Are these the best winter pyjamas?? Quite possibly!
Confession time. A few years ago when I started Bornella Fabrics, I was sourcing suppliers and sustainable fabrics and I found this absolute beauty of a double brushed cotton called Fleuron which I couldn't get out of my head. It was everything I love - a bit retro, pink, cozy... the list goes on. I decided not to stock it at the time but I couldn't get it out of my head.
Fast forward 2 years and, you've guessed it, I've bought it for the shop. And as it's confession time, I admit that I stocked it purely so I can make myself the most awesome pyjamas of all time... but it turns out a lot of you also think this fabric is fab so I have no regrets!
So on to the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Core Patterns. Previously I've made the shorts version (View C) for myself and also the long version (View B) for my Mum, both in cotton lawn, so I was well aware that it is an involved make but also enjoyable. And NOTHING beats the feeling of handmade PJs. I can't quite describe it but they feel so special to wear.
My fabric for this set is a double brushed flannel which means it is fuzzy on both the right side and wrong side of the fabric. Perfect loungewear material as it's cozy against the skin, toasty warm, and touchy feely on the outside too. That does mean that it's fairly thick cotton, compared to a cotton lawn or poplin. The only difference I made was to grade the seams so it didn't add too much bulk. And I also omitted the interfacing on the shirt front facing (but included it on the under collar only).
As I'd made this pattern before I cut a straight size 10 for the long trousers and long sleeves as I had been happy with the fit of my short version. Then on to cutting out. I wasn't bothered about pattern matching as it is such a busy fabric, so I just cut out in the most economical way possible. My fabric is 110cm wide so according to the fabric requirements I needed 5m. After cutting out, I probably have a metre left over. It'll obviously be used on another project but irritating that there is so much left over. (Afterwards I remembered I'd had this issue last time too... oh well.)
The pattern calls for 3.2m of piping for View B. I decided to make my own as I wanted it to be brushed cotton. (I thought a regular cotton poplin would look odd against the brushed cotton of the main fabric.) I used the continuous bias binding method, using our plain brushed cotton flannel. I cut a square 45cm x 45cm (approx. 1 fat quarter) to make the binding from. Once I had a continuous strip of binding, I used the piping foot to sew the piping cord along the length of the binding to create the piping. I made the piping 15mm wide - the same as the seam allowance - so that I could match it up to the edge of the pattern piece, when attaching it to the main garment, making life a lot easier. I probably made slightly more than the 3.2m actually required as I ended up with enough to pipe the trouser pockets too.
On to the pyjama construction. As I mentioned before, it is an involved make and not for a beginner - definitely for someone who is a more confident maker. (I would also say there are LOADS of sew-alongs and vlogs on youtube for this pattern showing the tricky bits so it's very doable if you're an enthusiastic beginner and are happy to get stuck in.) The piping adds a layer of difficulty which you can easily omit but for me, the piping is what makes the PJs so special.
I started with the shirt first and piped the pocket. The instructions are fairly basic and not very 'hand-holding'. They definitely assume you have some level of experience. The pocket took forever as I was getting back into the swing of piping and needing to switch from piping foot to regular foot what seemed like every 5 minutes. Also, I'm pretty sure the instructions are incorrect in places and refer to the wrong pattern piece (J1 and J2 are mixed up and it took a while to work that out). The collar is by far the trickiest part of the make, but take your time and go slow and it's really not too bad. The cotton is really stable which helped no end for the collar part. I do remember the collar being trickier in my previous makes, so either I've improved, or the cotton flannel was easier to work with.
Once I'd completed the shirt I moved onto the trousers. These are a quite fitted in the leg, but the elasticated waist is very comfy. I decided to pipe the slash pockets, on suggestion from @cathy_sews, which was a lovely touch. I think I had 1cm of piping left at the end!
My only slight disaster in the whole project was forgetting that I'm short (5'3") and the pyjamas are designed for someone who is taller, at 5'6". Because of the construction of the piped cuffs for both arms and legs, you cannot just 'turn up the hem'. (The hem is made by attaching piping on one side of the rectangular cuff, folding the cuff in half, attaching the piped side to the right side of the fabric. You effectively enclose the seam allowance inside the cuff so there is no hem, so to speak. It's a super neat end result!) The upshot of adding a cuff is that you need to alter the main sleeve or leg pieces to lengthen/shorten. I forgot about this entirely. So when I tried the finished shirt on the arms were a touch too long. Maybe a couple of centimetres so not a disastrous amount and I have decided to stick with it. Luckily I made the shirt before the pants and I got wise to my mistake. I measured my legs BEFORE attaching the trouser cuffs and ended up removing a whopping 6.5cm of length from the trousers. But now they fit like a dream.
So all in all I'm happy as a hibernating bear. And probably what I'm most proud of is making these at the START of autumn so I get a full 6 months of wear of out of them. I am renowned for thinking about a project for a good 6 months and then by the time I start it the season has passed... not this time!! I've already taken them on a trip to Germany to visit family, a trip to my parents and I wear them every night. They're definitely worth the effort!