Closet case files Carolyn pyjamas

New PJ’s! Sewing the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Woohoo I have new PJ’s! Let me tell you these were long overdue because I was too busy sewing clothes I could actually leave the house in! But the time came when my very last pair developed holes in unmentionable places and I could overlook this pattern no longer. I think  Closet Case Files  released the Carolyn Pajamas in early 2015 and the pattern has been on my radar ever since, so it was an obvious choice. I guess you could say I was late to this PJ Party…but better late than never, right?!

I spent a long time trying to decide what fabric to use. Is anybody else also addicted to online fabric browsing?! I can lose myself for hours. Hours, I tell you. I initially fell in love with a gorgeously cute double gauze print but I didn’t want to pay out £16 a metre on a relatively fabric hungry pattern on my first attempt. So I opted instead for this lilac gingham cotton with daisy prints from Minerva Crafts (see here) I’m really glad I did; it was an absolute dream to work with, it’s lovely and soft and it barely creased/crumpled even after a nights sleep.

Carolyn pajamas

This was my first CCF pattern and I was, admittedly, a bit nervous regarding certain elements of the construction, namely the collar and lapels. (See below for construction photos). The pattern also features a faux fly and front facing pockets; none of which I’d come across before. I opted for View A; the most basic option. Given what I needed to learn, throwing piping into the mix felt like an additional skill too far at this stage. I decided against cutting straight into my fabric and instead proceeded to make a toile and practice the techniques involved using old bedsheets.

The pants are a straightforward sew. Turns out sewing a faux fly is a doddle. As were the front facing pockets. You can easily knock a pair of these pants out in one sitting. Which is good as I’ll probably make more pairs of the pants and shorts than I will tops so that I can wear them just with a tee in warmer weather. The recommended 1.5″ wide elastic makes for a very comfortable waistband and I like the way it’s stitched in to prevent it twisting/rolling.

Buoyed by this, I began on the toile for the top. Now, even the pattern instructions themselves state that the construction of the collar is fiddly. And it is, but only a bit! It’s no more fiddly than sewing a set-in sleeve for example; possibly less so. And, incidentally, this pattern calls for you to sew the sleeves in the flat and then sew up the sleeves and side seams in one, which couldn’t be simpler.  When putting in the collar and lapels it definitely helps to remind yourself that you’re sewing a 3D garment, therefore matching up concave and convex shapes. I’m probably making it sound more complex than it is, hopefully these pics help show the construction:-

Collar lapel construction sewing Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Collar lapel Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas how to closet case files

(If you would like to see a step-by-step photo demonstration then I’ve written a detailed separate post on sewing the collar and lapels hereor, in short, you will need to make sure you accurately transfer your pattern markings to your pieces; in terms of getting your lapels to accurately butt up against your collar those dots are your friend. Heather wrote a detailed blog tutorial on this element of the make too which is really useful.

The bedsheet toile confirmed that the only alterations I needed to make to the pattern pieces were to remove 2.5″ from the legs and shirt length (and therefore the lapels) and 1″ from the sleeve.  There’s no cut/lengthen lines on the sleeve pattern – I took the excess from the elbow point.

Once I’d ‘got my head around’ the techniques involved I proceeded to cut into my fabric and sewed everything up in three sittings. I spent more time than necessary on cutting out the fabric because I wanted to have a go at pattern matching. I know this is probably overkill on PJ’s but, heck, I was on a learning roll!

Closet case files Carolyn Pajamas pocket

I’m absolutely thrilled with my lovely new PJ’s! The pattern is wonderfully drafted; the fit is feminine and flattering and the instructions very considered. The resultant make is an incredibly comfortable, luxurious and quality wear. I’m delighted with what I learned; it’s been an real confidence booster.

Oh and remember the £16pm double-gauze? It WILL be mine 😂 This pattern deserves it! Twist my arm and I might even have a go at the piping!

Until next time,

Sarah x

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or scroll down to click/tap on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

Carolyn pajamas

New_look_6334

New Look 6334 – Girl’s Nightgown (View D) Pattern Review

New_Look_6334_nightgown

So I’ve finished View D; the nightgown.  At the outset, I assumed that this would be a really quick and satisfying project; it’s just four pattern pieces (plus the binding) after all.  However the minute I started cutting out the fleece I had myself convinced that I didn’t like working with this fabric at all – thinking it was like cutting through candy floss/spun sugar. But actually, on reflection, I think I was just really stalled at staring at PINK having just completed the nightdress, View A, in PINK too (see here). Matchy matchy. Fleece, whilst it moves around a lot is actually pretty easy to manipulate.  And this particular fleece is rather lovely, being incredibly soft and anti-pill (from Minerva Crafts see here).  I had it in mind that I wouldn’t be able to use the iron to press the fabric in any meaningful way.  Whilst it’s true that it wont hold a pressed fold, and you don’t want to melt the stuff, you can certainly use the iron to shrink ease or press and set hems/seams.

New_Look_6334It was also a bit of a bugger to pin being so thick when laying two pieces together and so these little plastic clamps proved their weight in gold. It’s the first time I’ve actually dug them out of my kit but I think I’ll be reaching for them more often, especially when pinning armholes which, let’s face it, end up being akin to objects of torture when fully pinned prior to basting/tacking. I got mine from Amazon and they’re ‘cheap as chips’.

