It’s been two weeks since I’ve been in NOLA, and let me tell you, I’m still dreaming about it!  It wasn’t too humid, the food was great, and I stayed in a gorgeous house on the famous St. Charles Avenue.  Every night I would go outside with a glass of wine and a book and read until it got too dark, then watch the streetcars go by a little longer.  Once it was really dark I’d head back inside and get into my pajamas.  Pajamas are a key part of my nighttime routine — I’m a little picky about them and they have to be the perfect weight.  That’s why I was a little nervous when I realized I had made flannel Carolyn pajamas… for a trip to hot New Orleans in May!  Luckily they were just right for New Orleans evenings, and now I’m definitely on a Carolyn pajamas kick.

As a bonus, I’m sharing the six books I’m most excited to read this summer at the end of this post.  Did you know I’m sharing all the books I read in a highlighted story on Instagram?  This year I’m working to complete the Popsugar 2018 reading challenge, and I’ve also thrown in the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge just for fun.  Do you like to use challenges to keep yourself on track when it comes to reading?

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Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas

Fabric and Fitting

My flannel Carolyn Pajamas (a Closet Case Patterns fave) were kind of a last minute sew, to be honest.  I realized a few days before I flew out that all of my summer pajamas just lacked enough coverage for me to want to bring them.  When I travel for work, I stay with members of the religious order I work for, so I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable!  You know, in the pajamas that no one but me would see because I dress before I eat breakfast.

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com

Anyways, I went to JOANN in search for the perfect flannel to make these pajamas in.  “Flannel!” I said.  “So cozy!” I said.  “Oh wait,” I said when I got home, “it’s 90 degrees (32 degrees C) in New Orleans…”  But, it was too late!  I needed the jammies, and I had already cut them out.  Plus, I really love this flannel!  It’s a gorgeous blue floral print that feels very delicate.  I should have washed it with a color catcher, though.  Some of my towels are now a faint blue!

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com

I made a size 6 in my pajamas, which is also what I made when I did them last year.  The sleeves feel a little tighter, but nothing reducing the seam allowance wouldn’t fix.

Sewing my Flannel Carolyn Pajamas

When I sewed my first pair of Carolyn pajamas, I remembered them being a little tricky.  I’ve said before that I often have some kind of mental block when it comes to Closet Case Patterns.  The instructions are always beautiful and well thought out, but I find myself running into an issue or two with most patterns.  On the Carolyn Pajamas, that issue is definitely the collar/neck facing ordeal.

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com

The front facing and the collar come together very oddly to eliminate the need for a back facing.  To be honest, I don’t love it.  It’s tricky, and I’ve never gotten the front facing into the seams as neatly as I’d like.

Allie from Allie Jackson talked about the same issue on her Instagram stories earlier this week, including that she’d prefer a neck facing.  She has a tutorial for drafting a back facing in her Instagram highlighted stories right now.  I’ll definitely be using it for an upcoming pair of linen Carolyns.

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com

Other than the collar snafu, these jammies are definitely a quicker sew than I remembered!  I skipped the pockets on my shorts because of a fabric shortage, which also helped make them go faster.  They were the perfect addition to my NOLA trip, and I can’t wait to wear them on cozy fall nights later this year.

Six Summer Reads

Earlier this year some folks asked me to share more book recommendations with them.  I read a fair amount — plus, you know, I went to school to be a librarian!  I hope you’ve been enjoying following along with my book reviews on Instagram.  Today I wanted to talk about six books I’m dying to read this summer, in case you’re in need of a beach or plane read!

Heady Fiction

THE INCENDIARIES by R. O. Kwon: Phoebe and Will, each with their own hidden pasts, meet at a prestigious university.  Phoebe gets sucked into a cult founded by an alumnus, and disappears after a bombing that kills five people.  Will becomes desperate to find her, and desperate to understand how she could have been involved in such a horrific act.  Out July 31.

Historical Fiction

THE SUMMER WIVES by Beatriz Williams: Privileged Miranda Schuyler goes to vacation on the elite and secretive Winthrop Island in the Long Island Sound in 1951, still mourning the death of her father several years before.  She’s drawn to an islander friend of her new step-sister’s named Joseph,c but he’s hiding a secret that will rock Miranda’s world.  After an eighteen year gap, Miranda returns to the island, desperate to understand Joseph’s past.  Out July 10.

Young Adult

SUMMER OF SALT by Katrina Leno: A fabulist story of magic and growing up.  Georgina is waiting for the magic abilities that run in her family to manifest in her, and fears they never will.  No one in their island community has ever questioned their talents — but when tragedy strikes, Georgina and her family face suspicion from their neighbors.  A coming-of-age story with LGBT characters! Out June 5.

Short Stories

FLORIDA by Lauren Groff.  A series of short stories that take place in or are related to Florida, but in which Florida is almost a character rather than a setting.  Explore Florida as its residents see it and tourists don’t — full of life, challenges, grittiness, and realness.  Out June 5.

A Fun Beach Read

CAMPAIGN WIDOWS by Aimee Agresti: Cady Davenport has recently moved to Washington, D.C., with her fiancé, who is working on a presidential campaign.  While he works long hours, Cady finds herself in the midst of women who call themselves “campaign widows:” women whose significant others are all involved in the presidential campaign.  This unlikely group of friends will support each other not only through a tough election season, but through the ups and downs of everyday life.  Billed as a cross between Sex and the City and the West Wing, so count me in!

Non-Fiction

I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK by Michelle McNamara: The book I’m looking forward to the most — where are my murderinos at?!  True crime writer Michelle McNamara led a grassroots effort to find the Golden State Killer (aka the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, and the Visalia Ransacker).  He terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s by committing at least a dozen murders, over 50 rapes, and more than 100 robberies.  Sadly, McNamara died before she could see her work come to fruition.  Her coauthors finished out the book for her and the suspected Golden State Killer was arrested in April 2018.  Read about her journey investigating this criminal.  Then celebrate that he will likely be brought to justice!

Are you interested in more book reviews?  Keep checking my Instagram stories, and feel free to follow me on Goodreads!  Just drop a note in your request letting me know the blog/Instagram is how you found me.  And if you’re still not satisfied — visit your local library or independent bookstore to get tailored recommendations!

Flannel Carolyn Pajamas >> MaddieMadeThis.com