Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Confessions of a Wannbe Seamstress: Lined Flannel PJ Tutorial

 It's been a long standing tradition in my family to get pajamas on Christmas Eve. Growing up in a family of five children, this often meant our pajamas were made by my mother. One year we we even got lap quilts (or TV watching quilts) to go with our PJs. As I've begun my own sewing journey I realize now just what a labor of love it was for my mother to sew five pairs of pajamas in different sizes and patterns.

Now that I've started my own family I've incorporated this same tradition with my children. In fact, pajamas on Christmas Eve was a tradition in my husband's family too! In years past, we've bought our kids PJs, but this year I decided to make them. And let me tell you, it was so simple! Depending on the size of the PJs I could get 1-2 pairs done in an afternoon while my son took his nap and my older two were at school. I loved doing this so much, I even made a fourth pair for my nephew.
Let's get started! Around Thanksgiving, JoAnne Fabrics has seriously crazy sales on their flannel. I got flannel for 75 % off! That was only a little over a $1 per yard. I bought a yard of fabric for each pair of PJs I made. Also, these are lined with flannel too to make them extra warm and cozy. So I bought a yard of white flannel for each pair too.You'll also need elastic for the waist.

For the basic pattern I used this pattern and tutorial from I printed the pattern out (it's sized for a 3 year old) so for the other sizes, I used an existing pair of pajama pants to make the pattern longer/shorter. I found the waist size and the leg width to be good for the sizes I made: a child's 6x, 4T, 24 months, and 12 months. The waist size was good because once you add the elastic for that specific size, it will cinch up to the right size.

First, print and cut out the pattern and tape it together. If you're making a size bigger/smaller then have a pair of pants on hand to see how much bigger/smaller you need to cut the length. TIP: leave PLENTY of extra length for folding the waist over and hemming the bottoms. You can always cut off excess later. If you're making a pair for a larger child that needs extra width on the pattern, just use your existing pair of PJs as a guide and trace around it. Just be sure to give yourself extra room for sewing your seams. In my case, I always give myself LOTS of extra room... I tend to sew pretty wide seams.

Since these are lined, you'll need to cut out a set of front and back pieces on white flannel and a set of front and back pieces on your patterned flannel--so you'll have a total of 8 pieces cut out (or 4 sets). Again, if you're making you're own pattern look how the original pattern has a slight angle on the waist of the front pieces. This gives the pants a better fit.
After your pieces are cut out, you'll need to turn them so right sides are together and sew along the curved part from the waist to that little point in the bum. TIP: after I've sewed this part, I lay the pieces flat on my machine and do a zig-zag stitch right through the seam I just sewed. I figure these PJs are for kids and this area is the bum/crotch area and is going to see lots of running, jumping, climbing, and crawling around on the floor. I like to reinforce them so they'll be as sturdy as possible.
 8 pieces become 4 So now you'll have your 4 main pieces to work with.
 Find your front and back pieces (the front pieces will have a slightly dipped waist) in the white and pattern and match them up. You'll pin them wrong sides together (right sides facing out)
 The easiest way to pin is to start with the crotch. Line the crotch of each piece up, pin it, then pin the inner legs. Then I pin the corners up by the waist and then down the outer legs.
 Start sewing the inner leg first in one continuous line. Then sew along the waist. Finally, sew each side of the outer leg. I don't sew the very bottoms of the legs because that's the part I'll cut off to adjust for length. I do another zig-zag stitch from crotch to waist to help reinforce the two layers of flannel. Now your 4 pieces just became 2.
 2 pieces become 1: Now you'll pin your two pieces wrong sides together. again, line up the crotch and pin there. then the inner leg. then the two points on the sides of the waist and finally the outer legs.
 Sew starting with the inner leg so it's one continuous line. Then sew up the outer legs. DON'T SEW from the crotch up to the waist in this step or around the waist or you'll sew your PJs together!!! I do sew a zig-zag stitch along the leg seams to help reinforce and this also keeps the edges from fraying. Once everything is sewed, turn them right side out and give it a good iron. They're starting to look like PJs already and don't they feel so soft and cozy? The two layers of flannel really make a difference.
 Now for the waist. I do this by making a casing. You can see a tutorial here. After the elastic is in, I sewed around the unfinished edges of the casing with guessed it...zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.
 Finally, hem your pants. This is where you can cut off any excess length (remember, leave it slightly long so you can still hem them. I also a little bit extra length beyond that so the kids can wear them longer and to foresee any shrinking from washing. Pin your hem to the length you want. Then I iron my crease before I sew. After, I did another zig-zag stick around the hem to prevent fraying.
And Ta-Da your're done! Sadly I don't have any pictures of little ones modeling them because these are for Christmas. But they all turned out so cute and I can't wait to give these to them on Christmas Eve! I'll probably find some inexpensive thermal jammie-type shirts at Wal-Mart or KMart to finish the set.
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