Hey there, it’s Sarah from The Crazy Tailor! I’ve got a new take on an old classic today – the sleep shirt! Or nightgown. Whatever floats your boat…er, bed?
I started with the Pocket PJ’s pattern and did a bit of modifying and so I’ll walk you through how to get this cute little sleep shirt out of that pattern!
J giving me her best “I’m-so-sleepy” face 🙂
So I only used the top pattern for this pattern hack. I had bought a TON of flannel (in 1-yard cuts) on sale when I was home visiting in the states last fall, and now that I'm looking at it all, I realize that my baby girl is too big to fit into 1 yard of anything! I was out of luck to make matching pants for the shirt, so after trying my best to squeak things out of a yard, I gave up and decided to modify the top into a long sleepshirt, or nightgown.
I started by lengthening the back bodice piece by 8 inches. This amount will vary depending on how long you would like it, and what size you are making. You will notice that the back side seam angles out a bit. That's good! (if you're making this in a larger size, you may want to take a hip measurement and be sure that there is enough ease throughout the hips in the sleep shirt. If not, angle your side seam out from the armhole even a bit more)
Then I used a bowl (about 4 inches in diameter) to round off the new bottom corner that we just created.
Now on the front bodice piece there is no angle at the side, so you'll want to add that onto the pattern, add your length (8") and the rounded corner. The front and the back should be mirror images from the arm hole down to the hem. Make a mark 2" up from where your rounded edge stops (as shown in the below photo). This will be your guide for the side slits.
Cut out your front and back pieces (on the fold!) and transfer your 2" side slit marks to the fabric.
Time to make the exposed hem facing! I drafted a facing that was roughly 3 inches tall and then curved it up until it was at least 2 inches above the side slit mark you made on your pattern piece.
Cut two of these on the fold.
Transfer the 2" side slit mark to the facing as well.
Instead of using the bias finish at the neck (which you can totally do) I decided to do an exposed facing there as well. I started by taping my front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulder seam, overlapping to account for the 1/2" seam allowance on both pieces. Then I traced around the neck line, adding a 1/4" to the front edge of the facing (for turning under later), and was sure to mark the back of the facing on the fold.
Using a pencil, mark at close intervals, 2 1/2" from the neckline, all around from front to back.
Then using a french curve (if available) or just eyeballing it, connect the dots to make a smooth line from the front to the back. It should look like this (note the extra 1/4" added to the front facing, and the back is marked to be cut on the fold. Cut one of these on the fold. Add your shoulder seam and back fold markings (which I forgot to add to my facing pattern! Don't be like me!) to allow you to line it up easily on your neckline.
From here, you'll continue with the normal garment construction: front placket (I chose to do mine in the back, because I have a PJ houdini!), shoulder seams, set in the sleeves. THEN, when you come to the side seams (please finish these edges first before this next step - serge or zigzag), you'll sew from the sleeve to the underam, down the side until you reach your mark on the fabric. Be sure to backstitch, and then do the same on the other side.
Then take your hem facing, and right sides together, sew from the top to the 2" mark you made (don't forget to backstitch!) Do this on both sides.
Now you're going to open up your facing and lay it RIGHT side down to the inside or WRONG side of your hem, lining up your 2" marks and pin. It may look a little awkward, but it will all turn out ok 🙂
Sew one side at a time, from the 2" mark on your facing (which is right were your stitching ends from the previous steps) around the bottom and back up to the 2" mark on the other side.
Repeat on the other side. Clip into the seam allowance at the 2" mark (but don't clip through your stitching!) and turn the facing to the outside of the shirt and press. Now you'll press a 1/4"-1/2" (whatever you're comfortable with) under all around the top of the facing, pin in place and topstitch.
For the neck facing construction, it's very similar to the bias instructions. You'll pin your facing at the neck opening, RIGHT side down to the inside or WRONG side of the bodice. Sew around with a 1/2" seam allowance. You should have a 1/4" overhand on each side of your placket.
Clip your curves and flip it to the front. Give it a good press, and then fold the front side of the facing under so it matches the placket, and turn the raw edges of the facing under a 1/4"-1/2" (whatever you're comfortable with) all around and press. Pin.
Topstitch around the bottom of the facing, and then go up the front on the placket edge and then around the neck.
Add your buttonholes (or snaps!) and you're done!
A fun little sleep shirt for the littles in your life!
Happy Sewing and Sweet Dreams!