Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Ralph Lauren "Beach Pajamas" Muslin

I've spotted a few blog posts lately with pictures of lovely 1930s beach pajamas - such as Q's Daydream Vintage's recent post - and was surprised when it dawned on me that they must have "inspired" the 1989 Vogue Ralph Lauren pantdress pattern I've been planning for ages to make. Here's another post from Q's Daydream Vintage on 1930s wide legged pants - beautiful!

And here's what my pattern envelope looks like - and when I originally made this up in a lightweight navy blue linen for my young skinny self, it even looked like this:

However, I am no longer a size 10 in Vogue patterns :-).  I'm quite a bit bigger than that now... so I had a stab at grading the pattern up, and tested the fit with a muslin:

The full length back view photo just highlights an ugly utilitarian bra that probably shouldn't have been involved, and the crossed over straps looked fine, so here's a cropped pic from the waist down. Ignore the extra length in the waistband:

This muslin represents:
  • original size 10 pattern graded up to about a size 12 at the shoulders, then a size 14 everywhere else
  • removal of front waist pleats which were accentuating my belly - this takes the waist size up to probably an 18 (gah! must stop with the biccies!) 
  • removal of gathers where bib top meets waist band - I wanted more coverage at the sides
  • removal of in-seam side pockets which weren't sitting flat
  • addition of about 3" in leg length
When I look at these photos the "fit" (should that be "loose"?) looks OK to me except in the top, which is (1) not providing enough coverage at the sides and (2) needs dart adjustments or adjustment in the way the bib meets the waistband at the sides to get rid of some of excess fabric at the sides. I may need to go back to a size 10 for my narrow shoulders (pear, anyone?) and I may need more length depending if I want the original above-ankle look or a more up-to-date longer look. 

So still to do:
  • correct the darts and/or adjust seam between bib and waistband at sides
  • widen top from underarm level and down, so that it provides better coverage down the sides
  • consider adding about 2" more in length
I think it's going to be pretty nice, but it would look brilliant on someone skinny...

After staring at these pictures a lot I am also now wondering if I should just make this pattern up just as wide legged trousers - perhaps that would be a more practical version as well as more flattering on my biscuit-padded shape?  My real fabric will be a heavy dark navy linen.  I guess if I make this up as a pantdress I can always remove the bib top later on if it looks too appalling...? If you have a view I would love to hear it, although of course whatever decision I make will be my own fault.

PS I noticed Ralph Lauren using this pants shape again for 2012! Check out Vogue UK's report from his Spring/Summer 2012 RTW show... especially picture #5.


  1. I'm really liking this pattern. There's something very appealing about it but I just can't put my finger on it. I do love wide-legged pants and a crossover top. Maybe it's the combination of these all in the same's more than that. Looking forward to seeing the finished outfit. I hope you have a lovely broad brimmed hat to go with it.

    1. I know... I think I will have to make the complete thing! Yes, I do happen to have a lovely broad brimmed hat - and it's even stripey.

  2. So cute! I love the look. I would just wear the muslin to the beach! lol

    1. Thank you! I hope it works in navy too!

  3. That pattern is amazing; sooo utterly beautiful! I just love that crossover back, and the wide legs, well, everything about it!

  4. Thanks Carolyn - it's one of my personal back-catalogue favourites. I'm sure it's the kind of thing you could draft up for yourself too!

  5. It is a super cute style. It would be great as just trousers, but I would go with the combo -- looks fun to wear!


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