I guess when one is sewing with a vintage aesthetic in mind, there may not be a truly original idea left under the heavens. Having said that, there are a few staples that every well-stocked vintage wardrobe ought to have and are therefore common amongst the old-timey set - including beach pajamas. I have always been smitten with women's beach pajamas and having seen the awesome, spacey, satin set Betty Grable wears in the "Let's K-nock K-nees" number in The Gay Divorcee, I attempted to make Mary a set very loosely based on the same (although my version was neither spacey nor satin).
That was a few years ago. Having sufficiently scratched the itch, I left the idea of "beach pajamas" alone for a while (mostly because I wasn't sure if the two-piece ensemble I made even counted as beach pajamas). Well apparently enough summers had passed and the inspiration to sew a new set struck in the form of a reproduction, feedsack-style print that I found in the flat fold, discount section of our local fabric store.
It's funny, up close the pattern is very meandering but from far
away it is easy to see the stripes created by the pattern's repeat.
|I used a reproduction feedsack-style print in primary colors and a|
vintage trim that was inherited from my great-grandmother's stash
(two rows of the trim is used at the hem of the wide-legged pants).
After sewing up the whole thing I realized that this outfit seemed distractingly familiar; familiar not only because it was inspired by looks of a bygone era but because I so obviously, if subconsciously, appropriated it from our pal Lauren at Wearing History (see this one but more specifically this one). THE COPY CAT'S PAJAMAS!!!! I accept that they are similar but not exactly the same; she of course, she did it much better and more historically accurate than I. If I had only put in some thought I would have simply used one of her beautiful patterns for vintage beach clothing instead of making up my own revisionist ensemble.
Mary ended up wearing the purloined pajamas to our friends' Memorial Day party and received enough compliments to boost my confidence. So, I am setting into make another set in a floral-printed, rayon-linen blend that has been languishing at the bottom of fabric mountain for too long. If you get a hankering to make a set of your very own beach pajamas, then do things the smart way and get a Wearing History pattern.