Nightgown Suggestions?

For those do-it-yourselfers...

Nightgown Suggestions?

Postby BrotherTailor » Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:40 am

[turn on cliche]
With winter coming on
[turn off cliche]
I've been thinking of making myself a warm nightgown; one that is ankle length, long sleeved, high necked, etc for a drafty old farmhouse. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for either patterns or fabrics? My default setting is good 'ol flannel, but am open to whatever else might suit.
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Postby sapphire » Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:44 pm

Personally, I would go with a nice heavy flannel, socks, flannel sheets, electric blanket underneath the bottom sheet, lots of blankets and not come out until spring. I wouldn't have anything fancy at the wrist. I'm always dunking that stuff into my coffee. I like a tuxedo front. If you are going to button up to the neck, I suggest either sewing on the buttons with elastic or making elastic loops for the buttons so you don't strangle yoursefl when you roll over.
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Postby Big and Bashful » Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:53 pm

I always wanted something similar. I eventually contacted
http://www.nightsinwhiteflannel.com (A Canadian company) and got them to do a custom order of a couple of floor length gowns and a couple of floor length nightshirts, with a couple of slightly shorter (Just short of ankle length)short sleeved shirts for warmer weather. They make them from Canadian blanket stuff, the garments are so comfortable and warm and last for years. Only problem I have is that they didn't shrink as much as the company thought so that the long ones are floor length plus at least an inch. If I ever remember how to sew I will perform some corrective surgery.
Thoroughly recommend them!
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Postby Sylvain » Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:03 pm

I got mine at Le Baie. Sometimes they have some.
(Buy them as soon as you see them.)
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Postby AMM » Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:43 am

I've made a couple of nightgowns. As usual, I made my own patterns, as no one has patterns I like. For the top part, I cribbed from a "Bauernkittle" (smock?), which has a thick piece of cloth across the shoulders and extending a few inches down in front and back and the main part attached with gathers. I made a roomy sleeve, somewhat puffed where it joins the body, and with elastic at the wrists. The main part is two pieces, one front and one back, and flares out from the waist to the full width of the fabric -- this gives a 90" hem in one case and 120" in the other. I made them with a hood to make it even warmer.

As for fabrics, I did two layers: flannel (or "chamoix flannel") on the inside, and a light synthetic like voile or something on the outside. If the colors contrast somewhat, it gives a nice effect. I made the two layers as entirely separate nigthgowns and joined them at the hood and wrists. I used blanket satin at the hem.

I still find that they aren't warm enough, so I usually wear a nightshirt or something underneath and over-the-knee socks or stockings. I bought some fleece, and plan to make a third, extra-warm nightgown with fleece on the inside and polyester voile in a contrasting color on the outside. I don't normally like fleece against my skin, but figure that if I have something in between me and it, it shouldn't be too bad.
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Postby AMM » Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:46 am

[duplicate post deleted]

I forgot to mention: you can also get "quilted" fabric: it's some sort of polyester insulation, like what's used for winter parkas, with fabric on both sides. This would probably be about as warm as you could get; after that, you need to worry more about drafts and loss of heat through breathing.

BTW, you do wear a hat or nightcap at night, and socks, don't you?
Last edited by AMM on Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby BrotherTailor » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:29 am

Wow, lots of great suggestions!
I'm layering at night now too, two cotton petticoats under my summer sleeveless nightgown and a turtleneck sweater over that, with a comforter and coverlet on the bed.....Northern Hemisphere winter is already prying its way in.
I really detest the thought of wearing regular pyjama tops and bottoms, as they bind and cut off circulation around my knees and elbows. I find that no matter what I wear in the way of a gown it never binds and the freedom is too good to give up, no crushed nuts etc is a bonus too. :wink:

I think I'm going to scrounge up some plain white or stripey flannel and perhaps alter a slip on peasant blouse pattern with raglan sleeves (looks a lot like a priests surplice). If that fails then I'll go in search of a proper made-for-the-purpose pattern.

That gets me thinking, I've got an old servers alb that might be adjusted to serve...hmmm, must dig it up and have a critical look.

Thanks all. and if you want to post pictures of yourselves in your warm woolly nighties, please do so :)
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Postby Emerald Witch » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:54 pm

BrotherTailor, have you considered for your nightgown the possibility of what we in the SCA used to call a simple chemise? (SCA = Society for Creative Anacronism, a club of folks who enjoy recreating medieval history, especially garb)

A medieval chemise was considered the most basic of garments, usually made of fine linen, and worn under almost everything else. It was universal, and unisex. It was usually worn to bed. It is made of simple rectangular pieces gathered at the neck and wrists, and because of it's fullness is very warm. Because of it's gathers it isn't binding.

