My mom is hard to shop for. She really never wants anything for Christmas or her birthday, both of which are in December to complicate things even further. Never anything but pajamas, really. She’s also tall (although not as tall as me!) and often struggles to find her favorite kind of jammies in a pant length that won’t shrink too badly. Luckily for me, those favorite jammies happen to be basically the same as the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Patterns. This year, I gave her a little “gift certificate” for some Carolyn pajamas as a last minute Christmas gift, and I fiiiiinally got around to finishing them this month, plus a pair I had started and abandoned for myself!
Cutting the Carolyn Pajamas
I cut myself out a 6 in the Carolyn pajamas, which is the same size as my Kelly Anorak. I added a forgotten amount to the pants – sorry! But I definitely added, and it was probably something like 4-6 inches. A little too much but I do love slouchy pajama pants (see more about the pants fit under Next Time). I didn’t add any length for my mom, who is 5′ 8″. She could have used an extra inch. We both have the long pants (obvi) and the short sleeved shirt. I didn’t add in any piping.
My Carolyns are made from some Rifle Paper Co fabric from Cotton and Steel, and my mom’s are in a surprisingly awesome flannel from JoAnn Fabrics. They’ve got adorable double decker buses and black cabs on them for a London theme, and the fabric washed up soooooo cozy.
Sewing the Carolyn Pajamas
I had started my own Carolyn pajamas in… December, maybe? Like, a long time ago. I got derailed by something in the instructions (see also: Kelly anorak…) and put them aside until I just couldn’t ignore my mom asking for her pajamas. Since I knew something odd was going on with mine, I put those to the side and started fresh with hers.
Overall, the Carolyn pajamas were easier than I remembered. What probably threw me off last time — because it did this time — was the collar and facing insertion. You sew the under collar on, and then part of the top collar, and then the facing, and then the rest of the collar and there’s a lot going on that I’m not sure I totally got. Heather Lou has a tutorial for the notched collar on her blog, which I did use and found kind of helpful. I think I did an okay job with my mom’s, and then would have probably come close to conquering it on my own had I not f*cked around with it when I was first making them. Verdict: I’ll get it next time. Probably. Hopefully.
Probably the best part about the pattern is the shirt. Like, oh my God you guys, the shirt’s fit. Is. PERFECT. I definitely want to get some silky fabric and make some versions for daywear, it’s that perfect. I’m imagining it in black with white piping. It’s oddly reminiscent in a way of a bowling shirt? But only in the best way! Kind of awesomely vintage-casual. It’s a little short on me – I may someday add an inch to the length. #Sewingtall friends beware, since I usually don’t make torso adjustments that may mean you definitely have to.
Because like so many things I make, there will be a next time… Clearly the collar is something I need to work on, and I think it seems doable. I just need to wrap my head around it, take it slow, and read the directions.
I also reeeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyyyyyy need to work on the fit of the pants. First off, gotta remember how much length I added, because they’re a little too long. Secondly, the thighs are a little tight, so I need to check and make sure I used the right seam allowance. Thirdly… the crotch. I’m coming to realize that all the pants I make are going to need crotch adjustments. Part of this is that I prefer things high waisted (#momjeans4lyfe), and part of this is that apparently, I just have a long crotch. You know, just in case you were wondering. I’ll probably compare this crotch to the one on my Chi-Town Chinos, because that’s actually a great fit in that… region. Since I plan on making these pajamas again (and again and again), I’ll definitely do another post with better fitting notes.
But really, I love this pattern just like in regular life but also more now that I think I’ve basically figured it out. I have a few stash-buster quilting cottons that I want to do something that isn’t wear-outside clothing with, so I think I’ll probably be whipping up some summer pajamas with this pattern soon!
Yardage needed: minimally three yards – this is a fabric hog, folks.
Level: Advanced beginner (that dang collar)
Time: approximately 8 hours
General modifications: none
#SewingTall modifications: Definitely adding length to the pant legs and adjusting the crotch, probably adding length to the shirt, and definitely adding length to the sleeves if you’re going long.