By tracing a pair of your own pants, you'll have a pattern that you can use to make cozy pajama pants, cool capris and bold boxers. Try flannelette for warmth, light cotton for summer and stretchy jersey-type fabrics for yoga and sporty wear.
You will need:
• a large strip of plain newsprint or sheets of paper taped together
• a pair of pants in your size
• 2.5 m (2-2/3 yards) of fabric 115 cm (45 inches) wide or 1.5 m (1-2/3 yards) of fabric150 cm (60 inches) wide, pre-washed and ironed
• elastic 13 to 20 mm (1/2 to 3/4 inch) wide (for length, see step 15)
• your sewing kit (a measuring tape, a ruler, a pencil, fabric markers, scissors, straight pins, different-sized sewing needles, a pincushion, a feel spools of thread, a seam ripper, and a few large and small safety pins)
Click here to see images from the book.
1. Lay the paper on a table or floor. Fold your pants in half by bringing the left side over the right and pulling the crotch area out to the left. Place the folded pants on the paper.
2. Trace closely around the pants. If they have a drawstring or elastic waist, make sure they are stretched out while you are tracing around the waist area. Set the pants aside.
3. Draw the following lines outside of your traced lines: a 4 cm (1-1/2 inch) line at the waist and bottom and a 2.5 cm (1 inch) line around the rest of the pants. Cut your paper pattern along the outside line.
4. With the right sides together, fold the fabric along its length so that the widest point of the pattern fits across the folded fabric with very little extra fabric. Place the pattern's long, straight edge along the fabric fold and pin it in place.
5. Cut around the pattern and remove the pins and pattern. Fold another area of the remaining fabric so that you can pin and cut out the pattern, again along the fabric fold.
6. Remove the pins and pattern. You should now have two identical fabric pattern pieces. With the right sides together and edges even, keep them folded and pin each one along the area from below the crotch to the bottom.
7. Stitch the pinned seams using a 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) seam allowance. Remove the pins as you sew.
8. Zigzag-stitch the four seam edges. Iron (Note: Whenever the instructions tell you to iron, ask an adult to help you. Iron on a sturdy ironing board with a padded cover. Test the temperature of your iron on fabric scraps first to make sure it's not too hot. Don't iron synthetic fleece, such as Polarfleece or Arctic fleece, because it may melt.) the seams open. (Use a sleeve board if you have one.) These are the legs for your pants.
9. Turn one leg right side out. Tuck it inside the other leg and pin them as shown so that the seams are together and the rounded edges are even.
10. Stitch this seam using a 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) seam allowance. Stitch slowly around the curve. You may need to stop and, with the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot so you can pivot to stay on the curve of the seam. Remove the pins as you sew.
11. Stitch the seam again on top of your first stitch line to reinforce it. Trim the seam allowance to 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) and zigzag-stitch the leftover seam edges together.
12. Pull the leg out of the other one, but keep the pants inside out. Zigzag-stitch around the top of the pants.
13. To make the casing for the elastic, fold over 1 cm (1/2 inch) to the wrong side around the zigzagged edge and iron it. Fold over, iron and pin an additional 2.5 cm (1 inch).
14. Starting at one seam, stitch the casing close to the inside edge. Stop stitching 4 cm (1-1/2 inch) from where you started. Remove the pins as you sew.
15. Measure around your waist, add 5 cm (2 inches) and cut the elastic to this length. Fasten a safety pin onto one end of the elastic and thread it through the casing.
16. Overlap the elastic ends and safety-pin them together. Try on the pants to see if the elastic feels comfortable. Adjust it if necessary. Remove the pin and zigzag or overcast stitch (see bottom of page) the elastic together.
17. Machine-stitch the opening closed.
18. Fold over 1 cm (1/2 inch) to the wrong side around the hemline and iron it. Then fold over and iron an additional 2.5 cm (1 inch). Try on your pants. If they are too long, cut off some of the length then iron and pin up the hem. Stitch close to the inside edge. Remove the pins as you sew
And sew on ...
To make capris, boxers or other short pj bottoms, cut off your paper pattern to the length you'd like your pajamas to be plus 3 cm (1-1/4 inch). (After you've cut out the fabric, tape the cutoff paper back onto the pattern.) Follow the instructions above to sew them together.
Overcast stitch: You can use the overcast stitch instead of the machine zigzag stitch along your fabrics raw edges.
1. With knotted thread in your needle push the needle up through the fabric.
2. Bring the needle around the edge of the fabric and push it up through the fabric a little way along way fromt he first stitch. Keep stitchingin this way.
Zigzag stitch: This stitch is used mainly on seams and fabric edges to prevent them from fraying. As the needle zigzags back and forth, it should be positioned so that it dips into the fabric on the right-hand side.
For applique, adjust the stitch length so that the zigzags are narrow and close together.
Excerpted from Simply Sewing by Judy Ann Sadler. Copyright 2004 by Judy Ann Sadler. Excerpted, with permission by Kids Can Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.