History of Pyjamas

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2014

The word pyjamas originated in what was then known as Persia and originally meant ‘leg garment’, however it was introduced into the English language in the early 17th Century from India. Early pyjamas took the form of male loungewear, but were not a long lasting trend. Pyjamas regained popularity in Victorian times when all things Eastern became fashionable, especially items from India and Persia. Patterns such as Paisley prints (originally Indian designs) appeared around this time as well.

Pyjamas as we know them today started life as traditional garments worn by Sikhs in India, but were soon adopted by the English during Victorian times as sleepwear, replacing the traditional nightgowns worn by both sexes.
Pyjamas today are generally loose fitting trousers with an elasticated waistband or tied at the waist, and a buttoned shirt top. In the 1930’s and 1940’s it was common to find hand knitted pyjamas for ladies (nightdresses and dressing gowns were also knitted during this time.) This fashion for hand knitted pyjamas had died out by the 1970’s and today most pyjamas are made from silk, cotton or synthetic fabrics.
In the late 1920’s and 1930’s a new form of pyjama became popular – the beach pyjama. These were sometimes knitted but more usually made of draping fabric and worn on holiday to the seaside or on sea cruises.
So as the nights become colder think of your poor dolls in their dolls house and treat them to a pair of warm knitted pyjamas!