Pajungles

This handsome sonofagun is back and putting my own plain-Jane pajamas to shame! Professor Boyfriend spent most of his twenties wearing variations on mud color, and then one day this wonderfully be-catted fellow just sprang into being and now I’m a peahen. I’m the opposite of complaining!

This is more of a lounge set than strictly pajamas, and it was unplanned. Prof. B.F. picked this sensational leopards-print (as opposed to leopard-print, singular) cotton for a casual summer button-up, but it had been a while since I’d sewn something for him and I couldn’t remember the right yardage, so we got nervous and overbought. After cutting and sewing the shirt I still had about a yard left from the original 2 ¾ yards and I broached the idea of matching shorts.

Backstory, I’ve been hinting about coordinated sets since seeing those made by Emma of Emma’s Atelier (most recently, this one) but Professor Boyfriend wasn’t biting so I pitched these as “cotton sleep shorts”. Prof. B.F. is not a wide guy, but 1 yard of 45” wide fabric wasn’t going to make full-length shorts with all the fixings. I Googled around for free woven boxer patterns but modifying his Jeds pattern seemed easier than printing and assembling an unknown quantity. I was pushing these as pajamas, so it didn’t need a fly opening, and I didn’t have enough fabric for slash pockets, so these were really as simple as could be.

I blended the front pocket into the front leg, and the back yoke into the back leg. I abbreviated both inseams to a 4” finished length and straightened the hem extensions. A quick walking of the seamlines to confirm everything would match, and badda boom, pattern pieces. However, at this point courage failed me and I decided I needed more ease. I retook his measurements and those of the flat pieces; his widest point was 38”, and the pattern was 35”, so I freaked out and added 4” of ease by splitting the front and back legs vertically and adding 1” of width to each.

I now think I measured him wrong, because his commercial pants size is a 34” or 35” waist, and he probably could have wiggled in and out of these without me adding anything. I’m pretty annoyed with myself because I could have used the fabric more efficiently (often a point of pride). I might go back and remove some of that excess, even though that essentially means disassembling 75% of the shorts, just to prove that I can do math.

The waistband is a big old folded rectangle with elastic threaded through it. I learned my lessons from my own PJs and made the casing’s finished width just a smidge larger than necessary. I couldn’t cut it continuously, but I could match the seams with the short’s side seams. I left a bit of each of the short edges of the waistband unsewn so I could attach the whole waistband before adding elastic.

I left this opening on both sides as part of my cunning plan to reach in and untwist the elastic as necessary, but of course this meant the elastic went in without a fuss, so I just had two short seams to hand-sew closed. Which I did…NOT. Hey! It’s ongoingly adjustable!   

The shirt is Professor Boyfriend’s usual short-sleeved Fairfield. When I handed it to him he said “Wow! You pattern-matched across the button placket!” because he is a nice person who pays attention and because DID I EVER. In a stable fabric with a largish repeat like this quilting cotton, it was a straightforward pleasure.

Nothing really to add about this pattern, except that I’ve officially converted to French-seaming the armscyes instead of flat-felling them. I might tweak the sleeve cap next time for a narrower sleeve, but that would be harder to sew. I’ll keep yah posted.

So after this shirt and the matching ‘sleep shorts’ were finished, I convinced Professor Boyfriend to try them on together, and while he originally described them as “very cool pajamas” he might be warming up to the idea of this being an outside-the-house outfit (the shirt has been in public, but the combination hasn’t).  The shorts don’t have any pockets, but I have just enough scrap left to add one bum pocket, and if you can carry your keys you can leave the house, right? I’d want to narrow the legs a bit first to make the bottoms a little less casual, but personally, I think the world is ready. I probably won’t be able to talk him all the way into a romphim, but a set is excellent progress!

And I think he looks meowvelous!

(Forgive me.)

Pattern: Thread Theory Jedediah pants and Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: ??? waist = 38.5″ inches stretched, and M

Supplies: 2.75 yards of Leopard in Jungle cotton, $33.00, Gather Here; buttons, Gather Here, $5.10; thread, elastic from stash

Total time: 2 and 5 hours

Total cost: $38.10

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

Planning 2

I love writing lists. You should see me grocery shop; there’s footnotes.  For sewing, however, I find the process more meditative than practical – I can write “white-button down” on an index card and peacefully release it into the universe, without any pressure to actually sew a white button-down. If white button-down loves me, it will return. But right now I’m going to plan FOR REAL, because I can’t sew, because my sewing machine is in the hands of another!!

