Friday, July 5, 2013

Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Nights

This week brought some hot summer weather, making me wish I'd started this project sooner.
I desperately needed a simple, but comfy nightie to get through any more sultry summer nights without tossing and turning endlessly.    I combined a T-shirt knit for the bodice, finished the edges with fold-over elastic and used a pre-gathered lightweight cotton for the skirt of the nightie.

This was my first time using fold-over elastic ( I bought mine from Sprightly Fabrics) and it worked like a dream in giving my garment a professional finish, not to mention comfort.
In case you're unfamiliar with fold-over elastic, here's a close-up.  The right side has a satin like sheen to it while the underside is flat in comparison.  Can you see the "line" woven into the center of the elastic?  That makes it easy for folding and encasing the edge of your fabric.

Here you can see me stitching the elastic onto the bodice of the nightie ...

and here is what the elastic looks like afterwards.

As you can see, I used the fold-over elastic to encase all the outside edges on the bodice of the nightie, including making the straps.  I simply bar-tacked the ends of the straps to the back of the bodice to secure them.

How about a peek inside the nightie to see how I finished things?  I chose to sew French seams on the nightie for a nice clean look and for comfort.

The French seams practically disappear on the side seams of the skirt!
For the hemline, I used the narrow hem foot on my Janome to easily stitch a tiny hem that created a wave effect due to the cotton fabric being pre-gathered.  I love this feminine touch!

I realize now, just how long it's been since I last stitched some clothing for myself.  Funny to think that for most of my years sewing, the majority of my projects were clothing - for myself and for my sons.  It was lovely to change things up and get back to garment making, especially with such a satisfying finish as this comfy and pretty nightie.

I'm linking up my simple finish for the week with Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts
***Edited to add***
  I believe the basic pattern comes from a library book I had out ages ago titled, Sweet Nothings (the pattern is titled the "Patchwork Nightie").   It's been a long time since I traced out the pattern and I never copied instructions, fabric recommendations or a photo of what it's supposed to look like finished... I just decided these pattern pieces would work for the idea I had in mind - so I did some "winging it".  I can give more detail on what I did if you're interested in sewing one.

Oh, boy!  That fold over elastic was the cat's meow for this garment!  I absolutely love it.  Of course it doesn't hurt that my machine can reproduce the same stitches for active wear that you can find on mass produced garments. :o) 
 The stitch I used looks like a simple straight stitch, but it's not.  Take a closer look at the photos showing the underside of the straps and you will see that the stitch is actually the same as the one you will find on store bought T-shirt.  This stitch (called a narrow hem) allows the elastic to remain stretchy without breaking the stitching. That being said, I'm sure it would work fine to sew this elastic with a regular machine - I would however, recommend using a zig-zag stitch rather than a straight stitch (so the elastic doesn't snap the stitching when it's stretched) ;o). 
Please, check out my link to Sprightly Fabrics for their selection of fold-over elastic.  Great colour selection, some prints too and they even sell bundles or yardage of the elastic.  Glad to recommend a fun sewing notion! 


  1. So soft and pretty! I'd like to try making one...used to sew garments a LONG time ago. The fold-over elastic is new to me. Must try. Beautifully done!

  2. Such a sweet little nightie! I've never seen fold-over elastic, but it looks like something I'll be checking out. I used to sew clothes all the time...might have to get back into that again. :O)

  3. What a pretty and feminine nightie. I love it! Did you use a pattern or make it up as you went along?

    I used to make a lot of clothing for our children and myself and I had never heard of fold over elastic. I'm going to have to look for some and make something using it.

  4. Lovely! Did you use a pattern?

  5. Well how cute is that!!! I recently bought some fabric to make a couple of blouses for myself. I also used to sew clothing exclusively many years ago, and then I found quilting and did that exclusively. Now I'm excited about throwing a little garment sewing into the mix!

  6. Hi Katherine! That's beautiful! For me your dress would be perfect to use at home/ in the garden. I'm trying to start to make some summer blouses and just can't concentrate on that. Have a lovely weekend! x Teje

  7. Visiting from finish it up friday - gorgeous! Omg! I want a million right now! Nighties are so comfy, and t-shirt material sounds perrrrfect. Thanks for all the tips on the elastic!


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