Introduction: Chillax in Style: Comfy Lounging
Comfy lounging is a priority to me no matter what time of year. As soon as my work day ends, I can't wait to put on the most comfortable clothing so I can chillax for the remainder of the day! When I came across an amazing clearance of loungewear camis at a popular sleepwear store, I had a dilemma. There were no suitable bottoms to match, but I couldn't pass up such a good price!
What’s a crafty blogger to do? Rev up the sewing machine and find a commercial pattern that would solve my bottomless predicament.
The pattern I chose can easily be sewn by a beginner. I’ve provided a video to encourage any first time sewers out there to give this a try!
Sewing thread in a colour that matches your primary fabric
2" wide elastic to fit your waist size
Scrap of fusible interfacing
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Step 1: Fabric Choices
I’m a huge proponent of 100% cotton knit when it comes to lounge wear; it breathes and stretches. I especially love working with French terry, which is what I'm working with here in a light denim blue colour. As you can see in the second picture, unlike sweatshirt fleece, which has shredded fluffy loops on the inside, French terry has yarn loops that are still intact. That makes it more breathable.
I contrasted the waist of the pants with a grey rib knit accent. Since I’ll be pairing my fabric selections with the grey camisoles you saw in the previous step, the colour combo will work perfectly!
Step 2: Working With a Commercial Pattern
What I love about the style I chose (besides the opportunity to use two different fabrics) is that you could easily use this pattern for sleepwear using a lighter weight knit! It is so rare to find sleepwear on the market that actually has pockets! Believe me, I know! Why spend time looking for bottoms with pockets when you can whip up your own over the weekend?
A few things to note about this pattern: if you buy the pattern online, there is a typo on the back of the pattern envelope regarding the elastic for the waistband (there was however an updated sticker when I received the pattern as you see in the 1st picture above. Until the misprint is adjusted online, keep that in mind). For all women’s sizes and the two largest girls sizes, you will need 2″ wide elastic, not 1 1/2″. I only realized the oversight when I came to sew the waistband.
If you run into the same situation as I did, you can either reduce the width of the waistband and use the 1 1/2″ elastic (you will need to adjust the topstitching lines and grommet placement accordingly), or buy new elastic. I chose to buy new elastic.
The pattern envelope also does not list a few other notions needed such as the yardage for the drawstring, interfacing and grommets for the waistband (if not doing buttonholes). While I was buying elastic, I found a flat twill to use for the drawstring (2nd pic). I bought 1.8 metres, which will be more than sufficient (you may need more of less than that, depending on your waist size).
Step 3: Selecting a Size
Picking your size couldn’t be easier with a Jalie pattern; there are 27 sizes in this one! For pants, you only really need two measurements to get a perfect fit: your hip size and inseam. The pattern can easily be lengthened or shorted at the knee if necessary.
Once I figured out my size, it’s just a matter of cutting out the pattern on the coordinating colour coded line (mine was pink). Here’s a trick so you don’t accidentally cut on the wrong line. For each pattern piece, take a pencil and colour in all the relevant notches for your size (1st pic). Then for each line, put a slanted pencil mark through where you will cut (do this all around the pattern; 2nd pic). With so many sizes in one pattern, if you use my trick, you will find it much easier to stay on track as you cut out the actual fabric!
Here’s another tip: keep separate scissors for paper and fabric. Paper will dull your good fabric scissors very fast so never cut paper with your ‘good’ scissors. Cut around every pattern piece before preparing the fabric.
Step 4: Turning Our Dining Room Into a Sewing Room
Other than my scissors and sewing machine, my folding cutting board is the most indispensable piece of equipment. It allows me to cut right on top of my dining room table! In the background you can see one of my industrial machines. I don’t typically keep those in our dining room; it’s only temporary!
Step 5: Fabric Layout
Once all your paper pattern pieces are cut out, it's time to lay them out on the fabric. One thing to keep in mind when working with knit is that it 'travels'. What I mean by that is even though the selvedges may appear to line up properly, the fabric near the fold may not lie perfectly flat. You may need to reposition the fabric so it lies perfectly smooth at the selvedge - and not bunched up at the fold. As you see in the 1st pic, once I straightened out the grey rib knit, the cut edge was offset.
Each pattern piece has a grain line marked on it. Ensure that the grain line measures the same distance at opposite ends of the pattern piece as shown below so you keep the pattern parallel to the selvedge. Here in the 2nd pic I'm measuring from the selvedge, but if you have a piece on the fold you can measure from there instead.
The french terry lined up very well; I just needed to ensure the selvedges were even. I guess the texture of the terry helps prevent the 'travelling' I mentioned above!
While the Jalie pattern instructions provide great layouts for 45" and 60" fabric, the French terry is just a little bit wider than 60" so I was able to maximize the fabric with my own layout (last pic).
