1920’s Lounge Pyjamas
Posted on Friday the 3rd January 2020 by The Unfinished Seamstress
Welcome to the 20’s! Wait, wrong 20’s?? Never mind. A while ago, an account I follow on Instagram (@historicpajama) posted a photograph of some lighter-than-air, bright chartreuse 1920’s lounge pyjamas from the Met Costume Institute, and I could not stop thinking about them. The trousers were loose and voluminous, and the top was a simple tunic style with a gentle V-neck. I decided to recreate them for myself this month, because life is short, and I’ve lived too long in absence of chartreuse lounge pyjamas. Enough is enough.
The fabric is yet another incredible lightweight fabric with great drape, this time a viscose challis
. This makes the past 3 months here on this blog a perfect trilogy of challenging cutting jobs for me, but it was the correct choice here. It’s beautifully light, with a very slight crepe-y texture once washed. It’s also extremely delicate: low iron, new needle. Good behaviour, people. It’s also a nice choice in terms of period authenticity: viscose and rayon were popular in that era as an alternative to silk. My favourite thing about it though was slightly unexpected: it’s significantly more opaque than I thought it would be for the weight. I’m wearing a black bralette in these photographs, and you can hardly tell. Oh, and it’s really affordable. So overall, excellent, especially for anything requiring lots of drape-y yardage.
It was hard to capture the true colour here, but it is a vivid - not quite neon - chartreuse green. I started with two patterns, but modified both. The top is based on the Named Sointu Tee
, however I swapped out the sleeve cuffs for longer sleeves (more or less rectangular). I made the Sointu waist tie, which I think makes it a little less pyjama-y for going out of the house, but it is entirely optional. The original doesn't seem to have had one. The trousers are based on McCalls 6843
, with the legs shortened and widened significantly (making them not unlike another Named pattern, come to think of it - the Ninni culottes
). I chose this particular trouser pattern because of the easy elastic waist. Elastic, by the way, was absolutely used in that era as well - there’s a great 1929 article from the Guardian archive, available online, noting it’s ubiquity.
I also think the top works rather well with jeans! I would happily wear it with plain trousers for work, or with these ratty jeans for a casual day. I like the sleeve variation so much, in fact, I may well make another while I still have the pattern pieces out. I’m not 100% happy with my sewing on the neckline binding (I was running low on scraps to make matching bias binding with, so it’s slightly dodgy), and next time I may do a facing instead, but other than that tiny niggle, I’m extremely happy with this set.
Thank you for reading as always, and Happy New Year!