Saturday, 4 April 2015

How To Make Pyjama Bottoms In Under Two Hours Without A Pattern.

As many of you will remember, Phyllis (my sewing machine) came to live with me just before Christmas. Since then, we have had lots of Sewing Adventures together, including quilt making which I absolutely love. Phyllis' arrival (and that of Hyacinth - ma's sewing machine- a month later) was directly inspired by all the wonderful craft I have read about and seen here in blogland. In short, sewing is a wonderful thing that I love doing and so, this June, ma and I have booked on a series of classes so that I can learn how to make my own clothes and she can have a refresher.

I am not an expert sewer and I know this (even after a glass of bubbles, which is the traditional time for believing you can do everything really really well), but I would really love to be able to make my own clothes, and I do believe most of us are capable of that with a little help along the way.

Phyllis and I have made wash bags (top tip, order a shower curtain on ebay for a quid or two for the lining, it is much cheaper than trying to source waterproof fabric and it does the job brilliantly plus you get loads of it for the money). The wash bag below was made using Cath Kidston strawberry fabric purchased in a sale for £4 a metre and the drawstring was a few pennies from our local hardware store, so it really cost peanuts to make. I have made a bicycle one for M and J wants one and I expect to knock up a few more as presents for friends and family.


 


Drawstring bags are great for all kinds of things and I've made several of the non-waterproof variety for keeping sewing gubbings in as well as knickers when I'm travelling!


Ma is currently making a summer dress, and I felt inspired by her during our most recent sewing club to tackle an item of clothing myself. I wanted something simple that I could make without using a pattern, something to give me a bit of practice before our classes start, and above all something that didn't involve hours of painstaking cutting out and pinning together, so I searched on line and found a brilliant tutorial by a very clever lady in the States which you can watch here which takes you through a step-by-step guide on how to make pyjama shorts. You use an a pair of existing PJ shorts as a template and draw round them, and the stitching together is dead easy.

To my surprise, they worked. Here is what I got at the end....


The ease with which I made the shorts spurred me on to try PJ bottoms, which are only elongated shorts really. I've now made four pairs: one for L out of some gorgeous clock face fabric (its very hard to find nice pjs for teenage boys in the shops, they're either covered in electric guitars, skulls or skate boards) two for me (butterflies and some beautiful material I used to make a quilt) and one for J, from some fabric she chose herself yesterday and which I am using for the tutorial photos below. I've now got it down to a fine art and it usually takes me less than two hours from start to finish.

What I love about it is being able to buy the fabric you love and turn it into a wearable item of clothing that you know is unique. It is a wonderful feeling to wear something you've made :o)

So, if you're interested in making some PJs, here is my simple tutorial, based on the PJ shorts one above, but altered slightly to allow for trousers instead of shorts.

1. Buy yourself some fabric. 2.5 metres is best and 100% cotton is easy to work with and looks and feels lovely.

2. Fold the fabric in half lengthways with the pattern on the inside and lay it flat on a table.

3. Fold your PJs in half lengthways with the side of the fabric that goes over your bum facing out, then lay the PJs on top of the fabric and draw around them with tailor's chalk, allowing about an inch either side for the seam allowance (this is shown by the ruler and tape measure below, and by the line of blue chalk on the 2nd pic). You should allow about an inch for the bottom hem and I do about 3 inches for the waistband hem because I like to use thicker elastic, but this is down to practice and personal preference really. Err on more fabric instead of not enough when you first start).




4. When you come to the seam allowance for the waist band, DON'T follow the line of the PJs when you draw, instead draw the line straight up to the end of the fabric as per the pic below...



5. Take the PJs off your fabric and cut out the shape you've drawn (hopefully you can see the blue line in the pics- this is what you cut along)...




6. Next, draw a "B" on both pieces of fabric (remember, you folded the fabric over when you started so you should end up with two pieces of material cut out in the shape above). This "B" is to remind you that these pieces will form the back of the PJs.


7. When you've done that, fold the PJs the other way, so the crotch part is outwards and repeat steps 3,4,5 and 6, only you draw an "F" on both these new pieces for the front, not a "B" for back. If this sounds confusing, have a look at the youtube tutorial link above as she explains it by folding a pair of shorts for the camera and it's the same principle.

