My ma’s birthday nightgown

My ma is a nightgown sort of woman. She has always made them for herself as long as I can remember  and wears them to rags. Literally – they go from her back to the rag drawer.  There was the era of moons and stars on a cloudy night; leopard print;  some floral and one particlarly ghastly striped version. They’re durable, practical garment – I have memories of her wearing one, sleeves rolled up kneading bread. Or in her gumboots heading out to feed the chickens. Or chasing the neighbors cows out of the garden in the middle of the night with a broom.

Having recently moved, she’s now dependent on the local Fabricland (which she despises). So back in December when she was in desperate need of a new nightgown, she didn’t have much choice for fabric. Of all the flannel in stock – about the only fabric she’d consider for a nightgown –  her options were cutsie childish prints (|I’m sure from the description above, you’ll recognize that my ma doesn’t do cutsie) or  a polka dot print.  Yellow polka dots. On a hospital green background.  As I said, she doesn’t have much choice. It’s something that I’m sure would adorn the pages of a Dr Seus story. Or scare the cows out of the garden without the aide of a broom.

So I got the brilliant idea of making her a nightgown for her birthday. I was very sneaking in getting her to choose her favourite fabric – I got my sister show my mom the website where I got the fabric for my pajamas and say that she wanted help choosing something I was making for her. Turns out my mom and G. have the same taste in fabric (for nightwear at least) as she chose the same green and purple plaid that I used to make his pajamas.

But then I couldn’t find the right pattern. There were a few design musts: it had to be loose, have long sleeves, pull over the head, not be claustraphobic at the neck, and be long.

chelsea-dress-pattern-cover_grandeIn the end someone on the Monthly Stitch Facebook page suggested adapting the Christine Haynes Chelsea dress. I decided to make Version B (with the  V-neck collar) my starting point. But I would lengthen the main dress and sleeves and add cuffs cut on the bias. Plus I wanted to put purple piping around the yoke and on the newly added sleeve cuff. I added 15″ to the length of the dress and 3″ to the sleeves plus the cuffs.

Now because my ma sews she obviously would notice (and therefore appreacite) a well constructed garment. So I really took care to match my plaids,  finish my seams neatly etc. But I was rushing (I’m over a month late deliverying this birthday present) so it’s not as perfect as I’d like. The night gown has one particualr feat that I know she’s going to love: POCKETS!



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