The ‘Deco Mermaid’ beach pyjamas
If these beach pyjamas look slightly familiar – it’s because they are. You’ve actually seen a previous iteration of them with my ‘Deco Echo’ blouse back in February. By previous iteration I mean ‘something that I’m terribly ashamed to admit was held on with safety pins’.
Yeah. I confess. I was so rushed in the run-up to Art Deco weekend that I didn’t manage to get the everything remotely properly finished, and these were one of the items that were terribly put together, terribly badly finished, and just not OK. (see example below)
But with the 20s/30s/ challenge and a trip home to Hawai’i coming up I had the perfect opportunity to actually make these properly.
My inspiration for the garment and the look was the beach pyjamas that were so popular at beach resorts in the 1920s & 30s. They are such an elegant, practical garment, but not what anyone expects.
My first set of beach pyjama bottoms went wrong because of an under-abundance of time and an over-abundance of engineering. I tried to include a high-waisted un-darted yolk with piping trim, side pockets, a fancy side placket fastening, period-accurate hook fastenings, a symmetrical, direction print, and french seams all into one garment. I also used the wrong interfacing because I didn’t have the right stuff to hand. Not surprisingly (like the camel with too many straws) the pants rebelled.
The yoke didn’t sit right on my bottom and gaped around my waist, the piping had to be re-done a half dozen times to be symmetrical, the yoke-facing ended up only facing half the yoke, the pockets gaped and getting them to meet the french seams was a nightmare, and the placket was a ridiculous mess. It needed fixing.
For my re-make I took the pants apart apart, ditched the pockets and the fancy side placket, set sun-burst darts into my yoke to make it sit properly on my way-curvier than the ’30s ideal bottom, re-did the yoke facing and a lot of the piping, and re-set the whole thing with a nice, simple, still-period-accurate side fastening.
Whew! Much better! I’m now proud to wear these, and they are a joy to wear. So light and comfortable in the Hawaiian summer, while looking elegant and dressed up.
Isn’t the fabric fabulous? It turned up at a fabric sale in NZ, and I immediately snapped it up with Art Deco visions dancing in front of my eyes. I wish I’d got more! The print reminds me of scales from a distance – hence the ‘Deco Mermaid’ title.
Unfortunately my pants still have two problems – I got turned around sewing the hooks and loops into the placket, and I sewed them on to the wrong sides (hooks to back, loops to front instead of the other way around). Gah! I’m going to have to re-do that.
On the bright side, I need to show you where I sat to sew the unfortunately facing hooks and eyes:
It almost makes it all better, doesn’t it? ;-) Those are the woods around my parents house: not landscaped or anything. The dress I’m wearing in that picture is one I made when I was about 14. It still fits!
The other problem is that the pants simply don’t fit. I took these photos after two weeks in Hawaii, eating my parents incredibly healthy diet, and running around doing farm chores every day. I’ve dropped a full size. I’m not sure if I want to fix that ;-)
The photos were taken by my Mum at a beach near the family farm. I wanted to capture both my island as it is now, and the sense of old Hawaiian postcards in my images. The latter was inadvertently helped by my Mum – she forgot her glasses so couldn’t see to get the images in focus!