Tag Archives: Pajamas

The Sleeping In The Tropics Pajamas

In a recent skype conversation my friend Victoria as me if there was a time she could visit India when it WOULDN’T be extremely hot.

Weeeeeeeelllllllllllllllll………..

Look, not all of India is hot, honestly. It’s a huge country, they got all types of weather here. You can hike the Himalayan foothills in multiple states, you can go from forest to desert to jungle, you have options, really. In the North, you can even experience winter, magic thing that it is. Kolkata will get slightly chilly to my senses, although its native denizens walk around in sweaters and coats like it’s Moscow, and I have heard that other regions experience the ups and downs of weather that I was so used to (and loved) in the States.

But here in Mumbai, it’s always fairly hot. It’s the tropics, you see, and there is no getting around that. Some days are hotter than others,we had a brief “winter” like period in which I actually wore pants voluntarily and Mr. Struggle pulled out a flannel shirt claiming to be “chilled” because he is a delicate Indian flower, but generally it’s pretty much hot, hotter, hottest around here. October is notoriously sweltering, in the post-monsoon haze, and now, pre-monsoon or just on the very verge of it, Mumbai is a venerable hot-air balloon of humidity. Apart from messing with my skin (is that a thing, does anyone know?) and frizzing my hair (I haven’t worn it down for any signficant period of time other than sleeping for weeks) it’s made walking around an amazing experience in which I go from normal to sweating buckets within minutes. And the worst part is, people around me DON’T SEEM TO SWEAT.

I walk to the train station about two days a week on average for the voice over work I’m doing for a television show which is being dubbed from Croatian to English. It’s….amazing, it’s this soap opera from Croatia and it’s a constant source of wonder and hilarity for me. So far, plot points have included Somalian pirates, an escaped abused Yemeni bride, desert island desertion, heroin, unplanned pregnancy, a gypsy who sees the future, a coma, a beauty pageant, and so much more in between. And I’m not even halfway through dubbing it! I voice multiple characters, and sometimes I have long conversations in the show between me and me and it’s crazy. ANYway, more on that in other posts, but the point is, it’s a fifteen minute walk from our apartment to the Santacruz West Railway Station and in that brief window I become so coated with sweat that my clothing turns new darker colors from my exertions. Then I go to the studio, which is air-conditioned, freeze for a few hours, the color of my shirt returns to normal, and then I head out to repeat the whole process all over again. Upside? My wardrobe appears far bigger than it is! Downside? So. Sweaty. All. The. Time.

I know there are people out there who don’t sweat. Good for them, I say! But I sure do, and my life in Mumbai so far has been perpetually shiny with it. Now, at least in Mumbai you can pretty much wear whatever you want, unlike other Indian cities where you might want to be more covered up because the culture is a staring oriented one (see this post I did on India’s capital for reference), although of course even here it sort of depends where you live and where your day takes you, geographically. But given that I work from home, and my home is on the edge of Bandra, arguably one of the more liberal centers of this mammoth city, I am usually as comfortable as humanly possible. Even though, however, can wilt in the face of the heavy pre-monsoon humidity that makes the city feel like a greenhouse for tropical plants. Well, to be fair, it rather IS, isn’t it? Certainly the plants here love it….

But transplants like me, we need to figure out ways to cope, especially when it comes  to sleepwear. There is nothing quite so horrible as waking up because you are physically too hot and sweaty to keep sleeping. Luckily, the lightweight cottons also produced here are pretty good with that sort of thing, and I’ve made a few Carolyn pajamas which, after fiddling with the fit a bit, have kept me fairly cool, but this time I wanted something even breezier, even more open, even BETTER. Luckily, I had just the idea, and the fabric to make it happen:

 

SIT 1

Oh yes, the hair, she is up. Get used to that in photos for the next few posts! My mother has commented she doesn’t know why I don’t just cut it all off. Deborah is, as always, correct, but I’m keeping it for now, so enjoy this series of posts whose subtitle shall be, “updos have I known”.

