I absolutely adore a baby in pajamas. It doesn’t hurt that babies in pajamas are often rosy-cheeked and warm from a good night of sleep or a refreshing nap. Two weeks ago, I made my baby (does a 2.5 year-old still qualify as a baby?) some Alex and Anna Winter Pajamas from the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. They were well received. She put them on immediately after I finished them and then refused to take them off for 72 hours! That’s three full days and two nights. And I gladly let her. She wore them when we went hiking with friends, to play catch outside, to the thrift store and the grocery store. She told everyone, “My mom made my jammies for me.”
I found the pajama fabric at the thrift shop and, honestly, I thought it was kind of ugly. It’s a strange pattern in strange colors. But what you can’t see is that it is incredibly soft. So soft, in fact, that I couldn’t pass it up, despite my reservations. It turns out it’s a vintage knit from the now defunct Miss Brenner fabric company (and they left a mess that the EPA is trying to clean up). I used brightly colored cotton ribbing that highlighted the gold in the pattern in an effort to make the fabric more modern and channel the Hanna Andersson pajama style, of which I am a big fan. I think it worked. And I think a kid this cute can make any fabric print, however odd, look great!
Pajama Pattern Review
The Alex and Anna Winter Pajamas PDF pattern sewed up very quickly and very easily. It fits true to ready-to-wear (RTW) sizing. My daughter is just starting to move up into 3T size and this fits very similarly to other 3T sized RTW garments. I also compared finished measurements of a size 10 to some size 10 pajamas at Target and found them to be almost identical.
The sewing instructions included with this pattern are clear and easy to follow. Each step includes pictures to illustrate the process.
The pattern doesn’t include a fabric layout, so you will have to figure out how to maximize fabric yield on your own. Treat it like a jigsaw puzzle .
As is common in most patterns, there are not pattern pieces for the ribbing, but rather the dimensions for each size are printed in a chart. I LOVE that the chart is printed both in the pattern instructions and directly on the pattern pieces. It streamlines the cutting process so you don’t have to track down the pattern instructions when you are in cutting mode. Instead, you can refer to the pattern itself.
A couple of notes:
The pattern does not include any notches. Notches help ensure that pieces are sewn together precisely. When you are working with the kind of stretchy knit fabrics that these pajamas require, it is nice to have a few notches to make sure everything lines up properly. Without the help of notches, you will need to be especially careful when you sew on the sleeves. Make sure to mark the center of the sleeve cap when you are cutting out your pattern pieces so you can align it with the shoulder seam. Also, be careful that you don’t over-stretch the sleeve cap when you attach it.
Remember that when you line up your pattern pieces for stitching, the part that needs to be aligned is the seam line, which is not always the same length as the cut edge of your pattern piece. You will see this most commonly when you are sewing curves. Allow me to demonstrate:
You can see here on the left that I have aligned my pattern pieces for sewing, but the right hand edges do not match up perfectly. This is by design. After I sew the seam (on the right), you can see that the seam lines end up matching perfectly. That’s because the part of the fabric that needs to match up is actually 0.5” inside of the cut edge. When I pin my fabric together, I use my seam gauge to ensure that I line up the edges at 0.5” so that the seam will match up the way it is intended to.
I made one modification to the pattern to make the neckband ribbing thicker. I like the proportions of a thicker neckband, especially with the contrast gold color. The pattern calls for the neck binding to be 1.5” wide. Bearing in mind that it will be folded in half and that an inch will be taken up in seam allowances (2 seam allowances x 0.5”), when all is said and done, you will only have 0.25” of neckband visible. I increased the neck binding width to 2.5” to leave 0.75” of neckband visible. It may seem like a small thing, but I think it makes a nice difference.
I also recommend stabilizing the shoulder seam with a piece of fusible stay tape or a small strip of fusible knit interfacing. To do this, cut a 0.5” wide strip of fusible interfacing the length of the shoulder seam and fuse it on the wrong side of the fabric, centered over the seamline (in this case, the seams are 0.5”). This helps the garment to keep its shape better when it is worn. I do this in all of my knit tops.
If you are lucky enough to have a serger, you know how great it can be. You also know how expensive it can be to purchase serger thread that matches every garment you make. If you don’t want to buy four cones of thread every time you sew something new, consider trying the following hack.
You can see in the photo above that I have replaced the thread that is used in the left needle (I used a 4-thread serge stitch) with a color to match my fabric. This is the only thread that will be visible on the outside of the pajamas when they are worn. Matching that single color of thread helps make the finish more professional without requiring you to buy a thread cone for every looper and needle.
I plan to make many many more of these throughout my daughter’s childhood. I’ll be sure to share future variations with you as they come off the sewing table.
Do you have any ugly fabric prints that you have turned into fantastic finished garments? I’d love to see them! Share them @octavesofcolor on Instagram or on the Octaves of Color Facebook Page (links in the sidebar).
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