The end of August heralds increasing warmth in the air and a special friend's birthday. But what to give her ... make her?? It's almost time to fling the doona from the bed and store the winter jammies away for a few months, so maybe some OTT summer lounging PJs. And when I came across the perfect fabric, there was no time to waste. And ... why not write up a summer pyjama pants tutorial as I go? Yes, why not.
Find the most amazing fabric you can. Mine is a red sugar skull cotton from Spotlight. You'll need twice the length from the waist to the end of the pants leg, plus add 2.5cm (1") for a hem.
I bought 2m (2.2yds), plus elastic and some mini-pom-poms for trim. (I bought yellow ribbon too, thinking I might use it, but I didn't.)
I used this elastic because it said it was "soft and comfortable" ... and suitable for waistbands. Perfect.
Using a pair of loose pants as a base, lay them on top of the fabric which has been folded length ways.
Leave seam allowance all the way around plus enough for a hem at the bottom, then, using your loose pants to create a pattern, cut out the backs and fronts of your pants. The backs should be slightly wider and have a deeper curve in the crotch.
Now, take one back piece and one front piece, right sides together, and sew the inside leg seam. Overlock the seam. Then repeat with the other front and back piece. (Zig zagging is just as good if you don't have an overlocker ... serger.) Iron the seam to one side.
I like to iron one seam facing in and the other facing out to reduce bulk at the centre of the crotch.
Open these pieces up, right sides together, and pin the top of this inside leg seam together at the centre crotch.
Place a few more pins around the crotch seam. Sew this seam.
I like to triple stitch this seam as it is the one under most pressure.
Now, overlock, then iron.
Turn your pieces, right sides together, so that the fronts are lying on top of the backs. Like so.
Pin, stitch, overlock and iron both sides seams.
It was at this point that I realised I had not been generous enough in cutting out my pieces. My jammie pants were going to be too tight for comfortable lounging. So, I cut off the side seam and inserted a yellow stripe to add more lounging room.
Not everything always goes to plan, but usually there is a way to solve the problem.
Now it's time for hemming the bottom of the pants.
Overlock around the pants bottom, turn up about a 2.5cm (1") hem, iron, pin and stitch.
I now added my yellow mini-pom-pom trim around the bottom of the pants hem. I used a lightly longer stitch to do this.
I love a bit of pom-pom trim.
Now back up the top for a waistband.
If you don't want to fiddle around adding a waistband, you can add about 7cm (3") to the top of your pant pieces when you cut them out and merely turn this over as a waistband.Measure around the waist of your jammie pants. Use this length, plus a little extra for a seam, to cut a waistband about 7cm (3") wide. I'm not worrying about curving the waistband, just cutting a straight piece. Remember these are PJ pants, not a wedding dress.
I decided to use the same yellow fabric as my problem solving side stripe to add a bit of pizzazz. Can't have too much pizzazz in your life.
Now with right sides together, position the waistband so that its seam will line up with the centre back seam.
(I stitch the ends of the waistband together a little later on.)
I start stitching the waistband to the pants' top about 5cm (2") away from the centre back seam. Then stitch nearly all the way around, stopping about 5cm (2") from the centre back seam.
Now, I match the ends of the waistband so that they will meet at the centre back seam and stitch the ends of the waistband together.
Then I finish attaching the last little bit of waistband to the pants' top.
Iron this seam towards the waistband and top stitch on the waistband close to the seam line. This makes for a neater finish when the waistband is turned.
I always use a slightly longer stitch to top stitch.
Turn waistband over and iron. Top stitch close to the top through all layers to give a neat finish.
Now to the elastic.
I'm not a big fan of threading elastic through casings ... so I don't. I use my cheat method to insert elastic.
Cut the elastic to a comfortable length, remembering to add about 2.5cm (1") for joining.
Sew ends of elastic together. Make sure elastic is not twisted.
I use a mix of straight stitch and zig zag to stitch the elastic ends together.
Push the joined elastic circle up close to the top of where the waistband and pants' top meet.
Flip the waistband down and, taking care not to catch the elastic, stitch along the bottom edge of the waistband.
As you get towards the other end of the waistband, you will need pull the elastic through a little to do the last bit of stitching.
And, ta da, your waistband is done and no threading of elastic through casings needed.
Your fantastic summer lounging pyjama pants are done.
I teamed mine with a singlet top from Target so that I could gift a complete set.
You can see my added problem solving yellow side stripe ... looks like it was meant to be there.
My sugar skull loving friend will be very happy on her birthday. I think. I hope.
No one else will have spectacular red sugar skull summer lounging jammies like hers.
Think I might need a pair of these for myself. I don't mind a bit of sugar skulls.
If I use a softer fabric and make the pants' leg a bit wider, I could have palazzo pants. Hmmm, now that's a thought.
Are you ready to give this little project a go?
Is there someone in your family who would luurrve some summer lounging PJs for Christmas?
Or a spectacular pair of palazzo pants?
Catch up again soon.