In the autumn of 2019 I participated in an artist's residency at King's Landing, a historical site here in New Brunswick. During this time I was able to visit the building in which they store their collections, which include a quantity of 19th and early 20th century clothing!
Not an era I'm usually inclined to sew things from, but it was fascinating to examine things up close, and I took a lot of pictures. (And then forgot about them for a year, even though I meant to blog about them. oops.)
Among the garments I got pictures of are these two nightgowns and one set of pyjamas. I think the nightgowns are either late 19th or early 20th century, and I don't know about the pyjamas but I'm guessing early 20th century?
Photos used with permission of King's Landing Corporation.
The first nightgown is a nice soft cotton twill, and has an interesting facing/placket thing down the front.All 3 of these pieces are factory made, and sewn entirely by machine (with the exception of buttons). This one has a tag that says "London Town, Brand Size, Material of English make"
The sleeve seam is sewn in one with the side seam, and felled.
(The cutter at my previous workplace had to add a bit of piecing in the crotches of trousers sometimes because it was just more economical that way.)
There's a patch pocket on the left side of the chest.
It's got a tiny little machine hem.
|The bottom of the placket as seen from the inside.|
The second nightgown is also made of a nice soft cotton twill, and is extremely similar in construction, with the main difference being that it has a 2 piece collar and a normal placket down the front.
It's nearly identical to the nightgowns in this 1897 Sears Roebuck catalogue.
One interesting detail is both of these mention them being cut 54 inches long, and this nightgown measured exactly 54 inches long.
|As you can see here, the cuffs were understitched before |
being sewn down to the outside.
|The inside of the pocket.|
The last of the 3 items is this lovely set of blue and white striped pyjamas, and I haven't done any research to find pictures of similar pyjamas so can't date them with any certainty. I'm just going to make a vague, general guess of "early 20th century".
|Looks like the hems were sewn before the leg seams!|
|Here we can see that the front facing was topstitched down|
and then the top was hemmed.
|And here it looks like the shoulder seam was sewn & felled|
before the triangular back facing was sewn down.
|Same all in one side & sleeve seam construction!|
I wish I'd gotten more photos of a few bits, but I think I've covered the construction well enough to replicate! I hope this is helpful for anyone looking to sew early 20th century men's sleepwear.
I didn't actually take patterns off these garments because I didn't have all the proper supplies with me, but I did take a lot of measurements of the nightgowns, and have drafted a pattern fairly close to the collared one. I've sewn it up up once in blue flannel, and have two more cut out, so I will blog about it once all 3 are sewn up. I'm behind on blogging but I'll try to get caught up and do my year in review post quickly!