Saturday 30 March 2013

Super-Quick Pyjama Tutorial ... And a sneak peak!

I've now well-and-truly christened the new overlocker (serger) that I was lovingly given for my birthday in February (good work Daddy), though it did take me much longer to get to it than I had hoped ... Wow, this whole starting big-school thing puts your life into chaos, hey!  Anyway, with Bethany now settled into school, and the rest of us slowly getting into our new school-time routine, I found some time for some much-needed sanity sewing.  And just how cute are these PJ's?  Anyone who knows me will know that I will find any, yes ANY excuse to sew with gingham, especially pink gingham, and these PJ's are my latest gingham project.
So, why cute new PJ's? ... Well this PJ tutorial is a little sneak peak at what is to come in the next few weeks.  I have a couple more posts planned around a birthday party we're having next week for Bethany's 5th birthday, which was last Thursday.  We weren't going to have a party for her this year 'cause we had a big one last year, and she's only just started school a couple of months ago, so we're still learning who her group of school-friends will be anyway.  But one day Bethany proudly came home from school and announced that "Mummy, at my birthday party, everyone is going to wear their pyjamas and we will be eating breakfast food".  Well, with all her new friendships and her excitement at what was obviously a VERY well-thought-out party theme, and with the creative juices that instantly started flowing in Mummy's mind, I couldn't bring myself to burst my her little party bubble, and we decided we'd go ahead and do it. 

Now, you certainly can't have a pyjama party without a new pair of PJ's, and the following is my how-to for these super simple and mighty quick little jammies...
The PJ pants:

What you need:
- About 1/2 metre/yard of pink ginham (or I s'pose you could use another fabric if you're not into gingham ... I might even forgive you for that!)
- 1 1/2 metres/yards of lace (optional)
- 1/4 inch elastic for the waistband
- Coordinating thread
- Small piece of coordinating 1/8 inch ribbon (for the bow - optional)
- Sewing machine 
- Overlocker / serger (if you have one, otherwise just use a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine)
- Scissors

The how-to:

1. Make a pattern by tracing a pair of pants / shorts that fit (I made this pattern when making a pair of shorts that you can see here).  If using a shorts pattern, lengthen to desired length ... I chose to make a 3/4 look.  Oh, and don't forget to add seam allowance to your tracing when making your pattern ... I used 1/4 inch.

2. Cut out 2 pattern pieces on the fold.

3. Open out and place right sides together.  Sew the top curved seam, using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then overlock (serge) or zigzag the seam to stop fraying.

4. Now when you open out these seams, it should resemble something like a pants shape.  Sew the inner leg seam (right-sides together) from the bottom of one inner-leg, up, around and to the bottom of the other inner-leg.  Then overlock or zigzag this seam too.

5.  Iron all the seams, then at the waist, iron in 1/4 inch all around.  Fold down another 1 inch, and pin, then sew around the waistband approximately 1/8 inch from the bottom edge, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap for inserting the elastic.

Then sew another row of stitching parallel to the first one and about 1/2 inch up from it.  You don't need to leave a gap this time.  This makes the cute little frill at the top of the waistband which I think is especially cute on PJ's.  Oh, and I always inset a little tag of ribbon at the back, because Bethany likes to know which is the back when getting dressed.  In this particular pattern, the front and back are the same, but it makes life more peaceful to just choose a "back" and put a tag for her!!  Any other Mummies hearing me??

6. Measure your munchkin's waist, and cut your elastic 1 inch longer than that measurement.  Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through, then overlap the ends by 1/2 inch and use a zigzag stitch to sew the ends together.

7.  Have you ever noticed that tops/pants that could easily be worn by day, are often recognised to be PJ's simply because there is a little bow on the front?  Well, I decided that to avoid any doubt these PJ's needed that little bow.  I tied a little bow using a piece of 1/8 inch ribbon, and sewed it to the front.  Yep, in case you hadn't guessed I'm a little nuts for details like that!

8.  Now, hemming the legs - Using your trusty overlocker (because I can now .... if you don't have one you could totally just double over the hem like we did for the wasitband ... that's what I have done for every project til now!!) overlock around the bottom of each leg, then turn up 1 inch, pin and sew.  I then decided to add a little piece of lace around each hem, covering the hem stitching line.  

