Summer Jams

Thanks to general encouragement (especially KK of Magpie Logbook!), I finally sewed myself some fresh summer pajamas.

The pattern is Lisette for Butterick, B6296, and I just noticed it’s sold in the category “Family Sleepwear” which also includes B6338. Begging the question, why didn’t I sew frillybum sleep panniers for the whole family instead?! Oh well. Maybe next time!

My paper copy was in the higher size range, which was necessary for my downstairs, but a little too roomy for my upstairs. The dilemma of the cross-sized! I sewed a 14 top and a 16 bottom. The shirt is exaggerated by design and sewed up easy as pie. The shorts weren’t complicated, but there’s not quite enough vertical space in the back. Two extra inches, one added to the top of the back rise and one to the curved part of the seat seam, would be welcome.

The shorts are wearable as is, but if you’ve been sitting on this pattern (seat pun) and you have a bit of a bum, you might want to add volume. Also, the back yoke is narrowest at center back and is cut on the fold. Odd! Or to put it politely, unique!

By the way, I deeply dislike threading elastic into a waistband. It may technically take less time than sewing a fly, but each minute stings like poison because I hate it, and the elastic twists, and I untwist it, and then it twists again, and I hate it. After an estimated four thousand hours, I finally got the elastic lying flat and stitched a line through the center so it could never twist again. Grrr. Comfy though!

The pocket bags are surprisingly generous – they end about an inch and a half above the hem of the shorts. Next time I would consider trapping them in the cuffs so they can’t flap. I love using cuffs to finish, by the way. It conceals so many raw edges and has a nice weight. Everything else is French seamed because she’s (me’s) worth it.

I’m a little worried that these look like formal radiology scrubs, nice finishing and all. Hopefully the frilly little buttons and the piping help prevent that.

Self-fabric flat piping is sort of the Men In Black: International of piping. Maybe nobody worked that hard on it, but it stills seems like unnecessary effort for something pretty hard to see. Sewing it was good low-stakes practice, though! It’s slightly uneven but even I have trouble spotting that. Originally I planned on a ditsy floral contrast fabric but I eventually opted for monotone, both because it aligned with a traditional masculine aesthetic, aaand because I had a big ol’ free piece of scrap fabric. I still do, actually. This took remarkably little piping. I used straight grain pieces on the shorts legs and bias-cut everywhere else.

The collar directions are basically identical to these from the true indie sew-alike, CC Carolyn pajamas, including the part where you kind of fade the piping into the front + facing seam right before it meets the collar. I was surprised at how easy and tidy this was. And though I was initially hesitant to snip into the collar, it must be snipped in order to finish the center section of the seam allowance in a different direction than the ends, and it actually feels secure! Yay!

I sewed the longer version of the shirt and it was a little bit ghastly. Way too long, it covered the majority of the shorts. Instead of redoing the hem properly, I folded it up as much I could and popped another line of sewing on top. I was limited by the preexisting button hole, but I still got a luxurious deep hem (with a secret bonus hem inside).

Speaking of luxury, I bought the fancy buttons to finish this because I wanted a discreet feminine touch (that sounds like code for something, but it’s not) to balance the overt masculine influence. These bitsy enamel sweethearts were over a dollar EACH. I sewed them on FIRMLY.

Unfortunately, my buttonholes were a little too big and the shirt kept unbuttoning itself. I wore it a couple times that way before deciding that spending five annoying minutes to fix the problem represented better value than the five annoyed seconds per button over and over, forever, and I hand-sewed the buttonholes a scotch smaller.

I think this fabric might be Oxford cotton. It has no wrong side and a tiny moiré diamond pattern made from a darker blue and a white thread. It’s sturdy enough that I skipped interfacing the facings, and it holds its shape well enough that it’s still cool on hot days, no clinging. The cotton had just enough body to make gathering the sleeve cap ease kind of a pain, but it’s pajamas, so let it pucker!

I have slept in these, but they’re at their best as lazy daytime PJs. They make me want to linger in bed with a locked room mystery and a stack of hot buttered toast like an idle Woosterian aunt-botherer. These pajamas mean business! And my business is pajamas!

Good night & good luck!

Pattern: B6296

Pattern cost: $1.00

Size: 14 top, 16 bottom

Supplies: 3 yards of cotton (Oxford?), $14.97, Sewfisticated; buttons, $6.64, Gather Here; thread, $2.39, Michael’s

Total time: 11.75 hours

Total cost: $25.00

8 thoughts on “Summer Jams

  1. I learned how to put elastic in pajamas after taking apart some RTW – line up the elastic edge with the raw waistband edge in the wrong side of the fabric, zig zag or serge over the elastic edge and raw edge (yikes I’m always afraid I’m going to cut the elastic with the serger knives), flip that down so the elastic is encased, then sew again at the not-raw-now-edge using the stitch of your choice (I usually use a straight stitch). Jimjams wear out for me fast enough that it’s worth it to have a super-fast way to install elastic.

    I hope this helps ease your pain. 🙂

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    1. I’ll have to try this next time! I just threaded some elastic for another project and used a much nicer and heavier elastic, and that was also much less frustrating. This technique sounds quick and intriguing. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

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  2. Those are some nice summer pjs. We have a rule around here that we can’t have lunch until we change out of our pjs, but those look like an excellent summer lunch outfit if you ask me. I think we’d have to keep B6338 for a late dinner??

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    1. HA! Of course, when is B6338 NOT appropriate? A trans-seasonal wardrobe staple! I hope somebody is super excited to find and use that pattern, it just made me laugh to see which category it was sold under.

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  3. I love it!!!! Do you feel fancy or what? Love the ~~~ fancy ~~~ buttons! I’ve never thought to do self-piping but it looks really good. Also, 100% with you on the threading elastic. 80% of my sewing related meltdowns have to do with elastic

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    1. Which is so weird because elastic is considered “beginner friendly”, but it stretches and pings and rolls all over the place! Elastic! *shakes fist*

      I DO feel fancy. I’m always hoping to be surprised in my pajamas now (by whom? unclear) so I can play it off all casual, “What can I say, I sleep classy!”.

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    1. Thank you! The hydrangeas are so happy and fluffy this year – one year, one got so heavy with blossoms it actually uprooted itself (but our landlady put it back on its feet and it didn’t seem to mind at all, haha).

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