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Welcome to my Blog

I am a grandmother to 4 little girls. I blog about the things I make for them, review patterns, provide tutorials on how I've dealt with techniques or problems, which I hope may help others, and give links to the (mostly) free patterns I use. Every so often, I do a 'Best of..' post listing the best free patterns I've found under specific headings - babies, girls, boys etc. Enjoy the Blog!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

More PJs

Time to make more pyjamas!  I wrote about Jane's pyjamas with a kimono style top  here. So now it was the turn of  Fleur, my oldest grand-daughter. She also needed summer pyjamas. The Jereli pants free PDF pattern has come into its own again, this time accompanied by the Izzy Top. 

Izzy top in two sizes. (You'll see why two sizes, later.) The material has colourful balloons, and the yoke is lined with a bright cerise material with little white dots.

Jereli trousers, with a minor modification: fasten-up turn-ups, using fabric to match the Izzy top.

Full details of these pyjamas, made from free patterns, can be found after the jump. I'll also expand on how I made them and hopefully provide some useful tips.

First, the Izzy Top. This lovely free pattern is provided by Teri of Climbing the Willow. It comes in sizes 18 months to 5 years. It is a sweet top, but it also works perfectly for a top for summer pyjamas. So a big thank you to Teri.

There are no particular problems with making it, Teri gives very clear instructions, as well as providing her free PDF pattern. The only thing I will say is that I opted for a size larger than I might have done. The back yoke opens to help get the top over the head. However, the opening does not extend down below the yoke seam. All of our grand-daughters have inherited the family broad shoulders, and although I thought the first top (size 3) might be too loose for Fleur, who is 2 and a half (though tall), in fact, getting her shoulders past that seam was do-able, but slightly tight. So I made her a new top in size 4.


This was no problem at all, because her younger cousin Jane (and Jane's Mummy) had already taken a shine to the top, just to wear as a top. So here's  2 1/2 year-old Fleur in her top (size 4) as part of PJs:

And here's Jane in her Izzy Top, with a pair of trousers. You can see it is quite roomy on her (it's a size 3, and she's only just over 2), but hopefully will fit her a while. And that size wasn't going to fit Fleur for long. It goes equally well with leggings.

A couple of details of making up the Izzy Top:

Here is the gathered skirt part being attached to the yoke:

As you can see, I hand-stitched the inner lining of the yoke, I think it looks neater than over-sewing - but you could over-sew if you preferred.

(Have you noticed I'm left-handed?)

The little tab that can be used with either a button or a press-stud looks so cute! (Give you one guess which I used!)

I have to confess to a bit of cheating on the second top. I was almost out of fabric. I had to "patch" the hem, as some other cutting out had eaten into the pattern line. I don't think it matters too much, as the patch is just within the hem. Phew!

Then I sewed the hem by machine.

Hence,  I've already made two sizes of Izzy tops!  It is a great design. In fact, my daughter (Jane's Mummy) would have liked me to make it fully reversible, I think. The yoke is lined with the same spotty material used for the tab, and having put the top inside out on Jane by mistake one time, she liked the look of it!

Next, the Jereli pyjama trousers, which also come in sizes 18 months to 5 years. Here's the Jereli pattern. You can see I have turned the edges in on the paper pattern below, with small tears to enable the curves to be followed. With three grandchildren to make clothes for, I often economize on effort and tracing paper by tracing different sizes on the same sheet of paper. With the 'flaps out', I can cut trousers to the largest size, with them folded, I can cut a smaller size from the same pattern.

This is a good pattern because it has a longer rear crutch seam than the front crutch seam, and it's just one piece. I've found it works very well for pyjamas.


This time, I didn't make fully reversible trousers, as we are getting to summer. Even in our climate, they don't want sleeping gear that is too warm. However, I wanted turn-ups to allow for growth. I found an idea in the Charley Harper Pajama Pants by Jess at Craftiness is not Optiional. Actually if you were making a size 3T, you could also use her free PDF pattern.