So! This is a modified Tiny Pocket Tank which I adapted using this stellar tutorial (I have actually done this sort of thing before, way back over a year ago for a sojourn to Austin. That pajama now lives in San Juan, its natural habitat). I did my usual size in this pattern, 14, to accommodate the full bust I possess. I suppose I could grade down for the waist and hips, but, like, how much do I care how form-fitting this billowing tank is? Besides, honestly, with the aforementioned heat I’ve been in a trend of making stuff that stands as far away from my body as possible, moderating my Tiny Pocket Tank and Scout Tee patterns to make them tents, trapezes, circles, whatever, something that stays away from my skin.

I usually lengthen this top, but for the pajama version I just kept the length as is, which makes it a cute swingy little top.

SIT 7

Full disclosure: I pinned the back in place for the purposes of this photo shoot. #tricksofthetrade

SIT 6

The shorts are the Purl Bee City Gym Shorts, a free pattern (free pattern!) which are perfect for pajama shorts. These shorts are fairly easy to construct, it’s just the miles of bias tape you need to finish all the visible exterior seams that can be…daunting. But, hey, its super cute, so we do it anyway…I’ve made these shorts a few times, and I have found that they are cut a little slim, presumably to be more flattering, but I like them loose and baggy, especially for sleep. I don’t really get this idea of slim fitting pajamas…..I’m really okay not looking my most fashionable self as I sleep.

SIT 2

Although I do think these are pretty cute!

SIT 3

The construction was fairly simple. The interiors of both pieces include french seams throughout, and the neck and armholes are finished with the same bias tape that you can see on the shorts. Easy peasy. I sat down with this after finishing THREE shirts for Mr. Struggle (because I am the best. wife. ever.) yesterday afternoon, and wore it to bed last night.

The fabric comes from Mangaldas Market, my favorite Mumbai fabric destination. I love this fabric, I actually made a dress out of it, which I need to photograph and post, and then was in the market again and saw more of the fabric and I bought it all right there because how often does that even happen? Once before for me. That’s it! Isn’t it great? I still have some left! What to do, what to do…

SIT 4

Modeling “sleepy” poses or prepping for a jump shot?

SIT 8

You know me well if you guessed jump shot.

SIT 9

Sharing a moment with Cadfael. Man, if I think it’s hot, can you imagine how HE feels? We will wait for the rains together, and now I have a decent pajama to mark the tropical occasion.

Come on, monsoons, get a move on!

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, Purl Soho, Sewing

The Vacation Sleep Pajamas

I’m a firm believer in the fact that there are many kinds of sleep. I’m not a light sleeper, a fact that makes Mr. Struggle green with envy, as he is, and can often describe the many things that happened during the night including horrific storms, police sirens, and my own verbal mumblings (because apparently I’m talkative even in my sleep, who would have thought?) but I do sleep differently in different places on earth. I always sleep well, for example, if I’ve gotten to spend any amount of time in the ocean. Something about the waves helps soothe me and I drop right off, dreaming of the water. I never sleep well before a flight, no matter what time of day or night it is. And I usually enjoy sleep somehow less when I’m on vacation, because I often wake up with the troubling feeling that I’m missing something. Why do I travel if I’m just going to sleep the whole time? I always feel that if I sleep deeply and for a long time somewhere else it was a waste of a trip. I am aware that this might be a little neurotic, but hey, neurotic and I are old friends from way back.

That being said, I’ve had a stressful fall so far with many a night of less sleep than I would like, (which, by the way, is a lot of sleep, sleeping is the best, people who can live on four or five hours of sleep amazing me, I feel like they are the waking dead) so on our recent trip to Austin I was determined to be less worried about seeing all the sights (which I have in fact seen before, I’ve been to Austin) and allow myself to enjoy the deep sleep that only meals made entirely of smoked meat can give you. Letting the scent of brisket and the comfort of the south soothe me, I slept deeply in our lovely Airbnb, and woke each day refreshed. Why can’t I have that at home? I think I finally achieved this elusive Vacation Sleep so many have described to me, and while I do credit Texas with some of that, some of that might have been my new pajamas.

