Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Pyjama Pants of Doom

Hello again!

Today I have to relate a sad sewing related occurrence from which we can all learn. Well, I leaned from it anyway ;)  I decided to make my husband flannel pj bottoms for Christmas. They were requested months before, with the specific requirement they should have pockets just like ready-to-wear ones. (We will not discuss here why men should need pockets in their pyjama pants. This is a sewing blog.) For reference they are the first pair in the picture below:

People who know me will probably be shaking their heads already. Yes, I started these with just three days to go until Christmas day. But what could go wrong, since I have a TNT pattern for my husband's pjs and can make a pair in less time than it takes to drive to the shops and buy them? I traced the waistband hanging pockets from one of his RTW pairs (if you look inside a pair of men's pj pants you will see what I mean), fudged together a construction method and all in all felt pretty pleased with myself, until he tried them on on Christmas morning. They were massive. He could (and did) pull them up under his armpits. Cue tears of laughter.

Lessons learnt:

1. Measure twice, cut once. I can't believe I didn't check. I made a L (his RTW size), clearly I normally make an M and fold away the excess tissue in case I ever need a large (lazy - should have traced it off).
2. Make all Christmas presents in October - November latest. I do not have time to give proper thought to handmade gifts in December!
3. Did I mention check measurements?

So my first piece of unselfish sewing this year was to fix the said huge pj pants. I lowered the waist several inches and they now fit fine but the pockets are, um, less functional than intended as the opening has narrowed. However they have been declared supremely comfortable and been worn already. That's love!

The other two pairs I made for my eldest daughter using this pattern, which I think may be OOP but there are plenty similar out there:

I like to use a female-specific pattern because I find unisex patterns are really cut for a male body - the legs are wider and the waistline always needs lowering considerably (of course you may prefer a warm torso!). The alterations aren't a lot of work if you are trying to avoid buying multiple patterns, but it saves a little time being able to sew straight from the envelope. The RTW pair I bought her 11 months ago had holes in the side seam and around the waistband, so little seam allowance had been used. Eldest daughter was happy and warm in time for our January snows :)

I also mended a seam on another pair of my husbands pjs and replaced elastic that had 'gone' in an old RTW pair of mine and added a new ribbon tie.

Yes my sewing life has been all about pyjamas for the last couple of weeks, but if you live in England you will  understand why, at this time of year, it is necessary!!

I think that pretty much fulfills my pledge for now, so do excuse me while I go and do some selfish sewing!

Happy sewing, til next time!


  1. Hehe, the Christmas PJ story gave me a smile!! I always put pockets in my PJ pants too. I never ever use them, but well; I just put them in anyway!
    The sets you have made are lovely and cosy looking :)

  2. I did this same thing with my partner-except it was his size! And it happened with both pyjamas and underpants (underpants should not be pullable to underarm level! That is wrong on so many levels). The trauma.. (both arms towards the sky shouting "Kwik Sew! I will hunt you down and drink your blood!" (not really) while he hopped around laughing. XD

  3. PJs seem like an ideal thing to make in this cold winter. You made me smile with the siozing mistake - just the sort of thing I would do!

  4. That's funny! I put pockets in a pair of fleece pajama pants I made my husband last Christmas and then had to lower the waistline-- same story. He can only fit a couple of fingers in to the pocket opening now! He still wears them, thank goodness!