OK. I’ll admit that pajamas haven’t been in my wardrobe for a long time. I have but one pair of flannel bottoms that I pull out in the dead of winter. Other than that, it’s a bathrobe and my underwear. Hardly glamorous, and not for public viewing!
Now that we’re all spending a LOT more time at home (and who knows for how long), some real “staying at home” clothes just might be the next big thing. For me, the seed got planted by a post from @bradschultzdesigns on Instagram. I just love his stories and the amazingly fun clothes he makes. Anyway, he had a post about the dismal state of his “Covid isolation wear”, and it made me take a long hard look at mine. Mine, which is non-existent. I was making a jacket for a nephew’s wedding. Yes, that navy seersucker one. But when the wedding got cancelled (Thankfully!) I was adrift; and the jacket still needs buttons and buttonholes. But I have fallen so far off that bandwagon.
Why not make real grownup men’s pajamas!
I picked up this vintage McCall’s pattern on Etsy. It’s from 1941. How amazing that something so fragile could last almost 80 years! Some of the pattern pieces have been repaired with old cellophane tape, and unfortunately someone has blacked out the sewist’s name on the front. I know I’m not the only one who finds those little features endearing. I’ve since traced the whole thing off onto Swedish Tracing Paper so that it can remain intact for another 80 years!
Vintage instructions. This is it, folks. A single sheet is all you get! The sewist (I think it’s safe to say a woman) in 1941 was expected to know a lot, and most likely did. Buttonholes would all be made by hand, and all the seams are flat felled. The sewist of this pattern was pretty savvy. I could tell by the way the pattern pieces were cut out that she had used the selvage along the fly, the waistband, cuffs and pocket band.
Here are some of the details. First…. the fabric. This is an Italian cotton shirting from Gorgeous Fabrics. If you could only feel how silky and cool it is. I feel like I’m wearing a Creamsicle! This pattern has such great details. A concealed button fly that was so easy to make. Dramatic cuffs that are worthy of Lord Grantham. A real sewn on waistband with double front pleats on the trousers. Yes, please! I had plenty of fabric left over so I made wide cuffs on the trouser bottoms as well. I love the extra weight they add. I did French seams for the legs, and bound the fly and back seam with a satin binding made with one of my Clovers bias gizmos.
Pattern adjustments — I did a sloped shoulder adjustment (for pajamas? I know, but that’s how I roll!). I took 2″ out of the trouser rise, 2″ out of the trouser length, and shortened the sleeves by 1″.
The facing is finished off with a satin Hong Kong finish. It adds less bulk than traditional binding and is SO easy. My piping is less than perfect, definitely a “practice makes perfect” technique which I want to work on.
Suddenly I was on a roll….Same pattern with both a shorter top and bottom. I also rounded the collar and lapel to make the piping a little more manageable. Sooner or later we’re going to have some sultry Summer weather here in Maine, so this set has ZERO interfacing to keep them as light as possible. Again, fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.
In case you missed my Instagram post…..Some parting shots in my best David Gandy (the pajama supermodel for Dolce and Gabbana) poses. Enjoy and laugh!
Can clothes be a life changer? Lifestyle changer? I’m beginning to think so, because I can’t wait to get into my new “stay at home wear” at the end of the day. It’s become a kind of treat that I give myself. Maybe there’s some in your future? I highly recommend it.
As always I appreciate all the support I get from the sewing community. Please stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.