So I have made, and never documented, something like 10 Grainline Patterns Tiny Pocket Tanks. I have never included the pocket. What can I say, I’m a rebel. I don’t know why I don’t blog about these, I guess because they seem so damn simple? Which I love, by the way, but somehow I feel weird talking about the stuff that is super duper easy for me to make, it’s like asking for a congratulations when I toast a piece of bread. Nevertheless, here we go, Tiny Pocket Tank. Love this pattern. Love it. But it IS awfully simple, so I decided to spice it up a bit for my vacation pajamas and used this tutorial to guide me. The result was perfect for warm nights in Austin, I’m not going to lie to you:

VS1See, from the front it’s all normal blah whatever. BUT FROM THE BACK?

VS4I’m kind of holding it in place here so my bra, which I wore just for these photos (I don’t sleep in a bra that’s weird) wouldn’t show. This split is VERY splity. I would make this less splity for daywear, real talk.

How do we feel, collectively, about the split-back top trend? I think I like it, but then sometimes I don’t. It’s like that friend you make in college who seems super fun and always finds the good booze at parties and makes you have ice cream for breakfast and wants to travel around Europe and be bohemian and challenge expectations but also will totally hook up with your ex-boyfriend and you forgive her a lot because she seems so cool and awesome with her bangles and her starfish tattoo which means regeneration or some crap but sometimes she leaves you feeling like there is something wrong with you for having feelings. You know that friend? This top might be that friend. I can’t tell.

VS2

That being said, it’s great to sleep in! I used a vintage pajama pant pattern for the shorts, I can’t remember the number I’m sorry but it’s a Simplicity from the 1960’s which I have altered beyond recognition.

VS6The fabric I got on ebay a year ago, and as I’m trying to hold off buying anything new until November, I was happy to be able to use this.

VS3This split back thing is, I must admit, rather brilliant when you are sleeping in a warm place. It’s airy without being too bare for me. So maybe that college friend IS good for something….

VS5That’s how I feel after so much lovely sleep and, of course, excellent food! Plus, I dragged Mr. Struggle to an art museum, so, you know, perfect trip, really.

VS7Back at home, Cadfael was overjoyed to see us. Can’t you tell?

I have two more summery posts, which is insanely lame, as it’s October and I’m ready to document cold-weather clothing. Never fear! That’s coming too.

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage

The Sleeping In The Past Pajamas (Mad Men Challenge #2!)

I am a big pajamas fan. I know this is a strange thing to love and enjoy, but I do. I love pajamas. I love making them. I love wearing them. I think at this point it’s actually something I have almost entirely replaced in my wardrobe with all self-makes, which I honestly cannot say about any other group of clothing I own. I have actually always really enjoyed pajamas, especially pajama sets, and as a younger person I demanded such things of my parents for Hanukkah year after year, which is how I ended up with a set with cow prints on it that I loved so very much I couldn’t stand it. My mother eventually convinced me to give it up when it had almost fallen to pieces, but that was a sad sad day for me. And for cows, obviously.

I particularly love vintage pajamas, or pajamas that look vintage. Not the little fluffy sets, but the actual full pajamas with collars and cuffs. And when we recently made a pajama set at work for a production of Marisol, I admired the silky seperates, and even felt sad when we had to scuff them and cover them in fake blood (it’s a strange play, go with it). So I thought I would make myself a pair of pajamas as a memorial to those fallen comrades. I picked up a vintage pajama pattern, McCalls 4201:

4201amay250

and got to work, basing my pair vaguely off of these Mad Men duds:

0b843c9c384c57ccfaa113a767606fcd-1I actually have glasses like this but what’s his face hates them so they are rarely worn. Maybe if someone arranges for a home massage for me I will break them out again.

