I have been battling medical issues for a long time now. Unfortunately it comes with drawbacks. One of which is weight gain. In the past 2 yrs. I have put on 36 lbs :( , 20 of those were this past yr alone. This means that I have pretty much "outgrown" all of my old clothing. I started last summer having to add pieces to my wardrobe on a regular basis. My budget is very limited. So I shop only huge sales, thrift stores or I make my own. If the price is cheap enough I even buy clothing that is to large and alter them...mostly t-shirt reconstuction projects. Even when making my own, I choose fabrics I already have from previous projects or I buy hugely discounted fabrics that I can find. Sometimes the fabric is not always great or ideally suited for my purpose but I do what I must. When I have a fabric I wouldn't be caught dead in, I usually try to make pyjamas out of it. This is the case for this project.
This pyjama slip is a idea of mine. It was created using pattern pieces from different patterns, educated guess along with some trial and error.
The project is not particularly complicated. I would consider it an intermediate level of difficulty. The stretch fabric is what increases the difficulty.
Over all time spent on the project is a guesstimate of approximately 20 hrs. This does not include the many hours spent designing the jammy using the Sketchbook Pro 6. This was my first attempt using the trial program. I loved using it, but it took a lot of trial and error. I am a perfectionist so I needed to add depth to the image. The standard 2D image just didn't cut it.
Hopefully the tutorial is explained well enough that i don't leave anyone confused. I apologize in advance for my long winded explanations.
Good luck to you on your project.
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Step 1: Design / Fabric
Normally i would choose fabric after the project design or choosing the pattern.This project actually started with the fabric.It is a fabric I bought during a super sale. It is a hideous color. I would not wear it out in public....EVER. However I was in need of clothing, so I had to find a use for it. I decided I would make a pyjama out of it. The fabric is a jersey knit cotton/polyester mix with a lot of stretch to it. I figured it would be comfy and not bind due to the stretch, but also it would give me room to "grow", lol. I ran ideas in my head for a while before I settled on this design.
The design for the jammy is entirely mine. I wanted something simple yet feminine. The lace adds a little sexy to it.
Now that I have my conceptual design, I needed a pattern. I am still uncomfortable making clothing patterns ( 1 day I will take a course). So finding a pattern that was adaptable was a little work.
Step 2: Pattern and Cutting
None of the patterns I already have were inspiring me. I went online hunting for usable info.
I found a pattern for the skirt at http://buzzybeesworld.blogspot.ca/2011/12/ruby-slip-free-pattern-and-sew-along.html . This is a negligee pattern. However, I only used the pattern for the skirt part.
For the top I used http://hanty.net/pbra.gif However, I made the bra cup pattern larger by expanding the cup 1 cm on all sides.
Other parts include the lace, the facing, and shoulder straps.
Print the pattern for the skirt using the link at the address above. You may also want to print the second sheet of the instructions as it gives the measurements that the pattern is designed to fit.
Once the pattern for the skirt has been printed out, you end up with 20 sheets of paper all labelled with #'s and letters. It is a matter of cutting the sheets in order to line up the pattern sequence #s. Think of it as a puzzle.The sheets are all labeled for example: 1 meaning first row, so 1A, 1B 1C etc. In this pattern every row has a # , as well as every line (between rows) has a # assigned to it. For example the bottom line of the sheets, of the first row, have the #2. This may be confusing but it will make sense at the end. These #'s are sequential, so row1, line2, row3, line4,ect. Everywhere the pattern piece touches another pattern piece, you see these #/letter combinations. The sheets that make up the center have #s on the right and left side.
So lets start with the obvious.You would line up the 1A on right side of first sheet with the 1A that is on the left side of the second sheet matching up the lines and the triangle.You end up with a diamond shape where the triangles meet once the sheets have been taped together. Then continue moving towards the right. Match the 1B on the rt. side of the second sheet to the 1B on the left side of the 3rd sheet...so on till all 5 of the #1 sheets are taped. For me it was easier to tape all 5 sheets of each row together and then tape each of the rows together after. The second row got assigned the #3. So tape all 5 sheets of the second row together the same way as we did for the first row: 3A/3A, 3B/3B...so on till the second row is all taped together. The third row has the #5 and the forth row is #7. Tape those rows together as well.
