Nightshirt designs – choosing a style and a sewing pattern

by Stephanie on 2 April 2010

in Design & ideas,Making clothes,Sewing

Lookbook of pyjamas, nightshirts and other nightwear

I find that one of the most difficult things about making your own clothes is the infinite choice available. When you can have any style you want, it can be quite hard to pin down exactly what you do want.

I really like the look of the pyjamas and nighties that TOAST make. They tend to be fairly minimal and simple in design, and are made from pretty cotton fabrics. I also like the style of classic men’s pyjamas but would prefer a more feminine cut.

Bertie Wooster’s pyjamas

My main inspiration for the style of nightshirt I want to make comes from the pyjamas that Bertie Wooster wears. A slight diversion here, but I’d totally recommend the Jeeves and Wooster series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie for entertainment and clothes spotting. Anyway, back to nightshirts. Really, Bertie just wears classic men’s pyjamas – buttons down the front, a rounded notch collar and piping. Most of Bertie’s pyjamas look like they are made of silk. It will have to be cotton for me though, not having a full-time valet to look after them!

My nightshirt design

I find that sketching is useful for really making me think about the garment. By drawing it, I’m forced to decide what shape it’s going to be, what kind of openings and fastenings I’ll use and all those other little details.

Here’s my (very hokey) sketch of what I’m aiming for:

Sketch of my design for a nightshirt
This is the winter version. The summer version is the same but has short sleeves.

Finding a pattern

Rather than attempt to draft a pattern from scratch, I’m planning to adapt a commercial one. I can’t find any patterns for nightshirts but I think I can alter a pyjamas jacket pattern instead.

Most of the pyjama patterns I’ve looked at seem to be in the style of surgeon’s scrubs – not at all the kind of look I had in mind. Jalie 2686 Women’s Pyjama Set is the right kind of thing though. There’s even the option of adding piping though I’m not sure that I’ll bother with that.

Jalie sewing pattern 2686 for pyjamas
I really like the way that you can have a good look at sewing patterns online before you buy them. The Jalie website has PDFs of the back of the patterns and the instructions, so you can decide whether it is something you want or not. I find it easier to take my time with this at home rather than in a shop.

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