Black flannel pyjama bottoms

James isn’t normally the pyjama sort, but it’s been particularly cold this winter and he’s been in need of some PJ bottoms for quite a while. He only has one pair and it’s kinda sad to be wearing Santa Homer Simpson in February:

(Note to family – please don’t take this as a plea to send more. He really only needs and wants this one pair!)

So I took pity on him and said I’d sew him a new pair to wear, and Burda magazine 12-2010 #134 was particularly handy. There are tons and tons of unisex pyjama trouser patterns out there, but this one was easy to find, and I know Burda’s sizing is so consistent that a 52 would fit him fine.

We were going to use the grey knit fabric we bought at Ditto, but I greatly underestimated the width of that so there was nowhere near enough (totally my fault as Gill asked “are you sure that’s enough?”). In a sea of insipid cutsey prints, Chawla’s came through with this solid black cotton flannel for cheap (3m for £11 shipped and I’ve got extra for jacket interlining if I like now, too). Chawla’s may not have the widest selection of natural fibre fabrics, but they are consistently the fastest shippers ever – I ordered this on a Tuesday, and it arrived in Thursday’s post!

We did make some changes to Burda’s pattern, though:

  • He wanted an elastic waist rather than drawstring
  • He didn’t want the fly opening
  • I also decided not to use the waistband piece, but instead added 7cm to the tops of the trouser pieces to just fold down over the elastic.

(All these photos have been lightened so you can see the seamlines. And err, wrinkles)

I used my go-to elastic method here as it’s really comfortable because the elastic is secured to the fabric but doesn’t touch the skin (I’ve used this previously on all my leggings and pyjama bottoms!). You don’t get the uneven bunching and twisting like you do by just threading the elastic through a waistband casing, which I really hate!

To attach waistband elastic my way:

  1. Overlap the ends of the elastic so they form an “O”, and zigzag a bunch on the sewing machine to make sure it’s secure
  2. With pins, mark the elastic into quarters and align these with the CF, CB, and side seams on the trousers.
  3. Use the overlocker/serger to carefully attach the elastic onto the top of the wrong side of the trousers, being very careful not to cut the elastic with the knives!
  4. Flip the elastic down inside so you don’t see the it anymore on the inside of the trousers and the overlocked edge is at the bottom.
  5. Coverstitch/Twin needle/Zigzag from the right side

(Stretching the elastic as you sew for all of the above)

The result looks a bit like this:

I’m never quite sure with Burda since I always have to lengthen their trousers, so I gave these a big hem allowance just in case, but the leg length was just about right. He thought these could do with an extra inch of rise if you’re sewing them as intended with the separate waistband, though (I was able to increase the rise as the 7cm I added weren’t entirely used by the elastic width).

He actually wore these all day on Sunday, without even being asked to for the photoshoot. I think that counts as a win!

…though he did sheepishly admit he’d really like a pocket on these (after initially telling me he didn’t want any) so now I’ve got to add a quick patch pocket with a snap closure on the back next time they’re washed. Boo!


Since I end up posting about a week behind real-time due to photoshoots, I thought I’d share what I was up to last night, since I took an iPhone photo to send to Pip (who gave me the machine as a wedding gift) anyway. I’m working on my first version of the Jalie Jeans pattern (in a really cheap stretch denim) and I’m putting my vintage, hand crank Singer machine to good use with all the topstitching!

It does SUCH a nice topstitch! It goes through eight layers of denim like there’s nothing there at all, without any weirdness on the bobbin threads like my usual machine…. It’s kinda tricky getting used to sewing with just our left hand, but it’s so quiet I’ve taken to calling it my Stealth Machine!

And somehow I ended up with more posts than days in the week this week, so next week you can look forward to… a silk jersey tunic! the March KnipMode! a new pdf pattern! Four new Patroneses! my Walthamstow rundown! and (possibly, if I finish them in time for a photoshoot) my Jalie jeans!

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