After writing about beach pyjamas (or pajamas) yesterday, I thought I should show the examples I have in my collection. The pair above is from the mid to late 1920s, as you can see from the narrow legs. These are made from a very light and sheer woven wool, and I can’t help but wonder if there was originally a matching top or jacket. I love how the deep waist yoke is a nod to the dropped waists of the era.
The fabric is really quite wonderful. Believe it or not, these came from the Goodwill clearance bins several years ago. I really could not believe my luck, as these are very hard to come by.
These crazy quilt pyjamas from the early 1930s were also a lucky Goodwill find. At first the design looks to be completely random, but look closely and you’ll see that the maker of this garment carefully engineered the bodice, with the stripe effect mirrored in the hems of the legs.
All of the pieces are silk fabrics. I doubt that this was ever worn, as the condition of the piece is so good, and there is no sign of neither shrinkage nor dye failure.
This last pyjama is also from the 1930s and was an ebay purchase of about ten years ago. These have become so popular that I’d probably not be able to buy it today as the prices are much higher than what I paid. It’s is really great, with the red and blue stripes being applied to the heavy muslin pyjama. It was a much more practical garment for the beach than the rayon patchwork one was.
Yesterday the question came up about when to use pajama, and when to use pyjama. Susan pointed out that the US spelling is pajama. I used both versions of the word in yesterday’s post, mirroring the usage in the primary sources I was using. Today, we use pajama for our sleeping garments, but pyjama is pretty much standard usage when referring to 1930s beach pyjamas.
Correction: I originally wrote that the patchwork piece is made from rayon, but I double-checked, and the pieces are actually silk.