Secret Pyjamas

Butterick 6241

Butterick 6241

I made Butterick 6241.


This project, for once, started with the fabric. My pokey little Fabricland has actually gotten some REALLY nice fabrics this fall—the nicest since we moved back here. One that I was really dying to work with was this slinky rayon knit that is just that much heavier than most of the thin rayon knits they get—making it extra scrumptious (though I’m sure not quite as luxe as the stuff K-Line has been playing with…). I came *this* close to making a Jalie Bella dress, but I thought the rayon is still just a wee bit thin for that… Butterick 6241, on the other hand—perfect.

Too many photos.

Too many photos.

It was kinda hard to wrench myself out of historical costuming mode—I’ve been pinning regency-era stuff pretty much obsessively since mid July and I REALLY want to get started on a actual dress. But I reminded myself how much o loved the fabric and sucked it up and changed all the machines to grey thread. (Yes, all. While I did most of the construction on the serger, I set up the Rocketeer for twin-needling and there was still a fair bit of basting and stay-stitching to do on the Pfaff. )




My fabric is pretty stretchy and the pattern called for moderate stretch, so I decided right off the bat that I’d size down a bit. After a quick comparison with my knit sloper, I thought a bit of shortening through the armscye was in order, and since there was a back seam I took the opportunity to add a bit of a swayback adjustment. I roughly squared the shoulders, as well. It’s always a bit hard to tell in a knit if the changes you make actually made make a difference or just didn’t matter, but the fit ended up being pretty much spot on so I’m not going to complain.

Back view

Back view. Catches up a bit on my butt, not helped by the not-at-all-slippery leggings.

I really really hate sewing knit patterns with 5/8″ seam allowances, so it takes a fair bit of love to get me to sew one. And I won’t say this pattern changed my feelings on that score, but it wasn’t overly traumatic, either. It’s not an easy knit pattern, however. There are a lot of seams that have to go together without rippling.

I did a LOT of stabilization—knit fusible stay tape (out of curiosity—it’s a little lighter than the knit interfacing I usually use and I think the heavier might’ve been better in this case—but it was still nice and convenient), clear elastic, and even old fashioned stay stitching. Which doesn’t make for the prettiest insides. I also wish I’d matched my serger thread better—I could only find two of my dark grey serger spools so I used lighter grey in the loopers. It stands out, and is somewhat visible inside the pockets and when the collar is unzipped.  Blerg.

Collar closeup

My only real change to the construction was to skip the front facing.I mean, everyone hates facings in knits, right?  Well, it would’ve made for a much nicer finish on the inside zipper if I had kept it, and since I mostly plan to wear it with the collar open, it’s not ideal (although it’s not as bad as I had feared it might be.) also I think the method described in the instructions for inserting the exposed zip would probably have been better than what I did, which was tuck the edges under, hold everything in place with wonder tape, and topstitch. It is not particularly perfect, plus I had to stitch down the collar inside the zipper by hand. Go with the instructions, though I would stabilize the outer fabric with more than just the stay-stitching they suggest.

yummy unipped collar

yummy unipped collar

The collar itself is pretty interesting, with a weird raw-edged overlay with topstitching and grommets for the drawstring. I thought it was a bit weird that they tell you to baste on the overlay and then pull it back to insert the grommets underneath. I added the grommets first and everything was just fine. While they do have you interface the side of the collar that gets the grommets, I was using a super-light-weight knit interfacing for that so I added some squares of regular interfacing where the grommets were  going. The collar overlay piece is slightly longer than the collar piece, I think to allow for turn of cloth, but since the collar is interfaced and the overlay isn’t, I actually would up trimming off a couple of cm to get my overlay to fit. They’re all rectangles—not the end of the world.

Zipped up collar. Still cute, less me.

Zipped up collar. Still cute, less me.

