How to Make Perfect-Fitting Pajama Bottomscomments (23) November 17th, 2008
I’m not a good seamstress, not by a longshot. Believe me, I’m not being modest. And perhaps, with the hubris of the naïve, since I didn’t have a pattern for pajama bottoms, I figured I could just wing it. Armed with a CraftStylish’s Quick Stuff to Sew (Spring 2008 issue)—which shows how to make a designer waist—and a favorite pair of pajama bottoms, I actually made a pair that’s not half bad. There is usually more fabric on the backside of pajama bottoms, but I made the front and back pieces the same and it worked out fine. You could also cut the front and back bigger for an overall roomy fit, or cut the back pieces 1 to 2 inches wider than the front. It helps to make a few sketches and take measurements of the pajama bottoms before you start marking and cutting.
- Favorite pair of pajamas
- Ironing board and iron
- 2 yards of main fabric, prewashed and pressed
- 1/4 yard contrast fabric, prewashed and pressed
- Cutting mat
- Fabric marker
- Seam ruler
- Sewing machine
- Safety pin
- 1 yard of 1-1/4-inch nonroll, sew-through elastic
- Seam ripper
- Approximately 60 inches of 1/2-inch ribbon
Step 1: Fold the main fabric in half, right sides facing, and lay flat on the floor or cutting mat. Stretch the waistband of your favorite pajamas and measure it. Mine are 40 inches in circumference. For one panel of the pajama bottoms, then, I need to measure an 11-inch waist (10 inches with a 1/2-inch seam allowance on both sides). Lay out your existing pajamas on top of the fabric. Fold one leg over the other so you have half of your pajama bottoms showing. Smooth out any creases. With your fabric marker, trace around the perimeter of your existing pajamas, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance on the sides and hem, and a 1-3/4-inch seam allowance at the top waist edge. Sketch a perimeter at the waist that includes the full waist measurement that you just took (in my case, 11 inches for one panel), rather than the gathered elasticized waist measurement (you’ll need that later). I like to use a seam ruler to make sure I’m measuring accurately as I sketch around the perimeter.
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