I did spend a happy half hour messing about with different seam finishes on a scrap of fabric before I started. In the end I decided upon topstitched seams at the shoulders and used my overedge foot to ‘overlock’ the rest, which was a sensible way to go. The three rows of stitching produced by top stitching the seam gives just enough structure and stability to the shoulders and make them sit more ’rounded’. Little things like this please me (the voice in my head says “little things please little minds” where did that come from?! )  

And I’m really happy with the pop of colour and pattern at the inside neckline from making and using my own bias tape from a fabric scrap. 

There’s not a great deal to be said about the pattern and instructions themselves;  they’re straightforward and simple enough. I even used ribbon as directed – we’ll see how that holds up. You can’t tell from the pictures but I used Berisford velvet ribbon as the textured side matches well with the fleece. The only drafting I did was to cut a size 4 and lengthen all the pattern pieces to a 6 as Lillie is built like a prima ballerina! 

I also think this pattern would make a great starting point for producing a kids costume robe; imagine fake ermine and all the trimmings for something really regal looking!

I’m not convinced anyone bar an absolute beginner would learn anything with this project; except, like me, if actually working with fleece for the first time. So yeah, it was a reasonably quick and satisfying make in the end!!  

Here’s Lillie modelling it. (She just needs to be carrying a candle to light her way to bed and she’d look like a character from a Dickins novel!)

New Look 6334 robe
My OCD kicking in…the hem IS even!

And next time I’M SEWING FOR ME again

and it will NOT be in PINK!!!!

New Look 6334 inside

Girls Nightdress – Simplicity New Look 6334 – View A Pattern Review

I love this little pattern.  I’ve made all the views except D and E – view D is next on my ‘to do’ list. This pattern features a traditional nightdress, dressing gown and pyjama sets for girls aged 2-8. Oh and a blanket. The first time I made View A for my daughter Lillie, I followed the pattern to the letter and was pretty pleased with the results. However, revisiting this pattern sometime later with fresh eyes and, it has to be said, more skills and knowledge than I had when I first embarked on it, I can safely say my latest version is a world apart from the first. Here’s why:

1) I chose a more suitable fabric – I first made it up in a quilting weight cotton (suckered in by a cutesy print!) and whilst it had a decent hand it ended up being far too rigid, especially around the armscye and neck facings. This time I made it up using a Truella plain soft brushed cotton from Minerva Crafts (see here) which is beautifully soft.

2) I made my own bias binding – I initially used shop bought bias binding. I’m unlikely to do that again since I now know just how easy it is to make. The shop bought stuff again added far too much rigidity to the finished garment. Making my own from the same fabric as the nightdress itself meant, of course, that not only did it give a beautifully soft finish to the armscyes, it also matched perfectly. A total win.

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New_Look_6334

3) I eschewed the button and elastic closure at the back neck – The pattern details the use of an elastic loop and button closure and, yes, this is what I did the first time around. But, ironing the just finished nightdress, I accidentally brushed the iron over the little elastic loop causing it to partially disintegrate before my eyes. This was before Lillie had even wore it. I may or may not have sworn loudly. Even a fabric Rouloux loop would be a better option here. Not only do I dislike the durability of elastic, I also don’t like the look. To me it just screams ‘homemade’. And whilst we’re very proud of our homemade garments, we want them to look professional amiright? So this time around I used a simple hook and eye closure (size 2) which is discreet, neat and sturdy.

4) Question the need for the neck facing – even in my final version I still utilised the neck facing just making sure that the fusible interfacing I used was a very, very lightweight woven.  It’s fine and definitely makes a neat finish.  However I think you could just as easily use bias binding to finish the neckline and omit the facing altogether.

5) I finished all the seams and used French seams where appropriate – oh yes, what a difference this makes and, I suspect, improves the durability of the garment which needs to be able to withstand frequent wear and washing.  The pattern itself makes no real mention in the instructions as regards finishing seams.  The first time round I used my overedge foot to ‘overlock’ the seams together. This time around I used French seams on the skirt element and enclosed the waist seam with my own bias binding.  The garment now looks almost as pretty on the inside as it does on the outside. I think these finishes not only look way better but also make the garment much softer against the skin of the wearer.

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New Look 6334 inside

6) Forget the recommended trims and embroidery! – or don’t if they’re your thing but frankly they’re not for me. I totally understand the purpose of these touches as they’re also functional, i.e. securing down the neck facing and waist seam into position. But provided you’ve tacked down these elements anyway at the inside seams (and understitched where possible) these decorative elements are not necessary. You could always use decorative top stitching with your machine rather than do the hand embroided running stitches.  But yeah, fearing deviating from the pattern the first time around, I did embroider as dictated.  To my mind the finished result just looked homespun and naff.  In the end I negated the use of any top stitching element.  The overall result was much ‘cleaner’; sometimes less really is more.

Final thoughts : paring back the pattern’s design elements, using the correct fabric, utilising a better closure and making your own matching bias binding turns this garment into a modern yet traditional classic.

Would I make it again : View A – yes, definitely.  I’ve already earmarked the fabric!

I’m making View D next (and for the first time) – I’ll let you know my thoughts next time! Till then…

Cost of materials for the nightdress: £12 approx

Time to make : 8 hours including redrafting the pattern, cutting out and the actual sewing.