Steam-a-Seam came to the rescue again for hemming the pockets and the bottom, and I think the walking foot on the rocketeer was a big help for keeping things together over the pocket part. I had actually expected the pocket to be formed by some nifty fabric folding at the hem or something, but no, it’s just a big piece basted to a smaller under-piece so it drapes nicely. Much simpler that way, mind you, plus I could decide to shave an inch off the bottom without causing too much trouble. I actually might’ve shortened more—not that it’s long, but I was thinking mini-length in my head and it’s really a very comfortable knee length (I’m 5′ 7″)—but I was worried about getting into the drapey part of the pocket. Although now it’s hemmed it seems shorter… some of that is probably my camera’s 18″ high tripod perspective.



I was not overly pleased with the sleeve, solely because there is sleeve-cap ease. 😦 this isn’t necessary on a knit, I think, ever, and certainly not on a little flutter sleeve. I actually cut the smallest size of sleeve in the hope this would get rid of it, but there was still a bit left. I then made the mistake of just trying to ease it in with the machine, which resulted in a rather stretched out back of the armscye. Blerg. So partly my fault, too, for not bothering to address the problem properly. I don’t think it will bug me too much, anyway.



So, all in all, despite a few quibbles with the pattern and instructions, and a few more issues with my own choices, I’m pretty darn happy! It’s a cute, comfy dress that is already making me less upset about the fact that fall is here. And I LOOOOOOOOVE that  fabric. 🙂



Filed under Sewing

26 responses to “Secret Pyjamas

  1. Okay, this is really cute, and I loves me comfy clothes but what makes it super cute is what appears to be your dance routine on the fence.
    It’s bootie weather everywhere now.

  2. gilliancrafts

    That is a really cool dress! Perfect for fall. I never would have noticed that pattern, to be honest, but you are working it! Now I’m wondering if my local store has this fabric too?

  3. Andie W.

    Love the dress! I am excited to see this pattern made up. I got it at a recent sale and love it. I hope Fabricland has some of that fabric. 🙂

  4. I love this dress! I’ve been eyeing a similar one from Lekala (#4151 if you’re curious) to use up some owl sweatshirting I have. Even if I made that one though, I might still have to try this one. Now if only I could find a beefier rayon knit…rayon in general is so hard to come by around here that going in with any sort of specifics is bound to lead to disappointment.

  5. Heather (Thing I Make, Plus Rocks)

    The sleeves are a little bit odd, but otherwise I think you hit this one out of the park! I love love LOVE that collar and a partial zip! And those seams! Yum, what a great little dress/tunic. 😀 Looks beyond cozy too.

    For the inside zipper, what about hand-stitching (I know I know!) some ribbon or bias-tape inside to clean up the exposed zipper? You could use something to blend in or something to stand out! I’ve seen people do the same on sweaters, so it might be an option.

    Also *ahem*, go take a look at this. 🙂

  6. I like your dress. The pockets and collar are great details. But I am confused by your title…are you planning on wearing this to bed?

    • Sorry—I guess I forgot to explain that part! “Secret pyjamas” is a phrase that gets used a fair bit to describe knit dresses, and other clothes that look great but are actually super comfy—like you’re wearing your pyjamas but no one can tell. 🙂

  7. It’s completely adorable, comfortable-seeming and a little bit edgy. What’s not to love?

  8. ellegeemakes

    Great dress. I saw this pattern and loved it but was a bit intimidated by the thought of inserting a zipper in a stretchy knit. I’ve struggled with that before. Thanks for the great explanation of how you did it – I think it turned out great! I love the fabric too.

  9. YES – I am all about clothes that look great without people realizing how utterly comfy they are. It feels like cheating at the office 🙂 I never would have thought to try this pattern – but it looks fabulous. artsy even.

  10. trumbelinasews

    Super cool dress. I never noticed this pattern and probably wrote it off because of the volume at the hips. It looks really great and incredibly comfortable!!

  11. I love this so much. I bought this pattern after seeing your version on Instagram. I’m waffling now over what kind of knit to use. Maybe bamboo? I’m on a bamboo kick lately.

  12. wow – glad to see this pattern completed. I have this pattern but for some reason haven’t tackled it yet. Now I’m inspired to. It’s very cute!

  13. Pingback: Susan Sto Helit | Tanit-Isis Sews

  14. Cassandra

    Nice dress! Looks good on you. I’m curious if it would look good on me. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply to Tanit-Isis Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s