My guys have few sartorial needs, and I'm very seldom called upon to sew for them. Here's one pyjama outfit I've made for both of them several times - and once already blogged about, albeit in a very cursory fashion, here. That was three and a half years ago - indeed time doth fly. The boy was in dire need of a new one.
I return to this self drafted pattern because it's very simple and makes for very comfortable at home wear with breathability and plenty of coverage. Depending on the fabric, a pattern like this could serve anyone. My dimensions, below, are for a medium-large guy, but scale it down only a little and make in cotton eyelet or lace, and the outfit could so easily serve as beach or garden party wear on any one of us gals.
This outfit uses 3.25 m of fabric, and took an afternoon to make.
I designed the pattern to take advantage of narrow widths of fabrics such as silks and cotton batiks, or, in this case, African wax print cloth - in each case about 110 cm wide. The blouse uses the entire width of the fabric, with the selvedges at the sleeve hems. It's made from just two rectangles of cloth, joined by a single horizontal seam at upper chest level. The shoulder line is a fold of the back piece.
|Blouse pattern pieces.|
Construction is extremely simple: first, cut out the neckline triangle and bind it; I use an 8 cm wide non-bias strip with no interfacing and 1 cm SA's, so the finished width of this kimono-ish binding is 3 cm. I then sew together the front and back rectangles of cloth at the horizontal chest seam, matching selvedge edges. To permanently flatten down the SA, I top stitch it. I then fold the piece together at the shoulder line, pin and draw in the side seam lines, using a small (13 cm diameter) plate for the underarm curve, and sew them, before cutting the sides, stopping 19 cm from the bottom for the side vents. To make finishing the vents easier, I serge each SA of the side seams separately. Since the sleeves end on the selvedge, they're hemmed with only a single fold; the bottom hem is doubly folded. An easy variation on this basic is to make the front hem 3 or 4 cm shorter than the back.
The now sadly worn out green shorts, originally one-seams, were made literally an eyeblink before my son got his pubescent growth spurt. Overnight, they became too tight in the seat. So I grabbed a remnant and added a 6 cm wide side panel to each leg. Here's how it looked in wear:
I cut the old pair apart and used one side to pattern the new, once again no-side-seam, version:
You can just barely see the chalked cutting line, with a 1 cm SA all around. So the wearer can tell front from back, the shorts have a (sewn shut, non-functional) front fly, which is also (barely) visible chalked in at extreme right of the above pic. You could thus make it a functional fly, but my fellas are adamant that they do NOT want it. Really, the only important sewing line in this pattern is the inseam, as you want to make sure that the hem-to-crotch lengths (at right and left in the pic) are the same.
The Boy sure didn't want to be photographed! I do like this image though, as it shows the blouse side seam curve, and the length of the shorts. And the great wax print! I was just tickled when my local Fabricland acquired these wax prints. I have a love affair of long standing with African cloth, so much so that there's something downright Proustian - as in, A la recherche du temps perdu - in this little project.
Back in my academic days I was the Mr. Spock (scientist in residence) at archaeological digs in northern Ghana.
|That's me at lower left, wearing a Madras check shirt that I did NOT make!|
One season, the women of the project, and ours was a gal-dominated project, commissioned the local seamstresses to make us outfits out of local wax print cloth. As we sojourned in a tiny little village in the Ghanaian boonies where electricity was not widely available, all the sewing was - and, I suspect, still is - done on foot-pedal Singer machines that would count as antiques here.
Here I am with our dig's employees and a slew of local kids, in my two-piece wax print dress. We called our compound - built from scratch by the project on an empty piece of land just outside the village - Canada House. It included a one room hut for each of the project's members; mine is at extreme left here, with the red window frame. Inside, there was just enough room for a mattress on the floor with mosquito netting tucked around its edges, a tiny stool, and a bit of dung-smoothed floor for a suitcase. We'd spend the long dark tropical evenings playing scrabble by kerosene lamp under a gloriously brilliant Milky Way, fortifying ourselves with G&T's, the best anti-malarial favoured by all visitors to Africa. It worked: I didn't get that dreadful parasite even once.
This gorgeous young man, a Fulani from Nigeria, worked with us at the dig.
Each year, I brought home some amazing genuine kente cloth. I used the one above - a classic design - as the background for a conference presentations of my results from the dig. Kente cloth weaving is a fascinating subject best left for another time.
So long, everyone!