Bespoke pyjamas – at Burgos, Madrid

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Friday, September 7th 2018
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I don’t wear pyjamas to sleep in. I’ve always found them too constricting, and prefer underwear.

However, ever since I had children (mine are now 10 and 7) I’ve put on pyjamas when I get up.

With kids you’re more likely to be getting up to feed, to soothe nightmares, or to have breakfast at an early hour - and there’s something about doing so in just underwear under a dressing gown that feels wrong.

My pyjamas have been from places like Hilditch & Key and Turnbull & Asser. They’ve usually been in linen, which I find comfortable in all temperatures (I just change the weight of dressing gown). And they’ve usually been in grey, which I prefer to the slightly old-fashioned pale blue or blue stripes.

The annoying thing about ready-made pyjamas is they have no shape.

Because pyjamas are meant to be slept in, and therefore have to be roomy, they are cut completely straight in the body. Two parallel lines, from armpit to hip.

Not only do they not have any shape through the waist, like a shirt would have, but they’re not even tapered towards the bottom, as a slim-fit T-shirt would be. Just a straight, square block.

This can be irritating, and indeed feel physically weird if you’re used to shirts that fit through the body.

Historically, it’s meant that I often buy a Small, which will be a touch short on the arms and legs, but at least not too big in the body.

Which of course, is a long justification for buying some bespoke pyjamas - in this case from Burgos in Madrid.

Carmen from Burgos and I spent a lot of time chatting during our winter pop-up shop last year (above), discussing the various styles she has made over the years.

Such discussions are often a bespoke person’s best selling tactic: eventually you’re so invested in the idea that it seems inevitable that you will buy a pair.

So Carmen and I set out deciding what to make.

The pyjamas would be linen, as my others are, and we would choose a non-traditional colour - here, an indigo colour with navy piping.

(The piping is one thing I might change if I commissioned them again - it has a little too much contrast perhaps, and I might go for the same fabric as the body.)

They would button all the way up, have three pockets (one outbreast, two hip) and turn-ups on the trousers.

In general, I stuck to the traditional Burgos design, which has a rounded collar, a faux flap on each pocket with piping, and a slight angle to those pockets (above).

The trousers have a button fly and a nice, wide cord at the waist (so important, that).

In terms of fit, we decided to go halfway between a regular square pyjama and a dress shirt. So not as fitted as the latter - to be more comfortable - but certainly more than the former.

Carmen already had my bespoke measurements from a shirt she made for me six years ago in Spain, but she took check measures again. Fortunately, I haven’t varied much.

I’m very pleased with the result. The fabric is was a good choice (it's not easy, picking a shirt fabric for your whole body) and the execution good.

Cutting and sewing into such a loose, lightweight shirting is not easy, and the pyjamas have been regularly used and washed - but the hand-sewn buttonholes are still nice, as is the machine stitching and the execution of the piping. There are only one or two places where the latter could have been neater. 

Bespoke pyjamas are definitely an indulgence. Even if you care as much about fit as I do, you could buy a pair that fits on the shoulders and just have darts put in to narrow them.

Burgos pyjamas cost €220 ready-to-wear and €320 bespoke, and much of the cost is hand cutting the fabric and hand sewing buttonholes.

But they’re beautiful and personal, and unlike many things in the wardrobe you only need a couple of pairs. Something, perhaps, where it’s particularly nice having great quality.

(I have a similar philosophy with my Budd dressing gown in Fox Brothers flannel, which has now been patched in a few places and feels all the more loved and personal for it.)

The fabric of the pyjamas is Thomas Mason (Albiate) Alassio Indaco 100% linen, weight 123-132g.

Burgos also make other designs of pyjama like one-piece collars, flannel pyjamas, and bespoke dressing gowns (all below).

Carmen is planning to come to the UK later in the year, but if you’re ever in Madrid the shop is beautiful and worth a visit.

Photography: All Permanent Style or Burgos, except last image and two at the pop-up, Jamie Ferguson

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Sam

A photo shoot at the breakfast table please…

Stephen Pini

Interesting (and aptly timed) post Simon as I am in the market for a new dressing gown. I typically purchase my pyjamas from Budd and then have darts put in to give the body more shape, but I always find the armhole is too loose / low.

I find the sky blue twill cotton nice but I have to say I have grown fond of my white batiste pair. People underestimate pyjamas. The reality is we spend a lot of the day in them – well, I do.

I was curious about your robe comment – do you wear different weights? I have a wool one from Derek Rose that I put on in the winter and sometimes in autumn but that is it.

And your comment about the kids made me chuckle. I have three very young children (all girls) and now have that same feeling…

Stephen

EG

Love this feature. In Vienna years ago, my wife and stumbled upon Wäscheflott, a bespoke shirtmaker who also make lovely pajamas and dressing gowns. It’s not a thing I would have thought to have sought out, but I’m so glad to have them — they really do feel like such an incredible upgrade over off-the-peg

JB

I actually love the navy piping. Another option would be cream or white to bring out the hints of white in the body fabric.

Chancellor

Curious if there was a fitting for these, or if it is was made to completion based on the original measurements?

On a related note, I’m thinking this would be a good place to do made-to-measure rather than bespoke since perfection in the fit is perhaps not necessary (you’re not going to be seen) but one wants something better than an uncomfortable boxy fit.

Anonymous

“Made to completion”. Don’t you mean “straight to finish”?

Peter K

I also have children aged 10 and 7.

Most days I am dressed for work (or the cycle commute) by the time they are awake. On the days I am in a more relaxed mode a pair of cotton “lounging pants” and a t-shirt do the job.

