Sunday, July 11, 2010

Get Crafty: Make-Your-Own Pajama Pants

Inspired by recent success making kids pajamas, I decided to make my very own self some real pajama pants before we headed out for an extended-family vacation. Our local Salvation Army was having a half-off sale on all clothing, so I found a couple pairs of pajama pants in promising sizes for $2 a pop. Add in one previously-thrifted, very soft, pale-green-and-white polka-dot bedsheet, and here we go...

Here are the pants I used as my pattern. They were a pretty standard shaped pair that were just a wee bit tighter than I would have liked to wear, so I didn't feel bad cutting them up. I figure the fabric may (one day) go towards making some little girl shorts. In the background you see one of those folding cardboard sewing aids that you can use to cover your cutting surface (in my case, the floor). I bought it for $1.00 at a garage sale and would have bought 10 more if they had had that many. They are literally worth their weight in gold, and if you come across one for cheap BUY IT and run away giggling to yourself at what a savvy shopper you are. They can be used for ANYTHING. My favorite uses are as a cutting surface (obviously), but they also make a nice backdrop for photos (like these) when your floor isn't feeling photogenic, and they can be a safe place for spray painting things without killing your lawn. But I digress...

I cut off the rib knit waistband, then cut just next to the crotch seam to separate each leg, then opened up one leg down the inseam.

To make these into basic one-seam pants (continuous front and back of the leg), I cut down the outer leg seam so I could flatten the leg to make a single flat pattern piece. I left 1" attached at the top and left the cuff together (for now) in order to be able to more easily move it to the paper for tracing.

On the paper, I pinned the fabric through the paper and into the cutting cardboard to keep it in place while I traced and measured. I cut the cuff at this point to spread it out a little to increase the size of the leg. My paper of choice is a generous roll of kindergarten-style recycled paper purchased for $2 a roll at our local Scrap Box.

At this point I drew a line outside the edge of the fabric to make the pattern piece for the new pants. I added 1" on the side of either leg to make them larger than the original pair and to leave enough for trimming a little when serging. At the waist, I added an extra 3" for a fold-down casing for a drawstring (next time I'll add maybe 5" to give it a slightly higher waist... these ended up just above the hips). For the hem at the bottom I added 2".

After you cut out the pattern in paper, its always a good idea to check how it will line up in real life. I folded the paper and trimmed off a little from the front of the leg (shown), as well as a little from the waist to even up that area. If I hadn't done this, the leg would have looked a little twisty when completed. Make sure all your corners are 90 degree angles, and check the pattern measurements (waist, thigh and rise) to your own at this point to make sure it will fit as expected. Adjust if necessary.

Here is my material. It was a very soft 100% cotton... almost like thin flannel. Cute and cheap... just how I like it. I didn't bother ironing it for you either... that's how diligent and thorough I am :)

I laid out a double layer of the sheet (it was just folded in half and smoothed out by hand), then pinned the pattern piece down through the fabric and into the cardboard, several inches in from the edge. I then cut out the fabric and it resulted in two mirror image pieces. I serged the raw edges of the waist on each piece. I then sewed down each leg from the crotch to the ankle on my serger. Finally, I turned one leg right side out and inserted it into the other leg, lined up the seam, and serged them together.

I then made two machine-stitched button holes about 2" down on either side of the front crotch seam (to allow for the drawstring). I folded down 1 1/4" on the waist, wrong sides together, and stitched around the serged edge and then again 1/4" from the fold. This completed the casing for the drawstring, for which I used thick cotton cording. After inserting the cording, I knotted each end to prevent it from going back through the button holes.

I folded 1/2" up, wrong-sides together, for the hem of each leg, pressed it, then folded and pressed another 1 1/4" up to make a nice clean edge. I stitched around 1" from the bottom. And here they are in all their glory. I didn't have time to iron them or model them (lucky you) since I was also simultaneously packing for our trip, but I can assure you they are both comfy and current, as well as modest and well-fitting. I will be using my handy pattern to make more when I'm next near my fabric stash.

1 comment:

Lana said...

I'm so glad I ran across this! I've planned on making pjs for a long time, but kept forgetting how to do the one seam style. I'll be making a few pairs very soon. Thanks! :)