Pants finished!!!

The Princess PJ Top:
Now, I have been toying with trying a flutter-sleeve design for a while, so decided this was a good time to give it a go.  Here's what you need:

- A Singlet top (mine was $3 from K-Mart)
- Some scraps of coordinating fabric
- 3 buttons (if appliqueing a crown)
-  Coordinating thread
- Sewing machine
- Scissors

1. Take a piece of scrap fabric from the pants, and fold in half.  Make a curve like so, with the high end equal to approximately 3 1/2 inches, and the straight edge at the bottom approximately 9 inches (when opened out).  Once you have one, open it out and use it as a template to cut 3 more, so you will have 4 pieces in total.

2.  Place two pieces right-sides together and sew around the sides and curve using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Leave the bottom straight edge open for turning.  Repeat with the other 2 pieces.

3.  Turn through so right sides are now out, and iron them flat.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

4.  Now overlock (serge) along the bottom straight edge.  I overlocked this because ... well ... I can and I was having fun with my new toy!  You could also just tuck the raw edges in and top-stitch it closed if you prefer!  Repeat with the other sleeve.

5.  Along the straight edge, you will need to stitch a row of gathering stitch.  Set your sewing machine stitch length to the longest length (on mine it's No. 6), then stitch along the straight edge 1/4" from the edge.  Do not back-stitch at either end, and be sure to leave a tail of thread.  As you sew, it will begin to gather itself slightly, and that's fine!

6.  Very carefully pull one thread from the tail and this will gather up the fabric.  Play with the gathers to get them even.  I tried to concentrate the gathers towards the centre so the ends are fairly flat.  Then tie the threads at each end to stop the gathers coming undone.  I gathered mine until it was approximately 6 inches long.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

7.  Turn the singlet inside out and attach the gathered ends to the inside of the armhole with pins.  I found it easiest to pin the middle of each flutter to the shoulder seam first, then pin back to each end.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

8.  Sew these in place using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Flutter sleeves complete.

For the Applique: I felt that this little top needed a little something on the front.  I googled "Free Images Crowns" and found this crown shape.  Printed it off, cut out a piece of gingham in this shape, then used some iron-on visaflix (heat and bond) to hold it in place on the shirt and give it some stability before using a small zigzag stitch to sew around the edge.  For the jewels I used pink pearlised buttons sewn to the top of each point.  I was really happy with this look, and needless to say Bethany LOVES it.  She has had to be talked out of wearing these PJ's to bed before the party next week (it would be nice to at least TRY to have them looking fresh and clean for the party).
How hilarious is this little hand-on-hip model stance ... she's fantastic!  She pretends she doesn't like modeling the clothes I make, but I'm pretty sure she really gets a huge kick out of it!

Anyway, hope you will enjoy making these simple and quick little PJs.  Stay tuned for a post and tutorial about the matching, (but not matching) new PJ's Hannah will be wearing to Bethany's party! 

Make It and Love It


  1. What a sweet and adorable project! Your pyjama has really stolen my heart. It will definitely put it on my to-do list :-)

  2. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing. It's the first time I stop by your blog, but as far as I see, I think it's a good source or inspiratiom.

    1. Thanks Atina. I just read your post about the little make-up pouch. Beautiful!

  3. πολύ όμορφη πιζάμα και όμορφο το κοριτσάκι

  4. Ohh, it`s wonderful!
    ZThank you for tutorial...

    Greatings from Germany!

    Herzl.Gruß Klaudia

  5. Hi I think the pj's are sooo adorable, I have managed to draft the pattern but am stuck on finding the right size crown template no matter how many times I try they are either too big or too detailed. could you please send a link to the one you found. love to follow you many thanks for the great tutorials which I will be making for my little grandaughter

    1. Hi Kussy, I haven't saved the one I used (silly me), but I just sent you an email with some others that would work perfectly. Hope that's helpful!! Wen x

  6. Just new at sewing but I'm definitely doing this for my five year old this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    1. So awesome. I hope your daughter lives them as much as Bethany does! Oh, and be sure to email me a pic of the finished product. I'm planning a post soon on some projects made by my lovely readers!!