Next, you have a 2A on the bottom of the very first sheet of row1. You will now line up this 2A with the 2A at the top of the fist sheet of the second row( labelled #3). Since all 5 sheets are taped together for both rows it makes it easier to line up. All the 2's A-E and the diamonds should be lined up. Tape the 2 rows together. . Continue assembling the other two rows till all the pages are taped together.
DO NOT CUT OUT YOUR PATTERN. Once your pattern is finished, you need to check that the pattern is to scale. There is a box in the left hand corner for this purpose. The box should be 10cmX10cm. As you can see in photo 2. my pattern did not print to scale. It actually measures about 9.3cm square. This means there is slightly less than 10% difference in the overall pattern size. I rounded the 9.3 to 10% as my base value for the pattern difference in scale measurement. This difference means the pattern needs to be adjusted.
For me, the pattern would have needed to be 2 sizes larger than the actual pattern that is printed so I also needed to make a new outline for my size. On another point, this pattern is intended to be used with a non stretch fabric cut on a bias. Since I am using stretch fabric I am only going to make the pattern 1 size larger. The stretch will compensate for the difference.
The difference between each of the skirt pattern sizes was measured. For my print out the difference is about 1 cm width(on each side) for each size increase. So To make the next size, which would be 16, I would traced a new line on the pattern 1cm farther out on each side...but...we need to compensate for the difference in print out size which is 10%. This is where you may get a little lost... I am sorry for that. Start by measuring the width of the pattern piece. Skip the increase if you are using one of the pattern sizes already on the pattern. For size 14, the width is 40cm on my pattern. It may be different on your pattern print out. We need to add 2cm (1cm for each side to get size16) So our size 16 should measure 42cm. But because we need to adjust for the 10% difference... we are going back to grade school math... 10/100=x/42 .... (42x10)/100=x ....420/100=4.2cm. The difference is 4.2cm. So we need to add this for the new size 16 measurements. SO, 42cm +4.2cm(10%) which gives 46.2cm as my final width for the size 16. Now go back to the printed pattern...this is a difference of 6.2cm from the original 40cm of the size 14. This 6.2 cm is then split in two. So, 3.1cm, needs to be added to each side of the size 14 to get the final size16 making. Whew... that was difficult. I hope your still following.
Following the original layout, trace a new line 3 cm farther(I rounded off the 3.1cm to 3cm here).
Actually if you look closely ,in photo 3 you can see that I did not do this correctly...somehow I miscalculated. Since I used a stretch fabric it wasn't much of an issue. But had I used the weave fabric on bias...it would have been a huge error!! So don't make an error like me :S
The same must be done with the length. This pattern offers two different lengths to follow... I chose the long version length. The length of the skirt pattern piece is approx. 25" ( I switched to inches here because i am more comfortable using it). So... 10% of 25" is 2.5". This 2.5" will need to be added to the length. However, for my design, I am not making a rolled hem. So 1/2" was removed from the over all length making my final length 2" longer than the original. Just like for the sides, trace a new line 2" below the printed pattern hem line.Since our new side line is farther away than the printed pattern, you will need to extend the original hem line outwards so you can continue adding the 2". Use a ruler to extend the original line and continue adding the extra 10% so it will match up with the width expansion. You can see in photo4 that the new size side line is quite a bit farther out because of the arch at hem line.
The original pattern drawing is designed as a tracing pattern. You should NOT cut the original pattern. Once all your adjustments have been made and the pattern is correct you need to trace the pattern onto something else( you may need that pattern again in a different size on a different project). You can use pattern tracing paper. Personally, I like my patterns stiffer and more durable so I can reuse them. So, I chose to use large graph paper that is designed to use with a easel. I got it from a stationary store. I like the size of the paper, but the graph is terrible... i don't know who set up their printing press...but they seriously sucked. It is not square. You can see in picture 1 the inches are marked in black. The right side or x shows a huge difference but the left,Y, hardly has a difference from the 1" square it should be. SO don't try to count the squares in the pictures for a reference.
Trace your pattern outline with something dark so you can see it through your new paper and trace it out.