Fine, it’s getting a long-overdue tune up. If you live in MA, RI, or CT, and you don’t have a car, I can give you the name + number of my guy. He does pick-up and delivery! I look forward to being ❤ reunited ❤ but in the meantime I’m getting my next few sewing projects in order. You could think of it as an itty-bitty capsule for an August day. Or the ramblings of a woman with no hand to hold foot to press. Whichever!

  1. First, itsa gonna be sleek. Itsa gonna be practical. Itsa gonna be a little bit boring. That’s right, it’s a – black bathing suit!

It’ll be a one-piece based on the Nettie bodysuit, but sleeveless. I think I can fudge the top using a RTW tank for reference, since I’m already really happy with the bum/leg coverage of the bottom. If I use a low front neck/mid-low back, I should be able to climb in and out without requiring crotch snaps. I also plan to use the banded finish without added elastic. This isn’t going to see a ton of vigorous water sports; I just want something classic and basic I can wear once a year for the next 5 – 10 years, which is about how often I go swimming.

I’ve already ordered and received this UV Compressive Tricot from Mood Fabrics. It’s hand-wash only, but I can commit to that once every 12 months. It’s matte, smooth, and has great recovery. Best of all, it’s got 50+ UV protection! Unfortunately it’s also sold out. Mood has other colors and some way more exciting patterns in stock – my personal favorite, these bananas.

But I chose something too basic to get tired of. Like toast.

2. Pajamas. I know, lounging was very April/May. We’re doing collective action now. But I’ve been wearing the heck out of my one pair of Grainline Lakeside PJs, and it’s about time I make another.

My existing pair is super cute, but I sewed them 5 or 6 years ago and my kiester has increased with my wisdom, so I want to size up for breeziest comfort. This is dependent on Gather Here reopening its doors to retail soon – at time of writing, not a guarantee – because I want to choose quilting cotton for these in person. Finally a chance to dip into the shelves of novelty designs! 

I hope to find something graphic and fun, like some Dear Stella and Ruby Star Society designs. Not these precisely, but I’ll know it when I see it!

I might adjust the rise of the shorts (above or below my nice tummy, that is the question). I’m fine with the itty-bitty inseam, though. It’s a perfect hot-day, get-home-from-work, cold-shower, smallest-possible-outfit outfit. (I know underwear is smaller but is it an outfit??!)

3. Swim, sleep…what else can one do in the dog days of summer? Romp, naturally. And for that I’ll need a romper.

One pattern I’m considering is the Salme Playsuit. I already own this, which is handy, because Salme the company is very much no longer with us.

I’ve loved and outgrown one of these already, but looking back at the pattern, it’s got an astonishingly shallow front crotch so I doubt it ever really fit right (I didn’t have any pants-fitting wonkery then). I’d want to adjust it before sewing again. My original version was in olive-green stretch twill and I could totally recreate it with a much better fit, but I’m not fully comfortable wearing short-shorts to work (says the echo of my mother) (she’s not a ghost, but I might be if she finds out I considered professional short-shorts), so I’m not sure this is the best investment of my time/materials. I do want something in the romper family, though – maybe with a wide cropped leg, for work + play.

I’m considering Manchester cottons. They’re light and soft and pretty darn cheap! One candidate is Leaf, another is Marmalade. A wise and wonderful friend pointed out that the word “Marmalade” might be what I find tempting, more than the color, but WWPD (What Would Paddington Do?).

I also love Kaffe Fasset shot cottons but because they have a two-tone glimmer (it’s seriously lush) I’d prefer to see those in person.  Dare I consider Sunflower, though?

There! Three looks for late summer! Depending on when my machine, a.k.a. Swamp Thing, returns to my loving arms, this plan may be delayed or altered. Depending, too, on how & when I can get fabric! Pretty much the only thing that’s guaranteed is the swimsuit, which I could sew on my serger if I absolutely had to (but I’m hoping not to have to). If and when any of this goes from theoretical to theothreadical (NOPE), you’ll see the results here!

Do you have any fun summer plans, on or off your sewing table? 🙂