Avoid these 5 Mistakes When Making Christmas PJ Pants
Just for clarification, I’m not a professional in the sewing department. I’m not a novice either. Somewhere between those two is where I see myself. If you’re totally new to sewing, this is not the place you want to come to get all the basics. If you’re a perfectionist or plan on making PJ pants for sale, this might help you to avoid dumb mistakes I make when sewing. Do perfectionists make dumb mistakes? (Or are they just amazing at covering up their mistakes.)
PJ (lounge) Pants are part of our Christmas tradition. If you haven’t made Christmas PJ pants before, this year is a great year to start. It doesn’t have to take a long time if you are willing to dive in and make it happen. Consider inviting a friend to do it with you—especially if you are new to the sewing world.
Here are some tutorials on making PJ pants to check out:
- Christmas Eve Pajama Pants — I like the ruffles as cuffs idea.
- Easy Sew Drawstring Pants — I like the drawstring top.
- Easy-to-sew Pajama Pants — I like the supplies list at the top (with suggested yardage) and how she includes a cuff at the bottom.
If you know a little bit about sewing (like you can sew a straight-ish line), and want to make Christmas pants for you, your family, or give as a gift, here are some helpful tips.
Avoid these 5 mistakes
- Waiting until crunch time to start your project. Sure, you’re busy. But waiting until crunch time will take stress to a new level. I’ve done this more times that I can count. Procrastination is a not a gift you give yourself. Procrastination feels great at the moment, but it’s a cruel punisher in the end. I normally put off because I over think and turn simple projects into monsters. But when I’ve decided to do something, monster or not, I’m going to need to face it. Often, the monster is one part of the project I don’t enjoy. In sewing, I don’t enjoy getting the fabric ready. Ironing, laying out the pattern, and cutting. Ugh.
- Not getting the fabric ready. I don’t like to iron or lay out the pattern, but skipping this step could make the fabric line up properly. Flannel or fleece PJ pants are pretty forgiving. If the fabric has a printed pattern, notice if direction matters as you lay out your PJ pattern on top of the fabric.
- Not buying enough material. Over estimate, if you can, on the fabric and elastic. If you have little ones, both the front and back can fit on folded length of fabric. Bigger kids and adults will need more yardage. If you do not have enough fabric, consider adapting the project to shorts instead of pants or use a coordinating second fabric for a cuff.
- Using the wrong pattern. Instead of using a printed pattern, I used another pair of pants as a template. Using pants as a template is not a mistake unless you don’t consider the fabric and fit of the pants. If the pants you are using as a pattern have a tight fit and use a stretchy fabric but your PJ pants fabric is not stretchy, the PJ pants will fit tight like your pattern but without the stretchiness. One work-around (if you’ve already cut your fabric) is to adjust the seam allowance in the, uh-hem, snug areas. Instead of using a wrong pattern, find a pair of pants that better matches how you want the PJ pants to fit. Of course, buying a pattern will have all those details of size. Pre-made patterns will tell you how much material you need too.
- Not checking the bobbin. When I am sewing a lot, I forget to check the bobbin thread. Sometimes it’s not a problem. The problem comes when I’m tasting the sweet victory of a project completion and discover my beautiful sewing didn’t happen because my bobbin thread ran out.
Keep these 3 ideas in mind when you make a mistake
- Mistakes are normal. Most mistakes are recoverable. If you don’t know how to adjust your project, call a sewing friend or do a search. If you ran into this problem, it’s likely someone else has too.
- The seam ripper is your friend. The seam ripper lets you undo your sewing mistakes. I wish there was a seam ripper in life. Life doesn’t give you do-overs like the seam ripper can with sewing.
- The recipients of your PJ pants will probably not notice the mistakes you made. They’ll be happy and love your gift—it’s not every day someone makes clothes just for them. You are giving a gift unique, priceless gift. Perfection isn’t necessary.
What mistakes have you made when sewing?
Help us all by sharing your sewing mistakes (and ways to avoid them) in the comments below.