Ah, December. What a strange and glorious month. Post Thanksgiving, it's like we enter a different world, one filled with shopping, parties (pre-pandemic at least), and merriment. It's a wonderful time of year, but also one that leaves little time for sewing, except for those of you who make homemade gifts.
Of course, as sewists, you know we try our best to sneak in some good project time. And with that in mind, I thought I'd keep our December Boxes simple and sweet.
For me, December means pajamas. Last year, in fact, we did pajama sets as our theme. This year, it's a twist on the series with what we are calling Nap Dresses. The term emerged last spring for a particular type of dress that was loose-fitting and billowy, a dress you could throw on like a beach coverup and wear all day without elastic, waistbands, or any constraint on the body. And yes, in many ways, it is just a fancy term for a nightgown, but rebranded by a new generation. But to me, it's a dress that works as both an every day piece you could style to go out but also one that you could leave on to climb into bed at night. Basically a dress you never want to take off!
The internet favorite nap dresses were made of woven fabric, but I decided to go with knits for this box because a) they are just so snuggly and b) it's been a while since we did a good knit dress. So these dresses are the not-so-secret pajamas you want in your wardrobe to wear whenever the heck you want to, day or night. Oh, and they also make for great tunics and tops if you're so inclined!
We've been doing a lot of deep, rich colors this fall, but this month, we're lightening it up. Pajamas come in all colors, so we're going towards muted, calming colors that look both amazing as both PJs and day dress in textures that feel wonderful against the skin. We hope you love them us much as we do!
Sew Essential Box: Stasia Dress from Sew Liberated
Sew Liberated describes the Stasia Dress as an "elevated knit dress" and we couldn't agree more. There's something a little extra, some elegance, some ethereal quality that makes the dress more than the sum of its parts. But it does have some really good parts when it comes right down to it.
For one, it's got three length options, four sleeve options, and a size range that goes up to 34. Add a flowing, A-line skirt (for great twirling), and a subtle princess shape to the waist, and you have all the fixings for a perfect nap dress. Styled with boots, a jean jacket, maybe even a handmade blazer from our October Boxes, and you have a simple and chic day outfit. Then by itself - with some fun slippers or a robe - and you have the ideal outfit for nighttime coziness. The best of both worlds!
For fabric, we wanted to keep it soft and wearable, which led us to double brushed polys. Fuzzy and soft on both sides, with lots of spandex for recovery and stretch, and you have a lovely pajama fabric. And if you don't like polyester, we also have a cool and stretchy rayon jersey to keep you comfy all winter long. So here they are!
- Buttercup Yellow Double Brushed Poly - If you haven't had the pleasure to touch double brushed poly, you've been missing out. It's lusciously soft, almost sueded, but it is also lightweight and stretchy, like your favorite t-shirt spandex. In a cheery yellow, this fabric will brighten up those long, dark winter night and transition wonderfully to bright spring days. It's like a warm smile in a fabric, which can never be a bad thing, right?
- Watercolor floral Double Brushed Poly - Another DBP (as the cool kids call it), but this time is a lovely print, this fabric is so serene. Light blues, peaches and violets shade the branches of this floral, and on a neutral cream background, it is subtle but stunning. Riffing on the rural feel that epitomizes all of Sew Liberated patterns, this fabric is a modern spin on country florals. And we just love it!
- Denim Blue Rayon Spandex Jersey - With a soft drape and thicker feel than your typical rayon jersey gives it opaque coverage and panty-line protection while the coolness of the rayon feels wonderful against the skin, especially if you're a hot sleeper. Plus, the light blue, muted yet deeply saturated, is stunning and ideal for a calming night's sleep. A gorgeous choice!
Sew Select Box: Rumi Tank from Christine Haynes
When I imagine my ideal nap dress, it is basically the Rumi Dress from Christine Haynes. It's like she read my mind! The fitted bodice is perfect for lounging while still feeling snug and covered up, and the racer back gives you flexibility and movement. The long skirt is full but not too full so you can curl up on the couch without feeling constrained but you also won't get it stuck in the car door when you have to leave the couch to run errands.
And it's just so versatile. In a tank form, it's the perfect wear with everything top that you can layer during cold months and wear as is during the warmer ones. And as a dress, it's very much chic pajamas, the dress you put on after your shower then wear for the next 24 hours without feeling like you need to change. (Basically how I dress from May to September). I honestly couldn't think of a better wardrobe piece to have!
For fabric, this dress really requires a fabric with good recovery and negative ease so it can hug your bodice and wrap through the racerback. It also lends itself to slightly beefier knits than the other dresses in this theme, so I had a great time finding some fantastic options to show you. Let's take a look!
- Ocean Mist Rayon Spandex Jersey - I originally had a darker green for this option, but decided last minute to lighten it up. I loved the colors so much in the next fabric, that I wanted to highlight some of the more pastel hues. And I really fell in love with this green. It's bluer and deeper than a sage, with a hazy quality I find very relaxing. The fabric itself is soft, with a semi-fluid drape, with excellent recovery and stretch. A perfect fabric for this dress, I'm already feeling serene thinking about it!
- Tropical Leaves Double Brushed Poly - This fabric is transporting. Unless you're lucky enough to live in a place that has palm trees and tropical plants, this fabric will take you there with its large scale botanical print and jewel-toned colors. In this print, the leaves are tinged with turquoise, green, and orange, all on a dark blue background. And it's all on top of the much loved (see above) double brushed poly. So incredibly soft and stretchy, this fabric is about to become the nap dress/vacation outfit of your dreams.