I don't have time to go into the dressmaking details now, but I'm sure you can find them easily online yourself if you care to research. Otherwise, I'll do more description later. Ciao! :)
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Postby sapphire » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:26 pm

Try this website for instructions for making a simple chemise

http://home.aol.com/lclacemker/chemisepattern1.html
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Postby BrotherTailor » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:43 am

That looks almost exactly like the peasant blouse pattern I have, elasticated neck and wrists. Thanks for the link!

I think what I end up with will incorporate a bit of all these ideas :)

I tried on my servers alb, and other than being too light (very thin broadcloth) it is fine generally. It comes to within 3 inches of the floor and has lots of room as it is an X-large size. The only thing it has is velcro neckband and velcro waist band that would not be comfortable for sleeping in I think.

I shall look for some flannel next time I'm near a fabric store.
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Postby Peter v » Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:24 am

BrotherTailor wrote:Wow, lots of great suggestions!
I'm layering at night now too, two cotton petticoats under my summer sleeveless nightgown and a turtleneck sweater over that, with a comforter and coverlet on the bed.....Northern Hemisphere winter is already prying its way in.
I really detest the thought of wearing regular pyjama tops and bottoms, as they bind and cut off circulation around my knees and elbows. I find that no matter what I wear in the way of a gown it never binds and the freedom is too good to give up, no crushed nuts etc is a bonus too. :wink:

I think I'm going to scrounge up some plain white or stripey flannel and perhaps alter a slip on peasant blouse pattern with raglan sleeves (looks a lot like a priests surplice). If that fails then I'll go in search of a proper made-for-the-purpose pattern.

That gets me thinking, I've got an old servers alb that might be adjusted to serve...hmmm, must dig it up and have a critical look.

Thanks all. and if you want to post pictures of yourselves in your warm woolly nighties, please do so :)


I thought I was the only man who wore night gowns to bed.
Normal men's pijamas work, but I like the gowns, they're comfortable, and now I can choose which I want. Finding suitable gowns that fit me how i like and not too flowery or without hearts all over them ( women's fashion) is difficult. As many women now wear pijamas as the men's are.

Could perhaps a dress be an option?
Or atleast the pattern for a dress?

Peter v.
A man is the same man in a pair of pants or a skirt. It is only the way people look at him that makes the difference.
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Postby Emerald Witch » Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:50 pm

Just a thought... If you've never tried it, you might really want to give linen a fair shake. If you're going with a more traditional nightgown approach, none of this may matter...but if you are thinking of doing the simple chemise, linen has some real advantages.

I know it is more expensive than cotton, but for this type of garment which is worn every day right next to the skin, is not expected to be washed every day, but is expected to be washed frequently, never ironed, and needs to hold its strength despite it's delicacy, linen is possibly the supreme choice. Though slightly stiff at first, linen becomes softer and stronger than cotton over time and with washing and wearing. Linen holds up to body oils.

Linen is hard to come by in regular stores, but there are several suppliers online. You don't need anything fancy, dyed or expensive, just a lightweight (almost handkerchief-weight) linen to make a chemise.

I know you are making this garment to keep out the cold. That is also why the Medieval folks wore them. (They were going through a mini-ice-age back then.) They used to make them with yards and yards of fullness which would trap in the heat without smothering the wearer under layers of heaviness. They would also wear head coverings called coifs. You DO wear a nightcap, don't you? ;)

-=[Emerald]=-
Last edited by Emerald Witch on Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Emerald Witch » Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:53 pm

P.S. Thank you, Sapphire, for posting that link for me! I never have gotten the hang of doing that sort of thing. Posting links seems like strange and arcane knowledge to me at this point.

HOWEVER... since I am now enrolled in some computer classes, hopefully it won't be too long before I too am initiated into these mysterious arts. I shall join the wise ones, oh yes I shall! :)
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Postby Sarongman » Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:02 am

How about adapting an Islamic Jubba as a nightgown? Just an idea, Shukr has an after Eid sale on right now!
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Postby BrotherTailor » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:18 pm

Emerald,
Thank you for the suggestions. Nightcap? glug glug glug. burp. :?

The coifs I am familiar with are the ones nuns wear and that knights would wear under their helmet. I did not know that they were worn as sleepwear.
Have started on a robe, Simplicity 9950, to replace my ratty terry robe. Once that is finished I shall undertake the gown in whatever form/fabric.
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