My summer pyjama selection has started to look a bit sorry for itself. Winter sleepwear has a regular annual replenishment in the form of cosy Christmas presents, but most of my warmer-weather PJs have been worn so much that they're verging on falling apart and really need replacing. I've considered various summer PJ patterns before, but none of them ever seemed quite right - apparently I'm quite picky in my loungewear requirements. Then Megan Nielsen released the Reef camisole and shorts set, which ticked all my boxes.
The camisole is cut on the bias, has a V neckline, a cross-over back yoke and a high-low hem. The shorts come in two versions - one with pockets and a curved hem, and a second shorter version with no pocket and a straight hem. I made the first version, but omitted the pockets because I wasn't sure how they'd work with this fabric and, much though I love pockets in my daytime clothes, I didn't think I'd use them much in pyjamas.
One of the first things to point out about my version is that I did something a bit wrong when constructing the back - mine doesn't cross over as much as it should. I think I must have matched up the wrong notches or something, but everything seemed to be working out fine so I only noticed once I was a bit further down the line. Being as they're pyjamas, and so it wouldn't matter if the fit was a bit off, I decided just to plough on and not go back and unpick things. Happily, the camisole still fits nicely, although I'll make sure that I get it right next time because I do like the cross-over yoke.
I would say that this mistake is entirely down to me, and in no way a reflection of the instructions or the pattern. I'll openly admit that I was reading the instructions pretty quickly as I went along. When you're actually paying attention to them, the instructions are perfectly clear and easy to follow, with helpful added tips along the way like block fusing the interfacing instead of cutting out the interfacing and fabric pieces separately and then fusing afterwards.
In terms of sizing, for the camisole I graded between a medium at the bust and a large at the waist. Due to the loose shape, I could probably have got away with making the whole camisole in a medium, but I wanted to stay true to the breezy, flowing shape intended in the pattern. I made the shorts in a straight size large, and they fit nicely.
I'd say that both the camisole and the shorts have just the right amount of ease to make them nice and comfortable (as you want pyjamas to be), whilst not being so baggy that they become sack-like and unflattering.
The fabric I used is a pretty viscose that I picked up on a whistle stop tour through the rag market in Birmingham. My uni friends (none of whom are into sewing) and I have a habit of converging on Birmingham to meet up for the day from our various areas of the country, and I always seem to arrive before everyone else, which really just "forces" me to go and look at fabric while I'm waiting. It's a tough old life, isn't it?!
Anyway, this is lovely and drapey and was only £2 a metre. Perfect for trying this pattern out for the first time. I'm happy to make toiles for actual clothes, but it would seem a bit over-the-top for pyjamas to me, but at the same time I wouldn't want to commit expensive fabric to a pattern and end up disappointed. This way, it wouldn't be a disaster if things went a bit wrong. Thankfully that didn't happen!
I really love my Reef set. For me, they're pretty perfect as summer pyjamas - small enough to be nice and cool to wear, whilst still being covered up enough for me to be able to wander round my flat in them quite happily without having to worry about the fact that my neighbours can see right into most of my windows. The only thing I regret about this is that I didn't get round to sewing them earlier in the summer. I think I probably won't fit in sewing a second set this year, but another Reef set will definitely be high on my sewing list for next summer.