"Beach pyjama" set
No, you are not imagining it – I have actually finished the beach pyjama-inspired set I've been making! The idea for it came about during last year's lockdown, when I realised the things I was wearing were very different to the sort of things I'd usually be wearing to the office. I've got a pair of repro 30s beach pyjamas that had hardly ever come out of the wardrobe, but last summer they got a decent amount of wear. I wanted more things in that vein, clothes that were comfy enough for pulling on and sitting around the house in, but that gave a smarter impression than sweatpants.
Pattern: Vogue V9375
Fabric: Hana viscose twill from Fabric Godmother (a repro of a 1930s dress print)
The pattern wasn't a vintage one. A lot of the vintage ones I've seen are 1930s, and what really appealed to me was the less structured 1920s style. Vogue V9375 had the right shapes. Usually I tweak patterns, but I didn't actually make any alterations to this one as the trousers were wide-legged and the kimono jacket drapey and unfastened, so I anticipated the design being very forgiving. And, indeed, it is.
I'm still a novice sewist. I'd made a few shirts and tops, and one shirt dress before this, and all were out of straight woven cotton, either lawn or poplin. This was a viscose twill, an incredibly fluid fabric. I knew it would ensure the set hung beautifully, but of course it also meant it could go out of shape during cutting, so I had to be extra careful to ensure things were straight while pinning out, and whereas normally I'd cut mirrored pieces of a print like this together – just pin a pattern piece to the folded fabric and cut both out at once – I didn't feel able to with this, in case the lower layer moved without me realising. This meant all the pinning and cutting took a lot longer than expected.
The edges of the fabric frayed easily. I hate raw edges at the best of times, but there was no way I was having them on this. I wasn't going to all that trouble cutting out nicely only to have my clothes fall apart after the first few wears. Because of that, every seam is French seamed, aside from the crotch which is flat-felled for comfort. Again, this meant construction took a lot longer than expected.
Part of this year's 'self care' strategy is learning to slow down and enjoy a process. Why do I knit? Because I like knitting things, as well as wearing knitted things. Why do I sew? Because I enjoy the process, as well as getting well-made clothes that fit my body type. And so although this set did take a long time, it was time well-spent. I got to spend hours and hours listening to music I love, considering how and why particular pieces of cloth were fitted together in the way they were.
I'm really pleased with the end result. It fits well and it is so comfy. SO COMFY. It's like wearing my own personal cloud. That viscose may have provoked a swear or two (hundred), but I'd be tempted to order more in another pattern just to make more trousers. The only thing I'd change is the top I'm wearing with it. I got to the end and realised I had nothing that would work perfectly with it, and this white blouse was as good as I could do, but I do have a simple pattern (Colette Sorbetto) already adapted to my bustline, so can easily whip one up once I've got the fabric for it. I fancy pea green or rusty red, to pick out the colours in the print.
I will leave you with a question: why ARE there bald spots in my flowerbeds?