I’m so (sew!) happy to be sharing this make with you as it fills me with much joy! Having sewn nothing but sensible winter jersey for the last while, it felt incredible to get my hands on this extravagant cotton lawn and to indulge myself in whimsy. The Piccadilly Pyjamas by Nina Lee in this amazing Lady McElroy ‘Panda Retreat’ cotton lawn (link to fabric below ;-)) are a gift to myself. Sewing something to wrap up in that feels luxurious and makes me smile feels like the ultimate in self-care; not sewing myself a pretty dress but sleepwear, haha! But I love sewing sleepwear/loungewear and feel I ought to sew myself another matching Suki Kimono and slippers to go with them too!
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.
It 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!)