8. Next, you pin the back pieces together with the fabric pattern on the inside. Pin from the top (waistband) to the front of the crotch only (not down into the legs). Repeat for the two front pieces. You aren't pinning all four pieces together at this stage, only the two front together and the two back together. Hopefully you can see the line of pink-headed pins in the pics below which show you how far to pin.


9. Run down the pinned part (only as far as the crotch- you don't go the entire length of the fabric down the straight part of the leg which should be unpinned at this stage) with the sewing machine, You can then go back over the straight stitch with a zigzag stitch for extra strengthening on the hem. I work out my hem width by lining up the edge of the sewing machine foot with the fabric as in the pic below. I use number 11 stitch for the straight stitch and number 13 for the zigzag (see pic of dial).



10. When you've stitched the crotch part for the front and back pieces, you place the two halves together one on top of the other with the pattern sides still facing inwards, and pin the inside of the legs (front and back pieces) together, and the outside of the legs (front and back pieces) together. Start with the point of the crotch and work down one inside leg, then the other, before pinning the outside of the legs. At this stage you will probably find you have more material sticking out on one side than the other- once you've pinned the two together you can trim the excess off.

In the pic below, the waistband is the top part held together with the clips and hopefully you can see the pink-headed pin at the point of the crotch. The second picture shows one legged pinned on either side.



11. Once you've pinned those bits you should end up with something that looks like this...definitely resembling trousers now :o)

 
12. Sew the pinned hems together with the machine, again going over with the zigzag to reinforce the hem and then can turn the trousers the right way round to get a first proper glimpse of them (remember to make sure you remove all the pins once you've done the machine stitching).


13. Turn them inside out again and put them on your model so you can pin the bottom leg hems. I turn these inwards, but you can also have them folded up on the outside if you prefer. If you like big hems make sure you leave more room when you're first cutting the shapes out. I then stitch them in so they can't unravel and open.


14. All you've got left to do now is the waistband. You can either use a drawstring or elastic. I tend to use elastic. Put the PJs back on your model (or yourself) and fold the material over at the waist, allowing sufficient space for whatever thickness of elastic you're using. Measure the elastic around your waist (or the waist of the person you're making the PJs for) and cut to measure.

Pin the waistband to the required depth (I use safety pins for this and for the foot hem while the PJs are on a person and then pin them once they're off to avoid pricking skin). Machine the waistband in place, remembering to leave a space to thread the elastic through. The youtube video above has a great tip for marking this opening with crossed pins so you can't overlook it and stitch it in by accident.



15. Push large safety pin through one end of the elastic and feed it along the inside of the waistband by hand, then machine or hand stitch the two ends of the elastic together to make a complete circle.


16. Sew a handmade label into the back of the PJs so you know which way to put them on (I got a reel of ribbon which has "handmade" printed on it from our local haberdasher).


17. Turn the PJs the right way round (fabric pattern on the outside :o) ) And you're all done! One wearable pair of no-pattern-required, simple, quick and easy to make pyjama bottoms :o)


I hope that all made sense? Do refer to the excellent youtube tutorial if you get stuck. Sometimes moving pictures makes more sense of something than writing. And let me know how you get on if you have a go at making some :o)

I'm making J a 'going away to university' present of her own quilt for Sept, so we went fabric shopping together yesterday so she could chose the colours and patterns she wanted. She loved it (we both had a ball) and is Very Excited about her quilt. She spent ages yesterday afternoon arranging all the squares I had cut out for her in the patterns she wanted. Here's what she chose. The dotted one will also make up the border.


While we were there, I fell in love with this hare print fabric and couldn't resist buying a couple of metres to make myself a pair of PJ bottoms. I'm taking my nieces (5 and 10) back next week because I've also promised them some PJs. I will be a World Expert at making PJ bottoms before you know it :o) 


I'll leave you with The Hounds, who are Very Pleased to have everyone home for Easter. Roll on some Spring sunshine....



Wishing you all a VERY HAPPY EASTER :o)

CT x

32 comments:

  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How fantastic are you with your sewing!!!! Tutorial and everything!!! So clever! Love it!!!! Happy sewing and wearing of PJ's to you! Happy Easter! Love the hare fabric! xx

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    1. I think you should try these, Amy :o) xx

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  2. Great,great,great, going to have a go.
    thanks
    Briony
    x

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    1. Brilliant! Don't forget to let me know how it goes xx

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    1. Excellent! I've love to hear how you get on :o)

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  4. I'm getting tempted to have a go, just need a new sewing machine!

