In the modern spirit of a 'staycation', my darling dearest and I recently used some of of our traveling savings to get a small grill and two chairs for our patio. Hooray for summer! I realized quickly that I did not have any appropriate lounging garments for relaxing on said patio, hence the June 2010 pattern of the month - comfy summer PJ's from KWIK Sew 3595!
I chose this pattern because the instructions for sewing the yoke on the top are brilliant. You get a lovely understitched neckline and then can sew the arm edges together using this amazing technique, kind of like the 'yoke sandwich' in our Button Down Shirt class or in Daniel's 3 Shirts in 3 Days post. I'll be making View A. View B looks to me like the pajamas you see on 1970's sitcoms, but maybe that's because we are in the middle of watching the Bob Newhart Show on Netflix. This pattern is appropriate for a beginner on their second or third project, especially if this beginner has already taken our Pajamarama class!
I made a size medium based on my bust measurement of 37", and it turned out great for pajamas but a little loose for an everyday top - and that's the other reason why I chose this pattern - the top can be made out of a great chambray or small print and worn out into the world! When I make it again, I'll cut out a small front and back yoke to fit my shoulders and a medium front and back of the blouse so it fits my bust and hips. Because of the gathering, I can just gather the medium blouse a little more to fit into the small yoke.
I selected a bright paisley - Libby by Jennifer Paganelli - for the pajamas and some gold Radiance (a cotton / silk blend) for the contrast bands. Usually, I don't wear very bright colors in public but I sure love some snazzy pajamas!
Okay, down to business... first off, you'll notice that this pattern features a common sight with KWIK Sew - 1/4" seam allowances! Don't be scared, it actually works in your favor as you will not have to trim extra fabric.
Cutting-wise, the layout is very straightforward. If you have never cut anything on the bias before (the arm edges of the top are finished with bias bindings) then here's how to do it - line your ruler up with one line matching the selvage or fold edge, then line the grainline on the pattern piece up with another parallel line on your ruler:
Because the seam allowances are so small, you'll want to mark your notches with chalk instead of snipping them so you don't end up with holes in your seams. The construction of the yoke is also explained very well, but here's a picture of how to roll up the yoke to sew the arm edges. First, roll the right side of the yoke up till it gets to the left hand edge of the neckline. Grab the top left arm edge in your left hand:
Then reach your right hand under the whole thing to grab the bottom left arm edge and pull it around the rolled up yoke so you are sandwiching the roll between both left arm edges with the right sides of the fabric together. Pin and sew, then pull the rolled up yoke right side out from the bottom of the roll.
Press flat, then repeat for the right arm edge - it's amazing! None of the seam allowances on the yoke need an edge finish because it's lined, but when you sew the front and the back of the top together you can use a medium sized zig-zag to overcast the edges:
The arm edges on the top are finished with bias binding - fold the pieces in half with the wrong sides together and press them - you might want to transfer the notch markings to the right side of the fabric for visibility.
Pin the raw edges of the binding to the arm edges by first lining up the notches then lining up the outside edges - that will tell you how much to ease around the curve.
Once you have sewn it on, pull on the folded edges of the binding to stretch it out - that will make it easier to sew on a curve. Press, press, press! That's the only way to get this type of facing to look smooth.
Sewing the blouse to the yoke involves gathering - I put a gathering stitch first at 1/8" from the cut edge then at 3/8" - two lines of stitching gives you much more control. Once you have sewn it permanently, remove the basting stitches that show on the outside only.
To sew down the inside of the yoke, here are a few steps to follow. First, lay it down on a flat surface with the inner (unsewn) yoke facing up at you. Smooth the yoke flat and pin across about an inch away from the raw edge:
Pick the whole thing up in your left hand, and fold the seam allowance under so you can just see the stitching. Pinch this fold then shift the pins up to secure it:
Flip the whole top so it's right side out. Pinch the seam with one hand and grab a pin on the inside with the other hand. Switch the pin so it's pinning across the seam allowance on the outside of the yoke because that's where you'll stitch it to close it up, 1/8" away from the fold on the yoke side of the top. You might even want to add some pins to really hold that folded edge in place!
If you were making this out of a slinky rayon or as a nicer not-so-much-pajama top, you could always hand sew the inner seam so as to not have a machine stitch on the outer yoke.
I made the matching PJ pants out of the same fabric combination, and maybe soon I'll post a picture of me on our patio, lounging like there's no tomorrow!