As you can see in picture 7, I made the adjustments for both the front and the back of the skirt. However, once I had them copied and cut out on my graph paper, the difference between the two panels is very minimal. If your using stretch fabric I would not bother making both. Chose either the front or the back piece and use it for both front and back. If your using a weaved fabric cut on bias you will need both pieces.
Print the bra pattern. If you look at the pattern for the bra in photo 1, you can see that one side of the bottom, next to the dart, is wider than the other. When marking your pattern, keep in mind that the wide side of the bottom is the side that goes to your armpit. So make sure you mark your cups correctly as to which is the left cup and which is the right.
This pattern requires:
-1 front skirt panel
-1 back skirt panel
-2 cup pieces
-2 straight pieces of matching fabric, 3" wide cut in direction of the least stretch. This is for shoulder straps. The length is from top of bra cup over shoulder to top of facing plus 1" for seam allowance. Personally i prefer waiting till I know a more exact length once you get to that part of the sewing project.
-1 stretch lace panel double the width of the top of the skirt approx the measurement of your abdomen just below your breasts plus 1" for seam allowance. Again you may want to wait till your two panels are sewn together for correct measurement.
-1 straight piece 2" wide cut in direction of the least stretch for facing. It is the same length as lace panel
-elastic for around abdomen and shoulder straps for me that is approx. 20+20+40"=80"
-color coordinating elastic (only if you 're doing the elastic edge finish on cup) or stretch lace to go around the cups length of about 30" +/- 2" for cup size difference.
If there is a design on the fabric,make sure all designs are going in the same direction before you cut your pattern pieces out of the fabric. Once pieces are cut, mark them so they are not mixed up. I always make my marks on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure to choose a marking method that will not show through your garment if your using something permanent to mark with. Personally I like using chalk or washable dressmaker markers. If you use the marker... make sure you test it on a scrap of fabric. Some fabrics do not release the ink!
Step 3: Sewing the Skirt
First off we need to have our thread ready, so load bobbin and change serger thread. Run scraps through the sewing machine/serger to make sure tension is correct.( photo 2)
The skirt is very simple. Make sure when your sewing that the fabric is right sides together.(photo 3). Pin the 2 pieces of skirt panels together matching the outline. Sew the skirt panels together.
The top part of the skirt must be cut off. Making sure your cut is parallel to the top of the skirt. Cut off 2" . The lace panel will be added between the skirt and and this top strip.
Step 4: The Bra Cups
Pin and sew the dart of the bra cup making sure fabric is right sides together. As you can see in photo 2, sewing the cups straight up and down, you get a very pointy finish to the dart which is unflattering. Instead start your dart at a slight angle(photo 3) so it gives it a rounded appearance. Then continue sewing straight.
Once the darts are finished, you have a choice of how you want to finish the edges of your cups. You can turn the fabric under and top stitch to finish...or you can do like I did (photo 4). You can chose a color coordinating bra elastic and sew the edges of the cup. If you chose to go this fashion, your cups need to be trimmed down the side edges. Only the sides need to be trimmed. Look at the pattern piece and trim like you would be going down a size...so you would trim off 1cm off, you would start at the bottom and angled so there is nothing coming off the top (photo 4). The height of the piece does not change so your not cutting off any at the top or the bottom( your seam allowance hasn't changed on the bottom). All you are removing is what would have been turned under on the sides.
Funny I never think of these things while I am making my own. I did not trim the cups and because of that they are actually a little to large for me.However I was not going to change it after because the fabric was so difficult to work with. I can deal with it being a little large.
After trimming, the elastic is added. Pin the elastic, right side up, along the cup edge with the fabric right side up. Work with one side of the cup at a time. Pin then sew ( use a narrow zigzag along both sides of the elastic)1 side... then repeat for the other side overlapping the elastic at the top point of the bra cup. The elastic I chose does not unravel so turning under the edge of the elastic was not necessary. Repeat for the other cup.
If you are not using the elastic method, you need to turn under the fabric along the edges. Be cautious that you need to remove as little of the length as possible. So, don't turn under 1" of fabric. If possible, use an over edge stitch all along the side edges then turn under only once. Turn no more than 1/2" at the bottom and becoming narrower ,1/4" ,at the top. If an over edge stitch is not possible then turn under 1/4" along the edge press, and turn under another 1/4". Press, pin, baste and sew your edge with a top stitch.
