This is a story of two pairs of pajama pants. One would get worn all the time and I had to force myself to wear the other pair when the first pair was in the laundry. After many weeks, I put it together: the neglected pair had no pockets! This is something we can fix!
Step 1: Prepare Yourself
Something about me: I hate pajama tops. Why bother to button up a shirt with a collar when you could just toss on one of a thousand free tshirts that you love? I don't even like the way the top looks when worn with the matching bottoms.
All this is to say: the pajama pants that I love conveniently came with a top that I decidedly would never wear. This top provided me with the perfect material out of which to make my pockets. If you are an individual who loves to lounge around your fireplace, drinking cocoa out of a mug in your matching pajama set, you can just make your pockets out of any old fabric. Be warned, however, that you will be able to see at least a little bit of the material inside the pocket most of the time when you are wearing your new pants, so choose a dark or matching color.
- Pajama pants
- The previously hated-on matching pajama top or other fabric for the pockets
- (optional) Other pants to base the new pockets on
- Scissors (sewing, if you have them. If not, sharp ones will do)
- Pins, or something to hold the pattern or fabric in place while cutting or sewing. I have previously used binder clips and tape in different situations when I was without pins, but please use something!
Step 2: Cut Out the Fabric for the Pockets
First, you need a pattern for the pockets. I made one using some pockets on some sweat pants that I already had and liked. If you need an idea of the size, make the pockets about the length of your hand (from the flat edge to the far curved side).
Cut out your pattern and then pin it to the fabric you're going to use. You will need a total of four identically shaped pieces, so get to work. I forgot this little trick at first: if you fold the fabric, you can use the fold as the straight edge of your pattern and cut two pieces at once! Saves a lot of time.
Step 3: Sew the Pocket Pieces Together
Put two pieces of the fabric back to back and pin them together. This makes the stitching part a thousand times easier, trust me.
Now, sew around the curved edge of the pattern to make the pocket. Do not sew the straight edge because otherwise your pockets will be sewn shut and we did all this for nothing. I like to use the overhand stitch because it's basically the only stitch I know, but it works well for this situation.
New to sewing? Have no fear! First, check out this instructable's step 2 to learn how to thread the needle. I always double the thread because it's stronger. Then, check out the diagram that is attached to learn how to overhand stitch. Basically just put the needle in from one direction, pull the thread all the way through, and then repeat.
Remember (as I did not) to start your stitch about a half inch away from the straight edge. This will give you some extra material to more securely sew your pockets onto your pants.
Step 4: Cut a Hole in Your Pants - No Going Back
If you have any doubt that you want to do this, stop and think now. I do not assume liability if you cut up your favorite pair of pants and then realize that you don't know how to sew. If you followed all the previous steps, I believe that you have proved yourself capable of moving on but it is entirely up to you.
Turn your pajama pants inside out. Lay them on the ground and hold the pockets up to the seam (the rough bit of fabric and thread that goes in a line down the pants) at the height that you want your pockets to be. I put mine very close to the top of the pants, maybe an inch from the top, but it's up to you. This is where having another pair of pants with pockets comes in handy.
Mark with a sharpie where you're going to cut and then cut the seam. The idea is to cut as little of the actual fabric as possible. Cut just enough along the seam, the length of the pocket's opening, that you can pull apart the stitching creating a hole and no more.
Step 5: Get Ready to Sew
A little sewing lingo for you that I kind of introduced before: a "seam" is where two pieces of fabric get sewn together. The rough side of the seam is side you generally don't want to see, but it's the side that you sew on. That is why we like to turn the pants inside out while sewing. You don't want to see the rough edge of the seam when you are wearing your pants right side out.
In this case, you want to make sure that the rough edge of the seam will also not be on the inside of your pocket. You don't want your hands rubbing against that every time you reach inside your pocket.
When the pants are inside out, make sure that the rough side of the seams where the pocket meets the hole are facing where you can see them. Double-check that they're right. Imagine the pants being finished and putting the pants on. Where are the seams? Triple-check. And also make sure that the pocket is on right-side up. That's thirty minutes of my life that I'll never get back.
I found it pretty difficult to get a good picture of how I pinned the pocket to the hole since all the pieces are the exact same color, so you're going to have to figure this out on your own. I believe in you. I attempted to add a diagram, but drawing in MS Paint is not a skill I was born with.
Now sew! I recommend you sew all around the pinned areas first, and then come back and reinforce the top and bottom of the pocket's opening (those are the high-stress areas).
Step 6: Put Pants on and Put Things Inside the Pockets
Congratulations! Put your pants on and enjoy putting things in your pockets. I would recommend taking the items out before you actually head to bed because sleeping on your keys is slightly uncomfortable, but you'll learn that through experience.
I hope you put the seams together correctly (I mean, how could you mess that up? My wonderful paint illustration should have been more than adequate instruction). The rough edges will feel a little weird at first but once you wash the pants they'll soften right up. If your stitches are terrible, that will become evident after a few washes too, so save that needle and thread for any holes that may develop over time.