Calcifer Pajamas by Just-Joshin
We are HUGE Studio Ghibli fans in this house. The kids fell in love with Totoro at very early age, and by age five they are aficionados. Miyazaki has been a mainstay in our video library and shown in constant rotation. Their love runs deep for Totoro, Ponyo and Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Like any good geek parents, we’ve encouraged their interests. My husband and I are huge fans too, and even made a special trip to the Studio Ghibli Museum outside Tokyo when we were there on our honeymoon. (A Must-see for any Ghilbli fan, it’s incredible!) I hope someday we can take these two kiddos there.
When Craftingcon announced Ghibli month, I signed up immediately. Then I brainstormed. And thought, and planned and changed my mind. A million times. If you’re at all familiar with any Studio Ghibli movies you will almost always see very strong female leads. Kiki, Ponyo, Satuske and Mei, Princess Mononoke. Not one of them waiting for a prince to save her. Which is one of the many reasons these movies remain favorites after all these years. But, I have two boys. Which made it harder to decide. Plus these boys already have a ton of clothes. What they need, though, is new pajamas. So after long consideration and many, many mind changes, I planned these Howl’s Moving Castle PJs, inspired by the adorable Calcifer.
I have made PJs for them a few times before. I almost always use the Scientific Seamstress Easy Fit Pants pattern. These pants are aptly named. They are SO easy. They make great lounge pants and very easy shorts. (I have made them from quilter’s cotton like I did here, plus flannel and fleece.) They only have one pattern piece and use your own measurements. They are also symmetrical so there is no front and back. (A bonus when you have a kid who seems to always have shorts on backward.) I intentionally made these long. It’s still warm for a while longer here, and these two are growing like crazy. Maybe they can actually wear them for a few months.
The shirts are Peekaboo Pattern Shop’s Grand Slam (Affiliate Link) which is a simple pattern, especially if you’re knew with knits. The instructions are clear and the pattern goes together very quickly. One of my favorite sources for knit in small amounts is blank adult t-shirts. At the craft store you can often get adult tees for around $3 each. I bought two orange and a yellow for these in Mens XL. When you use an existing t-shirt, you get the option of using the original hem too, which I love, because try as I might, my hems on knit NEVER look this good, even with the double needle.
The applique I did on the front is a rough-edge appliqué, cut from excess t-shirt and a red jersey knit scrap I had. I searched for a coloring page to use as a rough outline, then drew it on freezer paper to make a pattern, cut it out and straight stitched around the edge. For this appliqué precision wasn’t important, since Calcifer is actually fire and thus rough around the edges. I left about a quarter inch of fabric outside the stitch line, which should curl over nicely when it’s washed. The facial features I used basic shapes in my embroidery machine, 4 circles (two small and two smaller) and an oval. I skipped the satin stitch on these to keep with the rough finish.
The arm patch is inspired by the selection indicator in the Castle. I pieced together four squares and used that as appliqué fabric in a circle.
The pajamas are a hit with these two Ghibli fans, plus their stuffed entourage.
(Full disclosure: I did not make the quilt featured in these photos, I received it in a craft swap, and it is just about the most awesome thing ever and I cherish it.)