Easy Flannel Nightgown pattern

I love granny gowns–those big voluminous distinctly un-sexy cozy warm nightgowns that make the winters feel a little warmer.  I have loved them since I was a kid, when I would get one as a gift every Christmas Eve, which I would then sleep in and wear to open presents the next morning. It’s a love affair I never quite grew out of.

Unfortunately, I’m also tall.  And the whole granny gown gestalt doesn’t quite work if the thing only comes to your knees or so.  Plus, while I love them in theory, that high neck with the eyelet lace thing had a tendency to choke me sometimes…

When I stopped at the fabric store to buy something for a Luke Skywalker costume a few weeks ago, I happened to notice that all their cotton flannel was 60% off.  That’s all it took.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I am also interested in historical costuming, and that I’ve clothed my family for Renaissance Faires for the past couple of years.  So earlier this week I took my favorite easy chemise pattern (basically, Elizabethan–or in this case, Italian–undergown) and made one up in flannel.  It comes all the way to the floor, has long sleeves, and a low scooped neck that doesn’t choke me.  And it’s as cozy and comfy as anything I remember from childhood.

The pattern I used is here(with elastic or drawstring–I used elastic–neck and wrists, very un-”period” but just fine for a nightgown), but this one (gathered neck and sleeves) looks also like a good one I might try next. (Hint: the smaller the overlapping area in the corners–those triangles you cut off–the wider your neckline will need to be–think armpits here! And if you are someone comfortable with sewing in gussets, those triangles can be used to add roominess under the pits as gussets–instructions for doing that you can find at this site,  which has yet another pattern for making a chemise-that-would-also-make-an-easy-flannel-nightie. See how its suggested layout asks for four little triangles? Well guess what–if you use the FIRST site, the triangles will be automatically cut out when you make the neckline. I’m a big gusset fan, myself.)

(UPDATE: It seems those links have died since I first created this post, though I’ve tried to replace them with new ones…so here’s a basic image of what you do. You have the front/back pieces, and you sew them to the sleeve pieces, and then fold in a channel for the elastic or drawstring. The little triangles in the corners are gussets. I don’t use the “optional gores.” You  then just fold it in half like it was draped over your shoulders and do one long seam from the bottom up around the gussets and to the ends of the sleeves. Fabric size measurements will need to be tailored to your height; front and back pieces will probably be from your collarbone to the floor or so, and sleeves from the inside of your shoulder bone to wrist. Then you can elastic-channel the ends of the sleeves too. Hope this helps; next time I make one I’ll try to do a proper tutorial.)

italianrenchemise

 

(I rarely include other people’s images in my blog post, and if the owner of this one asks me to take it down I would be happy to, but I got it from History Seamstress, so check out her blog too, because she has wonderful stuff!)

It’s exceedingly easy–I’m 5’10″ and 4 yards of fabric gave me a really nice nightgown with almost no scraps afterwards.  I could easily make several for my daughter too, if I can find a way around the whole flammability thing–on the one hand, I hate to have her sleep in chemically treated fabric…on the other, this stuff (I tested it) goes up really fast if you put a match near it, and given that we have a gas stove and she’s both highly curious and fairly klutzy I just would be a little too nervous.  100% wool flannel is naturally flame resistant, so if I can find some of that I will give it a shot for her, but in the meantime it looks like it’s just me…

This project took me just about 2 hours total, beginning to end, including taking measurements, cutting fabric, and ripping out the sleeves when I sewed something wrong the first time. (Yeah, I know, I do that all the time.  My seam ripper is my best friend.)  I’ve made about 4 chemises by this pattern in the past, so it wasn’t brand-new to me, but it’s still a pretty easy project if you sew even a little.

Go for it!

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Posted on November 19, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Ooooooh! I want one! I want this exact style in a light flannel (since it’s 80+ degrees today).
    My friend Grace (you met her) has a sewing machine. I’ve never used one, but could I make something like this as a first try?

  2. greenmomintheburbs

    Actually, yeah, it might be a very good first try, especially if you have a friend who can help you through some of the stuff you might not be sure about. I personally do much better with these kinds of patterns (diagrams and just “this is how it’s put together” stuff) rather than the very linear step 1, step 2, step 3 of commercial patterns…

    Biggest piece of advice I’d give would be to really study the pattern and process and have an idea in your head of the whole process before you start. That and don’t make your stitches too small (Grace can tell you how to do that), because you WILL probably make mistakes and if the stitches are tiny it’s harder to tear them out. Losing my fear of screwing up is the only thing that has made me able to learn to sew.

    It really is fun!

  3. greenmomintheburbs

    (Maria–And if it doesn’t work out, tell me, and I’ll make you one for Christmas!) :-)

    • I can’t find the pattern, what am I missing here? Kerri

    • only the first link works.
      could you please fix or send me the second and third pattern?
      “The pattern I used is here (with elastic or drawstring–I used elastic–neck and wrists, very un-”period” but just fine for a nightgown), but this one (gathered neck and sleeves) looks also like a good one I might try next. (Hint: the smaller the overlapping area in the corners–those triangles you cut off–the wider your neckline will need to be–think armpits here! And if you are someone comfortable with sewing in gussets, those triangles can be used to add roominess under the pits as gussets–instructions for doing that you can find at this site, which has yet another pattern for making a chemise-that-would-also-make-an-easy-flannel-nightie. “

      • Helene, thanks for alerting me! I think I’ve fixed it, and added a graphic into the body of the post that shouldn’t disappear…Hope this helps!

  4. You’re the bestest!
    I really want to try this.
    My favorite nighties have always been the granny ones – silky on the outside and flannel on the inside. I don’t know how they do it, but if I find that fabric…

    And I have no fear of screwing up – I’ve been doing it for years and it hasn’t killed me yet (or anyone else).

  5. This is just what I have been looking for, can’t wait to make one for myself.

  6. Thanks so much for the update. I appreciate it and the time you put into sharing your hard won knowledge.

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