I’m sure I’m not the only person to think that pyjamas are the right kind of things to be sewing during a lockdown. It’s hard to get very excited about beautiful dresses, trousers or shirts for work, when no one else is there. If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it fall – did it happen? If I wear heels to work, and no one sees any part of me below the shoulder – did I wear them?
So the first element is that pyjamas are an obvious choice right now.
Second element – the release of the Sew Over It Luna Pyjama pattern. OK, the pattern was released at the end of November, so it’s taken me a little while to get to it – but it equally seemed hard to justify another pattern for PJ trousers – my go to would usually be the TATB Love at First Stitch – Margot trousers which are a good fit for me, and should I really buy a whole new pattern for the lines of the top?
Then Liz (@thebakerwhosews) put up an instagram photo of her Luna pyjamas, just before I had a day off work for sewing – so it really wasn’t my fault at all.
Third element was that I already had the perfect fabric for this – just as well, as I had no opportunity to shop clearly – we’re in lockdown. I got the pattern, I printed the PDF version, I guillotined the edges and I got busy with the pritt stick. I was all set for a good sewing day.
When I said just now that I had the ‘perfect fabric’ for this project – what I meant of course was that about three years ago I had bought several metres of this flowery navy printed jersey, with the intention of it becoming pyjamas. The alarm bells might have gone off in my head had I thought that, despite having the fabric all that time – and despite pyjamas being an easy and lovely thing to make – I’d left it at the back of the stash pile. Why was that?
Another alarm bell might have sounded – really should have sounded – had I actually read the pattern properly. The Luna pyjamas are designed for a woven fabric, not a jersey. What was I going to do when I realised? Not make the pyjamas? Order some suitable woven fabric and make something else this time? Have we even met?
Clearly not. I had a project in my mind, determination in my soul and sense never had much to do with it anyway.
The alarm bell that did sound, loud and clear, was the one that screamed “this fabric is an absolute bastard to sew”. Unfortunately, that bell rang out when I had everything cut out and I’d started sewing – and pretty much everyone would agree that by that time, it was a bit late.
So the pattern – the Luna pyjama pattern is a straightforward and relatively easy sew. I can see that it would be anyway. It takes quite a lot of fabric all told (about 3.5-4m depending on size), but the instructions are clear, the sizing true, and the pieces fitted together beautifully. It calls for bias seam tape interfacing, a thing I neither owned nor had heard of – but seemed to be designed to stop the bias edge of the wrap top from stretching out. I got creative with some standard seam tape – not the most elegant solution, but it pretty much does the job and it’s all hidden from view.
Working with a stretch fabric, I clearly put a fresh stretch needle in my machine, and worked through the very last of my navy thread. However, my sewing machine just didn’t like sewing this fabric. It seemed to be both slippery and sticky at the same time – the kind of quality of a slip/petticoat, that sticks to your tights whilst allowing your dress to slide unimpeded. My machine kept missing stitches, and breaking the needle thread. Whether it was the fabric or the desperate remnants of thread I was working with by the end (those multi packs of thin threads that you get in the Aldi special offer), it was not a winning combination.
I always think that I have tons of navy and black thread, and then I’m always surprised when that’s not true. Either that or I make a mental note that I need more navy thread, and then on separate outings buy three different reels. All at 500m+. You’re right – the problem is me.
By the end of sewing day one, I’d pretty much finished the top. I put it on Rosie, and then I scowled at it and gave it a time out. I liked the look of it, but the process meant that we were not friends.
It took me nearly a fortnight to take a few hours to sew up the trousers to match. Such was the cooling off period required, and it’s fair to say that I am still cross with the fabric.
I’ve been wearing them all evening though, and I do really like the pattern. I can see that in the right (woven with a lovely drape) fabric, they would work beautifully. I ‘may’ have ordered some more appropriate fabric for a second set today. And some of that bias tape interfacing stuff. I’ll keep you posted.
So the pyjamas are complete, and it’s time for bed. In this time of real challenge in the world, it’s good to have some simple things that add a little to your day – and I think this pattern might be one of those things.
Support for sewing from Mary, Bert and Tilly x