I bought this fabulous cotton voile from Seasalt at the beginning of the year. It was in the sale and only cost £15 for 3m – I do love a bargain!
Their fabrics are lovely quality and great designs – I’m crossing everything they add some jerseys to their range soon too! When I bought it I thought I’d probably make a summery dress from it, but, as I’ve already got lots of other dresses (and plans for more when the weather warms up), I wanted to go for something a bit different and decided on the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pajamas, as they’re a really classic PJ design and have the option of adding piping, something I haven’t done before.
After checking the size charts and measuring the pattern pieces, I combined quite a few sizes to get a good fit for my curvy shape. I know they’re only PJs, but I still want them to look flattering: The top I made a size 4, but graded to a 6 at the armscye and sleeves, and a 2 at the waist. The trousers are a 10, to accommodate my wide derriere and large thighs, and graded to a 6 from the knee down. I also shortened the trousers by 2.5”.
I had “fun” fitting all the pieces onto 3m of fabric and it was a REALLY tight squeeze (there’s a video clip on my Instagram feed showing just how tight!) – but after a bit of jigging and re-jigging, it all fitted on with millimeters to spare.
I used French seams throughout as this fabric’s very lightweight, so I wanted a bit of extra strength at the seams, plus it looks so much neater on the inside.
I added piping to the pocket edges, as I think it looks really nice – I’m surprised it’s not suggested in the instructions.
Talking of instructions, they were mostly pretty easy to follow. As I mentioned, I hadn’t used piping before, so I followed the tutorial on the Closet Case website and was surprised how straightforward it is, even piping in the round for the cuffs on the sleeves and trousers.
I don’t have a piping foot, but I do have this one, which was perfect and allowed me to get right into the edge of the piping and around the corners easily:
I got slightly confused with the instructions for attaching the notched collar, but there’s another tutorial on the website for this, so I followed that instead. Attaching the facing was quite a fiddle – this is definitely an intermediate pattern – and took a lot of pinning and re-pinning to get it eased into the right place.
The sleeves went in nicely – I like the option of sewing them in flat rather than in the round, as it just makes it that bit easier to work with, especially when using French seams. And I love that feeling of sewing from the cuff all the way along the sleeve, down the side seams and finishing at the hem in one go; it’s rather satisfying!
Once the hem was sewn, the final stage was the buttons. I got a new little tool for Christmas and used it for the first time on these PJs – it’s a chisel and block for cutting the buttonholes and works a treat – so much easier, neater, and less scary than using a seam ripper!
Final notes: There were a couple of small anomalies in the instructions and pattern pieces. The first was the pocket piece for the trousers, which is labelled incorrectly; it’s labelled as V when it should be P and I spent ages hunting for it! (It’s correct on the A4 pattern print out, but not on the A0). The second was the breast pocket, where it says to sew piping to the top edge of the lower pocket J1, when actually the lower pocket is J2. So nothing major, but considering how long this pattern’s be out, I’m surprised these tweaks haven’t been updated.
I think that’s pretty much it. I’ve really enjoyed making these, as it’s taken me several days (thanks to being snowed in!) so they’ve really slowed me down and made me concentrate and learn new skills. My top-stitching and piping isn’t perfect, but then nor am I, so I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out and I can’t wait to head off to the land of nod in them tonight! Here are some photos…