Luxurious Liberty Pyjamas

Liberty print pyjama set with piping

Confession - I actually made these a while ago and never shared them on the blog. Seeing as the #wardrobebuilder doesn't have to be all about new makes I think it's totally okay to share them now!
* * *
Inspired by an email full of beautiful Liberty nightwear I decided to have a go at creating my own. I already had a beautiful Liberty cotton lawn sitting in my fabric stash and a pattern that could be customised to emulate the real deal.  I had just attended a class on buttonholes and piping so this seemed like the ideal project to test these skills out on. Really, how hard could it be to add some piping? For me, very. That said, I have ended up with one of my most prized clothing items ever, at a fraction of the cost that it would be to buy ready to wear pyjamas.

Fabric

The fabric I had bought a beautiful grey Liberty (Jugendstil C Tana Lawn) print a while ago, intending to use it for a kimono jacket (until I realised I would never wear it). These pyjamas seemed the perfect use for it, and I also already had some dusky pink cotton lawn that would make a nice contrast for the piping. The Liberty fabric itself feels silky for a cotton and is lightweight (yet not see through). It is one of the easiest fabrics that I have sewed with and hangs beautifully. Having now made a garment with it I can see why everyone in the sewing community loves a Liberty fabric – creative designs meets luxurious finish and practicality. That equals almost guaranteed good results (she hoped, at £22.50 per metre).

I finished off with some vintage style buttons from Backstitch that blended with the fabric, yet were able to still stand out as their own feature element. I was trying as much as possible to keep to the design that I had seen on Liberty's website.

Liberty print pyjama set with piping

The pattern(s) 

The sleepwear set that I liked the most featured short sleeves and short bottoms. I had a pattern in my collection already from my first ever sewing class that featured pyjama outfit pieces - Butterick B5537. I selected a short sleeve top and used the Margot pyjama pattern from Love at First Stitch for the shorts. Butterick B5537 does have a shorts pattern, but I thought that Tilly's one might be easier (it was).

The top had a standard collar and pocket included in the design. It obviously didn’t match the original Liberty design exactly but with some creative adjustments, including the addition of piping, something similar could be achieved. Constructing the top would be the first time I had used commercial sewing patterns on my own, and I was a little apprehensive, especially as I was making alterations to the pattern by adding piping, which I had never done before on clothes.

The pattern comes on a number of tissue pieces which can be cut out and used as they are to create five different garments. The instructions also include a variety of layplans that are helpful, and remind make it clear which pieces you need for your project. I used the pattern measurements to determine my size, and found that the finished garment was quite large on me. If I was making again I would go down a size for the top, or narrow the shoulders.



The pattern includes step by step instructions with some illustrations, but they are somewhat basic. I did need to refer several times to the first page with the glossary and general instructions. Some hemming instructions were also included on the pattern pieces so I felt there was a lot to keep track of. I did need to do a fair amount of testing, revisiting vocabulary and pinning before I was confident, but it did turn out correctly (mainly) in the end! There were diagrams for crucial elements around the collar that were hard to describe, and these did help.

The Margot bottoms were a real relief after having struggled with the top! The instructions in Tilly's book were written clearly, with lots of labelled colour photographs. Where sewing terms or techniques are used they are also explained. The idea of the Margot pyjamas is that they are your first wearable garment, so absolutely everything is explained, including how to mark patterns on fabric. There are only two pattern pieces which again makes construction a lot easier. The pattern pieces are on paper at the back of the book, and need tracing off before they can be used. I had to taper the edges and shorten mine anyway so didn't mind this. I thought that the sizing was pretty good on these and had enough room for a comfortable sleep without falling off!

In general I was able to follow the instructions for completing the garments, and having attended the beginner’s sewing course helped with constructing the shorts as I could remember a fair few hints and tips. I’m sure with time I will get the hang of the big commercial pattern brands, but up until now I have been using indie patterns which, to be honest, are a lot easier to follow for beginners. I prefer how the indie companies phrase their instructions and I really do need a lot of pictures, as well as the online help that accompanies these too in the form of blogs and sewalongs.


Alterations

The Liberty sleepwear I saw has three key features that my pattern didn’t: contrast piping, much shorter shorts with a tapered edge at the sides and no elasticated waistband. I attempted to incorporate all three, with varying degrees of success. I shortened the length of the shorts (not enough as it ended up), and worked in a curve at the outside edges to emulate the tapered look of the Liberty nightwear. I added piping to the bottoms of these following the curve, and this turned out well in the end. I created a folded hem that enveloped the piping and the raw edge of the material. This did hide all the unsightly edges, and really should be slipstitched (but I hate doing this so left it - no problems so far).

I had been somewhat reticent to shorten the shorts too much, bearing in mind the additional fabric I would be using to incorporate the piping. The end result was that they turned out too long. To be fair, I am an unusually short person and would have had to shorten anyway so it does make sense. Now that I have made them I have decided to keep the longer length, mainly due to the fact that these will be more practical for stay overs. I used the button hole facility on my machine to create a sturdier reinforced hole for the drawstring (and to have a practice on it, truth be told).

Liberty pyjama pocket and piping

I decided to add piping to the bottom of the shorts, the front facings, collar, pocket and sleeve facings. I also decided to really test my skills and create my own rather than invest in readymade piping in order to use the precise colour that I wanted. Constructing the piping itself was not a difficult process, but was time consuming and required a lot of concentration. I used tutorials from The Little Tailoress to help me along here, even after having been to a class once already. Her videos were really helpful and are great for beginners.

Attaching the piping was what really tested my skills. This was partly because I was trying to achieve a professional finish at the same time, and was experimenting with new techniques in order to achieve this. To be honest I was also being lazy and trying to pin and sew one time only, rather than sewing twice by attaching in one sewing line, and finishing with another. This was not time efficient in the end and resulted in a lot of unpicking and having to stitch again anyway. Another reason this was made trickier was because the pattern was not designed to incorporate piping, and I did have to alter the steps in order to achieve this. It did make attaching the facings and collar to the neckline a lot more complicated.


Thoughts

I would describe my level as confident beginner, and someone who can construct and add piping. This was beyond my skill level as it required competence with commercial patterns and alterations that I did not have. Clearly it is possible, but it is not easy if you are a beginner.

It’s fair to say I learned a lot from these alterations, and I am in the main happy with the overall effect. Some of the quality of the sewing with these alterations is not as good as it would be if I did this again (where I would definitely tack first and sew finishing stitches separately). I would also add further alterations to the width of the shoulders and length of the shorts. The original inspiration for my nightwear also had a more polished finish to the insides, and I would line the inside of the top with another layer of fabric to make it look more refined. I did manage to make sure that my pattern was placed perfectly symmetrically on the back and the collar though - so feel a little proud about that!

This pyjama set cost me about £30 in materials, which compared to the £125 it costs for Liberty’s readymade version is a fraction of the retail price. Obviously Liberty’s version has a higher build quality than mine, and incorporates an inner facing too. What this did require a lot of was time and patience!

I would definitely do this again. I have personally learned a lot through this project that would enable me to create a higher quality product next time. The fabric is the star of this show, and the pattern is simple enough to showcase it. The piping is what increases the difficulty of this set and this is what caused me a lot of frustration/ time to get right.

Share

No comments:

Post a Comment


Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
Follow

Follow Me

the #wardrobebuilder project

Powered by Blogger.

Instagram

PINTEREST

LIke on Facebook

Popular Posts

Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Legal stuff

Check out our disclaimer here