Some time ago I discovered a fitted sheet at the thrift store made of 100% cotton and thought for $3.00 it would make a heck of a lot of nightgowns.
Well, I've finally gotten around to sewing with it. This is the first one and there is plenty of material left over, so I'm going to make at least one more.
This design I created last year (or maybe the year before) for the express purpose of surviving the oh so enjoyable night sweats that come with being peri-menopausal. I was not looking for fancy or stylish and this is certainly neither. What it is though, is perfect for my needs. Cotton breathes and it also cools, which anything with a man made content doesn't. The design is loose, which also helps with the cooling. I intentionally left off any collars, facings, etc. All that does is add layers and warmth when none is needed.
I started by taking a tank top that I like the fit of and creating a paper pattern from it by tracing around the tank, which I had folded in half along the center. The center front and center back of the pattern pieces are laid on a fold of fabric so there are only two pieces, no center seams. Because knit (the fabric of the tank top) stretches and cotton does not, I added one inch to each center seam (extending the neck line and hem and making new center seams.
Next you need to figure out the length you want. Lots of ways you can do it, but here is what I did: Use a tape measure to measure from shoulder to just above the knee. Transfer that to the pattern by laying your tape measure on the pattern and drawing a new hem line. I just made mine straight, skipping the traditional curved hemline.
Next, cut out your pattern pieces - there are two. I serged this entire nightgown. Start with the necklines. Then serge the shoulder seams together. Serge around both arm holes. Next serge one side seam. Leave the other one till later. Serging in this order will enclose as many edges as possible in a serged seam, leaving very few tails to trim. One note: It is somewhat tricky to serge around curves. My best advice is to practice.
I added the ruffle because I think it's slightly more feminine and since the thing is so plain, I thought it needed something. To make the ruffle, I cut a piece of sheeting that was 1 1/2 times the width of the finished nightgown by 3". I serged one long edge. Then I adjusted the differential feed on my serger until I got a ruffle I liked on scrap material (use the same material you will be making your finished ruffle with because the weight of the fabric plays greatly into the finished product. See this very helpful serged ruffle tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew! which will explain the adjustments to ruffle. My ruffle is not very full. If you want a fuller ruffle, it may require more fabric.
Once your ruffle is complete, it's time to serge it onto the hem. Adjust your machine settings back for standard serging and put the nightgown on the bottom and the ruffle on top - right sides together. Now this will take some fidgeting and adjusting as you are serging to combine these two pieces. Oh, important information: Before starting this step measure your ruffle against the nightgown to make sure your ruffle is long enough. If it isn't, DO NOT WORRY. You will just need to make a little more ruffle and serge it to the longer piece. Guess how I know this... Anybody, Anybody?!
Once your ruffle is attached, it's time to serge the last side seam.
Using my regular sewing machine, I added some pleats to the front neckline because this sheeting fabric has some body to it, which made the neck stick out rather than lay against my body. The pleats draw it in so it lays flat. I also added some clear elastic to the shoulder seams because someone cut the shoulders a little too wide. The elastic is wonderful for addressing this without having to re-serge!
That's it. All done. I like the serged edges so I left them au naturel. It's cool, lightweight and comfortable. Plus the pattern is so simple that making a bunch is easy peasy. That way there is always a fresh nightie!
Happy Saturday one and all.