Before I sewed the seams on the legs, I made some straps, or tabs, which would be used to hold the turn-up in place. I measured these by trial and error. They finished up just about an inch and a half longer than the depth of the full turn up (which in turn was about 5" when finished). So c 6 1/2" long finished length. The pieces as cut were therefore just over 13" long, then doubled over and lined with interfacing to make a strong tab to attach press-studs to. These below are from a different project so the proportions are different, but the one on the right shows the tab inside out, with interfacing attached, doubled over right sides facing, and sewn both sides, leaving the top open. The corners have been clipped and the seams trimmed. On the left, the tab has been turned the right way out, poking the corners gently with a thin chop stick or not too sharp scissors.

Next, I made some interfaced reinforcements inside the side leg to give some body to which I could attach the other press-stud half.  These were just pieces of spare fabric about an inch and a quarter wide (just over 3 cm) by c 5 " long (10 cm - 12.5 cm.), with the edges folded under and some iron-on interfacing fitted between the folded edges. (I had to do the placement on the leg by trial and error, once I had attached the tabs, and then they were just over-sewn on to the inside.)

 I cut out the pieces of the turn-up fabric to be just over twice the depth that I wanted the turn-up to be. I also did this by eye, but I think it must have been about 10 and a half inches deep, by the circumference of the bottom of the leg. (I used the Jereli pattern to get this measurement.) I laid it over the bottom of the leg right sides together (and upside down, so it would be the right way up when turned). I inserted the tabs for the press-studs in between the two layers, on the inside of the leg. I didn't take a photo of this, but I used the same idea on the next set of PJ pants, so you can see the idea of the tab trapped between the two layers on this photo. The tab is the bit poking out under the patterned fabric.

I then stitched this bottom seam, and pressed it. I also pressed the turn-up in half, (so it was now just over 5" deep.) and pressed a quarter of an inch under at the raw edge. Then I attached the reinforcement pieces inside. It is easier to do all these fiddly bits while the fabric is still flat and opened out. You could even add the press-studs at this stage if you preferred.

Next, I sewed the inner leg seams, from the crutch down the leg and the turn-up. Next I over-sewed the folded under hem edge of the turn-ups to the seam joining them to the trouser bottoms (leaving the tab hanging free). You can just see a tab peeking out of the leg on the left hand side of the picture below. On the other leg, the turn-up is half turned up, with the tab over it and fastened. 

Doing this seam after making the leg seam is tight on the machine; I can take off part of my sewing machine to make sewing small  circular seams like this easier. If you don't have this option, you could re-think the order of making, or else do this seam by hand.

At this stage, both legs were still separate. It doesn't matter too much when you join them together (as long as you've done the inside leg seam). I used the method of putting one inside the other, with the inside one right side out and the outer one inside out. Then you can just sew a continuous seam. I zigzagged it to finish as I don't have a serger.


Next, I made the waistband, by folding the top under half an inch then 1 and a quarter inch, and pressing, then oversewed all bar a couple of inches. The elastic could then be inserted and the waistband finished off.

Finally, I added one press-stud male half to the ends of the tabs, and two female press-studs over the reinforced parts to give two different lengths for the turn-ups. (Well, three, I suppose: Turned up fully  - nearly 5"; turned up half  - about 2 1/2" turn-ups - right leg below; and not turned up at all - as with the left leg below).

You can see the 'fully turned-up' length on Fleur, below.

I largely followed Jess's method of fastening turn-ups, though not entirely. For a start, I used press-studs on this pair, not buttons. Jess uses buttons and button holes. You could then just use one button, as she suggests, and move it down as the child grows.  I'm not confident with button holes, which is why I used press-studs. However, I did take note of Jess's comments about checking the direction of the pattern. Because my turn-ups were made of two layers of fabric, I made sure the pattern is the right way up, turned up or not. Jess also sewed the inner leg seams and sewed the turn-ups into a circles before attaching them. Either her way or mine works.

Here's the whole outfit. Fleur's wearing the legs fully rolled up at the moment,(see the tab at the side?) but they can be let down to half a turn-up, and no turn-up The top is not too tight fitting, either, having gone for a size four, so I'm hoping these should last her a while.

POSTSCRIPT. More than 2 years later: these pyjamas have stood the test of time. Below, they are now seen as hand-me-downs for Fleur's younger sister, Rose. And still doing well!


  1. Fabulous!!! You should be so proud.

    1. Thank you - not sure whether you meant I should be proud of my work, or of my grandchildren, but I am proud of both!