Monday, June 27, 2022

Ice Dyed Agnes PJs: My French Garden


Well, hello! I wonder if anyone will read this...

Like most folks, I tend to spend more time on Instagram these days, but I do miss the old sewing/blogging days sometimes. It provided a connection/interaction that I don't really find that Instagram encourages, and it was less about being marketed/sold to all the time. Also, maybe because with a blog post I'm not checking for "likes" the way one does with a post, I think it sort of negatively affects the way I feel. Like not in a huge way, but it's something internal that I've noted and try to be mindful of--something that I never noticed with blogging. Anyway, hope that all makes sense. On to the project!

Tara of Paper Theory always designs so thoughtfully, and the Agnes PJs are no exception. Because of the grown-on/bat wing style sleeve and the single seam pajama legs, you're dealing with just a few large pattern pieces. I think this encourages surface design play--dying like I've done here, but you could also silk screen or stamp with a carved potato or foam, try a resist technique like batik, or make something personalized digitally and have printed via Spoonflower or something similar. I also like how you have as few seams as possible for maximum comfort, but it also makes for a quick and easy sew which is perfect for pjs! Just a very clever pattern all around. 

If you can't tell already, I loved everything about this project. It's always so great when the thing you've been imagining turns out even better than expected. :) While I was making my first set--an adorable tiger R. Kaufman print for 2022: Year of the Tiger (pic below)--I already knew I wanted to try ice dying for the second set

So, yeah, I was already planning my second pair while finishing up my first pair, a sign of a good pattern! But pjs require a lot of fabric. I didn't want to buy five yards of new fabric and had already been eyeing an old pale green set of sheets that had a couple of stains on the fitted part for some possible surface design play. 

I don't necessarily do this consciously, but there is a rhythm to my sewing where I alternate between projects with new fabric and some kind of scrap busting or patchwork. It just seems to provide some balance for me while also keeping my scrap bins from overflowing. 

The ice-dying part could not have been simpler. I found a book at the library called, Hand Dyed: A Modern Guide to Dyeing in Brilliant Color for You and Your Home, by Anna Joyce, and used that as my reference...but there's really not much to it. Soak your fabric in soda ash and then wring it out; twist, clump, fold, crease, clip (whatever you want to make a random or nonrandom pattern); top with ice and sprinkle with dye. That's it. I've also seen videos where dye is sprinkled before and after the ice which makes for a cool, layered effect. 

I was pretty heavy-handed with the dye, sprinkling generous tablespoons at a time. I used blue and green only, and the fabric was a very pale green. In some of the pics below, you may notice a lavender color. That's magenta released from the blue dye when it sits and pools.

I love lounging around in these with a cup of tea and think of them as my Sunday Morning French Garden PJs. :) Just a few notes:
  • Size 22, although next time I'll size down at least one, maybe two. Paper Theory is known for lots of ease, and my pre/during/post pandemic plus menopausal weight fluctuations puts me all over the map. But, overall, a bit too large which isn't so bad when you're lounging. 
  • Shortened legs 2.5" at the designated line
  • Shortened bodice and facing .75" at the designated line. 
  • Shortened sleeve 1" (no designated line).
Not much else to say. It's an awesome pattern, and it was a lot of fun to make. Be well. 


  1. I do read blogs and happened to find this one. I don't do Instagram. Lovely pjs. Ice dyeing would be fun and probably less messy than indigo. Thanks.

    1. Thanks! I expected it to be messier but fortunately I had a big plastic bin for the overflow.

  2. I love reading blogs and have subscribed to yours for a long time. Blogs give me a connection that flicking through Instagram definitely doesn’t. Also, there is lots more detail! I think your pyjamas look fantastic and I love the colour s you have used. I might have a look at the pattern. Grown on sleeves sound really comfortable for PJs.

    1. Definitely agree with you about the connection with blogs. Thank you for the kind words!

  3. What glorious PJs! I'm more of a nightgown/sleep shirt person myself, but if I was into pajamas those would be the ones! Thanks for keeping up your Blog.