SITP 2.jpgThese are a bit looser then Joan’s, of course, but come on, I just don’t see the point of tailored pajamas. I might make the pants a little slimmer next time, but as it is, I’m very happy in these, and I slept wonderfully in them!

SITP 3.jpg

If you look at the pattern you can see there was originally a dart in these but I just let that go. I really don’t think bust shaping is going to help me sleep better.

The collar is nicely rounded, which makes it easy to turn:

SITP 6.jpgIt’s a little blurry but you get the idea. Also, I don’t did three buttons. PAJAMAS. ARE AWESOME.

SITP 1.jpgThe fabric is a kind of seersucker, which I don’t think you can see in these photos with little flowers on them. I got it from work. This was very much a work-inspired project, as you can see. The fabric is lovely and light-weight, and very comfortable, and I must say, this is extremely silly, but I kind of love feeling fashionably vintage even as I sleep. I swear I had sepia-tinted dreams. A

SITP 4.jpgA little back view. See, the pants are baggy, which, well, they should be, but they could probably slim down a bit. Ah, well, next time. This was an easy and fun pattern, I can see myself making it again. Maybe with short sleeves and shorts for summer? That could be cute…oh, I am just filled with pajama plans!

SITP 5.jpgI know, I’m not Joan. But at least I can sleep like she does now!

 

 

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Filed under Challenge, McCalls Patterns, Sewalong, Sewing, Vintage

Pajama Party, Baby!

So, Karen, who I would seriously like to be my new best friend (Seriously, Karen, please be my friend, we like the same books, we drink the same drinks, I think you’re really amazing, call me. Text me. Send up a smoke signal. I’ll be waiting. Also, sidebar, can we talk about how many people on the internet I want to be my new friends? All of you who read this, that’s just number one. It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s awkward. Don’t worry about it. Ignore all this. Moving on.) has organized a pajama making party! (Yeah. Bet you lost the thread of THAT sentence. Try to keep up, okay?) And while I did not announce it here on this blog, I did in fact sign up to participate. And I made some pajamas.

I love pajamas. But I’m single (in case you couldn’t tell by all the singleness happening up in here), and it is hard to get photos taken of ANYTHING, let alone my pajamas. So you must forgive the mirror shots. If you have any objections, feel free to send me the number of a smart handsome funny gentleman with excellent photography skills. Yeah. I’ll just wait for those to pour in. In the meantime, check out my PAJAMAS!

Yeah, I went a little overboard and made a set. The pants are Simplicity 4971:

That one chick has a BOW on top of her head. View 3. Check it out. Yeah. Drink that in.

Still, the pants are great! They are rather huge, but that’s how I likes my pajama bottoms.

And the top is a Sorbetto. What WOULD we do without that pattern? I made an inverted pleat this time. Mixing it up.

The material is a sheet I got for 2 dollars from Circle Thrift. I still have another full flat sheet. Score. I’m thinking a dress. Thoughts?

I added a bow on the front, which I think is useful because it’s the ONLY way I can tell front from back on these things. I made a pair for my mother as well, same pattern, different fabric, bow included.

Oh! And I used a decorative stitch on the hem! I’ve got all these fancy stitches on my machine and I NEVER use them, but I realized that pajama pants are the perfect opportunity to use decorative stitches! How fun is that?

Yeah. He’s great, this guy, but his photos are just the worst. It’s the lack of artistic vision. Or opposible thumbs. Who can say, really.

Cadfael says “My pajamas are just like my regular clothing are just like my naked self”. That’s just one of the many reasons this guy is an adorable fluffy jerk.

 

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Ba-car-di-Eisenhower

Happy March, everyone!

