And so to bed, sleepyhead! The Carolyn PJ’s by Closet Case Patterns
Posted on Friday the 20th December 2019 by Sew Sarah Smith
I’ve made the Carolyn Pajama pattern twice before, both times opting for View A, the simpler of the two main views. The pattern is described as classically tailored with a modern, figure-flattering cut and I agree with that. This time around, I decided not to ‘play safe’ and to go all out for the cuffed and piped version that is View C.
Both sets I’d made previously finally wore through after years of constant wash ‘n’ wear, which is one of the things I love about this pattern – yes, it might be considered a labour-intensive sew for what is essentially nightwear, however, the time invested is well worth it in my opinion; this is a hardwearing set of PJs that will last you many a comfy nights’ sleep – especially if you make them in a high-quality broadcloth cotton as I have done here.
I didn’t choose this fabric – this book print fabric chose me! Like a mantra, most evenings I will come out with “I’m off to bed to read” at some point; it’s usually at the stage in the evening when everyone else is settled around the TV or gone off to do their own thing and whatever book I've got on the go starts calling to me! I like to read in comfort, especially on these cold winter evenings, so I head to bed to crawl under the covers and dive into the world of escapism. I cannot sleep without reading first.
So a pair of PJs made up in a fun book print was a complete no brainer! I have to ‘fess when this arrived I was absolutely delighted with it; I couldn’t believe just how soft this particular fabric is! It’s perfect for this pattern – I’m looking forward to years’ of comfy sleep (and reading) in these! It’s not exactly a directional print, however, my only gripe – at myself – is that I didn’t spend more than a nano-second deciding which way to cut it. I really wished I’d flipped it around and cut it so that the majority of the ‘open books’ lay the other way. It really bothered me whilst I was sewing it up – it bothers me not a jot now it’s sewn together! I didn’t generally concern myself with pattern matching – it’s such a busy print – but then again, I wish I had given it more consideration at the shirt front. I did, however, pattern match the breast pocket because I thought that really would look 'off' if I didn’t (if you’re unsure how to do that with a cuffed two-part pocket I go into more detail on that over on my blog.
As for construction, I have to admit I was a little daunted at the prospect of the piping and in hindsight I’m not really sure why! It’s not at all difficult to do – I think I was mostly concerned at how the piping intersects and joins at the notched collar. When I reached that point in the pattern, I literally sat back and thought “Is that it? Is it really that simple?!” And yes, yes it is! (I also have a separate - updated - tutorial on the general construction of the collar, up on my own blog).
I used a 15 mm polyester flanged piping in cream which a) matches the fabric really well but b) is also highly flexible – I think I would have had more trouble with a self-made piping using bias made out of cotton so I’m really glad I went with this option. Just make sure you invest in a good seam guide (I use this one) to ensure that the piping is accurately offset to match the 5/8” seam allowance – this piping measures approximately 4/8” so it’s actually quite easy to simply visually judge it – the seam guide just ensures my eyes don’t deceive me! I used a standard zip foot to get up close and personal to the piping cord. I switched out to cream thread in the top spool for attaching the piping then went back to black when actually sewing the seams together.
I interfaced the collar with some lovely soft Vilene iron-on (G405) interfacing in ‘Charcoal’ which was just the right weight.
All in all, the Carolyjn PJs are a relatively straightforward sew - just take the steps, err, step-by-step. If this pattern feels a bit out of your comfort zone (i.e. the thought of buttonholes, notched collars etc) I’d say just go for it! They’re a well-drafted, well-written pattern, which will increase your skill-set and your confidence in sewing them up. If you’re a confident, experienced sewist and you haven’t sewn these up either – I’d also say go for it in a fab print! These really put a smile on my face – not a bad way to end the day, eh?!
Thank you Minerva for supplying me with this ace print – even my kids picked up on the reading-in-bed reference!
Until next time, sleep well!