Early this January, Heather of Closet Case Files sent out her latest pattern to a group of pattern testers along with a fabulous description of how she wanted to make a pajama pattern she could wear working from home and feel like a sophisticated business woman, or something you could make in silk and look like Katharine Hepburn… I mean, look:
The pant + long sleeve view required 6 yards in my size for a 45″ wide fabric (most silks and flannels) which I just didn’t have in my stash, so I went to JoAnn’s with visions of fancy business lady pajamas dancing in my mind… and somewhere I went off track a bit…
I mean, let’s be serious, there aren’t many sophisticated fabrics in the flannel section, so I just went totally goofy in the other direction with some kind of video game print. I’m not sure how I feel about them… I liked the pants when I tried them on by themselves, and the same for the shirt, but together… Instead of Katharine Hepburn I look like David Bowie’s chubby little sister at summer camp. Oh well!
I’ll start with a review of the pattern – loved it! I admit there are a lot of pajama patterns out there (and I have quite a few of them) but none of them quite check all the boxes for me. These have a slimmer fit (none of that unisex nonsense), cuffs, a notched collar, and POCKETS (a must!).
The piping instructions are great. A long time ago I tried to add piping around a sleeve and followed some crappy instructions on a blog that had you overlap the piping into the seam which turned out terrible and bulky and I never wanted to do piping again. These instructions give you the proper method (butting the piping ends together and overlapping the bias tape to cover the split) and it turned out great. The piping instructions for the notched collar also made something that looks difficult really easy.
I appreciated that the method for attaching the stand-less collar eliminated the need for a back neck facing. I hate having a back neck facing on a normal garment because it always gets bunched up and I’m sure it would be 10 times worse in pajamas when you’re sleeping. If you take a look at the photo below, you can see how the front facing stops at the should line and then the collar just encloses the raw edges of the back.
The hem has a nice flattering curve to it. The instructions tell you to turn twice and stitch – I’ve been doing a bias binding on curved hems in tightly woven fabrics, but I found that on this loosely woven flannel the turn and stitch method worked just fine.
One of my favorite things about this pattern is that it does NOT have a long baggy crotch length like many pajama patterns. I’ll submit a tiny photo for proof…
Now that I’ve established that the pattern is GREAT, let me talk about the TERRIBLE qualities of this flannel I bought from JoAnn’s. First off, when I ripped it to find the grainline, I discovered that the crossgrain was really warped. (Take a look at that top edge in the photo below!) I was back at JoAnn’s yesterday and looked at some of the other flannels and they ALL have this nasty warping problem, I think from being loosely woven but wrapped around a bolt tightly. I could not shift it to get the grainline orthogonal so I just cut it as it wanted to lie.
I wore the pants for two days before I took these photos and I could not believe how much they stretched. After an hour of wear they were baggy all over. When I washed them they snugged back up to the same width again… but they SHRUNK two inches in length! (I didn’t want to point it out in the full photos, but they look like flood pants now. They were hemmed to the floor.) And yes, I pre-washed the fabric in hot water and high heat in my dryer before sewing these. The second wash was in cold water and low heat in the dryer, and that’s what caused the two inch shrinkage!
In addition, I can really tell the difference in pilling between the pants (washed twice) and the top (prewashed once). I imagine after a few more washes they’ll either be shedding lint everywhere or shrunk down to child size.
The pajamas weren’t hard to sew, but they were a little time consuming with having to sew two pieces and add the piping. So, it’s really disappointing to have them ruined by bad fabric. I didn’t want to spend $60 on silk and have the test version not fit, but considering they fit great (I just shortened the pant legs and sleeves because I’m only 5’2″) I’m wishing I would have opted for a nicer fabric to match the time I put into them. Next time…
If you’re interested in the pattern, you can get them in the Closet Case Files shop here.