Peter K

And I can’t bring myself to wear pyjamas.

Anonymous

Why not?

Erik syverson

Pajamas are a great thing. But all this fuss? City suits are worth fussing over fit as well as shoes and shirts. My pajamas are silk, Oxford, broadcloth, linen and flannel. Find comfortable, elegant and soft cloth, to hell with fit, button holes and the rest of it.

Joseph

Part of it is probably because Simon has covered pretty much everything in the wardrobe that you could get bespoke. He’s now enjoying his freedom to explore other areas of application. I would think it’s well deserved, not to mention logical. Just how many suits, coats or shoes should he have made before it’s alright to expand his horizons?

The pyjamas are lovely and certainly look fiendishly comfy, Simon. Their very concept is as cool as your denim kimono.

Richard

If you find pyjamas too constricting to sleep in you might want to have a look at short-sleeve ones with shorts. I have a lovely pair from Zimmerli.

David

These are fantastic. I like the piping.
I have several pairs of bespoke pyjamas that I had made by a Hong Kong-based shirtmaker and I find them enormously practical to wear at home. I’ll have to give these a try.

Anonymous

There’s a reason pyjamas are loose…….comfort. I think bespoke pyjamas are a step too far.

Christopher

Great! In the last winter I thought it could be a good idea to have a tailored pyjama. My one is from Ralph Lauren, a affordable price but boxy… I gave up the thought cause it seemed to be too much, especially when there is no article on PS ;-))

J.Y.

Apropos of this topic, do you have a preferred brand for bed sheets?

There are the better known luxury makers such as Frette, Sferra, Pratesi but am curious if you use smaller makers.

Peter K

I doubt most f us cna really feel the difference between good sheets and luxury sheets.

Investing in a very good mattress is wise. They last for many years and you sleep better. We bought a high quality mattress 15 years ago and it’s still going strong with no sagging or bad springs.

J.Y.

The top makers tend to price their luxury sheets accordingly with how elaborate the designs are–i.e. jacquard weaves, silks, etc.

So you can just buy their more basic pieces although the retail prices are quite high for an item most people don’t give a second thought too–a set with duvet cover from Frette is at least $1000. Sferra also has a Giza 45 collection which is like $1500 for just a duvet.

Sarah Gilfillan

Hi Simon,

I have a client in the US who I think would be interested in these. I’ve just bought him lots of pyjamas and robes from Budd but he’s a large guy and he might benefit from bespoke.

As far as I know he doesn’t have plans to visit Madrid but if his tailor could sent measurements to them, do you think they could make them from that?

Thanks,
Sarah

Sarah Gilfillan

Thank you! I forgot Budd did bespoke.

Carmen

Dear Sara,

Please contact me at [email protected]
We should arrange a way forward

thanks in advance

Carmen

Sarah Gilfillan

Thanks so much Carmen. I’ll email you.

Sarah

dave

These are perfect for traveling. Think long distance plane in a lie flat seat. The pajamas they give you are invariably bad fitting and either too heavy or too light. You will be the envy of the in flight bar crowd with these. Great job.

Sat

How do you stop your chopper lolling out through the open fly?

Anonymous

Just read this.
Good answer, but cant believe you posted the question!

Bradley

Simon,
Some rather odd comments here and some, quiet aggressive. I was taught a lesson a long time ago that you should not reject anything unless you have tried it. In this case pyjamas are a wonderous thing and, are elegant yet masculine and show a degree of style and self-respect.
I have always been amused by people who think that by owning a beautiful car or wearing a very expensive suit/watch allows them to dress or live shabby whilst at home. When one tries to have a standard it must be across the board in all aspects of their life otherwise, their image is a sham and they are fooling themselves.
Incidentally, luxury sheets are another wonderous thing. The feeling of luxury, smoothness are not to be sniffed at and, they regulate your body temperature.
Personally i do not like the look of your bespoke pyjamas both in the colour, material choice and tailoring but, i admire you for investigating a bespoke option and for that, i thank you for sharing it with us.
Regards
Bradley

Rob D

And what about nightshirts as an alternative? Terribly old fashioned and completely shapeless but the three from Budd I have were invaluable this cold winter just gone. No chopper issues there either, cos you just hitch!

Christian GV.

Holy jammy. Thanks for the article, I enjoyed very much reading it.

I’ve now read all the comments here as well. Therefore I must express that I love your bespoke pajama (I am a huge fan of indigo/denim so that’s a great choice of material). I’ve always thought piping on pajamas was odd, but this time around they make sense. What a pajama! 🙂

Jake

Bespoke pyjamas are a great idea. Pyjamas, of course, have their origin in Indian day wear, adopted by European colonists in the 19th century, so it seems quite fitting that they should be tailored to fit in the way described.

ANM

Simon,

Congratulations on finding something from Spain you enthusiastically like,

Is it my impression, or do tend to have a lower rate of satisfaction regarding the suits, etc. you have had made in Spain?

If so, why do you think that is?

Michael

I think we have well and truly entered into the realm of the ridiculous here…

Fernando

Why linen Simon? I find linen it’s generally coarser than cotton or cotton flannel indeed

Fernando

Okay, thank you!

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

I hope you are doing well. Curious to know what your sleepwear is for very cold winters. For hotter weather, I just wear loungewear from Tommy John’s Second Skin pajamas line and I feel fairly put together in it. But I cannot find the equivalent for cold weather, thanks!

My best,
Bernie

Bernie Leung

Got it thanks Simon

Christos

Dear Simon,

what would you say the length of a pyjama-shirt should be?