Saturday, 10 December 2016

Silk Reef Pyjamas

I know its the time of year for some unselfish sewing but the project I've got to share with you today was a real treat to myself. A treat to sew and a treat to wear! About a month ago I visited a new fabric shop in Richmond. Loving the Fabric has an absolutely gorgeously curated collection of fabrics for dressmaking many of which have been collected during the owner Gay's travels around the world. Her knowledge of and appreciation for beautiful and unusual fabrics was so impressive and I spent a very happy two hours there talking all things fabric and sewing! It was a real pleasure to browse an independent fabric shop filled with charm and passion; the whole experience felt very personal.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric
Apologies for the slightly poor quality of these indoor pics; there was no way I was getting out on my balcony in these bad boys during December!

Gay very kindly offered me some fabric for any upcoming projects I had in mind. I'm sometimes reluctant to take advantage of such offers as the feeling of then needing to make something brilliant with it can remove some of the creative enjoyment but I was so inspired by the selection on offer I couldn't say no! A couple of weeks previously as a thank you for testing her beautiful Dove Blouse pattern Megan Nielsen offered me the choice of another PDF pattern from her collection and I'd been giving her also fairly new Reef Camisole & Shorts Set some serious heart eyes for some time so pounced on that! It was the silks in Loving the Fabric that really grabbed me and this seemed like a match made in heaven!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Loving the Fabric in Richmond, London

This stunning floral print silk charmeuse jumped right out at me and I was thinking to make the whole set from this when Gay suggested combining it with a solid silk for part of the set. We spent some time pulling out various bolts and I was torn between the mauve and light pink in the photo above but eventually settled on the pink because of it's hand and drape. It's a super fine crepe with a very subtle sheen. I don't think I've don't think I've come across one so lightweight before, I think the best word to describe it is diaphanous! I decided to use the print for the top and pink for the shorts, tying the two together by using the print for the curved border along the hem. I had 1.4m of the charmeuse and 1m of the pink crepe and had just a little of the crepe left over.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

As I knew I was going to want to wash the set fairly regularly and didn't want the hassle of hand washing I pre-washed both silks on a 30 degree delicate cycle in the machine which is how i have been washing them since with no problems. I was concerned about dulling the satin finish on the charmeuse so tested a little sample first but the was no change whatsoever. The cutting out was a little tricky (especially with the super fine crepe) as these types of silk are so shifty and difficult to get laid out on grain. I cut them out on carpet as I've found this gives the silk something to grip to and the fact that the main pieces of the top are cut on the bias actually really helped as cutting out in a single layer means the silk isn't slipping against itself.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

Sewing wise this was a bit of a dream of a project for me. I love working with silks, especially top quality ones and any excuse to use a french seam and I'm sold! The only trouble I had was with the rolled hem. I used the special foot on my machine and for the most part it was fine but whenever I have to cross over a french seam I run into trouble. I'm never sure how to deal with feeding this bulk through the foot and have to resort to turning and pressing this part by hand.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

I cut the XS top and between the XS and S size for the shorts which has worked out pretty well. As I'm fairly short I was worried about the strap length and the fact that you can't really tell if it's going to be right until the top is made but I'm really happy. The PDF for this pattern is quite big as all the pattern pieces for the top are whole so they can be cut on the bias rather than half pieces to be cut on the fold. The bias cut of the top might be my favourite thing about the design. I love the way it skims the body and how this feels in the silk. I really liked the front page of the PDF which gives clear instructions on what pages to print for what variation but this page is in fact page 1 of the document so when the pattern says to print page 1-10 for example you actually need to print pages 2-11.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

I used the lightest weight of interfacing that I had but do think it is just a tad heavy for this silk as the yoke feels quite firm compared to the fluid drape of the rest of the top. I'm not sure what else I could have used as this is the lightest weight I have come across with the exception of silk organza which I think might have been to crisp also. Is there such a thing as a soft sheer weight interfacing? I would be tempted to omit it entirely but this area does need the strength. I was pleased that my silks pressed so well as nice crisp edges around the curved yoke pieces are tricky to achieve but important.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

