Plush Pillow Time à la 1971

So often nightwear is neglected in one’s sewing in favor of clothes that do get seen in public. However, why shouldn’t a seamstress treat herself to her own creations when it comes time to unwind and relax? She should…just finding the time is the challenge! I’ve already made a trio of pajama separates for my hubby using a 1946 pattern (blog post here). Now, it’s time for my own nightwear to come about 🙂

100_4287aWhat better pattern to reach for to make my first nightwear than a family pattern – one which has already been tried and true with memories attached?


FABRIC:  a polyester knit crushed panne velour – a fancy and soft cheaper modern alternative to real velvet. It is in beautiful ice blue color.

NOTIONS:  on hand already100_4264

PATTERN:  McCall’s #3035, year 1971

TIME TO COMPLETE:  Easy as pie! From start to finish, which was on December 12, 2014, my nightgown took maybe 5 hours or less.

TOTAL COST:  As the velvet was bought quite a while ago now, and all the notions were here, too, I’m counting this night gown as free! Zero cost! For anyone else, or if I had bought fabric and supplies, this nightgown still would be very reasonable to make, as it is simple and can be made with a small amount of fabric.

This night gown has been long overdue and years in the making. Back in 2006, I bought this blue panne right after making a fancy top for myself in the same fabric, just in an ivory color. It was then I discovered crushed panne velour to be an easy care, rich looking material. Even then I had plans to make this into nightgown, but I didn’t have a pattern assigned. The only thing I knew I had to have on my panne nightgown was very frilly, feminine, features. So, I remember rummaging through my mom’s stash and pairing my ice blue panne with some old-fashioned lace, the kind which has satin ribbon run through it, along with some skinny ribbon, woven with a floral vine pattern down its length. All these notions were still bagged up with my velour when my parents passed it from their stash to mine a few years back.

100_4293aThe McCall’s 3035 pattern I used for my night gown came to me from my mother-in-law. I asked if she remember this pattern, and – yes! It had been made out of a floral flannel, using the long and cozy view seen at the far right of the pattern front. However, when I had opened up the pattern to judge which view I was going to make, there were three fairly major pieces missing – the night gown back, the back neck facing, and the long sleeve. This meant I was a bit limited, as well as restricted because I only had two yards of my blue panne to work with for my night gown. The pattern pieces are luckily so very simple in their shapes, and do not need precise fitting, thus I was able to make things work.



Check out those “panties” included in the pattern…so cute but hilarious!

Studying the cutting layout and pattern piece diagram, the back and the front pieces of the night gown’s body looked almost exact. As I was missing the back, I simply cut out two of the front (eliminating the front slash opening markings for the back). I really barely had room for the short sleeves the way it was, so the missing long sleeves weren’t needed. If I do make this pattern again with long sleeves, it would be easy to use a substitute sleeve from my cabinet of patterns. The length I chose for my night gown was more or less in between in long and the short versions…it was all I had room for on my fabric. The missing back facing was another easy fix (for me at least). I drew my own pattern piece based on the back yoke neckline’s shaping and width.100_4265

The night gown went together in a flash. Back and neck facing very nicely self-cover the raw edges of all the gathers from the lower night gown body. As much as I like velvet and/or velour, I do not know why there was no memory of all the terrible fuzz that gets everywhere as you sew. Literally, I had fuzz sticking to my hands and my nose, fuzz caking my feed dogs on my machine, fuzz covering the fabric edges making it hard to find the real ends. What a mess!

100_4292All the fancy trimmings were added after the night gown was done, except when it came to the sleeves. The sleeve instructions were showed to do them in a manner I’ve never seen before. How fun – something new! About 2 1/2 inches away from the sleeve edge, I sew down 1/2 single fold bias tape as a casing running parallel to the hem. Then the instructions said to measure a comfortable width around one’s arm, add the seam allowance to each end of that width, and cut the total length out of 1/4 inch non-roll elastic. The elastic is run through the bias casing (gathering the band) and tacked down so the sleeves’ seams can be sewn together. Ah, I didn’t forget to add the lace to the edge before doing the gathering! Having the elastic ends sticking out of the sleeve seam allowance is not the most comfy thing in the world to have under one’s arm, but it sure made for a different and challenging way to gather a sleeve cuff.

100_4283aI like the idea of living in everything I make myself. It really puts a smile on my face and make me feel self-sufficient. Besides, now I don’t have to be perfectly presentable and go out of the house just to wear my own clothes. It’s also nice to make a rounded out variety of garments. Being someone who sews on a weekly, almost daily basis, making my very own vintage night wear, especially one with a family tie, feels relaxing in its own right – though not something that generally is seen, it’s something made for me, to be myself in, and treat myself to a little luxury I would never buy (or find) otherwise. Pillow time here I come! I’m ready to unwind in my own premium, handmade style.

1 thought on “Plush Pillow Time à la 1971

  1. Pingback: My “Conservative Gilda” Nightgown | Seam Racer

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