How I Sew My Own Pajamas

I’ve always had a hard time finding store-bought pajamas that fit me well, so about a year ago, I started making my own, and I’ve been really pleased with the results.

Getting Started

The first step was finding the right pattern. I knew that I wanted boxer short bottoms and a pull-on tank top. I searched through all the pattern books at my local JoAnn’s, and settled on McCall’s M6848.

mccalls pajama pattern 2

The suggested fabrics are all silky polyesters, but I knew that I wanted something that had a little more structure, so I decided to work with quilting cottons. JoAnn’s has started selling nice cottons, but my favorite source is still Hawthorne Threads.

For this pair, I decided to make the top out of Anna Maria Horner’s Tangle in Moss and the bottoms in Joel Dewberry’s Tartan in Aquamarine.

As you can see, I like my fabrics to “go,” but not necessarily “match.” Sometimes I will buy two fabrics from the same line, but most of the time I choose two fabrics that coordinate. I normally do some kind of floral with a geometric. I also pay attention to the scale of the pattens – in this case, the floral is smaller, and the plaid is a larger scale. Together, they make a cute pajama set.

Customizing the Pattern

I decided to make the A top and D bottoms. I like the racerback cut of the top, and the bottoms were the simpler of the two choices.

mccalls m6848 view A and D

I am 5’9″, and part of my issue with store-bought clothes is that the tops are almost always too short; this pattern was no different. I knew I wanted to add 6 inches to the length of the pattern, so after I cut it out, I cut along the lengthen or shorten line.

I carefully placed the pattern on some excess tissue pattern paper, and measured six inches in on both sides. Once I was sure my measurement was correct, I taped the two halves of the top to the new middle section, and carefully cut the new piece so that it matched with the original pieces.

adding length to patterns

I repeated that same process on the back of the pajama top.

Putting Together the Top

When it comes to sewing the pieces together, I normally just follow the directions that come with the pattern, but there is one cool trick that my mom taught me a few years ago that I now use every time: French seams. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I hate leaving raw seams inside a garment, and French seams solve that problem.

They are so easy to do! The pattern calls for 5/8 inch seam allowance. Instead of following that, I first sew the side and shoulder seams wrong sides together using a 1/4 inch seam.

quarter inch seamsquarter inch seams

I iron the seams and flip the shirt inside out so that the right sides are together. I then sew those same seams again, this time using a 3/8 inch seam. The raw seam is now hiding inside that little pocket I just made, and I have still created a 5/8 seam: 1/4 + 3/8 = 5/8.

creating french seamsfinished french seams

Putting Together the Bottoms

For the boxer shorts, there are just two things that I change.

To finish the seams, I use super seams. I learned how to do them from Made by Rae, and they are amazing. You can go to her blog to read how to do them, but this is how they look when you are finished.

super seams on boxer shorts

Homemade clothes don’t come with tags, so it’s not always easy to tell which side is the front and which is the back. When I was a kid, my mom used to stitch a thick line in the back of the waistband, but I wanted to do something a little cuter, so I decided to put a yo-yo flower in the front. I bought my yo-yo maker at JoAnn’s. It is so easy to use, and it adds a cute little element to the bottoms.

materials for making a yo yo flowerfinished  yo yo in hand

This is what it looks like on the shorts:

yo yo flower on boxer shorts

The End Results

Here they are finished! Aren’t they precious!

homemade pajamashomemade pajamashomemade pajamas

Here are two other pairs that I previously made using that same pattern. This most recent pair is my seventh. Can you tell I love these pajamas? I hope you like them!



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