Once the elastic is on, or the edges have been turned under and sewn in place we move on to gathering the cup along the bottom. This is done by gathering along a basted stitch. This fabric had so much stretch, a hand baste worked better (photo 6). If you choose to use the machine to baste, make sure you have the machine set at the largest stitch and that your tension is turned down enough to allow the thread to be able to pull through. Divide the bottom of the cup in 4 equal parts... the middle 2 would be basted .Baste only the center of the cup about 3/8" from the bottom. Repeat for the other cup.
Pulling only 1 thread while holding the other end tight, gather the fabric along the thread toward the center. Tie the two ends of the basting stitch together so you don't accidentally pull the thread through.
Set the cups aside for now.
Step 5: Lace
With the lace doubled, mark(with a pin...not marker) the lace the width of the top of the skirt pattern piece minus 1/2"(the lace should not be stretched when measuring). The reason we are removing 1/2" is because our lace is all one piece. So we have 1 less seam allowance. The seam allowance is 1/2" ...so you would have two 1/2" for each skirt panel that have been sewn together. Therefore 1/2" of the doubled over lace is removed. Before cutting...lay the lace (doubled) next to your skirt or wrap the lace around your skirt top(photo 2). It should be fit nicely with 1/2" overlap for the seam allowance. It is better to check at this point because lace can be expensive and an error would be costly. Once your sure it is correct, cut the lace panel at the mark.
Pin and sew the lace panel together right sides together.
Pin and sew the lace to the skirt right sides together matching side seam( photo 4). You may want to press the seam allowance on the skirt panel before sewing the lace on. The fabric I was using did not hold a press very well so I did not find this step necessary.
Pin the lace to the skirt with right sides together. Sew / surge the lace to the skirt.(photo 5)
Press the seam allowance of the lace/skirt toward the skirt. Pin it flat and baste it in place. On the right side, top stitch the seam down to the skirt no more than 1/4" from the seam line. If your using stretch fabric you will need to use a zigzag stitch unless your machine has stretch thread( woolly nylon) capability.
Add the top strip of the skirt we cut off earlier to the top of the lace. Match the seam and pin and sew the top strip to the top of the lace the same way we attached the lace to the skirt (photo 6)
Step 6: Shoulder Straps
You will require help to measure and get an estimate of the shoulder strap length. Carefully pin the bra cup to yourself. Wrap a ribbon/ tape/string around your body just below your breasts. The straps would end where the string is.The shoulder straps length is measured from the top of the bra cup to the back where your string is. Add 1" for both the bra cup and the facing overlap. So your final measurement will be the length+2" This is still an approximate value since the bran cups need to be sewn on
Pin strap right sides together length wise. Sew them together. Once sewn they need to be turned right side out. I have a special plastic wire for this purpose but you can use a wire or metal hanger that has been straightened. Feed the wire through your tube, till it is scrunched up on the wire and both ends of the wire are in your possession. Attach the 1 end of the fabric to your wire (mine has a loop at the end so a safety pin can be attached to the fabric and loop.pull the wire back out of the opposite end. Slowly pull out the wire, dragging the fabric with it. So, you should have 2 tubes of fabric that are right side out. Turn the fabric of the tube so the seam sits in the center. Press down the seam allowance to 1 side so it lays flat. The seam side of your tube will lie next to the skin of your shoulder, so no seam is visible.
Step 7: Bra and Shoulder Strap Placement
There may be other or better ways to do this part, but this is how I did it.
I found it necessary to remark my bra cups because the chalk had worn off. I did not want to get confused as to which cup goes on which side (photo 8). Don't pay attention to the strap...lol... I took the picture later than when i actually marked it.
I did this part is 2 phases...because once again *smacks my forehead* I was not thinking clearly and did not make a complete plan before jumping in head first. When I create patterns like this I tend to just wing it as I go. For this reason I am the, self proclaimed, queen of undoing and redoing. I wondered how I was going to attach my shoulder straps and bra cups. Duh...I need a facing. So, this is when I cut my facing strip and sewed it to my top strip on the skirt top. Wrong wrong wrong thing to do! As you can see in photo 2, I had to undo it. So don't do this! Yes we do need the facing strip... but don't sew it on yet!
