Friday, 9 November 2012

Reviewed: New Look 6321 (Knit PJ tops)

Pattern envelope for New Look 6321
For various reasons, the last week or so has been pretty wretched. In addition to a whole bunch of personal stuff, I really felt like my sewing mojo was dented by that dress disaster. I decided that I needed a project that would restore some confidence, produce something useful and that was actually properly easy. I therefore went right back to the beginning of my garment sewing experiments and pulled out New Look 6321, which is a unisex PJ pattern set. Look, it even has EASY printed on the outside!

One of my two NEW identical PJ tops.
In the normal run of things, my PJs consist of a variety of PJ shorts or trousers, plus totally unmatching ancient grotty t-shirts, many of which are at least a decade old, interspersed with a few marginally nicer PJ sets I've received as gifts. I always tend to have a few large, loose t-shirts in my wardrobe for days when I just want to laze around in comfy clothes, and in the past I've just moved them over time from "wear in public" to "wear on days when I am not leaving the house" to "wear them to sleep in" as they get older and more stained/faded. At present my collection of "wear them to sleep in" tops are REALLY horrid and old and seem to have more holes in them than fabric. However, my recycling chain in my wardrobe has, for some reason, broken down so I've had to keep on wearing them. This week I got fed up with the holes and decided to throw several of them away. I am SO CHEAP though, I really had to talk myself into making actual brand new tops to wear in bed, and only decided to in the end because I could get two new tops out of some fabric I had that I wasn't sure how else to use.

Here's my pattern review (also available at PR) with some minor additional notes at the end:

Pattern Description: Easy sleepwear separates (PJ trousers, shorts, knit t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and ladies nightdress). I have previously made and reviewed the PJ shorts. This review is for the raglan short-sleeved t-shirt.

Pattern Sizing:XS to XL. I made a Large, which produced a VERY LARGE t-shirt (which is what I wanted, I like my sleepwear baggy.) If I wanted it to fit me more sensibly, I probably should have used a Medium or even a Small.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, just like it.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They are very clear and well-illustrated and I am sure they would work if you used them, but I didn't. I don't think the method described is the easiest way to put together a raglan t-shirt -- I prefer the construction method from Sew U: Home Stretch, so that is what I followed.

White body, blue and white floral sleeves.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's very fast and easy. It took me longer to trace out the pattern than to cut out and sew the first top.

Fabric Used: White cotton jersey for the body with a blue floral print cotton jersey for contrast sleeves and binding.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Nothing of significance. Rather than twin needle stitch the hems I decided to just overlock the edges.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I actually already made a second, identical top. If you're in the market for a simple raglan sleeved top, this is a very useful, easy pattern. It has a good size range too, although if you are petite or you want a close fitting top then a shorter version of the nightshirt, which is the same raglan sleeved pattern but runs much smaller, might suit you better.

Conclusion: Simple raglan sleeved top, great for beginners and with a good size range. 

 Extra notes:

Cost: As usual my fabric was all bought from eBay. I made two completely identical tops. The white jersey is actually a really nice quality knit, as it's quite heavy and has good recovery. I got a misshapen remnant of the white jersey that cost about £3.15/m, and I used 1.8m for two tops = £6.25. The blue floral knit cost £2.50/m inc p&p and I used exactly 1m for the two tops = £2.50. My total material costs were therefore probably around £5 per top when you take thread and overheads into account.

It's hard to make any useful comparison to RTW prices because I don't think I have ever bought anything specifically to be a PJ top. However, a knit PJ top with similar quality fabric is for sale for £9.50 from M&S or about £6 for slightly less nice fabric at Matalan, or I could have bought B-grade low quality fabric Fruit of the Loom t-shirts from eBay for £1.50 each with free p&p. There's pretty much no way for the home sewer to make cost savings on this type of cheaply mass-produced top, I don't think, although at least I suspect the tops I made will have better longevity than the Fruit of the Loom factory seconds.
Neckline binding! So much better than previous attempts!


+ So much confidence restored by these tops! I did all my construction on my overlocker except for finishing up the binding, and it worked out really well. :D Such a relief after the mess I made of the MyImage dress.

+ I did a much better job on the neckline binding that I did on the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee.

-/+ I'm still not getting my stitch tension exactly right on my overlocking, but I am doing better.


  1. when cutting the pattern, do you cut two for the front and back? I know this may sound stupid but I want to make sure I do it right. if so the seam is invisible!

    1. No, the front and back pieces should be cut on the fold, so there is no seam.