Tag Archives: sewing tutorial

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 3

pyjama sew along 2To keep elastic from getting stuck in the seam allowance as it’s inserted, use fusible web or machine-basting to anchor them to garment within the casing area.  Be sure to remove basting after casing is finished.

Do the machine basting but do not bother with the fusible web option.  For experienced sewers I can’t imagine this step is necessary (I’ve never done it before) but I think it’s worth doing if you’re a beginner.  A basting stitch is much longer than a regular stitch as its purpose is simply to hold something in place temporarily, so if you’re using a stitch length of “3″ increase the length to “5″ or something equivalent.  It makes it much easier to remove the stitching later.

turning hem underPress 1 1/8″ on upper edge to INSIDE, forming casing.  Press under 1/4″ on raw edge.  Stitch close to lower edge of casing.

turning edge underI hope these pictures help make it clear.  The casing is the channel through which your drawstring is pulled.

ironing casingOnce pressed, pin the casing down to help keep it in place as you stitch along the edge, removing the pins as you get to them.

ready for twill tapeFor new sewers – go slowly.  Don’t rush.  When you get good at stitching close to a pressed edge you will naturally start going faster.  Until you build your skill – just take your time.

There are directions for making a drawstring out of your pants fabric but on the pattern envelope it calls for twill and elastic which is what I did and frankly – if you’re new at this you will want to do the twill version.  Which they don’t exactly mention in the instructions.  Just skip their step 7 and for step 8 – I’m replacing “drawstring” with “twill”.

Cut a piece of elastic the length of back elastic guide.  Pin each length of twill to one end of the elastic, overlapping ends by 5/8″.  Stitch overlapped ends together securely in a box, as shown.

The “back elastic guide” will be indicated on the pants pattern piece.  For the twill: I cut the length the pattern calls for in half.  If the ends are way too long when you wear your pants you can easily cut them shorter.

pushing the pin throughInsert twill and elastic through one buttonhole opening in pants front casing and out remaining opening so that lapped ends are at the side seams and having ends extend evening in front.  Distribute fullness evenly in back waist.  To keep casing flat in the front area, stitch in the ditch or groove of side seam.  Knot ends of twill tape.

Patience help us with commercial patterns!  They do not tell you how to get that twill into the casing and I promise it does not magically slide on through.  Fold the edge of your twill back and put a safety pin through it – as big a safety pin as will fit through the button holes.

Push the safety pin through the casing.  You will have to inch it through, it’s a little tedious.  When you get it out the other button hole you can follow the rest of their directions.

pulling twill tape through

They don’t mention it, but now you can remove the basting stitches if you used them.

You can knot the ends of the twill tape but I would trim it in an inverted “v” instead.

almost doneAlmost done now!  All that’s left is the hem.  Making the hem is the essentially the same as making the casing.

pinning the hemPress the hem up 1 3/8″.  Then press the raw edge under 1/4″.  Pin it in place.  Stitch it down close to the edge.

finishedYou’re almost done.  It looks like you’re done but you really aren’t.

Because now you need to press the crap out of those pajama pants!  After this you probably won’t ever press them again but a really good pressing at this point will set all your seams and hems to behave well.

NOW you’re done!!

What’s next?  Once you’re completely done you need to take a picture of your pants to share and email me the jpeg at angelinawilliamson1@gmail.com.  Once I have gotten all the pics I will share them in a post and then I will randomly pick one of you to get the pair I made.

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Introduction and Supplies List

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: First Steps

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 1

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 2

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 2

pyjama sew along 2

Once again I’d like to apologize for having put this sew-along on hold for such a long time.  After my mother came home from her month long stay at the hospital I was helping her recover and had to start looking for a job.  It’s been very hard to come back to sewing after such a long hiatus.  Thank you for your patience!

Now that you’ve cut out your pattern pieces we come to the first of the pattern’s instructions.  But they aren’t very detailed.  You need to make two button holes for your drawstring to be threaded through.

buttonhole markingsUsing a sharp pencil, poke through the pattern piece to mark the beginning and end of the button hole making sure you can see your pencil marks on the fabric.  Once you’ve done this to one front leg piece you need to turn the pattern over and do the same to the other front leg piece. tracing button holeUse a ruler to make a line connecting your two markings and make it dark enough that you can see the pencil line on the wrong side of the fabric.

Next you need to cut out two 1″ squares of fusible interfacing and iron them onto the wrong side of the fabric centered over the buttonhole you’ve marked.  This will reinforce the button holes.

one inch square interfacingNow make your buttonholes.  My Pfaff machine has a really bad attitude about making buttonholes which makes it a frustrating experience.  Hopefully your machine likes making them.  New sewers – If you haven’t made them using your machine yet you may want to go to a sewing machine shop to get a demo or study your manual and practice a number of times on scrap fabric.  I can’t actually tell you how to do them because all machines do buttonholes differently.

sucky buttonholeI share with you the best (crappy) buttonhole of the two I made.  Honestly, sometimes my machine makes them beautifully and other times not a prayer in heaven will help my machine cooperate.

