It should be no surprise to anyone reading this blog that I enjoy sewing the same pattern over and over (and over…) again. What can I say? Once I go through the trouble of tracing, muslining, and adjusting a pattern, I like to get as much mileage out of it as possible. Plus, there’s just something so satisfying about starting a project without all the fuss of fitting – just cut and sew.
So, here I present to you yet another pair of Carolyn Pajamas, this time in short sleeves and shorts for the upcoming spring and summer months. The main fabric is a railroad denim that had been marinating in my mini-stash for over a year. Since I don’t stash fabric, the fact that this piece had not yet been put to good use was driving me crazy. It was one of only 2 uncut pieces of fabric that I currently own, and it was long overdue for its time at the sewing machine. I had originally bought it to make a pair of pants, but I recently changed my mind and decided to use it for PJs instead. Done and done!
Pattern: Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files, size 10.
Fabric: This project was a total stash-buster! The main fabric is Robert Kaufman railroad denim, with contrasts of pink Oxford shirting leftover from my Flamingo Archer and printed floral voile from my Floral Voile Archer. All 100% cotton. All purchased in person at Gather Here, my local independent fabric store (which just moved to an awesome new location!). I just barely squeezed the shirt and shorts out of 2 yards of the denim, excluding the contrast cuffs and pocket which would NOT have fit!
Modifications: Same as my flannel Carolyn PJ set: added a 3/8 inch broad shoulder adjustment to the front and back of the shirt, and added 1/2 inch to each side seam at the hips, tapering to nothing at the waist. The only modification I made to the shorts was the addition of flat piping along the pocket openings, as in my recent flannel PJ shorts.
Level of crafty satisfaction: This set is ok, nothing too exciting. The denim has a little less mechanical stretch (really, almost zero) than the flannel I used in my previous Carolyn PJ shirt, so I suspect the shirt will be just slightly tight across the upper back once I start wearing it (still a little too cold for short sleeves here). I should really add a larger (maybe 5/8 inch) broad shoulder adjustment if I make this top again. I like the color combination in this set though, and I think it’s fun to have another matching PJ set. 🙂
In the photos below I hiked up the shirt a bit so you can see how the shorts fit. And no, I didn’t notice that my lapel was sticking up until I looked at these photos, oops! The lapels do have a tendency to stick out when the shirt is buttoned, although this may be because I sewed down the facings (more on that below).
Construction Details: Shirt
The trickiest part of this pattern is the collar and lapel area, which is to be expected. I’ve found that it takes quite a bit of fiddling, patience, and precision to achieve a smooth finish here, but it’s totally do-able if you take your time. Accurate 5/8 inch seam allowances are your friend here.
I’m happy with my results and enjoy gazing at this lapel corner and topstitching. I didn’t include piping around the lapels in this set, which definitely made things easier to manage.
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see where I stitched the facings down.
I just serged the edges of the facings and stitched them in place, nothing fancy. On my flannel PJ shirt, I noticed that the facings got all scrunched up and crappy-looking after washing and drying the shirt, and it was driving me crazy! I hate facings flapping around like that. Stitching them down does affect the ability of the lapels to fold outward nicely, but I bet if I had pinned the facings in place while the lapels were folded, it would have made a difference. A dressform would have come in handy here, but alas, I don’t have one. Anyway, I care more about the facings staying in place than a less than perfect lapel roll line. After all, they’re just pajamas.
The buttons I used were some craptastic, cheapo white buttons that I had leftover from a craft project from a bygone era. Again, I was trying to use all stash items for this project. I probably wouldn’t have used them for a real shirt, but I deemed them ok for PJs. The buttons are hand sewn, as usual. For the pocket, I used a double layer of the voile, folded at the top edge, to give the fabric a little more opacity.
Construction Details: Shorts
There isn’t much else to say about these shorts after my recent flannel pair. Interestingly though, I used a different type of 1.5 inch elastic for this pair, and I noticed that I used a substantially different length to get a similar fit. Just like fabric, all elastics are different! I always try on the garment before sewing the elastic ends together, just to be sure.
I love the little bit of floral contrast along the pocket openings. To give the voile a little more substance, I added some fusible interfacing before folding the strip in half and sewing it in. There’s also a strip of interfacing along the bias-cut edge of the pocket opening.
I used the same elastic insertion technique that I mentioned last time, too. You can see in the photo above how I zig-zagged the opening closed at the center back waistband seam. (You can also see how my machine skipped a stitch, oops!)
And here’s how much bobbin thread I had leftover at the end of this project – I just made it!! I started with a full bobbin at the beginning of this PJ set, so I can report that sewing this set takes exactly 1 bobbin worth of thread.
For those of you keeping track, I’ve sewn 8 separate garments using this pattern, including muslins: 3 shirts, 3 pants, and 2 shorts. I think that’s enough! I don’t plan on using this pattern again anytime soon, but I really like it and will probably return to it for more fun PJ sewing at some point in the future.
Now the question remains: what to sew next? I still have that floral trench coat fabric from my sewcation to cut into… hmmm… 🙂