Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I guess it's time I actually shared a sewing project with you....
Over Christmas I made new PJ pants for Lucy. Her long legs just keep growing and how could I resist such cute heart flannel? (from Joanns) Seriously, the girl's a beanpole.
She loved the new pants.
And then I did something I swore I'd never do.....
Matching PJs for big sister and the baby? Yikes.
The cutesie cutesie is starting! I promise I won't go overboard.

I used the standard KID Pants pattern and tutorial for the PJs, added a few details, and made a new smaller pattern for all my baby pants.
Just one more installment in the KID pants series:

Want to sew along?....
If you're making these for a 2T-3T, simply download the FREE Kid Pants pattern HERE.
* For larger or smaller sizes, use an existing pair of your child's pants to gauge the sizing and extend the pattern where needed OR...
* Check out our tutorial on drafting your own pattern

But to save you on time, here are the quick steps:
* I trace all my patterns to standard 8.5 x 11 printer paper by taping pieces of paper together.
* Take a pair of existing pants that fit your baby, turn them inside out so the seams are showing. For exact measurements you could take the pants completely apart at the seams. But we'll keep them intact here and simply fold the legs over for a similar result.
* First trace the Front leg of the pants. If the existing pants are the exact size you want, just trace right next to the seam of the pants. If you need them a bit bigger, add an extra 1/2 inch or so as you draw the lines. Add extra length at the top of the pants for the waistband and at the bottom for the hem. And make sure you stretch the waistband open as you trace that part! (since it's gathered up from the elastic inside).
* For PJs I found that adding a bit extra room to the pattern (about a 1/2 in the sides) made them more roomy and comfy.
* Some baby pants use the same pattern for the piece for the front and back legs. I don't care for this though since I prefer a lower cut in the front (so it doesn't gouge the baby's tummy) and more room in the back (to accommodate baby bum/diapers). Read more on this topic in the Kid Pants Tutorial.
* As you trace the pants, decide if you want to make any variations to the pants. Aside from making the pants more roomy, I also added a bit more width to the bottom of the pants (compared to the existing pants I was tracing, which is similar to the Kid Pants pattern pieces). Sometimes I add a slight flare to the legs (even on boy pants).
* Once I get the Front pattern piece where I want, I trace the bottom portion of that piece for the Back leg so that the hem lengths will match. Then I trace the top part of the leg from the existing pants again.
* Here's a trick for getting the hem length the same on both legs....I typically use two pieces of paper for each leg pattern piece. So, where the two pieces of paper come together on the front leg....line that up with the two pieces of paper for the bottom leg, then trace.
* When you're done, follow the instructions in the Kid Pants Tutorial for cutting fabric. You end up with two Front pieces and two Back pieces.
* And when it comes to organizing and storing patterns....I've drafted three sizes of this pattern for three different kids, I keep each piece labeled with the pattern name and who it's for.
* Then I fold all the pattern pieces, clip them together, and toss them in my pattern drawer.
That's my organization method!
Okay, let's get sewing.
The only variations we're making here (compared to the standard Kid Pants Tutorial):
* add a bit more width in the pattern (to make them roomy)
* add a faux tie to the front.

Most Pjs from retail stores have elastic in the waistband and a tie that's strung through the waistband and pops out in the front through two small button holes. You can do that. But let's take a short cut. Forget stringing anything through, just sew a little tie to the front and call it good. You'll sew the ties on before sewing your waistband closed.
So, following along with Kid Pants instructions....
* Iron the waistband in place
* Then pin and sew two pieces of twill tape or other ties below the fold, about an inch apart from each other for toddlers (place them closer for a baby).
I like to use soft cotton twill tape--found at most fabric shops in white and cream colors and sold by the yard or on pre-packaged spools.
Fold the edges of the twill tape under before sewing the strands in place since the tape will fray over time. Cut the other ends of the tape on a diagonal to keep them from fraying or squeeze a bit of Fray Check on the end.
String your elastic through the pants, tie the twill tape in a bow, and you're done!
For the baby PJ Pants I used skinny grosgrain ribbon for the tie instead of twill tape to reduce the bulk on the bow.
And if you'd like to peek inside my pants, here you go....
Serged off seams and a small accidental gather in one of the leg hems (no one will notice):
And that's a wrap. Or a wakeup call?
Good morning sunshine!
Enjoy your new PJs!

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