Carolyn PJ dress

The best dress ever that I will wear forever, all the time.

One of my favorite patterns, this. The Carolyn Pj by Closet Case Files. This is my fourth make, this time a dress I'd long been plotting. PJ for daywear trend still going strong in my house. 

This is a size 10, the only alteration was to extend the line of the top to dress length, add inseam pockets and...thats about it! I did make the piping with ivory satin of a decent quality, I've worn the other Carolyns so much that the piping fabric has suffered & hasnt lasted too well, so I went upmarket for this one. The heavier weight has bulked up the diameter of the piping but to me this just looks a bit more luxurious & I'm very happy with the result.

Bonus thrifty detail, the buttons are recycled from business shirts, nice thick mother-of-pearl. I debated using black or white thread for them and I do like the black. Also pattern matching a tad off & I couldnt care less, so big the love...

Bonus thrifty detail, the buttons are recycled from business shirts, nice thick mother-of-pearl. I debated using black or white thread for them and I do like the black. Also pattern matching a tad off & I couldnt care less, so big the love...

Aggressive notching on the collar, due to bulkier piping. Collar block fused prior to cutting: good move. The fabric is a printed rayon from Spotlight, I absolutely love it.

I made this soon after my show had finished, November last year. I worked so hard to make that exhibition's worth of work & I missed my sewing so much! So I did take my time with this dress...also I was pretty much tapped out, creatively, hence not even posting a finished pic on Instagram till last week. But rest assured, I have worn this dress PLENTY & want another five of them. At least five. Stealth pjs mmmm.

Notes:

  • I cut the pocket piece from cardboard (glued the paper piece to an empty cereal box & fetched the child scissors) & pressed around it to make a nice sharp shape (not my idea, a really good one I read somewhere else). 
  • Sketched the hem shape from the top, the dress having a bit of extra width at dress length. 
  • Made a narrow hem, the fabric being weighty enough to hang well without a deeper one & I like narrow hems.
  • Retro-fitted in-seam pockets. Annoying I didnt do this earlier but I didn't want that extra flappy fabric at the sides. After its first wear, I went to put my hands in the pockets so many times! They weren't there so went back & put them in even though it was deeply annoying to unpick through the overlocking. 
  • Next time, I'll french seam the side seams as they do show through the center front, particularly when seated. And next time too, I'll try modifying this to a knit, tshirt style, with no centre front opening.

The Carolyn vs the Keana, October 2015

Furthermore, remember the piped top/blouse-off? Here you go. The results of that road test is: I wear that purple Carolyn top nightly, it gets washed in mornings to be available again that night and have worn the Keana exactly ONCE. Pretty clear result: I absolutely love the Carolyn top. I love the style and the slim cut and above all else, I love that it taught me to pipe. My many thanks to Heather Lou for introducing me to it; excellent make-your-own bias tape and piping tutorial here. This really is an excellent set of instructions/guidelines, you cant go wrong! I love piping now, a lot, I love making the satin bias tape for it & find sewing it oddly calming, which is good because its an activity that calls for patience, and lots of it.

artworkerprojects.carolyn.dress.24.jpg

I've found the whole experience a slow-in-a-good-way project but all the same, it took just over a year in between the first and subsequent iterations so clearly there's not often a chill enough window of time in which to tackle this sew.

I highly recommend it, a lot, its lovely. And I totally won the project I was pitching for that day! Go me and my dress, BOOM!