Introduction: How to Sew Pajama Pants From a Pattern: the Quick and Dirty Version
This is my first sewing project and I decided that pajama pants would be the easiest to do, especially with a store-bought pattern. The pattern provided simple instructions, however, I did not follow the instruction precisely. The difference from the pattern is that I did not add a drawstring. The waistband is just elastic. The pajamas are still comfortable and secure enough to stay on the waist.
I bought Simplicity's for guys & gals 2 hour pattern packet, #1563. This is for U.S. sizes XS-XL and supposedly very easy.
Measuring Tape- if you do not know your size, then measure first before you buy the pattern
Chalk Pencil or Disappearing Ink Marker
Ironing board or use a towel on a flat surface
Threaded bobbins- check your user's manual on how to thread bobbins, you will need 1-2
Thread- I chose two different colors, dark and light colors to tell the difference in tension, but the choice is totally up to you
Material for the garment- look at sizing information on pattern packet to determine how much fabric to buy, this should be listed on the backside of the packet where the sizes are listed
1/2" (1.27 cm) Elastic Band
Step 1: Buying Materials and Checking Machinery
When buying materials, check on the back of the pattern packet for the notions, the small objects or accessories needed, and the amount of fabric needed to complete the project.
Pattern: The Simplicity pattern can be found at most craft and hobby stores.
Notions: As stated above, these are any small accessories needed to complete the project, but they also include the small tools in sewing such as pins, marking pens, seam rippers (just in case you need to start over on a seam), scissors, thread, extra bobbins for your machine, and more. I found that when I started my project I needed to get a lot of tools and supplies, so I bought the book Nancy's Favorite 101 Notions: Sew, Quilt And Embroider With Ease by Nancy Zieman, $22.99. If you do not want to purchase a book, you can easily find lists of basic tools to have on the internet. You can check your local library for books on sewing as well.
Fabric: Depending on the size, the pattern will list how many yards you need to complete your project. I picked out two types of fabric for the two pairs I was making for myself and my partner. The fabric was pricey, I suggest you browse the store for any sale fabrics. Suitable fabric types will be listed on the back of the pattern pack.
I have an older Kenmore sewing machine. I had to purchase tools and accessories to replace old parts, which I ordered off a sewing parts website. Find a reputable site and order the appropriate parts for your machine if need be. The model number information should be available somewhere on the machine. I also ordered an electronic PDF user's manual from the same site. The manual provides important information on the care and maintenance of your sewing machine, plus how to use it.
If you are going to purchase a new sewing machine, it would be advisable to research before you buy. Check your local area for stores that specialize in selling sewing machines or check out your local hobby and craft stores, the staff at these places are always helpful and informative.
After all of the basic tools and parts are checked, replaced, and are in operating order, test to make sure the thread tension is right. Test on pieces of scrap material. Make adjustments accordingly. You can find a lot of information on the internet, especially YouTube videos.
Step 2: Cutting the Leg Piece Out
There are different ways to cut out the pattern piece, some people may trace the pattern onto a piece of tracing paper so the pattern could be reused. I just cut out the appropriate piece since I was making the two pairs of the same size.
Cut out your appropriate size, and in this pattern, there is only a leg piece to cut out. Follow the directions on the instructions included in the packet. The pattern will describe the most common symbols and any special cutting notes. Skip the drawstring since the pajamas are only going to have the elastic band. The pattern called for the right sides of the fabric to be facing together when cutting the whole fabric piece. Since I have a plaid print and they look the same on both sides, I halved the fabric, making sure the self-finished edges of the fabric (selvage) are lined up together. There is a double-sided arrow in the middle of the leg, I lined the arrow to be parallel to the selvage. I used a measuring tape to make sure the arrow was the same distance from end to end. I pinned each point I measured on the arrow to the fabric, and I continued to do this near the edges of the pattern. You do not need to use a whole lot of pins, just enough to keep the paper straight on the fabric.
