Sooo, I had a bright idea to make my entire family pajama pants for Christmas. My family usually comes from all over on Christmas and for the last few years, I've made pajama pants. I started thinking about this early this fall and in early November I blasted it out in the family group chat ( do you have a family group chat that stays lit?) and the consensus was yes, please.
Last year, I took measurements from my extended family and made the pants a day or two before Christmas, it wasn't bad, but I wanted to do this earlier so I could make some other stuff. There are few things I learned from the last two years, the first was don't use fleece, Caribbean people are tropical but they don't like to be hot or cold but definitely not hot (at least my in-laws didn't) and fleece was too hot for them (insert eye roll). I don't mind fleece pants because I'm typically cold but whatevs, they were OK with flannel so that's good! Second, start early, I say it loud for the people in the back, START EARLY. I did both things this year, but I learned a few more things that I'd like to share.
I had to make eleven pair of pants in various sizes, here are a few thoughts on the process if you want to make Christmas or bulk items for your family or to sell:
Figure out how many people you will be sewing for and their sizes. This is the hardest one, when I sew for people who sew, they tend to be better at giving their measurements, but other times, you get answers like " I wear a medium". I ask a few questions about where they've shopped recently and I I took a look at their size chart. My sister in law likes Macy's so when she told me her size, I went to the Macy's size chart and got a good idea of what size the pattern should be. Pajama pants are easy to make because of all the ease but still, do a little research. If making something more fitted it's always good for them to get their measurements taken. Vanity sizing and pattern sizes are so different it takes a little work to translate "standard" sizes so you can make a pattern or draft your own.
Pick a pattern. I wanted the same pattern for all sizes or a very similar pattern. this was to ensure construction was simple and would reduce confusion for me. I don't typically make clothes for other people and I get confused a lot with so many of the same things floating around my sewing room. I traced each size since it was only two pattern pieces. I used a child's pattern for the 3T/4T size. I added a basic pocket pattern piece from another pattern to my pants, but here's a free inseam pocket pattern.
For the large and extra large, I did adjust the pattern to avoid plumbers butt, I added length to the back crotch length. I did this after trying on a pair for the guys (I only added length in back for the ladies) I gave some more booty room. For the smaller sizes, I lowered the front crotch about two inches tapering to nothing at the side seams. I did a length adjustment on my pants because apparently, I'm a giant (insert quadruple eye roll).
You can draft your own pattern using pajama pants you already own, you can grab a free PDF like this one from 4 out of 5 patterns, Life Sew Savory, or use an Indie or Big Four pattern. I used an easy pattern from Walmart, here's a tutorial from Joann crafts and fabric.
Calculate how much fabric and notions you need. I did simple math for this, on average for these pants, it took 2 1/2 yards of fabric. I took 2.5 yards x 11 ( number of pants) and used this for my yardage. I add an extra two few yards of just in case, I purchased 29.5 yards of fabric. I wanted to have more than enough so I just used the higher yardage amount. When I first picked out fabric I purchased two different colors, but decided to go with black for the majority of the pants. This fabric is quilting cotton, so, it should be too hot (insert eye roll), I would have loved a voile, but I couldn't find a Christmas print for less than $3 a yard.
I did the same thing for notions, I added how much elastic and twill (for drawstrings) I needed, about 1.75-2 yards of twill seemed to be good for draw strings. I purchased twill in bulk, you can get it in the trim section , you can also get the elastic cut (individual packages are little more pricey) at Joann and use a coupon, or you can purchase them on Amazon or Ebay, I used 5/8" twill for the draw string.
Buying the trim/notions in bulk was cheaper. I purchased the fabric on Black Friday so I purchased it for about $2.50 a yard. I like to plan ahead so I get Christmas fabric on sale. This takes us into the the next point.
Pick your fabric. I picked a unisex fabric with a non directional print. Listen, aint no body got time for pattern matching (insert triple eye roll). In the past I have purchased different fabrics for each person, but this was easier for batch sewing. I got to a gender neutral print, I had to order online at Joanns because of the amount of yardage. Who doesn't like gingerbread girls and boys, lol??
|Used a washable fabric marker to mark the inseam with size and if it was front or back.|
|Tags and size label|
- I Pre-washed all my fabric.
- I used an assembly line for construction, I did the inseams of a few pair, then serged those seams, then I sewed the crotches, then surged, etc, etc..
- Instead of sewing buttonholes for the drawstring, I left an opening in center front about 2.5 inches down from the top. I reinforced the opening by sewing a box around it ( faux button hole lol) and fed the twill through the opening after I added the elastic.
- I purchased size labels from Amazon, my package ranged from XS-XXL. This was helpful since I had so many of the same size.
- I used a fabric pen to note the front, back and size of each pattern piece (there were only two pattern pieces). I cut and sewed all mediums together, large together, etc.
- After I was finished, I printed care labels/tags to add a little personal touch. The tags have how to care for the pants, the person's name and the size. Sometimes I write a little note on them too. I can't find the website where I downloaded my tags (they were from my crochet days) Here's a link to free care instruction tags.
- I wound two bobbins and changed my needle and I cleaned out my serger.
- I serged all seams together.
- I added one pocket to all the pants, I thought it was a nice touch.
- I pegged the leg two inches front and back at the hem, my family likes the modern look.
- For my pants, I used a pattern with a cuff and added piping to the cuff as a design feature.
- I kept track of my progress on my whiteboard.
So, enough of that, how about you, did you or will you do any sewing for your family/friends during the holiday?