- Desert Rose Rib Knit - Because of the shaped bodice of this dress, I knew I wanted to include a rib knit. The body hugging quality of ribs is excellent and lends itself so well to the shape of this pattern. Instead of a 2x2 rib, which is quite close together, I found this larger rib, in a medium weight, that will look almost like stripes when all put together. A polyester-rayon blend, it's soft but durable, and in a desert rose, almost like a dark salmon pink, the color is soft but rich, slightly pastel, but not baby pink. A lovely base color to pair with all sorts of layering pieces. A beautiful choice if you ask me!
Sew Curvy Box: Alana Dress from Made for Mermaids
Made for Mermaids is one of the pdf pattern companies that I've heard wonderful things about for years, but never featured in our boxes. The company has quite the following, and it's easy to see why. Their patterns are easy to wear, effortless to style, and eminently customizable. Take the Alana Dress. It has so many options, you could make the pattern 10 times and end up with a different look each time.
It's really that versatility that first drew me to this dress, but it's the easiness that made me choose it for the box. It's just so. . . wearable. It's exactly what I want in a knit dress - the ability to throw it on and feel completely chic and completely unconstrained by buttons, zippers, waistbands, cuffs. Just casual comfort. It's basically the next best thing to wearing nothing at all. The option for an open or high cut back, four length variations, and even in-seam pockets, makes it all the better. It's really the dress that you never want to take off!
For fabric, the drape of the fabric really can make a difference here, so we gave you some options, from a slinky viscose knit to a beefier cotton option. And of course, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to get some pattern in as well. So, without further ado, here are the options!
- Peach Nectar Viscose Spandex Jersey - This soft pink jersey is as sweet as nectar (cheesy, right?). But it's true! The color is dusty with a hint of peach and will become a great nap dress in your wardrobe. Medium weight, this fabric has some nice body to it while still maintaining a semi-fluid drape. The combination makes it ideal for this dress where you want some swinginess but also don't want sheerness. Make a pastel nightgown of your dreams with this fantastic knit!
- Sage Cherry Plum Double Brushed Poly - Ok, I'll admit this month is really a love affair with DBP, but I just love it for pajamas. The snuggly soft hand is perfect for loungewear, and the drape - soft but not slinky - fits so well with the swing skirt of this patter. And when I found this unique pattern (how often do you find florals on a green background), I couldn't pass it up. Keep the hope of spring alive this winter with a cheery, cherry floral that's sure to brighten up your wardrobe!
- Indigo Cotton Modal Jersey - Sometimes you want to go classic, and that's exactly what this dark blue jersey is. The neutral color allows the dress to transition from day to night to day again, and the cotton modal blend is both cool and moisture wicking (perfect for sleepwear). The cotton also gives the fabric a little bit more body than the other two, though it still is a very soft drape, so if you’re looking to do some twirling. Create a comfy and classic nap dress with this lovely knit!
Sew Indulgent Box: Floreat Dress from Megan Nielsen
I don't think I could articulate the beauty of the Floreat Dress better than the pattern maker herself, Megan Nielsen: "Loose and fitted. With minimal seams to really let the fabric shine. Be comfortable and look effortlessly chic at the same time... Floreat is fitted from the bust upwards and is loose and trapeze shape from the bust downwards. This means you get the best of both worlds. The close fit of the sleeves and upper body make this garment look put together, whilst the generous ease in the hip and waist adds comfort."
This dress is the epitome of a nap dress. It looks just like a t-shirt dress, with a fun twist of the asymmetrical hem, but it can so easily turn into sleepwear when you want to. Take off the tie belt, put on some slippers, and you're good to go!
What makes the biggest impact on this pattern is the fabric. Adapted for both wovens and knits - with instructions for both - you can make this dress over and over again in a variety of fabrics. We want to really play with the daywear/sleepwear theme, so we went with silkier fabrics that will feel amazing to sleep in. So here they are!
- Butterscotch Bamboo Jersey - Bamboo is really an amazing fabric for sleepwear. The fiber is naturally cool, which helps keep you from overheating while in bed. And it takes dye so well, you can get some amazing colors, like this butterscotch yellow. Bolder than a neutral but softer than bright yellow, this color is just right. Combined with the slinky drape and silky soft hand of the fabric, and you have one knockout nap dress fabric!
- Black and White Smudge Floral Bamboo Jersey - No, your eyes are failing you; this fabric is purposely out of focus. The style of the floral evokes charcoal smudge drawings and adds a nice, artistic quality to the fabric. In a medium weight knit with great drape and recovery, you have a that will really shine for this dress and look amazing day or night.
- Ice Plum Bamboo Jersey - While we didn't pick fabrics specifically for the winter season, this fabric really fits that theme nicely. It's cool and sweet, like ice wine or sorbet. The color is complex, which a fair amount of shine in the fabric, and gives a very subtle sparkling quality to the look. Soft and silky, this fabric will become a truly gorgeous nap dress!
Are you as excited about nap dresses as we are? Even if you're not a nightgown person (which I am not either), these dresses will be a wonderful addition to your wardrobe. They're just so versatile! If you want to go a more traditional pajama route this December, we're bringing back last year's pajama boxes in our Tried and True series. These sets are perfect for lazy winter mornings and drinking coffee - or tea or mulled wine (at night of course) - under a blanket to protect you from the cold. The ultimate cozy comfort!
And that's it for this month. And this year! The next box we announce will be for 2022 (oh my gosh 😮). But don't worry, we still have a bunch of things planned for the rest of this year, with fan favorite Best of the Year boxes, some new (and amazing) gift sets, and some holiday cheer. So stay tuned!
Until next time. . .