DIY tutorial: PJ trousers!

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Fabric we bought for the PJ trousers, including matching his & hers sheep jersey ones!

So after my previous post about It was my first time making trousers of any kind, so needless to say, I was slightly apprehensive about how it would all turn out. I had consulted my trusty ol’ DIY Couture, but some of the instructions were slightly confusing to follow, so I decided to mostly wing it my way.

So here’s how I set about making the Mister’s first pair of PJ trousers.

Materials:

Fabric
A pair of trousers that fit you well in size an length as a pattern guide
Elastic (wide or thin, depending on your preference)
Pencil or tailor’s chalk
The usual (fabric scissors, pins, sewing machine)

1. To start off, you’ll need a pair of old trousers you can either take apart or a comfy pair you like the length and size of as your guide. The OH needed a new pair because his were falling apart, so I just unpicked one of them

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2. I unpicked the hem on the legs as well as the elastic along the waistband as I was going to re-use it, seeing as how the length of the elastic was what the OH wanted. Unpicking these also gave me a better idea of how much fabric I needed. So to measure how much fabric you need, fold your trousers in half an pull out the crotch point – this will give you the width of each piece (if you want a slightly looser fit around the middle, add on 10cm, this will be explained later) – then measure the length of the trousers, making sure to leave enough length for the hem and the elastic waistband. For example, with the 2cm-wide elastic I had, I needed to fold the fabric over to hide the elastic and allow an extra bit. In this case, I added on an extra 3cm for the waistband and 4cm for the hem (2cm hem rolled under twice).

3. Once you’ve got your length of fabric, fold it over along the selvedge so the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Then with the pair of guide trousers still folded in half, place this carefully on the fabric where you want it – this will take place of a pattern. If you want, you can always draw a pattern on baking paper first and do it the usual way.

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4. To determine how much fabric I’d need for the waistband, I measured the required width and made interval marks with pencil (the white tailor’s chalk I had didn’t show up, I need to buy coloured tailor’s chalk!) along the new waistband edge

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5. Then allowing extra fabric for seam allowance, I carefully drew around the folded trousers – this will make up my front trouser pieces. I then joined these lines to the interval marks along the waistband so I’ve got the pieces I need

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6. Where you would normally pin the pattern pieces to the fabric, I haven’t done this with the PJ trousers a a guide because it was too thick. So once I’ve drawn the pieces I need, I pinned the two layers of fabric along the lines I drew

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7. Now you’re ready to cut the pieces along the lines – you’ve now got your front pieces. To avoid confusion with the back pieces, I stuck and pinned post its with notes to remind me which were the front pieces

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8. Do the same for the back pieces, but to leave a bit of room to allow for your backside, at the pointed edge of the crotch piece, measure an additional 10cm from this point and alter your lines to accommodate this before cutting. Once I labelled the front and back pieces I cut, I used these as patterns for the blue sheep jersey fabric so I don’t have to repeat the process later on

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9. I then matched the right sides of the front pieces together and pinned the top curve of the middle (ie the top part of the sides with the crotch point)

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10. Sew this top bit only

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11. Not that the white thread shows up in the photo very well, but if you think about trousers you wear, this will form the top lower abdomen part of your trousers

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12. I used my pinking shears along the edge I just sewed, I like to do this as I go along, it’s more difficult to trim edges at the end

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13. Now pin the top sections of the back pieces together and sew them like you did with the front pieces and use the pinking shears along the edges

14. Once that’s done, you’ll have your 2 pieces – front and back. I started with pinning the inner seams together

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15. Again, sew along the edges – I made sure to do back-stitches around the curve of the crotch for added strength – then used pinking shears along the stitching line

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16. Repeat the pin, sew and trim with pinking shears steps with the outer seams

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You should now be able to see your trousers taking shape!

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17. As the waistband is trickier to tackle than the trouser leg hems, I started on this first. Still working on the wrong side of the fabric, pin the ends of the elastic to one of the outer seams, slightly lower than the top edge of the fabric, then finding the halfway point of the elastic pin this point to the other outer seam. Fold the edge of the fabric over the elastic and pin securely

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18. Now between the pinned sections, find the halfway marks on each half of the fabric and elastic and pin again – these should be at the 1/4 points of the elastic. Repeat this process again so you’ve got pins along the elastic in 8 points. You should find there’s excess fabric and it doesn’t line up properly with the elastic – this is okay, because that will form the gather on your waistband to allow for stretching when you pull them on.

19. When you’re ready, start with one of the outer seam points and secure the fabric under the needle of the sewing machine by inserting the needle into the fabric. Hold this point tight and finding the next point you’ve pinned on the elastic, stretch this section so the fabric lines up with the length of the elastic, then sew the folded over edge of the fabric to the elastic. Once you’ve done the top, it should look like this:

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20. Now, fold the elastic over so that it’s now hidden under the fabric and repeat the process of pinning at each 1/8 section along the elastic, starting with the outer seams and working your way around. This time though, you’ll need to pin the top and bottom edges of the elastic.

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21. Repeat the process of stretching of the fabric and sewing along the top, working on each 1/8 section until you’ve gone all the way around. Then do it again for the bottom edge. It should look like this when you’re finished:

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Clever, right? I know I’ve definitely been working out my arm muscles, stretching and sewing the waistband on!

22. Once you’ve done the hard bit, the easy bit is to decide how much of a hem you need to take in, fold it under twice so you’ve not got an exposed edge and sew for each leg hem

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23. As I’ve not got a front panel, it’d be difficult to remember which side is which, so I turn the trousers inside out (so the right sides are now on the outside) and added a button to the front:

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24. …and a little extra bit of fabric I had as the ‘size’ tag to the bottom edge of the waistband stitching on the inside of the back:

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Here’s the finished pair of PJ trousers that I’m quite proud of for my first attempt!

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I need to make a few adjustments to make sure the blue sheep jersey PJ trousers fit a bit better, but all in all, the Mister is happy with his new PJs and so am I 🙂 After his blue sheep ones, then it’s onto my own pink sheep PJs!

Happy sewing, all! As always, if anything needs more explanation, just let me know!

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