Reef Camisole and Shorts

Christmas holidays arrived and here in the Southern Hemisphere, we found ourselves in sweltering summer heat. Needless to say, it was too hot to be at the sewing machine but I managed to sew up the Reef Camisole and Shorts Set from Megan Nielsen Patterns. It was my final sew for the year just in time for my favourite time of the year. I’ve always loved the time after Christmas and the start of the new year where there is a quietness and a temporary lull to give us a bit of respite before the whirring of busy-ness begins again. It was a good time to finish making the Reef Set so I could have my pyjama day.

Motivated to finish by coffee and panettone

As usual, if you’re looking after a comprehensive sew-along, you should look at the Megan Nielsen Blog Site. This was my own sewing process. Before heading into that, I wanted to talk about the fabric that I used. I bought this lovely muslin from Spotlight Stores. It caught my eye because of the beautiful mustard colour and the pattern is reminiscent of a field of dandelions. Muslin is such a thin fabric; it’s often used for children’s clothing or baby wraps and for good reason. It’s soft, made of cotton and is such a breathable light fabric which is why I’ve thought to use it for summer pyjamas. 

I remember when I had just started sewing, I tried to sew with muslin fabric. I ended up cutting it up for cleaning cloths because it did not even survive the first wash! The best way to prepare muslin fabric for sewing is to overlock the raw cut edges before washing on the cool cycle. This preserves the integrity of the muslin fabric which has a loose weave otherwise you would risk your washing machine unravelling some of the thin fabric. After washing, I gave it a light iron and went on the cut out the pattern pieces. Another beginner tip is to check your needle. I made sure I had a 10/70 needle to ensure that I wouldn’t damage the delicate fabric.

Starting with the camisole, which is cut on the bias, watch that you don’t handle the fabric too much and lay it flat as it will stretch if you hang the fabric before sewing. I also made sure to staystitch where needed as this helps to stabilise the fabric. I love the look of bias-cut garments as it drapes beautifully especially with silky materials. 

The crossover back yoke is the distinguishing feature of this camisole. It’s a really satisfying construction. It’s also so comfortable to wear. I’m tempted to sew this camisole as a top if I can find the right fabric like silk. Once the crossover back yoke is completed, it comes together very fast. Topstitching the neckline and armscye was my own addition to help secure this fragile fabric. I tend to wash everything in the machine and have little time for hand washing so this will go a long way of preserving my Reef Set. I also secured the facing by stitching in the ditch at the side seams and stitching down the back panel.

Onto the shorts, I made the View B option which is the mid-rise. The hemline is curved and again an interesting construction with the attachment of facings. It elevates the piece from basic elasticised waisted shorts to luxurious summer pyjamas shorts. It doesn’t stop there; it also has pockets!

A quick note on sizing, I made the size 12 for my measurements of 37-inch bust, 33-inch waist and 38-inch hips. The sizing was a great for the shorts, but I could sew up a size for the camisole top. The camisole has very narrow seams except for the side seams which returns to 5/8 inch. I narrowed the side seam to allow more room in the armscye. It still fits me in the size 12 but there are some horizontal fold lines where the front straps meet the bust line. The other option would be to make a full bust adjustment but I would also like to lengthen the camisole so I feel the best option would be to size up.

Now that the busy Christmas holiday period is over and we have turned over to the New Year, I have a few days of lounging around in my newly minted pyjama set. I’m really enjoying my new book which is the second book by Named Patterns titled, “Building The Pattern”. This is my first sewing book and it’s a gem.

Thank you for reading and wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

X Em

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