I’d like to start off by apologizing. I’m sick right now so while I am striving to be as coherent as possible, I may slip up and not catch it. I would put this off but I’m running out of time. We’re going on vacation again soon, so I need this up. Also, this is just such a quick and easy pattern once you’ve made the pieces whipping up a pair of these is going to take you maybe an hour (especially if you decide to omit the drawstring and go with an elastic waistband!). I’ve made two pairs so far and need to make a third. I’ll probably do that when I get home, but for now my two pairs will suffice! Okay, lets get started!
Last week we left off with drafting our pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric. As I showed you all I serged the edges of my pieces so you’re going to see that in this tutorial. This is a completely optional step but if you have a serger I highly recommend doing this. It makes the pieces a dream to work with and I swear you end up saving so much time. If you do not have a serger no worries, when you’re finished sewing your seams simply go over them with a zig zag stitch making sure you catch the fabric on one side, and that the thread goes over the edge on the other half of the zig zag. You could also use pinking shears.
The first step is going to be putting together one leg. Lay one front piece over one back piece making sure right sides are together. See the pretty design? Yeah, that’s going to go inside and you’re going to sew on the dull/wrong side so you’re working inside out. You’re going to sew the outside of the leg together first (that’s the side I’m pointing to).
Be sure to press your seams. The book says to iron them towards the back panel (that’s the part with the deeper curve). I personally didn’t like that. I sewed these according to the instructions this time, but with my second pair I ironed them open. It makes fitting the drawstring or elastic a little more fiddly, but it’s not a big deal. Do what works for you, just be sure you do press them. It’s very important for making a professionally finished garment. Having twisted seam allowances in store bought clothes is a major pet peeve of mine. So don’t let it happen in something you’re making yourself! Do better than the stores!
The next step will be to line up the inside portion of the legs (that’s the side with the curved part) and sew those together. Do this for both legs. It’ll look a little silly on you’re sewing table to have two legs just sitting there for a bit, but this next part is like magic I swear.
Now this is the part where a lot of beginner sewists get confused. “How do I put these two legs together” they ask. Well, get ready for this. If you’ve sewn before you know you almost always sew right sides together. But to get the pant legs together, with the seam on the inside, you have to turn them right side out! And this is going to feel very tricky and maybe even a little overwhelming, but I promise you, it’s not that hard. And bonus, I’m going to show you pictures of what you should be doing. They always include diagrams for every other part of a pattern but I swear there are none for this part ever. I think that’s what makes it so hard.
Start simple, get your pant legs and lay them like this, right side out. This way you’ll easily see the “front” part of the pants and the “back”.
See what I’ve done here? I’m going to lay them together making sure the curved seam lines up. Then I’m going to take it to my machine and sew them together. Now some of you may have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about pins. Well, that’s because I don’t usually use them. If you’re an advanced sewist you may not need them. If you’re just starting out or are an intermediate sewer then I think you should use them, especially for this part. If you’ve serged your edges then I think it’s much easier to forgo pins. Especially for quilting cottons (which is what I’m using) or flannels. They’re stiff and don’t slide. But if you do need them do not feel bad, pin the heck out of that seam. It’s better to have to do the stop and go thing at the machine a million times to remove the pins (try not to hit them, it’s bad for the machine and you can break your needle).
Now, move this over to the machine and sew that seam! The pattern instructions suggest going over the crotch seam twice to account for extra wear and tear on this spot and I highly encourage that. Do your first seam then go back the the very center of the pants and sew a second line from about halfway down the front to halfway down the back.
Okay, so here you have it! You’re pants are starting to be pants. You could even try them on now just to get a feel for them. Be aware though, they have no waist band yet and they’re a very wide loose fit so they’re just going to fall off of you. But they are officially pants now!
The next step is putting in the button holes for the drawstring. Don’t worry, button holes are not that hard just be sure to practice on a scrap piece first if you’re not sure. Even I did that prior to putting them in these pants and buttonholes are one of my special skills. Doing dry runs on scrap fabric is always a good idea. Now, to do the buttonholes you’re going to want to use interfacing. You can find it at pretty much any sewing store, I actually invested in a bolt of it because I use it a lot. It’s just going to help stabilize the fabric so that over time the buttonholes don’t stretch out of shape or warp. The instructions say to cut a 2″x 2″ square.
Your next step is to iron it to your pants. I think about two inches down but I don’t have the book in front of me so please consult your instructions. You’re going to do this on the front side of your pants. The front side is the side with the shorter curve at the crotch. So look for that, measure from the top of the waistband, and iron it down. Be sure the bumpy side is touching the fabric and the soft side is facing you! Otherwise you’ll be scraping glue off your iron for a very, very long time…
As you can see I ironed my crotch seams open.