The next thing you want to do is serge all the raw edges of your fabric except for the waistline and the hem which will be turned under later.  If you don’t have a serger you can skip this step.  I told you in Part 1 that you can zig-zag the edges to keep them from fraying but after doing this on some edges to test it – I can’t recommend it.  It’s totally fine to have raw edges unless the fabric you’re using is a very loose weave.  At the end you can use pinking shears on exposed edges if you want to – but it isn’t necessary.

About sewing the pant legs together – I do it differently than they do in the instructions but I’ve given this some thought and for beginners (and even experienced people) their instructions may actually be better than the way I’ve been sewing pants together my whole life.  So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m sharing photos with you of the way I put pants together because it’s worth knowing how to do it this way too.  But I suggest following their instructions, especially if you’re new at this.  I am going to put their instructions in italics from here on out.

If this is your first ever sewing project you may not already know that you need to always back-stitch a seam at the beginning and end to keep it from coming undone.  To do this you sew forward for just a few stitches, put your machine in reverse and carefully stitch over those stitches.  Then go forward again to the end of your seam and put your machine in reverse again.  Sew just a few stitches backwards and then go forward to the end of the seam and clip your thread.

Stitch front to back at inner leg seams.

press seams openThey do not instruct you to press your seams open.  Which is stupid.  Please press your seams open.

Doing it my way you also stitch the front to the back at the inner seam and then you also stitch the outer seam.  And press them open.

With RIGHT sides together, pin center seam, matching inner leg seams and notches.  Stitch.

You can reinforce your seam by stitching over it once again as their instructions suggest.  I would only do this if you have a tendency to split your seams while wearing pants.  They have you trim the seam allowance down and I suggest you do NOT do this.

right side going insideMy way: you want to turn one pant leg right side out and then slide it into the other pant leg matching up the crotch seam at the notches and the inner leg seam.

sewing the crotchStitch your crotch seam.  Then pull the inner pant leg out.

pant legs togetherThere you are!

Stitch front to back at side seams.

Now press.  This is not an easy seam to press because it’s curved.

crotch seam ironedLater, when the pants are completely finished you’ll press any creases out that your iron created while pressing this seam.

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Introduction and Supplies List

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: First Steps

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 1

Pajama Pant Sew-Along: Part 3


Pajama Pant Sew-along: First Steps

pyjama sew along 2I promised to post the first steps on June 1st.  Here we are and I am not done photographing and writing instructions for making adjustments to the length and crotch depth of the pants and was sweating getting this done in time to post by this afternoon – because I just might not be able to do it.   While I’m writing up the instructions for making pattern adjustments you can get started with the first couple of steps you have to take before that point.  Either this evening or tomorrow I will post the full first tutorial including the instructions I’m putting in this post to get you started.

The first thing you need to do is some laundry.

How to pre-shrink your fabric and when you should do it:

Whenever you sew clothing out of natural fibers you need to pre-shrink your fabric unless you only plan to dry clean them later.  Polyester and other synthetic fibers don’t shrink and blends that have a large percentage of synthetics don’t generally shrink either.  Cotton shrinks at first.  If you don’t preshrink it before cutting out your pattern you may end up with a garment that doesn’t fit you.

Wash your fabric with a like-colored load.  I have not had a problem with fabric dye bleeding in years as most dyes are truly fixed but if your fabric is red or red is a dominant color in a print – I would wash it by itself to be safe.  Wash the fabric exactly as you will be washing the finished garment.  If you always use cold water and delicate cycles – do that.  If you wash on hot or warm – do that.  Dry the fabric exactly as you will be drying the garment when it hits your laundry pile.  Be sure to remove the fabric as soon as it’s done drying to prevent deep wrinkles from setting in it and iron it right away.

Cutting the tissue pieces out:

Unfold your sheets of tissue and look for the pants pattern which are numbered 8 and 9.  You will notice that they have included the cutting lines for pajama shorts.  If you want to make shorts instead of pants go ahead and cut along the lines for the size you’re making.  If you are making the pants – note that the shorts hem protrudes out of the side of the pants’ cutting line.  If you can eyeball cutting right through it go ahead.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing that here’s how to deal with it:

cutting out pattern 2Using a clear ruler (you can use an opaque one but it is much harder to see what you’re doing) connect the cutting line above and below the shorts hem and mark that line with a pencil.

cutting pattern out 1Now you can cut the whole piece out and the cutting line is unbroken and easy to see.

cutting out pattern 3Cut both pieces out.  Disable the steam function on your iron and iron the pattern pieces.  I can promise you that this is not a wasted step.  Crinkled pattern pieces can cause your fabric pieces to be misshapen and not sew well together.

That shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes since you only have to cut two pieces out.

Please don’t cut your pattern out of the fabric yet unless you already know that you don’t need to make any adjustments to it.  Later today or tomorrow I will post the full tutorial including how to make simple adjustments (if needed) and show how to lay out and cut the pattern out of the fabric.

Those of you who are experienced and just joining for the fun – go ahead at whatever speed you want.

I’ll be back with more soon!