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    1. Ah, yes, they can be expensive things, although my Brother was under £70 and seems to cope excellently with all sorts of projects.

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  5. What you have made looks wonderful, I do like the hare fabric...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda :o) Are you tempted to try some? x

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  6. Phyllis has done you proud adn turned out a lovely pyjams bottom but the hounds steal the shots of the day for me

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  7. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial CT, I can never find nice ones for myself so will definitely try this. Love all the fabric choices. How much of each fabric did you buy for J's quilt please? Hope you have a brilliant Easter! x

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    1. I cut the squares out at 8.5 inches squared and reckon on getting 10 squares per half metre. The border I makes about 5 inches wide. The width of the finished quilt works out about 1.20m and the length 1.80m with borders included. It comes out at a little over single bed size that way. We've got 8 types of fabric, I got some 1/2m and some 1m, and the border I bought 2m of so I could get the length- I have plenty left over! But am thinking about making her some patchwork cushion covers to match the quilt, so that will use up some of it :o)

      Do let me know how you get on with making the PJs.
      Also, how is the running going? x

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    2. Thanks for that, very helpful for future fabric buying. I'm still running. I went out this morning and thought I was going to faint halfway through! Yet, somehow managed to get to the end and felt fantastic afterwards! :)

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    3. Hooray! That's marvellous! I KNEW you'd love it! And I KNEW you'd be able to do it! :o) I've just upped my regular distance to 2 miles and find it a breeze- honestly never thought I'd say that a year ago when I was panting after half a mile :o) So KEEP GOING Shauna- what a sense of achievement! Well done! (enough exclamation marks I wonder?) xx

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  8. Oh that sleeping puppy photo is SO cute. Love the pjs, clever you. I might give them a go if I find myself in possession of some nice fabric. I love that you and your daughter went out together to choose the quilt fabric, it will start with good memories of your time together. Something for her to hold on to at uni. Wishing you a very good Easter. CJ xx

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    1. She does look angelic when she's sleeping :o) Poor thing got something nasty on her paws today (pesticides from the field I'm thinking) and it drove her so mad she needed a bath to wash it all off :o(

      It was special choosing the fabric with our big girl. Hoping the quilt will remind her of home and bring her comfort when she's striking out into the wide world of uni and all that that entails!

      Have a lovely Easter too my dear xx

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  9. That's a wonderful step by step guide!! Gorgeous fabric x

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  10. i'm thoroughly inspired by your sewing projects! i'm still a tiny bit terrified of my sewing machine [ early scarring experience from my school days! ] but i'm adamant that i'm going to be able to make my own clothes...AND a quilt....you make it seem so very simple....hmmm... :)

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    1. I was not a good sewer at school, so if I can do it, anyone can. Promise :o) Give it a go- what's to lose?

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  11. Very nice; however; you are dealing with a complete idiot who has never sewn anything in her life....cept a button or two. I do like the finishing "Handmade" touch. A ladies size large, please. Thankyou

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    1. Oh Lil, you'd be fine- honestly, I am by no means an expert and get surprised every time I make something that works! x

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  12. Well Done ....... and I just love the Cath Kidston strawberry fabric .

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan. She does make some lovely stuff- worth waiting for the sale to come around!

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  13. You make it all look so easy CT - the fabrics are beautiful. Sadly, I don't think sewing is for me - to many horrid memories of sewing a cooking apron at school in Needlework :( But I do like seeing all the lovely things you make.

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    1. It is easy- I promise. Although I'm always amazed when they come out looking half way decent! x

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  14. Nice jammies! I like the idea of those drawstring bags. They'd be handy for clothes pegs; right now I use a 6 qt. basket which is fine but not very pretty.

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    1. They would be good for pegs, and take minutes to make too :o)

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  15. Hey CT,
    Multi talented. And beautiful fabric to boot. Marc says that I should have a go....... I do have some old duvet covers that would make good jammies......
    Leanne xx

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    1. You should definitely have a go, and then post the results so I can have a look at how brill they are. I promise you, they are not difficult to make at all :o) xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x