The next step is going to be sewing in your button holes. I forget how far down they’re supposed to be, again I don’t have my book with me and I feel too unwell to get up and get it. So please, consult your instructions.
Once you’ve added your buttonholes, cut them open with your seam ripper. This part is a lot of fun. 🙂
Next you need to actually make your waistband. So start by ironing down the top quarter inch. Then you’re going to iron down the next 1 3/4″. This hides that ugly raw (or serged) edge. and makes for a beautiful finished waistband.
A quick tip! If you have trouble iorning down such a small edge, I recommend sewing a quarter inch seam. The you can just fold along that line as you follow behind that hand with your iron!
Now that you’ve ironed this down the whole way, you’re going to want to sew the waistband down. Be sure you catch that folded under edge!
The next step is up to you. You can either make the drawstring or you can hem the pants. I personally think making the drawstring is the right next step. That way you can put the pants on properly and mark where you want to hem them. I don’t show the hemming of my pants, nor will I show adding the decorative border as shown in the book. I did hem them (obviously) but I did not add the border. I wanted to keep this tutorial as simple as possible. Also, there are many, many ways to add a border if you so desire. And one of the most popular ways to make these pants, is to use vintage sheets that have a decorative border to begin with so you don’t have to hem at all. Just be sure if you’re doing that that you account for it in your pattern! I made these with an allowance for a hem. If you’re using a border you don’t want to lose, make the pants the exact right length for you from the beginning. Also, the book recommends using fabric for the border, but it’s just as easy to add ribbon or another type of trim such as lace. Just sew it down over the top of your hem seam!
Here’s how to make the drawstring. First cut a strip of fabric that’s 60″. If you plan to use leftovers from your pants don’t toss them until you’ve taken that strip! You can also use ribbon if you like. I may do that on a future pair but decided to do things “right” for this first pair as much as possible.
Please enjoy the image of my crumpled nearly finished pants underneath my table…
You’re going to need to iron the strip in half lengthwise. Then, once you have that center seam, you need to fold in each half and iron it down to “sandwich” the edges.
I don’t know if you can tell, but you see how I did that here? You also need to fold the edges in. I did not serge this piece because 1. It’s never going to unravel, and 2. It would be too bulky. Now fold that so it’s one long skinny strip and topstitch as close to the edge as you can get.
Grab a safety pin and feed that drawstring through the button holes and voila, you’re pants are finished! As you can see this was really very simple and anyone could pull off these pants in an afternoon.
I love these pants because they’re so comfortable. My husband hates them and calls them clown pants. They are seriously wide and in the future I may make them in a small. Remember, these are the same measurements the whole way down. So the legs are going to be seriously wide. But honestly, it’s what makes them so crazy comfortable. And there are so many ways to personalize them. Use a ribbon instead of making a drawstring. Use different types of fabric, try flannel, fleece, or satin! Heck, if you make the bottoms of these elastic and made the legs out of something shimmery you could have Princess Jasmine pants! This pattern is really perfect for that to be honest. You can add ribbon, or lace as mentioned above to make the decorative border at the bottom hem. You could also create a cuff. Embroider a monogram on the hip, or add an elastic waistband. This is just one of those really simple projects that is easy to do and once you do it you’ll be able to churn out multiple pairs quite quickly. In a weekend you could make several pairs of these. So should you be looking for a handmade Christmas gift for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, whatever, these are perfect. To make them for children you could scan the pattern pieces and scale them down, or simply hand draw them, they’re really not that complicated.
Overall I really liked these pants and I’m happy with them. I’m actually wearing this exact pair I’m showing you right now! I’m sick and they’re so comfortable. So don’t listen to the nay sayers who say they’re too baggy and wide. They’re called lounge pants, not going out pants! No need to dress it up if you’re literally in bed, just be comfortable. And these really, truly, are. I don’t see myself ever using another pajama pant pattern.
I really hope this tutorial/walkthrough of the pattern and drafting process was a help to those feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. As you can see it wasn’t hard. I really like Amy Butler patterns and although I’m not much of a pattern user, I enjoy hers. I do want to offer a word of warning should you be interested in her other clothing patterns. Amy Butler is a tall thin woman who designs clothing for tall thin women. If you do not fit this mold you’ll likely have to do a lot of alterations. If however you do look like that, then congratulations, you’ve finally found a line of patterns that will fit you!
I’m headed out to Boston soon, and will actually be there at the time of this going live. I wanted to have a few posts lined up but sadly I do not. I’ll try to work on that this weekend but as I’m sick I don’t know if it’ll happen. So I might be on a little break. But I’ll be back soon enough with more fun stories to tell and stuff to show you!