The bra cups need to be pinned and basted in place.
For the bra cups; we need to determine the positioning of the bra cups on the top strip of the skirt. Each cup should be pinned to the strip in the middle. of the skirt top strip. There are 2 ways to find the mid point. First you can simply fold the garment in half keeping the seam together and placing a marker at he mid point as in photos 3&4. Or you can measure the garment and divide the measurement by 2 to get the middle point. as in photos 5,6&7. The second way is more accurate, but not always necessary. Both cups should meet at this center point mark.
Begin by pinning 1 cup in the center, right sides together. Make sure that you have the correct bra cup on the right side. If your working with your garment upside down( like me) it is very easy to get them confused and sewn incorrectly. Next, pin the other end of the same cup, at the armpit, or side ( still right side together). The edge of the cup should be pinned so it is 1" before the side seam (photo 8). Continue pinning the cup to the top strip till you reach the basted stitches for the gathering. Once both sides are pinned (photo 9), you need to adjust the gathers we did in STEP 4 so they are the correct length. You may need to tighten them or loosen them. The gathers need to be evenly spaced over the basted stitch to fit exactly in the space left between each side of the cup already pinned(photo 10). Once they are evenly spaced, pin and baste them in place(photo 11). Repeat the steps for the other bra cup.
For the back straps; The back straps are positioned in much the same as the cups. In order to position the straps, divide your back top strip in 4 even parts. It's the same as we did for the front bra positioning. The only difference is that each half will be divided in two again ,the same way. You should now have 4 even parts. Your straps should be pinned just after the 1/4 (or 1st) mark and and just before 3/4 mark (or 3rd ) Refer to photo 12 for a visual explanation. The straps should be positioned where the pink arrows are. This gives the straps a slight inward position and helps prevent them from falling down. Pin and baste the straps in position. Make certain the straps are turned the right way so you don't have a twisted strap once it's sewn.
Check and recheck... better to be very very certain. It is way easier to correct a position now since it's only basted in front and pinned in back. You don't want to be like me and be undo redo royalty :S
Final sewing will not be done till the facing is in position.
Step 8: Facing
Now the facing will be added. Measure and cut the same way as the lace.
Pin and sew the end of the facing right sides together.
Place the facing over the top strip of the skirt while matching side seam Match it to the same side as the the lace seam. Make sure the two fabrics are right sides together(except where it goes over the bra cup it will be wrong side of the cup to right side of the facing). Pin the facing to the top strip of the skirt. It should be like a sandwich in parts Top strip/bra cups or straps/ and facing. Pin and baste all the way around except skip over the back straps. Leave the back straps only pinned together. Do not baste over the back straps.
It can be done with just pinning but I find that there is just to much fabric and you get slipping. I am a perfectionist so i prefer a neater job. PLUS... there are just to many pins holding down the gathers to space them evenly (photo 1). Trying on your garment is difficult with 100 pins waiting to stick you. You also run the risk hitting the pins with your sewing machine needle or... if you serge like me...risk ruining a cutting blade...expensive error.
Step 9: Adjusting the Shoulder Strap Length
At this point you will need to pin (safety pins if you have them) the straps to your garment and try it on to make sure your straps are short enough. Place your front pin exactly where it will be sewn. Make any adjustments only at the back. You don't want to have to much play or extra length on the straps because they will constantly fall down off your shoulders or the bra will gap when you move. Have someone help you put a pin in the spot exactly where you want the strap sewn to. Pull the straps snug but not so tight that it is uncomfortable. Place the pin through the strap and the top of the skirt (carefully so you don't get pricked) This is also when you have to decide whether your straps have enough integrity to hold up your garment. Wear it for a few minutes and decide if you need to add the elastic. The fabric will begin to stretch a little with wearing( or a lot). Adjust the straps again if need be.
The straps on my Jammy had way to much stretch to them. I had to shortened them but didn't really pay attention to just how much give the straps had. I discovered this after it was already sewn . So once again the queen had to undo. I ended up only unstitching the back section because this fabric is so hard to work with. After much difficulty inserting the elastic( the top of the bra cup was still sewn to the strap so I could not pull it through), I sewed the elastic to the strap, on the cup side ,as close as I could to the cup and sewing right through the strap. So don't do that.
