Judge: I put it to you, did the accused blatantly and conspicuously sew in an African wax print fabric? Did she without regard for plagiarism, sew loungewear ?
Me: Guilty as charged on both counts!
I haven’t had a great deal of time in the last few weeks for sewing and blogging, but I have found time for a simple make. I was attracted by the Peppermint Loungewear set when it popped up. I thought they would make a fantastic pair of pyjamas and I have just worn through the seat of my favourite PJ bottoms.
The pattern is available for free or a donation. The Loungewear pants extend just beneath the knee and are reasonably wide-legged. They have sizeable pockets at the front. There is provision for making a shorts version of the pants too and the top is simple in design, somewhat cropped, with short sleeves and drop shoulders. I’ve seen a few versions on instagram and thought they were just what I needed.
This got me thinking, what actually is the difference between pyjamas and loungewear? I realise that they are supposed to be worn at different times; pyjamas in bed, loungewear during the day as casual wear. But, is there actually any difference in how these garments look? Does the length of the Peppermint lounge pants, make them lounge pants? Can pyjamas ever have pockets or does this break some sartorial code? Can pyjama tops deviate from having buttons down the front? I know these bottoms will be used as pyjamas, because I’m not a wearer of loungewear (even in lockdown!), but I’m still keeping those pockets!
Last year I bought I length of African wax cotton at the rag market in Birmingham while attending Sew Brum. It’s a full 6 yards, so this is just my first make with this fabric. I was attracted to this particular design, because I liked how the orange and yellow motifs popped against the dark blue background. According to this BBC article, many of the designs actually have a name and I wondered whether this one had one? Does anyone know? The fabric itself was produced by Vlisco in Holland. African wax print fabric has such an fascinating history, spanning continents. It originated as batik in Indonesia, was mass-produced in Europe and found a market in West Africa. This article on the history of African wax print also has a great video of the batik process.
I wondered what I was going to do about pattern placement when I cut out the pattern pieces, but with such a busy print and its infrequent repeat, I decided not to worry about it, so long as one of those large triffid-like flowers didn’t end up being placed in an awkward location…..you know what I mean….
I made two changes to the pattern. Firstly, I extended the leg length so that it is full-length. I find trouser legs ride up in bed, so I like them long (in the hope that they stay put). Secondly, I ignored the instructions for applying the elastic waistband. I had worries that I would end up stretching the elastic out (this has been a long-standing problem using my old singer with stretch fabric). I decided to make a casing instead. This is actually suggested as an alternative in the Peppermint Pattern loungewear instructions although it isn’t described in full.
I’ve worn these for a couple of nights now and I couldn’t be happier. They are so comfortable to wear – they fit well, the length is just right and I’m loving the pockets. At the moment the cotton is still quite stiff, but I know that the fabric should soften up with wear and washing, so I’m looking forward to them being even more comfortable.
I wonder what I should make with the remaining fabric? There is still plenty, for making a jumpsuit. Alternatively, I could make a matching top and complete my Peppermint Patterns loungewear set. I could even make two sets. What do you think? Any ideas about that pattern placement on a top or jumpsuit?
August 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm
Very cool! I’d love to have a matching top to go with the bottoms. Then after a hard day, I’d put them on and spend my time LOUNGING around!
September 25, 2020 at 8:58 pm
These are incredible! i love wax print fabric, I’ve got some gorgeous african fabric cigarette pants and they’ve got a hole in, it’s heartbreaking! x
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