I pinked the bottom edge of the facing pieces on the top as I wasn't sure what other treatment to use that could handle those tight curves without creating too much bulk under the fine silk. I considered using a rolled hem but didn't want that fluted effect that that sometimes produces in this area. As the facing pieces are interfaced the pinking is holding up really well even after washing but I do prefer a finish that looks a little more professional. Any ideas?!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

If you're planning on sewing this set I would recommend marking your notches with some other method to snipping them as some seams, particularly around the yoke are sewn at just 1/4"(to make the curves easier to handle and ease together) which means your snips will be going into the body of the top. Its also worth noting that i the instructions Megan describes both stay-stitching and basting with the term stay-stitching. I use a short stitch length for stay-stitching and keep it within the seam allowance to stop curved raw edges stretching out which is particularly useful along those bias cut necklines. There are a couple of areas where you would need to remove the stitches after sewing (e.g. holding the pocket bags in place at the waist) where its better to use a longer stitch length and what I would refer to as basting.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

I actually omitted the pockets in the shorts as I don't find I have any need for them in pyjamas and in a silk this delicate they wouldn't hold much anyway. I usually don't stitch around the centre of an elasticated waistband but I definitely recommend it for pyjama shorts as with sleepwear you don't want the elastic twisting around uncomfortably in the night. I love the finishing method for the hem. These curved pieces are faced so the raw edge of the bottom of the short pieces is enclosed and the instructions have you under stitch the curved hem of the facing so you end up with a nice clean edge. You could topstitch the top edge of the facing down (where it meets the body of the shorts) but with such beautiful silks this didn't seem like the right treatment so I slipstitched it closed using the smallest stitches I could!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Silk Megan Nielsen Reef Pyjamas in charmeuse and crepe from Loving the Fabric

I'd heard a rumour that silk was dreamy to sleep in and these are definitely the comfiest and most luxurious thing I've ever worn to bed! Not only does the fabric feel amazing against the skin but the back yoke design feature of the top absolutely does as advertised and stays put all night. I really like wearing camisoles or slips to bed but find the straps dig in and you get all twisted up in the middle of the night. There's none of that with this because of the slightly racer back shape of the yoke. Big thanks to both Gay and Megan for providing what I needed to sew myself up such a treat!

16 comments:

  1. They look like pure luxury. Thanks for reminding me about this pattern... I had totally forgotten about it & I need to make myself some shorts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They ARE pure luxury! It's a cracking pattern and the shorts are particularly lovely as they are a bit more interesting than a standard pyjama pair

      Delete
  2. oh, this looks very luxurious and comfy at the same time! Love the fabric !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is exactly what it is Camelia! I can't tell you how lovely they are to wear

      Delete
  3. Beautiful work! This project in that fabric terrifies me, but you did an amazing job!

    Try looking at a super lightweight knit/tricot interfacing next time, they seem to be fluid and less stiff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah fab tip thanks Katie, now you've said that I remember reading about that type before. I have used some knit interfacing a while back and you are totally right about the softness!
      i was a little terrified when I started but I kinda weirdly love doing fiddly things in silk nowadays!

      Delete
  4. These are beautiful!
    Frankie
    Www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Beth! I'm really proud of them and the fabric is exquisite

      Delete
  6. Exellent pajmas!
    http://aguniamojswiat.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are gorgeous. I've had my eye on that pattern and I want it even more now. I love your choice of fabric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O so glad to inspire you! I definitely recommend the pattern, it's just a little bit different to a standard cami and shorts set. Thank you!

      Delete
  8. I read a Threads Magazine tutorial a while back about a clean way to finish facings. You use your interfacing to face the facing. Here's a link to the explanation. I haven't tried it myself, but it seems like a genius solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is brilliant! Exactly what I should have done. I'll know for next time at least! Thank you so much

      Delete

I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!