Because these are no ordinary pjs! I’ve finally upgraded my sleepwear collection this year, and these are the business. I’ve come across Mrs Depew patterns before, mostly on ebay while browsing for “real” vintage patterns. However, I was lucky enough to win my choice of 2 patterns earlier in the year. I was determined that in my 40s I deserved better sleepwear than baggy tees and a couple of self drafted pants. Last year I made a Kimono Robe, this year I’ve upped my game. Thanks to this challenge, I have finally made up a Mrs Depew pattern!
The pattern is Mrs Depew 3068, a reproduction of a 1920s pattern for a robe, top with either long or short sleeves and ankle length or knee length pants. It’s one of those patterns you can see made up in fancy silk, trimmed with velvet and worn on the silver screen by a gorgeous platinum blonde. I’m neither!
I’d seen an interesting viscose jersey print on Croft Mill Fabric’s site, black with beige, but not all over (no longer in stock, unfortunately). It looked abstract and I liked it for the pajama top. The pattern isn’t drafted for stretch fabrics, but as I’m technically a size up from the largest size of the pattern, I figured stretch would be just fine!! As it turns out, I think it would have worked just fine in a woven. For the pants and robe I chose a beige viscose, also from Croft Mill. There was black viscose in the stash that would be used for the bands on the pants and the robe.
The pants were so quick and easy to make! They consist of just two pieces, a leg and a band. Couldn’t be easier. I’m just not sure where those 20s ladies wore their pj pants, up under their boobs so the crotch depth worked, or with the MC Hammer look… The crotch depth is – well, let’s just say they look like a baby elephant could fit in! 😀 For the sake of accuracy I’m photographing them as they are, but I feel they’ll have to be altered pretty soon. I used the overlocker instead of French seams, you only have 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inches). Although French seams are certainly do-able with just 1cm, I opted for speed!
The top was quick too, instructions for making are brief – think Burda on a major diet! But there is a diagram to go with the minimal instructions and it’s numbered with corresponding notches on the pattern pieces, so it’s not all that tricky. I left off the band at the bottom, the top was going to be long enough on me without it. The neck band was interfaced with some of Gill Arnold’s knit interfacing to give it a bit of body and stability, as were the cuffs. I decided to make the long sleeved version to go with the long pants as I’m intending these to be worn in the winter. There is a small section of shirring at the shoulder instead of any darts.
On to the robe. Again, only three main pieces – front, back, and sleeves (in two lengths). The borders were cut in the black viscose and seamed together in one long length before attaching them to the robe. It pays to stitch a guideline on the inside to iron under the raw edge so that topstitching from the right side catches all the insides nice and neatly. Also, although the instructions say nothing (naturally) don’t stitch the mitred corners from the edge of the fabric, start 1cm in so you can turn the corner properly! The sleeve cuffs are double folded rectangles inserted into the armhole.
I really like this pajama set and will happily make another! The viscose feels lovely and luxurious, and I’m sure it will feel cool even in the late summer. I just don’t want to think of what it will look like after one sleep! It’ll be like napping in linen… And I’m definitely going to alter that crotch depth issue with the pants. I have another pj pattern from Mrs Depew, I think I might just have to make it up, considering how well these went!