As I mentioned before, I am doing a pajama sew-along with some twitter sewing buddies. We all come from a variety of sewing experiences and hobbies (quilting, crafting, garment sewing), and we will be working through it slowly to help the newer seamstresses out. I know some of my readers are intimidated by this type of sewing pattern, so I’ll be taking pictures as I make mine and explain the details of how to use sewing patterns as I go along. I think you will be surprised by just how easy they come together.
Why Pajama Pants?
They are simple in construction, and they have a generous amount of “ease” so that fitting isn’t really an issue, and even if they look more “homemade” than “handmade”, you never have to wear them in public.
Our group chose to work with Simplicity 9505, which was on sale recently for $1.99. Cha-ching! If you trot yourself into your local pattern store, you can dig through their filing cabinets yourself or ask for help from one of those excellent cutting counter ladies.
Taking a look at the pattern envelope.
Let’s break down all the info found on the envelope. All sewing patterns have this information on them, but they might be in slightly different places depending on the brands.
On the front, you will find the pattern number and the size range included in that particular envelope, and maybe some line drawings to get a better idea the type of garment this is. We will get to which size to choose in a minute, but make sure you walk out of the store with the right one.
The back really gets down to the nitty-gritty. Most importantly for now, it will let us know which size to choose and how much material to buy.
Pant sizes are determined by your hip measurement. (See How to Take Measurements) Mine is a 44 1/2″ which plops me into the size L range. (yellow arrow and highlighting)
Now that I know my size, I can pick out my fabrics. The envelope gives recommended fabrics (red arrow), all of which are light-weight wovens (i.e. no knits or fleece). Pajama pants work nicely with lots of fabric types, but the different types will drape differently. I picked a cotton seersucker, super light and cool, and a little bit drapey. I think it will be a nice choice for this summer.
How Much Fabric?
The lined drawings of the pants are labeled G. In the G row (green highlighting) and size L column (yellow highlighting), it lists 2 5/8ths yards of 45 inch wide fabric.
(If you want shorts instead of pants, look in the H row instead.)
Don’t forget the other supplies!
The envelope also lists “thread” as a required notion (purple highlighting). You can ignore the notions listed for C, D, E, and F. There is also elastic requirements hiding underneath the fabric yardages (purple highlighting). I know, that was a silly spot for it. I almost missed it too.
Another handy bit of information
One more thing, the pattern envelope lists some finished garment measurements. These are handy because you can check to see how much wearing “ease” the garment has and whether you might need to make some adjustments to the pattern to fit you.
For example, it lists a finished hip size of 48 1/2 inches for size L (blue highlighting). Remember I am 44 1/2 inches in my hips, which means I will have 4 inches of ease on my pants. Nice and roomy.
It also lists a finished side length of 42 inches. Comparing that length with other pajama pants of mine, I know I will want to extend the length of the pant leg by a couple of inches. I will need to buy a bit more fabric for that extra length. Wasn’t that handy to know while shopping for fabric?
Next time, we will open up the envelope and prepare our pattern and fabric pieces.
Any more questions reading a pattern envelope?