When all the pieces are cut out, it's time for the fun part; sewing it all together!
Step 6: Knit Fabric Sewing Tips
For a professional finish, I serge the raw edges as I finish each seam. When working with knits, you need to switch out your regular sewing/serging needles with ball point needles. A regular sewing needle will typically encourage the knit to form holes, causing the fabric to run. That's the last thing you want to spoil all your hard work!
Jalie patterns allow 3/8" seam allowance, so I put a piece of green tape on the needle plate to help guide my stitching.
Step 7: Assembly
I first stitched the darts on the back pieces. With the darts done and right sides facing, I joined the back pieces at the crotch (double nothches help you line it up). The 3rd picture shows the back after stitching and serging.
Step 8: Create Faux Fly Front
The front crotch seam is stitched. Then the front is clipped at an angle just under the faux fly, stopping short of the stitches! That allows me to serge the front seam of the faux fly.
Step 9: Topstitch Faux Fly
On the right side, the faux fly is brought to one side. I marked the topstitching line on the right side with the help of a ruler. After top-stitching the faux fly, we're ready to move on to pockets.
Step 10: Pocket
Pin and stitch the front facing for the pocket. Open the facing so the right side is up and under stitch through the facing and seam allowance.
Bring the wrong sides together and topstitch the edge (3rd pic). Pin the pocket to the pocket facing. Stitch and serge the pocket facing.
With the pocket in place, the waste and side is basted to the facing to keep it in position.
The inseam and sides are then sewn and serged.
Step 11: Add Grommets
You could stitch button holes for the opening of the drawstring, but since I have an industrial machine that does not do zigzag, I did grommets instead.
It's always a good idea to test first on a scrap piece of fabric so you get the size of the hole just right and can also test out the grommet tool. I made three attempts before I was confident enough to move on to the 'real' waistband.
Prepare the waistband by ironing on fusing (I just used scraps) and marking the holes. You can cut the hole with sharp scissors but my husband had an old hole punch from his kiting days, so I used that instead (3rd pic).
The hat shaped piece of the grommet is pushed through the hole to the wrong side. The washer lays over top. Then the grommet tool is used to squeeze it together.
If I find the edges of the washer aren't quite tight, I reposition or even flip the tool around and squeeze again to get the washer to close completely.
The last pictures shows the waistband inset done and ready to assemble with the ribbed fabric.
Step 12: Waistband
With right sides together, stitch the seams of the inset with the contrasting fabric.
Bring seam allowances toward waistband (away from inset) and topstitch.
Fold waistband in half lengthwise and iron the fold.
Attach waistband to pants waist and stitch, leaving 1 1/2" open at back to feed the elastic through.
Step 13: Add Elastic
I use a large safety pin to help guide the elastic through, but you can also use a bodkin.
When you bring the elastic out the other end, make sure that the elastic is not twisted inside the casing. If it is, adjust it. Overlap the elastic and pin. Stitch a square in between where you have pinned to hold the elastic securely.
Slip the elastic back inside the casing. Now you can sew closed the 1 1/2″ opening. Lastly, I serged the raw edge to finish it off.
Step 14: Topstitch Gathers
Evenly adjust the gathers but remove any gathering from the inset (where the grommets are). You want the inset to lie perfectly flat.
Here’s a tip to keep the elastic in place and also keep the inset perfectly smooth. I ‘stitch in the ditch’, as indicated in the 2nd picture, but leave a gap in the middle section so the cord can pass through. Not to be confused with topstitching, stitching in the ditch means sewing right in the middle of the seam, on the right side of the fabric, which helps hide the stitch in the 'ditch'.
Topstitch as indicated on the pattern for the waistband. As you stitch from one end to the other, stretch the elastic flat and you will get perfect gathers.
The last picture shows the waistband with the two rows of top stitching complete. Now we're ready for the drawstring!
Step 15: Attach Drawstring
Before feeding the drawstring into the waistband, I fold the raw ends under twice and stitch.
Check to make sure the head of the safety pin or bodkin will fit through the grommet! Attach it to one end of the drawstring.
If right-handed, push the drawstring through the left grommet gathering the waistband fabric and pulling it out the other side until you are all the way around the waistband.
Bring the drawstring through the right grommet and adjust it so that it’s even on both ends. Remove the safety pin/bodkin. At this point you can also tie a knot in the ends of the drawstring if you wish. This will help prevent it from slipping back into waistband when it’s laundered.
Step 16: Hem
All that’s left now is the hem. Serge the edge and turn it up 5/8″. Topstitch the hem and you’re done! At his point, you can iron the seams if you wish!
Step 17: Chillax in Style (and Vote)
I hope you’ll give the Jalie Vanessa pattern a try! As for me, now I can chill in style!
If you enjoyed this 'Ible, please vote for it in the 'Fashion Contest'.
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