Mr Rat complained to me that he didn’t have light enough pajamas for summer, so I decided I would surprise him by sewing him a set from the same pattern I sewed his Christmas flannel robe last year, Simplicity D0588, released in 2015. I made a size medium, same as the robe, but was rather surprised by how the fit turned out. The shirt top is quite large, which Mr Rat says is very comfortable, and the shorts fit well, but they were surprisingly short---certainly not the knee-length that the pattern implies. Mr Rat is 5 foot 10---perhaps the pattern was designed for a slightly shorter man? In any case, if you try this pattern, you might want to check the short length before you begin. I compensated by turning the hem up once and pinking it before sewing rather than turning it twice as I normally do hems, but the shorts are still a good two or three inches above my husband’s knee unless he wears the waistband low on his hips. I should have been smart and measured the length before cutting the shorts out, but I’m not sure I would have had quite enough fabric to make it differently anyway, given that I made the whole pajama set out of a twin-sized Ralph Lauren striped cotton sheet I found at the thrift store. It made very breathable, crisp pajamas, and was easy to sew, but it was a tight fit getting everything cut out and as many stripes matched as possible (including the pocket). Since I had so little fabric, I cut the facings out of some white cotton fabric scraps I had in my sewing basket. I finished all the interior seams by pinking them, and top-stitched all the hems and facings.
This pajama pattern has quite a few details considering it looks so deceptively simple. There is a front chest pocket, which is somewhat hidden by the stripes in the photos, side slits on the shirt, the shorts have a working fly closed with snaps, and the shorts also have side-seam pockets, which I made out of plain white cotton. I decided to cut the waist-band on a lengthwise stripe and use only one row of elastic, since my elastic was a little wider than what the pattern calls for (which they have you double in two waist-band casings, one above the other). Still, the pattern is not hard, and would be suitable for a beginning sewer, I think, so long as they had some patience. This was the first pattern that I sewed entirely on our new-old Singer 15-91 sewing machine, and it took me some patience to adjust to the differences between it and our old Singer heavy-duty. But our Singer 15-91 is truly the heavy duty machine that sews through multiple layers with ease, and even if my topstitching might be a little wiggly here and there on the pajamas, I’m really pleased with how well it sews, and I think I’m getting used to its pace and feel.
Mr Rat jokes that these are his ‘designer’ pajamas, since they are made of Ralph Lauren fabric. I joke that he could wear them to referee a basketball game, if anyone ever asks. He jokes that if I had cut the stripes the other direction, they would have been prison-worthy. He likes them very much though, and wears them every night.
We both joke that Gia is our dog rug, given the way she loves to sprawl on the floor like a bearskin.
Mr Rat has been in need of a warm robe, so I made him one as a Christmas gift, using a current Simplicity pattern, D0588/1021. I made it in a size medium out of navy blue cotton flannel, bought on a deep discount at JoAnn’s Black Friday sale in November. The pattern is simple to follow, and easy enough for a complete beginner, I think. It took me one day to cut out and two days to finish sewing. Mr Rat was pleased to open it and put it on, even though he had seen me making it, so it wasn’t a surprise.
The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to not interface the front binding that goes around the collar and edges of the robe. The binding gets doubled as it wraps around to the inside of the robe, and since it is meant to be a comfortable garment to lounge in, I didn’t want it to be stiff.
Inspired by the monogrammed handkerchief I gave Mr Rat for an anniversary gift, I also made handkerchiefs for my whole family, embroidering each person’s initials and hemming them by hand. My parents, most of my siblings, and their spouses attend the Mormon temple very frequently, and everything in the temple must be white, because it is a holy place, so I made all the gifts pure white in case they wanted to use them there.
Last year I made myself a nightgown out of two dollar-a-yard cotton flannel (given to me by my mom) using Simplicity 3573 in a size small. I probably could have made an extra-small, but I think small was the better choice, since I wanted my nightgown to be loose and warm and comfortable, and it is. But it is very chilly here in the mornings and evenings, so I went back to my pattern last month and decided to make the matching robe, also in a size small. I waited for cotton flannel to come on sale for two dollars a yard again at the fabric store, and once it did, I quickly washed it, cut it, sewed it, and started wearing it right away. It is satisfying to be warm in layers of soft flannel during this time of year when light and warmth are in short supply.
Simplicity 3573 is a good pattern for an advanced beginner or early intermediate sewer. It does require buttonholes at the front, elastic casings at the cuffs, and patch pockets, which might be challenging for a beginner with no assistance. For a sewer with more experience, it is a fast and easy pattern. The only adjustment I made was to not leave a gap in the front of the robe---I sewed the gathers on mine all the way to the edge of the front button-placket, so that when I am wearing the robe the front skirt overlaps slightly at the top. The neckline is finished with white bias binding turned to the inside and top-stitched, and I finished the seam allowances with pinking shears. The buttons were from my button-box. Luckily, the white buttons for the nightgown and the larger white buttons for the robe matched each other very well.
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew.