“Are all your items going to be quilted?”, a friend asked.
I didn’t even realize that I was just dabbling in one area of sewing — I could see why she’d asked this. I was creating quilts of all sizes. I was making pillowcases and cushion covers, which aren’t quilted but they all fell under one category — the Home Decor Department. *yawn*
So at that point, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and into a pair of comfortable party PJs. <– see what I did there. I had this free pattern downloaded for a while but had no plans to do anything with it. I had an interest in making clothes but feared the quality wouldn’t be there if I gave it a go.
Quilting is the gateway to sewing clothes. Or maybe it’s the other way around. -Me
*Gasp!* I’m not sure this fabric could be used for anything other than a pair of PJs so I was a bit miffed by this warning. Later though, I came to the realization that the fabric probably wasn’t fire retardant and that as long as I didn’t wear my party pants near an open flame, I’d be fine. I bought three meters.
Cutting out the Pattern
Firstly, I must give credit to Cloud 9. They provide this pattern for free and I have to say it’s the perfect sewing project for the beginner-sewer or like me, the n00by-garment-sewer.
Once you’ve printed out the pages of your pattern pdf, tape them all together. The pattern ends up being ONE piece that you flip over and create a mirror image of, for a total of two pieces. Your pants consist of two legs essentially. Easy-peasy sewing project, right?
Next, just follow the straightforward instructions listed on your pattern…but I have a few recommendations.
Let’s make these PJs even better by:
- Using fabric that has a touch of stretch or a lighter cotton. I used a heavier quilter’s quality cotton and my pants are a bit stiff (no give) but this may ease up over time. Cloud 9 suggests these fabrics: Cirrus Solids, broadcloth, voile, annel, baby wale corduroy, double gauze, and knit. I don’t know what half of these fabric types are but if you go fabric shopping, check the bolt labels and if they have any of these names + you like the design, giddy up!
- By using an elastic waistband or a combo of a tie and elastic. The pattern suggests using an elastic waistband OR a tie to keep your pants up but when I used just the twill tape, my poor pants didn’t stay on when untied. I would recommend making your waistband with both a tie and elastic for the most professional look. If you look at any PJs you’ve bought from a store, they have both an elastic waistband and a tie for the ultimate fit.
- Adding proper buttonholes. If you do opt to just do a tie or a combo of both, I would highly recommend making proper button holes where your ties exit. This would be done with a machine but I have heard of some people hand-stitching this area; seems like a lot of work though. Because I only used the twill tape, I made some serious tears in my fabric just by adjusting the pants a few times. This might be for a level-up-sewing-player but a lot of the newer machines now come with button attachments where your machine will be able to whip through this task perfectly.
- Check that length. I’m 5’8 so these pants were a bit too short so make sure you get the length you want. Cloud 9 even suggests making a pair with fabric you don’t care about before you use the good stuff.
Moral of the Sewing Story
Things I learned from my first go at garment-sewing:
- The fabric you buy for your projects seem to be of much better quality than the clothes you buy at stores
- It’s a lot easier than you think to create clothes and for some reason my mind is still boggled at the fact you can make.your.own.clothes — *wha*?!
- It can be a bit more expensive for the fabric, especially if you include your labour, but it’s one-of-a-kind and you can make the item fit your perfect specifications
- So much more care has been put into something you’ve made, rather than something made in Bangladesh or Cambodia in horrendous work-conditions. Check out this documentary to learn the real cost of cheap fashion.