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

So long, short dress

I don’t have so many clothes that I need to swap them seasonally, but a couple times a year I take a Long Hard Look at what’s around and work out what I’m missing, and more importantly, what I’m not using, and why. My size is slowly but surely growing, and I’m comfortable and happy with this; I’m not hoarding anything for a mythical smaller version of myself and I have no trouble getting rid of clothes that don’t fit. But what about clothes that kinda, sorta fit? That would fit if I spent a couple hours on them? Those are tricky.

My Lisette Itinerary dress (OOP) is a particular challenge, because while I just realized I haven’t worn it in over a year, in some ways I’m still pretty pleased with it!

Mainly I’m proud of the hand embroidery, which isn’t perfect, but it took ages.

The sewing is sashiko-inspired – the color palette, the design – but I think it’s probably not sashiko, because I didn’t stack multiple stitches on a long needle. It’s just a regular old backstitch throughout. I’m missing a lot of my usual data on this dress – time, money, even size unfortunately – because I made it 5 or 6 years ago.  But I do remember doing the embroidery for hours and hours by the glow of a British murder series. The serial killer had a thirtyish white brunette wife, a thirtyish white brunette mistress, and he only murdered thirtyish white brunettes. I barely looked up while sewing and when I could I had no idea what was happening to whom. It was a confusing show.

This Lisette dress has fully lined back and front yokes, making it an ideal candidate for embroidery. Both shoulders are standard seams, since I omitted the shoulder placket. I gambled on fitting my head through the head-hole without the closure, and it does. I have to take my glasses off first, though.

The obi-style cloth belt is also self-lined. And I suspect, a smidge small for me! It doesn’t quite meet in the back. I sized my motif to fit the finished belt measurements.

It balances the yokes, IMO! Also, somehow the dress looks even shorter without it?!

Oh yes, this is short. I’m wearing pajama boxers underneath (which I actually always did, even when this was getting regular use, an example of the healthy kind of paranoia).  

My version is more A-line than designed. In the misty past I forgot to grade out from my bust size, which meant it was way too snug on my hips. Instead of buying more fabric and re-cutting the body, I inserted two triangular gussets from the leftovers, widening from about 1” at the underarm to 7” at the hem. They’re invisible from the back of a trotting horse, as Ramona Quimby’s father’s grandmother would say.

There’s not one raw edge inside this bag. The side/gusset seams are flat-felled, the yokes are self-lined, and the armscyes are bound with the same bias tape I used to hem (every ¼” counted).  

Even though it’s old, I’m proud of the workmanship. And I love this fabric! It’s medium-heavy cotton with a ton of texture and next to no wrinkling. And I think the embroidery still looks cool (and is aging shockingly well). Bad news: it’s too small in the biceps now, the armscyes are too high for my comfort, and the upper chest feels a little binding.

It gives me wedgies in my armpits.

So that’s a no.

If I remove the sleeves and lower the armscyes, that could fix all three problems in one swoop. Or I could shorten the sleeves and use the cut-off fabric to add further gussets in the underarms. If I made it much shorter (and a shirt, obvs) I might even have enough ‘new’ fabric to make the sleeves interesting in some way. This would probably represent a few hours work, and it would make the result of many more hours of work wearable.

But at the end of the day, this dress ain’t me anymore, you know? And I don’t see myself reaching for it as a shirt either. So I think I’ll just feel proud, and move on.

One more for the rehoming pile!

Happy Juneteenth, everybody!

Pattern: Lisette Itinerary for Simplicity 2060, view B

Pattern cost: ? pre-spreadsheet

Size: ? pre-spreadsheet – probably a 14, with modifications

Supplies: indigo cotton, white topstitching thread

Total time: ? sorry, this is

Total cost: ? worse than useless