I have made the whole family Christmas shorts. I’m pretty sure we are going to look ridiculous Christmas Day but it’ll make some awesome Instagram and Facebook posts. Sorry in advance for the spam.
I made myself some very comfy DIY droppie PJ pants and I thought you might like to make some too.
This is a project that will suit beginner sewers. Elasticated pants are about as easy as sewing gets – promise. Sewing cotton PJs means fairly inexpensive fabric and if things go awry, well, you’re only wearing them to bed. Or Christmas Day.
I’ll also show you how to create a pattern from a pair of pants you already own.
I really want you to be happy when you sew these up. So I’ll point out some tips as we go to help you remain happy.
- Cotton fabric – 2m of quitting fabric (width 112cm) will make up to a size 14 pair of cropped droppies. You’ll probably have some left over. You can get lots of different prints at Spotlight.
- Matching thread
- Wide elastic
- Some A3 paper, wrapping paper (you may have some lying around this time of year) or tracing paper to make the pattern with. If using A3, tape four pieces together.
- Sewing machine
- Something to thread the elastic with – a safety pin or loop turner.
- Overlocker – but if you don’t have one, either cut your fabric with pinking shears or finish each side seam with zigzag stitch. It’s just to keep the interior seams looking neat and making sure they don’t unravel in the wash. Which may not make you happy.
- A pair of elasticated droppie pants that you feel comfortable (and happy) in.
How to draft
- Fold the pants in half so that the side seams meet on one side and the inside leg seams meet on the other. You’ll see what I mean from the pic below.
- Trace around them, 2.5 cm from the edge, which should result in about a 1.5cm seam allowance. If you are using a stretch pair for your template, add an extra 1.5cm again to account for the difference in material. For the top (where the elastic casing will go) trace 4cm away from the template droppies. Do the same for the hem line – which will depend entirely on what length you would like your pants. Decide that against your body and then add the hem allowance.
- Cut out your traced pattern
- Now, if you don’t have a pair of droppies, you can use a comfortable pair of shorts and add 10cm from the side seam to the top of the pattern. See below.
Note: Because they are droppie pants, the front and back can be cut from the same pattern piece. Which makes it even easier.
Cutting out fabric
- You need to cut four pieces of fabric from the pattern piece you just made.
- If there is a repeated pattern in your fabric, you’ll want to make sure it goes the right way (on all pieces). You don’t want to fold the fabric in quarters and cut, as you’ll end up with two upside down pieces. This will not make you happy. The easiest thing to do is to cut the material in half. Then fold each piece in half and place on top of each other. You can avoid all of this if you buy fabric with no wrong side and a pattern that doesn’t face any particular way.
- Make sure that the print is facing in the right direction as you put your pattern pieces down.
- Once you have checked it’s all good, pin and cut. You can cut the four layers at once if your scissors are up to it.
- Thread your machine up and make sure that your bobbin has plenty of the right colour thread. Otherwise you will have to re-thread mid-project and this will make you unhappy. If this is all new to you, check your user manual as to how to thread your machine.
- Whenever we sew, we want the wrong sides of the fabric to be facing us and we want to right sides of the fabric to be facing each other.
- The first thing you want to sew is the two crotch pieces together. (Yes, we say words like “crotch” when we sew). Overlock or zigzag stitch to finish the seams. Clip any loose threads as you go and press all seams immediately after sewing them. Believe me, this will make you happier in the long run.
- Now place the two resulting pieces together and pin at the place where all the seams meet (as per picture below).
- Sew the inner leg seam. Overlock or zigzag stitch to finish the seam. Clip and press.
- Sew the outer leg seams. Overlock or zigzag stitch to finish the seam. Clip and press.
- Oh wow, sort of looks like a pair of pants.
- Overlock or zigzag stitch the hems and the top of the pants.
- Press a hem allowance of 4cm (or whatever suits you). Just check that they are even as you press. Sew the hems. Here are some excellent tips on sewing hems.
- Press an elastic casing allowing of 4cm at the top of your pants.
- Sew the casing down, making sure that you leave enough room for the elastic to fit.
- Wrap the elastic around your waist (or hips if that’s where you want your pants to sit) and cut accordingly. Cut the elastic – please don’t cut yourself.
- Thread the elastic in the casing. You want one of these loop turner tools. It will make you happy. You just have to push the elastic through and then pull it through from the other side. If you don’t have one of those tools, you can thread elastic with a safety pin. But I’ll warn you – it won’t make you as happy.
- Once you have the elastic through, sew the two ends of the elastic together. A zigzag stitch is a good idea. Go back and forward a few times. Before you do, make sure that the elastic hasn’t rolled during the threading. If it has rolled, and you stitch, you will be unhappy.
- Sew the gap in the casing shut. Remember to change your stitch back to straight stitch. Otherwise you will be unhappy.
- Turn the pants the right way around and wear them proudly. (And happily of course)
If anyone can follow the above instructions, I’d love to see your finished pants. Have fun sewing! Let me know if you’d like some more see and sew posts.