Piccadilly PJs by Nina Lee in Lady McElroy Panda Lawn!
Posted on Monday the 9th April 2018 by Sew Sarah Smith
As soon as I saw the release of the Piccadilly PJs by Nina Lee I knew I was going to make them, in fact they pretty much went up to the top of my queue. There’s a couple of reasons for this but mainly it’s because sewing PJs allows me to use bold vivid prints I probably wouldn’t otherwise incorporate into my closet.
Keeping the oriental style lines of the PJs in mind, it didn’t take me long to fall upon this Lady McElroy Cotton Lawn Fabric
called 'Panda Retreat'. From what I can gather, Chinese PJs are normally made in exceptionally smooth fabrics like silk or satin; this fabric, whilst a cotton lawn, falls exactly into that remit. It’s incredibly smooth, fine and vivid. With its blue background, this was always going to appeal to me and, yeah, the pandas are cute! It’s an opulent choice for PJs but that’s precisely the point
. These PJs feel like a gift to myself.
As well as your fabric, you will also need Buttons
– the pattern recommends six; I used 8 and, depending on your size, approximately 4 m of bias binding. I opted for this Double Fold Bias Binding
which isn’t quite as opaque as it needed to be really but looks absolutely fine (I graded down the fabric in the seam allowance when sewing the binding on so it showed through less). You will also need some Woven Fusible Interfacing
, 25mm Waistband Elastic
, and Grosgrain Ribbon
or twill tape for the waistband ribbon.
I decided on a mixture of the Views available, tracing out the shirt from View 1 and the longer length pants from Version 2. I love the detailing in this pattern, from the slight puff ball of the cap sleeves, the flat front waistband panel (with an elasticated back), the mandarin collar and of course all that lovely binding! This is in no way a difficult pattern to sew but, by dint of the detailing and the steps involved, it really is an engaging one. The instructions are well laid out…in fact the only thing that threw me really was referencing the seam allowances in cm’s instead of increments of inches. I’m getting old and easily confuddled…apparently!
In terms of pattern alterations, Nina Lee patterns are intended for a height of 5.5 and a B cup. I’m neither of these things. Looking at the finished measurements I cut the top according to my Bust size; given that it showed a 4.5” ease in the finished garment measurements, I figured no FBA would be necessary. I cut a size smaller in the pant. The only alterations I made were to take out an inch from the length of the pant, in two half-inch increments – half an inch from the crotch depth and half an inch from the leg length. I took out an inch from the length of the top (and facing pieces).
The cuffs of the sleeves are finished with bias binding which means, if you want a really neat finish, they have to be sewn in, in the round. It was my first time doing that for a while, as I usually opt to sew sleeves in the flat. However, I basted them in first and all was fine. The sleeves have lovely gathers both at the cap and the cuff giving them a slight puffball effect, which is so cute! The bottom of the shirt and legs are also finished with bias binding. I did these in batch rather than in the order they came in in the instructions. Same with the buttonholes; I sewed the shirt buttonholes and the waistband ones at the same time.
I absolutely love the details, like the curve of the pocket opening. The bias is meant to form more a V here but I was damned if I was going to put a fold into the bias binding and so left it as a curve. And being a pedant of sorts, I changed my thread whilst sewing on the pockets to white for the bias binding!
I didn’t bother pattern matching, except for the pockets, as it seems a bit of moot point with a print like this; I just made sure I didn’t end up with two pandas facing out from the points of my chest, haha!
And how sweet is the curve of this bias at the outer leg seam and side seams of the shirt!
So the Piccadilly PJs have become my new favourite PJ pattern! I want / need a few pairs more! The Lady McElroy Lawn
feels exceptionally smooth and cool against my skin and the pandas make me smile. And thumbs up sewing yourself a gift eh!
Thank you Minerva for sending me the wonderful supplies for my fab new PJ’s!
Until next time