Nightwear Nightmare

The fabric came from the  East End market I occasionally haunt. I bought enough to make a top. Luckily, I didn’t start it. The fabric went into stash.

It’s woven, with a permanent crinkled texture,  printed in pink and black wavy stripes on white ground, probably polyester. I bought a yard and a half, but as often happens when that store makes its cuts, it’s wonky by six inches. Very cheap, it seemed ideal to make up speedily as pyjamas which might be mistaken for daywear from a distance, when I stagger out in the early hours towed by a desperate pup. Dog walking pyjamas.

(The same dead easy pattern used for the silk shorties, with the addition of pockets for biscuits in case the force of my personality isn’t enough to distract the mutt from terrorising the wildlife cowering in the vegetation.)

Dead Easy Pattern used again

Dead Easy Pattern used again


I cut the pants on cross grain because the crinkle texture gave oodles of stretch lengthwise and not much in the width. Everything went swimmingly until it came to sew the turning for the elastic channel at the waist. The quick project then ate into a couple of hours as I tried to get a proper machine stitch in the horizontal direction (actually warp grain).  I checked the threading, defluffed under the feed dogs and checked the bobbin race for bits of thread, changed the needle for a microtex, changed the needle for a ballpoint, changed the needle for a finer microtex, switched to a different machine, switched back, tried a zigzag, fiddled with the tension, and finally cut some strips of pattern paper and put them under the fabric. That sort of worked, about ninety percent of the stitches formed, with a few skipped bits. Then I spent a happy hour picking out the bits of paper stuck in the stitches.

On the plus side, the fabric doesn’t fray. I’ve taken the decision to chop off the hem allowance. It’ll get a baby hem if someone comes up with the perfect solution to stitching the beastly stuff. Or it won’t.

Pattern and Construction Notes:-

I chose the ancient pattern as it emerged from the heap before my pj block, but for these kind of pants almost any trouser pattern will do as a starting point. You just need to give extra ease in the hips and half an inch or so of extra crotch depth.  Looking for comfy enough to sleep, these look promising and rather elegant, and I’m tempted to try this design from Lily Silberberg and Martin Shoben’s book.

Versatile Wardrobe Addition?

Versatile Wardrobe Addition?

Pockets can be added to the side of a pattern by drawing the shape onto the side seam instead of cutting separate pieces as I did here. It takes a bit more fabric, adding to the hip width, but avoids a stitching stage.

Basic Pocket Pattern

Basic Pocket Pattern

Attaching the separate pocket pieces, you need to take less than the whole seam allowance, so that the seam is hidden, and understitch with the turnings pressed to the pocket.

Pocket Seam Set Back

Pocket Seam Set Back

Two tips.

When the fabric looks much the same both sides, it pays to check that you are stitching the second leg as a mirror image of the first. I still lay the pieces down on the table before sewing them. A minute doing this saves me an hour of unpicking one of two right legs.

Avoiding Sewing 2 Right Legs

Avoiding Sewing 2 Right Legs

When turning a channel for waist elastic, stitching the turnings of the vertical seams flat to the garment avoids the bodkin or safety pin getting stuck under them as you pull the elastic through.

As Finished as They'll Ever Be

As Finished as They’ll Ever Be





About jay

I design and draft patterns
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11 Responses to Nightwear Nightmare

  1. fabrickated says:

    Nice trousers. And very useful tips. I like the cowl trousers too so I hope you decide to make them.


  2. prttynpnk says:

    I’m dying to bring the cowl trouser to my wardrobe- but locally I may be burned as a witch- they still admire the stirrup legging…….


  3. Mary says:

    ohhh, very cool trousers! and, I have pattern lust.


  4. Morgan says:

    A good dose of fortitude with a splash of perseverance to conquer troublesome stash fabric and hey presto, creativity rocks, The fabric reminds me of some of the recent offerings in the Masai range.
    Originals, exercising the creativity muscles and at a fraction of the cost (and destashing too) – don’t you just love being able to sew?
    Smartest PJs/ dog walking outfit in the district,.


  5. They look good. Perfectly acceptable for day wear, and possibly too nice for dog walking. The cowl trousers look gorgeous so I hope you make those.


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