Upcycled silk lakeside pajamas

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A slinky, breezy pajama set – or – a slice of humble pie.

What do I mean?

That I am both grateful to have these lakeside pajamas to wear on muggy nights and perhaps more grateful to no longer have them on my sewing table.

That even though I’ve been sewing most of my wardrobe for nearly 3 years and was starting to think my topstitching and bias binding skills were halfway decent, there is still so much to learn and practice.

Ok, what I really mean is that these pj’s are what my dad would call a “ten footer” project — they look great from 10 ft. away, but upon closer inspection the stitching is what I would call a hot mess.

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No matter, they’re still wearable. And at some point after wrestling with approximately twenty-six feet of bias binding to complete the tank top and first step of the shorts construction (an exaggeration, but still), I gave in to the struggle and decided that thread matching isn’t always necessary. Which, maybe, is a lesson in going easy on yourself, especially when it’s 9 pm on a holiday spent working the same as any other day.

Also when the color blocking would have made thread-matching a particularly time-consuming challenge. But the color blocking itself is a fun detail that was surprisingly easy since I was working with an already color-blocked silk skirt and shirt combo, picked up from a tag sale several years ago. I’m not the best at identifying silk fabric types, but I think this would be classified as a lightweight china silk — plain woven, no backing, some sheen.

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Whatever it is, remind me not to attempt to work with it anytime soon. Whereas my upcycled Alamada robe is a fluid, drapey silk, and my best woman dress is a mid- to heavy-weight stretch silk (which I only discovered while testing my stitches – more on that another day), this was a flimsy, slippery little devil that seemed to prefer to skew to the bias, and did not want to stay in a straight line under my needle.

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But the pattern itself, even with all the bias binding, is a gem. I love the overall look, with the slightly retro gym shorts and flattering a-line tank. The clever layered back pieces of the tank offer a breezy vent for hot nights without being too revealing, which I love; the shorts, however, are super revealing and would definitely not make it outside the house even if the stitching were better. But then, I knew when I was cutting that I would probably want to lengthen the inseam, but I chose not to because I was fussy-cutting to arrange the pieces on the various color-blocked portions available.

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Fitwise, I find both the upper-bust of the tank and the low hip of the shorts to be a little tight on me. I cut my usual Grainline size 10, although my hip measurement actually matches an 8 — I think the slight tautness might be due to the fabric, which doesn’t have much give. It could also be due to the french seams I was determined to use but not so dedicated to measuring properly. But after one night wearing them, they loosened a bit and are perfectly comfortable. Next time, I would lengthen the inseam of the shorts, remove the length I added (on a total whim) to the straps, and add a little room to the upper bust.

Just as having a fancy, handmade silk robe feels like a treat, having a stylish, matching pajama set feels surprisingly delightful. I can already imagine that next summer I might want to make an alternate set, this time in a light linen or organic cotton voile, with more precise stitching and a few fitting tweaks.

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Published by

Jess

making things & asking questions

2 thoughts on “Upcycled silk lakeside pajamas”

  1. Habotai is a very unfriendly fabric! Probably the most uncooperative natural fiber fabric I can remember working with. I love how your project turned out, though – where the color-blocking hits, the colors themselves, everything!

    Like

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