottom out of the same fabric really helps with that (which also helps you appear taller – contrasting fabrics would have cut you in half at an awkward spot, but as sewn – you look amazing).

    I’ve been wanting to make the perfect pair of vintage pajamas, and I’ve fallen in love with Simplicity S618 (thanks to Anna at A Few Threads Loose). Unfortunately, I passed up the chance to buy the pattern at a good price a little over 2 years ago – I was mid move and life just felt hectic so I couldn’t commit. Oh boy, do I regret that now.

    I can’t wait to see what else you have been sewing over the past few moths!

  5. Lara Gaudry / Apr 2 2015

    Lovely PJ’s, and nice save with the shoulders!

  6. Begum / Apr 2 2015

    It’s lovely and what a clever solution with the shoulders!

  7. PinhouseP / Apr 2 2015

    That is the most glamorous pyjama set I’ve seen in a long time! Just marvellous fabric :) I am hanging on to a glorious 40s pj pattern, just waiting for the perfect fabric.It’s the hardest part :D

  8. Sarah / Apr 2 2015

    OMGoodness, these are completely glorious! I love the shape, the colour, and the pattern. Phyrne would be very jealous!

  9. Evie / Apr 2 2015

    Those are amazing!! The fabric is wonderful, and I really like your solution for the shoulders. It’s a cute, and very era appropriate detail. I have some flannel 1940s pjs I made myself a year or two ago and I love them! I’ll have to make myself some fancy silk ones sometime, too.

  10. paisleyapron / Apr 2 2015

    That is a very smart fix at the shoulders. And silk charmeuse? Absolute best for PJ’s.

  11. Michelle / Apr 3 2015

    Liz, you look absolutely GLAMOROUS in your silk pjs! I do hope you will be bringing these to Paris! The fix at the should is brilliant. It looks absolutely intentional. And, it give the silk a bit more body in the drape than it would have had without!

  12. These are beautiful! What a brilliant idea to fix the shoulder. I think I like it better that way!

  13. Jenn / Apr 3 2015

    Super cute! Very Phryne like :)

  14. Nicole / Apr 4 2015

    What a beautiful set you have sewn! You look so elegant in these and the smocked details are a really great idea. Such wonderful hairdo, I wish I could have such long hair.

  15. SC / Apr 5 2015

    This set is lovely! Your fix on the shoulder seam is so clever too — just genius. I always see such cool patterns for pajamas and pretty loungewear, but sadly…I’m a tshirt and boxer-shorts kind of girl. Maybe I need to make some silk boxer shorts, heh. :)

  16. bonita / Apr 9 2015

    Ooo, you’re a rebel Liz! Well, I must say though the payout is worth it! That really is a stunning set of lounge wear, and I really, really, like it. Like yourself I tend not to sew things like pjs because I need more dresses always and who’s going to see them anyway??

    But really, I do want to make some nice lounge wear like these, the fabric looks so comfortable yet chic at the same time. Such a winner! ?

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  17. Elena Knits / Apr 15 2015

    I really needed to make pajamas but never got around to make anything more than just the bottoms. I was looking for a pattern exactly like yours. I need a long pajama top because unless it’s not really cold, I sleep without pajama bottoms.

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