Then you cut piece one, but make sure you mark the notches along the pattern. You can use a marking pen such as a chalk pencil or disappearing ink marker. These are marked by the triangles along the edges of the pattern.I cut outward from the pattern line so that I would not cut too much inward. These notches ensure that when you start sewing, you are lining up the pieces correctly. Also, make sure you mark the dots on the edge of the waistline, this will be the opening you will use to insert the elastic waistband. After cutting out piece one, place that to the side and lay out the other half of the fabric.
Cut out piece two. Measure the middle arrow again and pin the edges of the pattern to the fabric. Mark the notches and dots.
Step 3: Sewing the Inner Seam of Each Pant Leg
Ignore step 1, applying a small scrap of fusible interfacing, because there are no drawstrings on these pajamas. The fusible interfacing is only there to provide support and make that section of the garment stiffer. The elastic band will be stitched securely into the waistband in a later step.
Pin the inner leg seams together with the right sides of the fabric facing together. In the first picture, I pinned each leg's inner seam together and removed them as I went along sewing. It is handy to have the pins inserted on the top side of your garment and the needle heads facing away from the presser foot. Sew the seams at 5/8" (1.5 cm) unless otherwise stated. There are lines on the needle plate that indicate the seam allowance as shown in the second picture. Sew the inner seam, going from the bottom of the leg to the top where the u-shape begins for the crotch and seat.
Step 4: Sewing the U Shape
Get your iron ready, because you begin to use it at the end of this step.
Turn one leg outside in and insert into the other leg. The right sides should be facing together as shown in step 3 of the instructions. Also, make sure the notches match up on the front crotch and back seat.
With the right sides together pin the center seam, matching inner leg seams, notches and small dots. Stitch leaving an opening between small dots to insert the elastic. I used pins to mark the dots. Also, as you will notice there is an orange piece of fusible interfacing I stitched in, but remember that is not necessary to have.
Sew the seam with an allowance of 5/8" (1.5 cm). Sew again to reinforce the stitching and use pinking shears (the zigzag pattern will help in keeping the fabric edges from fraying too much) to trim in the curved area. Leave about 1/4" on the seam, you can use either a ruler, measuring tape, or measuring gauge to determine length, Get your iron and press remaining seam open.
Step 5: Sewing the Waist and Inserting the Elastic Band
The slight variation I made with step 6 of the instructions was that I pressed 1/4" (6 mm) of the raw edge of the waist first, then I pressed 1-1/8" (2.8 cm) of the casing down, I did it in reverse. I used the measuring gauge to determine my width on the casing and I would pin the spot where I measured. I moved along few inches and measured again to pin. I did this for the raw edge all the way around, and then I pressed with an iron. Then I removed my pins, measured for the casing, and repeated the same steps. I eventually had all of the waist pinned down and pressed. Make sure that you have the elastic opening on the inside of the pants. To be honest, the casing on the waist band was not perfect all around - it was more like the measurements were a guide. I adjusted to make sure the waistband casing looked even all the way around.
Stitch close to lower edge of the casing. I also went around again to reinforce the stitch.
The elastic band: I used 1/2" (1.27 cm) elastic band, but I could have gone wider. To measure, take the elastic and measure around where you want the pajamas to sit. I like mine to sit high, so I measured around my natural waist. Cut the elastic to fit comfortably plus 1" (2.5 cm). Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread through the casing, make sure you hold onto the other end so that it won't get pulled into the casing. Once through the casing, safety pin the other end and try on pants to make sure it fits properly. Adjust accordingly and stitch ends of elastic together securely. I doubled the stitching the ends of the elastic to make it super secure.
Slip-stitch (hand sew with a thread and needle) the opening edges of the casing together and distribute fullness evenly. I used a different colored thread to to slip-stitch so that I can tell what the front is.
Step 6: Adjusting the Hem Length and Sewing
Turn pants inside out and put on pants. Mark the length of each leg opening with pins and take off pants. You can either press the hem along the marking or use a chalk pencil or disappearing ink marker to mark the edge of hem. Trim evenly. I used a cutting mat, ruler and a rotary blade to cut the ends off.
Press 1/4" (6 mm) on the raw edge and pin.
Stitch close to inner pressed edge.
And now the pajama pants are finished. Enjoy.