Fabric for the Nocturne Pajamas

Meredith wears red flannel nocturne pjs, sitting on a bed with a white duvet cover, holding a fluffy black puppy

The Nocturne Pants and Top are a pajama set that can be made in one fabric, or coordinating or complimentary fabrics. After we finished debating how to spell pajama (pyjama, anyone?), we all had a blast choosing fabrics for our own samples. From a luscious Nani Iro cotton flannel to a gorgeous rust colored flannel to a thrifted bedsheet, our fabrics share one thing in common – comfort.

A soft, gentle on the skin, light but cozy fabric choice makes this project sing

Our Learn to Sew students are making the pants first, so choosing a fabric that suits a beginner is important. This pattern is designed for medium-weight woven fabrics: cotton, broadcloth, poplin, cotton blends, chambray, flannel, linen, linen blends. Quilting cotton, while not necessarily intended for garment sewing, is a great substrate to use while you’re learning to sew, because it’s stable yet light, forgiving to remove errant stitches when it’s time to pull out the seam ripper, and softens nicely with time and laundering. It also has an easily distinguishable right and wrong side, which is so helpful to beginners! Printed flannel also has the advantage of a clear right and wrong side. We highly recommend searching for a thrifted flannel bedsheet as a sustainable option.

When you’re fabric shopping, you might be relying on weight in the description to help you. Look in the 4-6 oz/yd2 (200 gsm) range for a medium weight. 

The Nocturne Top has gathering along the yoke edge, and can be made in the same fabric or a lighter fabric, depending on your weather, design choice, and level of sewing experience. For beginners, we recommend light to medium weight wovens (3-5 oz/yd2 or 4-6 oz/yd2 (100-200 gsm)), with a bit of drape, such as soft cottons, linens, hemp, and flannel. Quilting cotton might feel a bit too stiff to use for the top, but flannel is wonderfully cozy. 

Intermediate and advanced sewists might choose Tencel, double gauze, rayon, or for a truly luxurious piece, silk charmeuse.

Can I sew it in a knit?

While the pattern was designed for woven fabrics, and includes a standard 5/8″ seam allowance, you can make the Nocturne Pajamas in a cozy knit fabric, like cotton jersey or bamboo jersey. We recommend this option for experienced sewists only. The most difficult part of sewing the Nocturne Top in a knit fabric is the notch at the neckline; you can always opt to leave that out and create a simple, rounded neckline instead.

Make sure that you pre-wash your fabric, so you don’t have any tragic shrinkage surprises after you sew your garment! It’s recommended that you pre-wash in the same manner that you intend to care for the garment. (Some of us use a worst-case-scenario pre-wash routine, in case our laundry gets washed by helpful ten-year-olds.) 

Here are a few suggestions from some fabric sources that we love, organized by difficulty

Starting with beginner friendly fabrics: 

More advanced:

Ewe Fibers Hand Picked Options 

We have a few fabric recommendations for the Nocturne Top and Pants, from our friends at Ewe Fibers

These fabrics do not have a clear right and wrong side, so be sure to mark them

Drapey Alternative to Silk Charmuese (Meg’s Black Nocturne Top) 

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