Happy Summer Solstice! It is suddenly quite hot here in Southern California. I can deal with the heat during the day, but is sure is uncomfortable trying to sleep when it is still 77F in my bedroom at 11pm. Ugh! Not looking forward to the long hot summer ahead of us.
Pajamas are one of the items I rarely make for myself. The main reason I sew is to have well fitted clothing for my non-standard shape. In pajamas the fit is less important. On the other hand, I’m getting tired of buying nightgowns and pajamas sets in XL or XXL to fit my bottom while my top half needs 2 sizes smaller.
Recently I took a dive into my pattern stash and found Tilly and the Button’s Fifi. I actually made a nightgown version in January 2016 as a gift for my sister. It turned out really cute! And as luck would have it, I’d done an FBA on the pattern cups back then so all I had to do was trace off my size and get to sewing. Hooray!
So cute, right? I ended up grading between sizes, the top is a 6/7 and the bottom is a 7/8. The only change I made to the pattern aside from the FBA was to swap the bias straps for fold over elastic (FOE) instead. That was a lesson learned when I made my sister’s version. If you look closely at the pattern photos you can see the bend where the bias goes from edging to strap. Drove me bonkers when I realized that was considered normal for the Fifi. I like the FOE much better. The back of the Fifi top is a tad large, but with the elastic gently gathering the edge, the back feels nice and snug. I also much prefer the FOE straps for their supportive yet flexible hold. Support! It is sort of important!
I’m still torn on the shorts. Really out of my comfort zone, but I do like them for pajamas. Less twisting around than a nightgown and helps with the summer thigh rub. They maybe look tight in the photo, but they don’t feel tight in person and if anything the waist elastic could be a tad more snug.
Tilly doesn’t recommend using fabric with a directional pattern. It’s a fair warning as the top is cut on the bias and the shorts are cut on the grainline. Originally I’d bought this Cotton + Steel rayon with a Cashmerette Springfield in mind. It was part of my epic Hart’s Fabric shopping spree in early May and I’d had my eye on this print for months. But after I made my first Springfield I knew I didn’t want a ton of them. Just 1-2 would fill the gap in my wardrobe and the crane fabric had just exactly the amount of yardage needed for pajamas. Sold! The pattern is so busy, that I don’t think the direction is super noticeable.
I’ve worn this Fifi set a few times now and I do really like the top a lot. The fit is exactly where I want it, but the shorts are just not holding up like I’d hoped. They feel great the first night, but then the fabric stretches and bunches and the crotch doesn’t sit where I’d like for another wearing. Ultimately I want to wear my pajamas twice before washing. I’m on the search for a different shorts pattern, so if you have an option that is free or not too expensive, please let me know! I’m tempted to try the City Gym Shorts, but they only go up to a 46″ hip and I need a 48″ hip.
With the change in the seasons it was time to clean out my closet and say “Goodbye!” to the clothing that no longer made me happy. Some were duds, but others had just plain worn out.
First up is this hounds tooth dress from October 2016. There is nothing wrong with it. The fit is good, but there is just too much of the pattern. For now the dress goes back to my fabric stash to become something else. Maybe I’ll just lower the neckline and shorten it. I might even have some scraps leftover and it will become kids clothes. No matter the outcome, this fabric is likely to get used since it is in great shape.
This summer dress was barely worn since last August. It is perfect for the weekend, but sadly the last time it was worn (Saturday) I discovered the fabric has a hole. Maybe I’ll save this for kids clothes too since the colors are so fun.
Next is the blouse I made last May in hopes of finding something that would look nice tucked in. However it felt like I was wearing a scrub shirt so it had to go.
And now here are some favorites that were just plain tired. This wrap dress is one of the first knit items I ever made for myself. It looks great, but the fabric looks sad. Art Gallery Knits are awesome to work with, but the darker colors look worn out really quickly because the back of the fabric is white. Every time you wash the jersey a little more white fuzz collects on the dark print. Boo.
Next is another navy printed jersey dress from March 2016 that suffered the same problem. This time it is Robert Kaufman jersey, but I was more forgiving for the navy and green print since I bought it for a whole $3 a yard at an over stock store. Plus I cut a hole in the fabric when I was sewing it together. Now that I own more clothes I can allow myself to get rid of this. But gosh I love this dress.
And last up is the kitty dress from December 2015. I’m really sad to see it go, but the fabric looks just awful. So many pills. So many. This knit came from Andover Fabrics and I’m super disappointed it wore so poorly. I’d hoped to keep on wearing it for a long time, but no such luck.
On the plus side, now there is room for shiny new wardrobe items that will be made with my current skill set and taste level! Not all bad even if it is hard to say goodbye to the some favorite makes.
I have a new favorite pattern! The Ngaio Blouse was released by Scroop Patterns in early May and it has quickly become my favorite item to wear to work. I’ve actually made two!
I have a full review on the Curvy Sewing Collective, but I wanted to say a few words here about the how it feels to wear this blouse.
The more I sew quality garments, the pickier I’ve become when it comes to buying patterns. Styles really need to stand out or be really easily hacked to fit my retro-ish style. Scroop patterns fit into the first category for me. The Ngaio Blouse is really really wearable and professional. It is feminine, but not juvenile and that is a really hard balance to find. I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing a costume to work.
Ngaio is also really easy to wear tucked in. The darts at the back hip keep the blouse neatly placed while leaving the perfect about of volume above the waist. No other blouse I’ve worn has stayed in place so nicely.
And they feel so wonderful. The white version is a cotton lawn and even though it is slightly tight through the shoulders, it wears well. I don’t remember the last time I owned a white blouse (maybe college?), but it is so very versatile. It even coordinates with this awesome, but never worn skirt I made last year.
And I love the rayon version. This dusty lavender rayon batiste is light as air. I thought I’d lose my mind trying to cut out the pattern. Every breathe would move the fabric, but sewing it was super easy and it pressed perfectly.
The Ngaio Blouse and Fantail skirt combination is now my equivalent of a power suit for important dates at work. It feels fantastic to be cool, put together, and have that little swish follow me while I walk. Perfect outfit.
And lastly, I wanted to give Leimomi Oakes a huge shout out for including a sleeveless and sleeved option for the Ngaio blouse. Not only did she include both options, but she provided a different armscye for each version. That attention to detail is something missing from a lot of patterns, both Indies and the Big 4. It is one of those touches that has me eagerly awaiting what comes next.