I’m off today to Puerto Rico for a four-day trip, so I wont be back until Monday evening, but I wanted to leave you with my March crafting plans! Looking ahead, which is what I do, I’m a planner, I can tell that March is, more likely than not, going to be a bitch, schedule wise, so let’s hope I can actually accomplish the list of things I’ve created in my sewing notebook (that charming little covered moleskin featured in my Jump Or Be Pushed Jacket photos)! But at the very least I plan to continue with my Sew Colette challenge (expect a final draft of the Pastille to come, and then it’s on to the Truffle!) and I’m also joining in on the Mad Men Challenge, and I’m using this pattern:

To make a replica of this dress:

I was totally going to go Trudy, guys. I mean, everyone is going Joan, you know? I don’t want to be a follower….But in the spirit of the replica, and in an effort not to buy any new fabric I would rather “shop” my stash and Joan it up. However, in my defense, it’s also reminiscent of this awesome dress worn by Dr. Faye:

Nice, right? Oh, Dr. Faye, you were so awesome. Don, I love you, but you are a stupid stupid man. Megan? Have you seen her TEETH? COME on.

As an added bonus, I may or may not also make this, just for kicks:

Oh! And the lovely Lavender of the delightful Thread Square has gifted me with an award! How lovely is that! This is, in fact, why I think of her as lovely Lavender…(and have you SEEN her Sew Weekly contributions? Girlfriend is on FIRE)

My face is just one giant blush right now. Just one big giant blush.

And now I’m supposed to pass this thing along. So pass it I shall!

According to Lavender:

The Liebster Award is designed to send some love to the online stitching community, and when giving the award, one should stick to blogs with under 200 followers. (Note from Leah: I don’t know how to gauge this, so I’m just going to give it away willy nilly. Just try to stop me.) In other guidelines:

  • You must acknowledge the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Give this award to 5 other bloggers. Please let them know through a comment on their blog.
  • Post this wonderful award on your blog.
  • Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
  • Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

I can totally do all of those things. Thank you, Lavender! So here are my five choices, though I can honestly say that ever blog I read deserves an award! Thank you all for your lovely creations, wonderful stories and awesome advice. Go forth and enjoy your awards!

Cindy of Cation Designs

Misty of Misty Skies Aloft

Natalie of Splatastic

Kelli of True Bias

Leah (awesome name) of A Vintage Thread

Now, I’m off to San Juan, and in my bag I’ve got at least 3 garments to photograph in the hot Caribbean sun. Have a lovely weekend, folks! Anyone up to anything fun? March crafting plans? Upcoming trips? Share is out!

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Filed under Inspiration, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Cat’s Pajamas

Not everyone enjoys sewing for other people. I know this, and I respect it. After all, it’s a hell of a lot of work. I think that Oonaballoona (who I deeply adore, from afar, for her daring and her mad skillz, and for her cameo on Royal Pains) summed it up best in this blog post, and if you click on that, read the comments, because they are all insightful and amazing. I must say that more and more as I’ve been sewing for longer and, of course, my garments look a hell of a lot better, when I mention that I sew (I’m just kidding, I never mention, I scream it to the rooftops) people have started asking, do you take commissions? To which I just grin. Because in my mind I’m thinking, honey, do you know the time and effort it takes to make a garment? And fit it? And finish the seams and make sure the design is right and hem and baste and blah blah sewing blah? And you want it in chiffon? That’s cute.

But it’s just like anything else, isn’t it? Like, someone sees an actor perform in a role. And they think, hey, I’m attractive and I can talk and I have feelings, I should be an actor! But what they don’t think about is that that’s an art form, and it requires work and skill and effort. Sewing takes a lot of work, and the longer you do it the more you realize that you don’t know, and still need to learn. So when people ask you to make something for them, “real quick”, it demeans you, in a sense, because they think that what you do is easy and quick, whereas we know that sewing is labor and time intensive, not to mention the cost of materials.  It’s one of the reasons learning to sew will put you off, as the British say, buying RTW, because you know that the labor isn’t being compensated fairly if you only need to pay 10 dollars for a blouse.

