The Agnes PJs by Paper Theory

I have mixed feelings about wearing a button up shirt to bed. For sure it looks nice on TV, and seems cosy for winter but I’ve always been drawn to the good ol’ cotton t-shirt. Preferably oversized, and even better if its a free promotional one in size XXL.
It’s been a couple of months now since I made my first pair of Agnes PJs and I am happy to report that these have quickly become my favorites. We’ve had a really warm summer so I made the shorts version and picked a really light fabric. I was delighted to find that the shirt didn’t bunch up around me in the night like I expected and the cut of the collar is un-fussy and not restrictive at all. I’m yet to make the long pants version but am eyeing up a linen set for winter.

For sure it’s a bit of a luxury being able to make your own PJs as there is a bit of work involved but when I consider how much wear they will get I think it‘s worth it. Given that the top is a shirt it‘s not a super quick project to whip up, on the other hand the shorts are a speedy sew and the batwing sleeves save a bit of time too. I‘m really happy with this pattern and can see that I will be coming back to it again despite my initial reservations about sleeping in a shirt.

This set is suitable for the advanced beginner level and you will find it‘s a great workout for your skills.

Fit and fabric choice

I made these up in a size 14 (I’m somewhere between a 12-14 usually), and I found the shirt to be a nice oversized fit, I could have definitely done a 12 and still had a bit of room to move. The shorts were also just about a perfect fit, except that I prefer a higher rise so the second time I made them I added a few cms. This pattern goes up 57.5” hip and overall is pretty roomy which is essential in a pair of PJs. 

The pattern recommends woven, light to medium weight fabrics like cotton lawn, poplin, linen or ramie as well as lighter options like cotton voile and double gauze. Given it was the middle of summer I went for the lightest option I had in store which was this lovely green organic cotton voile. I can wholeheartedly recommended this for a light, silky soft and breathable option for summer. I’ve since added a blush pink option so I have another colour for my next summer pair.

One point of attention for the fabric choice is your interfacing on a lighter fabric. I went with what I had in my drawer which was a white medium weight woven interfacing but I wish I had waited until I had a lighter black option as it did show through the fabric and was slightly stiffer than I would have liked.
After making this first pair from the cotton voile I discovered that the shorts (size 14) could be made from a single pillowcase. If you are a bigger size you could definitely get the shorts out of a pair of striped vintage pillow cases. This is so handy for me as I have a collection of pillow cases that need to be used up.

Joan’s top tips

1. Don’t be put off by the collar! The instruction book is very detailed so it looks like a lot of steps but the construction is really simple and as there is no collar stand. If you haven’t sewed a shirt before, you’re going to find this make is a big confidence boost!
2. If you’re a beginner sewist, try making your first pair from a old bed sheet. You can work out your mistakes without a big cost investment and still have some PJs at the end of it.
3. The pattern has two back pieces with a centre seam. I had the feeling that I might not like the feeling of the seam on my back so using the cotton voile I had plenty of width to cut one piece.
4. Use the basting stitch tip for getting a nice patch pocket shape.
5. Practice your french seaming. I did this entire set with french seams and the finished result is lovely, inside and out. The cotton voile is perfect for this finishing method.

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