02 January, 2011

Pretty Pajama Pants

I finished a pair of pajama pants in just over an hour.
Thanks to my new serger and coverstitch machine.
And my muslin.

Once you get past size 10, you are guaranteed special fitting issues. Making a muslin, a.k.a. YOUR OWN PATTERN particularily makes sense when you are making a garment over and over - such as pajama pants.
My special fitting issue is my food allergy problems which will often bloat up my stomach several times a day. Thank god for stretch jeans but what do you do for the ultimate comfortable sleep pant? Sew your own.

Sleep pants are the perfect start to drafting your own muslins because there is so much ease in them and who's gonna see you anyway (pressure is off for perfect seaming). Since there are only two pattern pieces, they are pretty easy to fit yourself.

I originally took an older pair of knit sleep pants and placed them over my garage sale flannel. I didn't mind 'wasting' this garage sale fabric as it did not cost much to begin with. I folded the pants in half and roughly cut them out.
My stomach gets huge so I made the front much wider through the hips and waist here. Because of the bloating, I also allowed the front waist  to crotch measurement to be longer than on the backside.
I then took my flannel pieces and pinned them together with the pinned seams on the outside. I put them on and adjusted my pins until it looked like it fitted. I liked doing this muslin with flannel as it does not stretch as you are adjusting the pins.

I took them off carefully and cut the pieces with a half-inch seam allowance, trimming off any pinned excess. Then I laid these onto pattern paper and drew an outline around each piece.
I also mark my front pieces because they will try to confuse you later when you sew back to front.
This pattern paper is now my pattern for any future pajamas I will make.
I probably could have used the flannel pieces for my muslin but it looks so much more 'professional' on pattern paper.

I bought this thin knit here  last year with the intention of sewing pajama pants within a year - and hey! already a resolution finished!
My pajama pants I originally made a pattern from came with a knit waistband. This is a separate fabric from the main piece.  I have a stash of knit ribbing that is in the round with no seaming and this works like a charm.
I cut a five inch piece off one end and fold it in half lengthwise to make a 2 1/2" seamless waistband. This waistband will fit just about any size waist because of the stretch. I then cut a piece of one inch wide elastic and put it around my waist so it meets and cut off the excess.
My knit was about 60" wide and I think I bought just under 1 1/2 yds.

This is what you need:
Length of knit to be able to cut two leg lengths. With 60" wide knit, you can usually lay each piece beside each other or alternately, put one front waist pattern piece at one end and the other back waist at the opposite end and figure out if your legs can go side by side. Knit is pretty forgiving. You would need more yardage for flannel because of the nap and the narrower width.
Waist length of 1" wide elastic.
5" knit ribbing for waistband or other knit.
And the Coverstitch machine.

*Cut out your leg pieces.
*Serge one front to back at the inner leg seam. This is from the crotch point down to the hem line. Sew the other front to back inner leg seam.
*With your fronts on one side and the backs on the other, pin pieces together to serge the crotch seam - one big curve.
*Now - flip that open and match side seams to encase the leg. Serge these.
You now have something that resembles a pajama pant.
*Try them on. Do you need to adjust that side seam? This is when you do that.

 *Grab your waistband and your elastic. Serge your elastic into a round and insert it into the fold of the ribbing.
*Mark your waistband (with pins) into quarters as there are four seams on the pants to match.
*Pin the waistband to the pant so your seam will be inside. Add a little ribbon strip to mark the back and serge; stretch the waistband to fit the knit pant as you serge. (This is how you do it on a traditional sewing machine. Doing it this way on the serger creates a ripple effect - I am researching how to do this seam better - on the serger.)
*Now- take this pant over to your coverstitch machine and from the outside, topstitch over your seam that you are finger pressing downwards.

*Hems. I rolled up a leg until it looked right. Then I carefully took the pant off and laid them out straight on the floor and cut off the extra fabric leaving enough to fold up and hem.  I folded the pants so one leg was over the other in order to cut the same amount off each pant.  I folded my hem allowance twice and pinned it and then coverstitched this hem in  place.
Now take (embarrassing - I'll only say it once) photos.

***I believe the sledge hammer is in the photos in case the mirror needs to be shattered.

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