For this week's Sew Historical Fortnightly challenge, we were supposed to make something that fit the theme "peasants and pioneers". I decided to take a slightly less literal approach with this one and use it for a project that I've been dying to make for a few years now - a set of 1930's beach pajamas.
The "peasant" part of this challenge comes from the blouse, which I made out of a printed feedsack that I picked up in an antiques shop years ago. The feedsack was only 46" long, so it took some very careful planning and piecing to make it work from just one bag. Printed feedsacks like this one were a popular money-saving choice for home seamstresses during the Great Depression and WWII, so it seemed like a great choice for this challenge. I'm no expert on dating feedsacks, but I'm guessing that this print with its happy little cherries is actually from the 40's instead of the 30's, but shhhh... let's keep that secret between ourselves! ;)
I have always adored the super-wide legged look of the 30's. I think they are so glamorous and fun, and I've been dying to make a pair for myself. I used an Anne Adams pajamas pattern from the mid-1930s for my pants, and luckily, they fit me perfectly with no alterations needed except for the length. Some modern costumers seem to be a bit freaked out by the fit of 30's pants, but I really love the way these look on me. I admit that the crotch is crazy low and the waist is crazy high, but somehow it all works. I made these out of linen canvas from my stash, and I used vintage mother-of-peal buttons for the sides.
The only problem is that it is hard for me to decide whether to wear the blouse tucked in or out. I think it looks a little more leisure pajama-ish with the shirt out, and more beach pajama-ish with it tucked in. I have to admit that I'm more comfortable and less self-conscious with the shirt out (did I mention how crazy high those pants are?), but I miss seeing the buttons on the pants when I wear it that way. But I'm sure I'll wear it both ways from time to time just depending on my mood. It's good to have variety.
For more beach pajama inspiration, check out two of my favorite photo blogs - Giant Pants of the 30s and La Mode Pyjama. I also have a few additional photos of this outfit on my flickr.