Simple PJs, Or the Adventures of Dolores and Margot

I got cold, so I made pajamas. I was very cold, so I simplified the task as much as I could. I might have been tempted to make an actual set if I had enough flannel but I didn’t. So tee and pants it was.

Here’s a glimpse into the daily life of the new PJs with the sad gray morning light filtered out:

Here I am demonstrating the functionality of the front pocket (1) and my ability to slouch in these as I’m trying to take a “different” photo this time (2). Half-successful at best, but no PJs were harmed during the photo shoot. 

I went for two patterns that I already had: the Margot pajama bottoms from Love at First Stitch and the So Zo Dolores Batwing that I won in Zoe’s MeMadeMay giveaway.

Sewing up the bottoms this time, I completely skipped the drawstring (it came up short on my first try at the pattern, by the way) and inserted wide elastic instead. I added two patch pockets cut on the cross-grain — one on the front and one on the back — for visual interest.

I also changed up the order of construction a bit. The pattern tells you to sew up the crotch seam last (and gives a solid tip how to do it, so no problem there), but I decided to sew it before sewing the outer leg seams this time.

Overall, I’d repeat my previous review: it’s a great easy pattern. I really like the book, too. I think it’s a fantastic book for new sewists and I’m definitely going to try more patterns from it. I have my eye on the Megan dress.

The Dolores Batwing was a slightly unexpected choice for me. I’m not usually a fan of the batwing sleeve. But I kept seeing really great versions of this pattern online and ended up creating a (modest) Pinterest board for the pattern (here’s a far better one, compliled by Zoe herself). The next step was sewing it up myself.

This is a really wonderful pattern for new sewists. The pattern pieces are simple, the PDF is laid out in a very clever and economical way, but I’d say it’s the instructions that are the most valuable part of the package.

I’ve seen the suggestion crop up a lot recently that beginning sewists are better served by the Big Four patterns marked “very easy” than by indie patterns, and I can’t agree with that. For one, most of the Big Four sewing instructions for knits that I’ve read sound like instructions written for woven fabrics, just prefaced with the advice that you stretch the fabric as you sew. I’m not even sure they recommend using ballpoint and stretch needles. Then there is the great mystery that is the sizing… I’m not saying it’s not doable, but I think that if you’re an adult woman who hasn’t been taught to sew by her mother, has limited time, and would prefer to minimize the fabric waste, you’re highly likely to get discouraged.

The hand holding that many indie patterns provide can go a long way toward not just keeping up your motivation but getting a wearable garment at the end. If you haven’t sewn knits before, this pattern would be a good teacher. The instructions are very detailed, and they’re illustrated with photographs. They lay out the easiest way to get the desired result. And for that reason I chose to deviate from some of them. A lot of sewists prefer to sew as much of a knit pattern flat as possible. I follow that advice when it comes to setting in sleeves in knits, but I don’t like sewing collar and cuff bands that way, and that’s where I went off the map with this pattern. I think Zoe’s approach is fine, just not my preferred choice.

Verdict: I like this stripe overload.

Question for you: Do you have a favorite sleepwear/loungewear pattern?

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