I am sitting here typing my review of the Butterick Pattern 6838 wearing my version C nightgown. So you already know this was a successful project. This pattern has been on my to do list for some time. Once I decided I was ready, it worked out to be a relatively easy stitch out and I have sewn one for myself and another as a gift for my mom. There will be more versions in my future.
Pretty nightgowns are one of my favorite things but sometimes they can get expensive. I am not talking about the T shirt gowns or even flannel ones you can buy at big box retailers. Think about the heirloom bridal or boutique nightgowns you may see in the fine department stores. Yards of 100% cotton fabric that is light and airy when you spin around. Beautiful cotton lace trims and silk ribbons. I have seen these type nightgowns upwards of $80 - $90 dollars and they are worth it. Why you may ask? Comfort. If you have never slept in 100 % cotton, you need to give it a try. No polyester blend, just cotton. Think of how wonderful it feels to sleep under a quilt. It is warm in the winter but we use ours in the summer also. A cotton nightgown is perfect for ladies in their ever changing seasons of life. Add a sleeve and it will keep your arms warm. Add some length and your legs will stay warm. Go sleeveless and be breezy. Give it a try and I promise you will feel so comfortable you won't want to get dressed in the morning.
My version C which has length and a short sleeve takes 4 1/8 yards of fabric, some fusible interfacing, and a couple of trims. I used the Pellon 906F Sheer weight fusible because I wanted this to have a little stability but be very breathable. The layout of the pattern pieces is easy because the main part of the gown is cut on the fold for the front and back. This takes up most of your fabric. Once you have those taken care of, you will have the yoke and the sleeves. So not a lot of pattern pieces are involved.
The yoke is where you will interface. Pay attention to the instructions here and make sure you only interface one front yoke and one back one. I suppose if you used a lightweight interfacing and wanted a little more structure, you could interface both sides but I would make sure you were not using a heavier weight product. The yoke does have a fair amount of hand stitching after you have put the the front and back together because of the facing. It is not difficult, but the hand stitching is necessary and done from the inside to conceal the seams. You will also do a good amount of gathering on the front and back gown pieces.
The sleeves take a few steps as they use two pieces of fabric each and they are set in so some ease stitching is required.. Trim or lace can be sewn or if you like a plain gown, you could leave this off. I would also advise to baste where the pattern says to. Basting is always a step that people avoid because it looks like it wastes time but it will help you avoid having to unpick your project.
I would advise also to make sure you transfer all of your markings and use the arrows on the pattern to make sure you line everything up. The gathering when connecting the yoke to the front and back gown pieces is specific and more prominent in the center of the gown rather than all the way across. When you line up the raw edges and use those markings you will see what I am talking about. I will say the only thing I was not sure about was the neckline. It is a little more generous than what I imagined when looking at the pattern cover photos. So if you have very narrow shoulders, you may want to go down a size so the gown doesn't fall off your shoulders. I would measure yourself and the pattern pieces before you decide. Look at the back yoke when you do this to make sure you have enough fabric to ensure you will be comfortable while sleeping and not feel like the gown is too tight across the shoulders. Also, pre-wash your fabric because cotton will shrink. Even if it is pre-washed you may see a little more shrinkage after it is sewn. It will also get softer and more lovely as you wash it each time.
So here is my nightgown all finished. I was pleasantly surprised with this pattern because as soon as I slipped my gown over my head, I knew it would be a favorite. I have become accustomed to being disappointed with my garment sewing projects over the years. I am sure you have also because you never know what you are going to get. After spending the money on the fabric, notions, pattern and then going through the process, it is disheartening when the fit doesn't work out. I think you may like trying a nightgown project because it is forgiving and even if not perfect, no one will see it except you. As far as skill level, I would say that because of the facings and set in sleeves, I would not say an absolute beginner would want to tackle this. A beginner with a few sewing projects under their belt who is comfortable with gathering and pattern layout can tackle it though. I was able to sew my second gown without using the instructions until I got to the sleeves. I had to refer to them and then I pushed through the rest of the project without needing any instruction help.
Maybe you have been inspired to try your own nightgown project? I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift