We don’t just have pyjama days anymore. My little boy in particular, likes to have whole pyjama weeks since we started lockdown. Pyjamas are the most comfortable clothes that we own, and right now comfort is very much sought after. Because of this we have found ourselves needing a few more sets of pyjamas now that they were being worn both day and night and into the humid summer.
As the weather was warming up we really wanted some nice short pyjamas to help with being as comfortable as possible in the heat, but all of the shops were sold out online (I assume because of everyone having pyjama weeks) and fresh on the success of my self-sewn slippers I decided that I should try to make some pyjamas myself. My son really loves the deep fabric waistband style of knit cotton trousers that brands such as Maxamorra make, so I looked around for a shorts style as close to that as possible and found the MadeByMe shorts pattern on Etsy to print at home.
The pattern seems to take a lot less fabric than the simple straight wide leg style shorts, which allowed me to squeeze more pieces out of the fabric that I had (fabric, by the way, that I bought when my little boy was less than a year old, when I was put off sewing by a simple length of fold-over-elastic (a story for later*).
Because I was able to spend a bit of time shuffling my pattern pieces around my fabric, I was able to squeeze two pairs of shorts and a pyjama vest out of the fabric I had, though I cut the fabric so tight that I had to make all of the bands and shorts cuffs from some contrast ribbing.
Buoyed up by making something wearable and practical I decided to cut into the only other bit of knit fabric that I possessed: some dinosaur fabric that I also bought for baby clothes before getting too nervous. I managed to squeeze another couple of pairs of shorts, a pyjama vest and a short sleeved pyjama top from this second piece.
The second pair of pyjama shorts (which are currently in the wash) are almost identical to the ones above with the one difference being that the shorts cuffs are made from the dinosaur fabric, to prevent as much fabric waste as possible.
The pyjama vests for both sets are made using another MadeByMe pattern for ‘tank top & shorts’. The patterns I have tried from this seller seem to be well produced and true to size, with some patterns providing layered PDFs for single size printing.
Because my little boy is tall and slim, I have used the size 5-6 shorts but used the age 2-3 waistband. Otherwise, the patterns are made to the pattern specifications for the 5-6 size.
The T-shirt is a mod of the vest pattern, adapting the pattern pieces to widen the shoulders and adjust the neckline very slightly, and to add a short sleeve.
I have sewn all of the pyjama pieces almost entirely using the overlocker, an achievement of which I am quite proud, not for the element of skill but of bravery. Friends, I have even had to buy new thread cones because I have been using it so much! I only swapped to the standard sewing machine to finish the bottom hems with a twin needle.
I still have refinements to make in trying to find the balance between the tunnelling and the degree of stretch I want from the twin needle, and trying the woolly nylon (which I have owned for ages and always forget about) in the bobbin, but these are mere tweaks. For now we have lots of lovely pyjamas and some more pyjama weeks ahead.
*Four years ago I was making an envelope-neck style t-shirt for a 6 month old and had no overlocker, twin needle or knit bias binding, etc, and somebody told me that the best thing to use was fold-over elastic. I really couldn’t stand working with that stuff and found it so bulky on such a tiny garment that I decided sewing children’s clothing was not for me. A silly thought, I know, and it has taken me until now, until a scarcity of pyjamas of all things, to rectify this wrongthink.