That being said, I am someone who does make things for other people. Not when they ask, necessarily, though I do like to know what they want before I spend timing making something, but because I love certain humans and want to show that love with hand-made items. And that is why, among the many things I made for people this holiday season, I made my mother and father pajamas. And you know what? They turned out pretty baller, if I do say so myself.

I think my parents make excellent models, don’t you? The pajamas my mom is wearing come from vintage pattern Simplicity 4006, which is one I have also made for myself. I made it for myself first because A. I’m selfish and B. I wanted to check the fit on my mom before I made her a pair in this lovely flannel that is more her color palette (she’s an Autumn). I scored the fabric from a fabric.com flannel sale and I got the pattern from this lovely etsy seller. I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet, because that’s all I ever do. I think it turned out really well, and my mom certainly likes her new pajamas!

Oh, I think I love the collar best of all, it’s inside edge bound with lime bias tape:

As for my father’s pair, I got that vintage pattern from this other lovely etsy seller, and it’s Advance 8217. I loved the style, but I ALSO love the fact that three out of the three cover sketches are smoking. Thank you, 1960’s.

My dad's head looks enormous here, but I can assure you that's fairly normal for him, he has a very large head.

I got the fabric from the same fabric.com order (come on, I had to make it to the free shipping! Anyone would have done the same!) and I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet. My father wanted a collarless style, and a fabric shortage led me to cut the exposed front non-collar thing (it’s hard to explain) on horizontal stripes, when everything else had been cut on vertical. I think it looks kind of cool, what do you think?

Sorry about the wrinkles, but these are pajamas, after all.

I also really enjoy the cuffs:

 

So there you have it. Two cool cats in very cool pajamas, looking comfortably vintage in their flannel glory.

But just because I made this for my folks, don’t get any funny ideas, okay, people?

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Filed under Butterick Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Be Mine: Not So Plain Jane Pajamas

I have never had a date on Valentine’s Day. I’ve had dates and hook ups and hang outs and whatever completely ambiguous word the kids are using these days (can we just say date, please, so I know that’s what’s actually happening? Because otherwise I’m completely in the dark), before Valentine’s Day, and after Valentines’s Day, but never right there on Valentine’s Day. Now,  I know it’s a terrifically lame holiday made up by card companies and chocolate manufacturers and we should show people we love them all the time and blah blah blah logic. I can rationalize it all I want. I can rationalize anything, it’s an essential part of human existence and survival. But rationality always gets a rough backhanded slap to the face around February 14th when every single person in the universe appears to be coupled up and you are sitting all alone telling yourself that it’s perfectly acceptable to eat your body weight in fries and/or drink your body weight in the fermented beverage of your choice.

But I’m trying not to be bitter about this, and instead take joy in all the love around me. Or some crap like that.  I guess this is my “I choose me” moment. And in the spirit of that, I made this lingerie/pajama set, in, drumroll please, SATIN! Oh, how luxurious indeed!

So shiny!

 

I had all this black lace leftover from an embellished sweater project, and I knew I had to do something interesting with it, because I love the lace, I just hadn’t loved it all over a sweater.

 

I think it's a little Boardwalk Empire, no?

 

I used Burda Style’s Jane Pattern . I got two yards of deep rich wine colored satin from Jomar Fabrics (huge sketchy warehouse full of appliances and imitation designer clothing and tons of fabric, worth it if you have time to unearth treasures, it’s like the Forever 21 of fabric stores but far dirtier) at 2 dollars a yard (score! I love Philadelphia).

 

I added three inches to the short legs on the pattern. I'm comfortable with that decision.

 

I love this. I feel so pretty and comfortable in it, and I think it turned out fairly well. Of course, it’s completely inappropriate for February on the East Coast, but beauty is pain, right?

Mr. Malevolent loves it. There, I got a date. Isn't he handsome?

 

I still have some lace left. Crap. Any ideas?

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing