Tutorial: Summer Pajamas
The first project I sewed after getting a sewing machine was a pair of pajama pants for my son, so to kick off my first blog post, I made some summer lobstah pajamas for my kids.
Lobster just happens to be a favorite food of my husband and son. Brynn loves it too. I’m not a fan, plus I feel so bad for the little guys before they go into the pot. Maybe I’ve seen The Little Mermaid too many times. But they sure do look cute on pajamas! I scored this awesome rib knit from Purpleseamstress Fabric.
I only bought a yard and ran out of fabric while making my daughter’s PJs, so I improvised with a red stripe down the leg and some cap sleeves instead of a regular sleeve.
Love these pajamas and the little cuties in them!
Here’s a tutorial on how I made the boy version.
- 1/2 to 1 yard of knit fabric, depending on size. I just missed squeezing out an 18 month and 6T from one yard. I used a rib knit, but you could use any type of knit (stretchy) fabric.
- Strech or ball point needles. I get mine at Jo-Ann Fabric.
- A double stretch needle. I found mine on Amazon.
- 3/4″ to 1″ elastic. This can also be found at most craft stores.
To start you’ll want to find a pair of shorts and a shirt that have a similar fit to how you want your project to look. Fold them in half and either trace on paper and cut out or lay them directly on your fabric that you have also folded in half.
Cut around your shorts being sure to leave 1/4″ to 1/2″ seam allowance around the edges, with the exception of the bottom, where you will want to leave a 1″ allowance, and the top where you will want a 1.25″ seam allowance. Do this twice so you have two matching pieces.
Next, open up your fabric and lay them right sides together and sew along the red lines shown above. Be sure that you are using a stretch stitch for all of your sewing with knits so the seams will give and not break. There are many different kinds of stretch stitches, including a regular zigzag.
Then rearrange the shorts so they look like the photo above and sew along the red line.
Next we’ll add our elastic. First either measure you child’s waist or base the length of your elastic from a pair of shorts that fit your child. Cut your elastic to the correct length, leaving a 1/2″ additional elastic for sewing the ends together. Sew together as shown above.
Place your elastic at the top of the shorts and fold the top of the shorts down and tuck under 1/4″ around the elastic.
Your elastic will be shorter than your shorts, creating some gathering along the band, so first determine where the middle front is on both your elastic and shorts and match and pin them. Do the same for the back and both sides.
Once you have finished pinning, sew along the bottom of the band, below the elastic, gently pulling your fabric tight and smooth as you go. To keep it feeding evenly, I also find it helpful to pull gently on the fabric at the back of the machine as well.
The last step is to hem the bottom of the shorts. I love to finish my hems with a double needle. It makes it look more professional and a double needle is so easy to use. To create a nice even hem, I first press the hem up with my iron.
Then when ready to sew, flip right side out and sew along the right side using a double needle or stretch stich on a single needle. There are a ton of great tutorials on the web for double needles if you need one.
Next we’ll start on the shirt.
Fold your fabric in half and lay your shirt on top, also folded, so that the folded edges line up. Tuck in the sleeve along the seam and cut around your shirt, leaving your preferred seam allowance and hem allowance.
For the back of the shirt, I lay the front piece that I just cut out on top of the fabric and use it as the pattern, keeping the neckline higher as shown.
Next, place right sides together and sew along the shoulders.
Then attach the sleeve by placing it on your shirt, right sides together, and pinning starting in the middle and working your way to the arm pit area on each side. Sew along the raw edge, making sure to smooth out the fabric underneath as you go.
Once you have both sleeves sewn on, lay right sides together, pinning first at the arm pit seam and then down the sleeve and side of the shirt. Sew along the red line shown above. Repeat on the other side.
Now we will finish our neckline with a band. First, cut a strip of fabric double the size you want the finished band to be, plus an additional 1/4″ for the seam allowance. I wanted my finished band to be 1″, so I cut a 2.25″ piece of fabric and made sure it was long enough to fit around my neckline, plus extra to sew together. It’s better to go to big. You can always cut the excess off.
Press your band in half and then starting at the shoulder, lay it with raw edges matching the raw edges on the neckline. Leave about an inch overlapping your shoulder seam. I then put one pin in to get my neck band started, because you will want to pull gently on the band as you sew around your neckline to avoid a loose band on your finished shirt. So get your stitches started and then gently pull on the band, making sure you are not also pulling on the shirt underneath.
Sew your band on until you meet up at the edges. Stop sewing about a 1/2″ before the edges meet, and sew the band together at the point shown in red above.
Sew your band together and then finish sewing it to the neckline.
To finish, top stitch along the bottom of the neckline on your shirt, or use a double needle as I did and straddle the seam. Then hem the bottom of the shirt and your sleeves with a stretch stitch or double needle and you are all set.