Sunday, August 17, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #15 - The Great Outdoors

My life is like a stroll on the beach...
as near to the edge as I can go.
I've read studies that being close to the water makes most people feel safe and calm.  There is something about the flow and freedom of the ocean or lake that makes me dream.  So for this HSF Challenge - The Great Outdoors - I chose a time of change and pushing the limits, the 1920s and 1930s, and something for the beach, beach pyjamas.
There is a lot of documentation and photographs for the full-legged style of beach pyjamas including this blog by The Dreamstress when she created her Deco Mermaid style:
The colors of this vintage style range from cool to hot, the fabrics from mild to wild.
 For my beach pyjamas I'm using Folkwear Pattern 252.  I have a piece of floral fabric that works well with my late 1930s-style sandals and a coordinating piece of solid fabric.
 The cotton floral fabric was a nice piece I had in the stash but there were only 2-1/2 yards.  The cotton peach fabric coordinates nicely and is inspired by this similar style:
 So I could make the bodice and collar out of one fabric and the yoke and legs out of another.  I draped the dressform to help with my decision.

Even when I decided to make the lower portion from the floral fabric I still had to do some creative piecing as the leg portions were wider than my fabric.

 I managed to get everything cut from the fabric on hand and when I pinned it all on the dressform I was happy with the design!
Most of the sewing is very straightforward using a variety of seam finishes.  The edging of both the collar and sash called for a "picot hem" which was described in the instructions.  After turning the fabric edge in 1/8" and pressing, a medium width zig-zag stitch is made close to the edge.  When the thread pulls itself it creates a pretty scalloped edge.  It worked beautifully on the collar edge!

The sash is a combination of both fabrics.  The edges are pressed in and then stitched along the edge with wrong sides together.  The floral fabric was a bit heavier and the edge didn't scallop as much as it did with the peach fabric but the finished edge is still pretty with the zig-zag stitch.  As you can see, I believe in pins!.
A little bit of floral fabric added to my straw gardening hat and I'm ready for my beach adventure next January!  Here I've also added an embellished straw bag which I found at a flea market.  I'm mixing eras just a bit but I love the overall feel and I hope you do too!
This photo is in honor of the recent Downton Abbey photoshoot.  Can you spot the historical error?

Ready for the beach?  Let's go!
Love always,

Historical Sew Fortnightly
What It Is:  1930s Beach Pyjamas
The Challenge:  #15 The Great Outdoors
Fabric:  Cotton
Pattern:  Folkwear 252
Year:  1920s and 1930
Notions:  Thread, snaps, hooks and bars
How historically accurate is it?  Pattern based on vintage designs and fabric with vintage-inspired colors
Hours to complete?  6 hours
First Worn:  For these photos, but made for the Victorian Dance Cruise in January 2015
Total Cost:  Fabric 5 yards = $15.00

P.S.  The error is the plastic water bottle!



  1. I tried making this pattern once but my Hawaiian floral cotton was just so stiff, and I hated it so I never finished it. I just may try again with a drapey fabric someday.
    Your's is just beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Val! The Hawaiian floral must have been pretty. Maybe keep it for the legs and switch out the bodice/collar for something lighter? Can't wait to see your finished beach pyjamas one day!

  2. I love Beach Pajamas. I've been thinking about doing them lately because the heat has become to bad out here in Southern California.

    1. I was so surprised at the comfort and coolness of the style! Even with the full legs it feels like wearing shorts it's so cool. These might be perfect for the Southern California heat!