Mark your straps in a way that you can unpin them. Insert the elastic now if you require it. Use your wire again to pull the elastic through the shoulder strap tube.
Pin the strap to the bra cup at the top of the point. Overlap the the cup so the strap sits behind the point, just far enough so the end of the strap is no long visible. Make certain, if you added the elastic, that you are going to sew through it when you sew the strap to the bra cup. You can see in photo 1 that I overlapped the sides about 1/2" but at the center where the point is, there is about a 1" overlap.
The elastic should be about 1" shorter than the strap. This will cause bunching of the strap fabric when it is relaxed. Don't worry, once you have the jammy on all the slack will come out and you won't see the bunching.
I showed photo 2 and 3 only to show the bunching that should happen. They are out of sequence, so please do not get confused.
Now that you have marked your strap exactly where it is to be sewn in the back, pin it in the correct spot. Make sure that you are also pinning the elastic at the mark that was set earlier. Baste the straps in place.
Step 10: Finishing the Facing
Sew the facing in place. If you don't have a serger, sew all the way around using a zigzag stitch (because of the stretch). Trim off any excess shoulder strap or elastic.
Turn the facing to the inside of the garment. and press.
Turn under the edge of the facing strip and pin it to the skirt (photo 1). It should enclose the seam from the skirt/lace You should fold it, so the edge of the facing fabric fold is just beyond the seam edge. It should not be so long that it hangs past the seam. Baste and press it in place.Yes again more basting but it is necessary. This seam will be top stitched so it must be neat. Pins are to difficult to see and they shift way to much when they are on the bottom next to your machine feed dogs (photo 4)
You are now ready to top stitch your seams. Remember to use a zigzag stitch if your using stretch fabric (photo 5). Top stitch over the seam at the very top of your garment all the way around. When you top stitch over the lower seam you need to leave a section of the facing/skirt seam unsewn to add the elastic. You need about 2" of room.
Your garment is now prepared for the elastic. First take the elastic and wrap it around your body just below the breasts. Pull the elastic snug . You want the elastic to be tight enough to help support your garment but not to tight that is is restrictive. Over lap the elastic at least 1" and mark it. Using a safety pin, pin the elastic to your garment at the mark you set, so you won't pull the elastic through past that point. Just like we did for the shoulder straps, you need to run the wire through the space between the top strip/ facing seam and the facing /skirt seam (photo 6). Make sure your elastic does not get twisted when your pulling it through. Once your elastic is through pin the end to the other side making sure you overlap at your mark. Before sewing and cutting off the excess elastic... try on your garment! Make any adjustments to the elastic now. Sew the two overlapped ends of the elastic (photo 7), again, using a zigzag stitch. Shift the garment fabric over the elastic so it's not bunched up in sections. Make sure elastic gathers evenly around the whole garment.
The opening for the elastic can now be sewn down. Pin and baste the section down as was done for the facing finish Top stitch this last section. Press with care so your elastic does not shrink from the heat. Try, if possible, to not press where the elastic is.
Step 11: Hem
All that remains is the bottom hem.
I wanted a clean finish to this garment, so I decided to do a blind stitch hem. I find them fairly easy if your machine has the attachments.
If your using a fabric that will not unravel like jersey, the hem could also be turned under and finished with a simple zigzag stitch.
Fold and pin the bottom edge. Attach your blind stitch foot. Sew your blind stitch according to your sewing machine technique. Press your seam down.
Step 12: Final Touches
After the garment was finished I decided I did not care for the plunging neck line. It was a little bit to racy for my taste since this is a pyjama not a negligee. I brought the inside edge of the elastics together and sewed them together. I used a zigzag stitch with 0 stitch length and sewed at least a dozen times over and over the same spot. I left the key hole open but it still gave it a slightly more toned down look I wanted. So in that respect the garment is not exactly as the initial drawing. All in all It came out pretty darn close. :)
Go over your garment and tidy up any loose threads, tuck away any serger chains.
I truly hope that my tutorial is not overly confusing.
Best of luck to you on your own project.
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