This post could alternatively be titled: “Thou shalt not question the great Heather Lou.”
I know I’m late to the party with this pattern, but that’s nothing new for me! Although I suspect most of you have already sewn up the Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas and/or have seen a bunch of gorgeous versions online, I hope you’ll indulge me as I work my way through this pattern, one muslin at a time. Now, I know this pattern is named after the one and only Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn – a ridiculously talented sewist by all definitions – but ever since it came out, I couldn’t help but think that it would be cool to sew up a pattern with my name on it. If I tell myself that it was actually named after me, well, that’ll just be my own little delusion. 🙂
(By the way, thank you for the comments on my last post about my blog photos. I think I actually managed to relax in the photo above!)
Now, about not questioning Heather. The garment you see here is a muslin of the Carolyn shirt, size 10, with no alterations other than adding 1 inch to the bottom of the sleeves. That’s right folks, no alterations. Well, ok, that’s not actually true. What you see here is a muslin in which I preemptively made a bunch of alterations and then reversed them all, realizing that Heather’s original draft actually fit me pretty well. Including the shoulders.
I’ll let you catch your breath while you process that statement.
The two major alterations that I had originally made were (1) a 5/8 inch broad back adjustment, and (2) adding 1 inch in length between the shoulder and bust (which lowers the armholes) and adjusting the sleeve cap to fit. Since my shoulders are wide and high, these are typical adjustments for me. BUT. Apparently Heather already has me all figured out, because the fit is pretty darn good right out of the “envelope” (PDF). Heather Lou, I am not worthy!!
To be fair, the fit is a little tight across the upper back when I move my arms forward, and I’m debating adding my broad back adjustment back in, only maybe reducing it to 1/4 inch instead of 5/8. The shirt is comfortable in this cotton muslin fabric, which has a little bit of natural stretch to it, but I’m wondering if it may be too tight in a flannel with little or no stretch. I also wonder how much of this has to do with the ease built into this loose-fitting pattern – would Heather’s cut fit me as well in a more close-fitting style?
I spent a lot of time this weekend staring at the armholes on this shirt and went through three or four iterations before coming back to the original draft. Altering the shoulder area is so complicated! There is so much to learn about armscye shape, armscye depth, and sleeve cap shaping. I think I gained some new-to-me insight and might do a separate post on this if I get some time after work this week.
(And yes, the sleeve above is wrong side out because I cut two left sleeves. Thankfully it’s just a muslin!)
The armholes in their current version look ok, I think. I also think there is room for improvement, but I’m going to pick my battles on this one, since it’s just a pajama top. Overall, the shirt is pretty baggy from the side, and the bottom tends to tug on my pants in the back. I feel like my rear end is sticking out too much for this pattern – do I have a J. Lo booty and never knew it?? 🙂
Anyway, I’m glad I took the time to make a muslin of this shirt. Any woven top, especially one with sleeves, really needs to be tested out on my Amazon woman shoulders. The great fit bodes well for the pants part of this pattern, and now I’m curious to try Heather’s other patterns to see if the trend will continue. Knowing how infrequently I purchase new patterns, that might take a while!
If you have any suggestions for improving the fit of this shirt, please chime in. The benefits of multiple pairs of eyes are always helpful.
Now that my summer wardrobe seems to be in good working order, I’m excited to make myself a pair of fancy pajamas!