Lockdown. If someone had said a year ago, when Easter rolls around in 2020 you will be forbidden from leaving the house no one would have believed them. I’d been looking forward to getting some of my warmer weather makes out of the wardrobe as the sun came out, but turns out lying around the house in your LBD is a little underwhelming.
The thing to do then? Make some indoor clothes, obviously!
I bought this fabric from Abakhan Manchester on my last trip there. My first thought was ‘it would make great pyjamas, but when am I going to make pyjamas?’ – Yes I was still oblivious to the imposing ‘lockdown’, and also my future need for house clothes.
Fast forward a few months and the fabric shops are now SHUT and I’m unsure how reliable online ordering is going to be, and I’m faced with what can I make using my stash and my stash alone? Luckily for me I’d bought pyjama fabric and there is lots of it! I have enough odds and ends of elastic on my sewing box for PJ bottoms to be a viable option.
I have some wide leg Primark PJ bottoms with a shirred waistline that I love the fit of so thought I would have a go at making my own. The Simple Sew Lapwing trousers pattern is so adaptable to make PJ bottoms from. Not only would I be able to add the shirring to the waist but I would also have POCKETS inserted into those side seams, yay!
The pattern is easy to follow, although the illustration on sewing the outside leg seams at the pocket area still baffles me a little. I just did what felt right and ended up skipping the ‘snip into pocket seam allowance’ stage as I just didn’t seem to need to do this?!
I then also decided to understich the pocket opening to keep the pockets from flipping outwards. I was able to overlock the side leg seams once the pockets were inserted, only leaving the bit of pocket seam allowance hidden under the front pocket un-overlocked. Maybe worth finishing this edge before putting the trousers together next time?
The crotch and inside leg seams are straightforward. I overlocked these raw edges together not separately- the front rise to back rise first and then the inside legs.
To add my shirring, I wound the bobbin with elastic by hand and lined the machine foot up so it was a foot’s width away from the stitch line. When shirring I always make sure I leave reaalllly long tails to make sure my elastic doesn’t TWANG when it’s pulled out. I added 6 rows of shirring each at foot width apart.
They are almost done now! Next step is a try on, and as I suspected they were wayyyy too long. The legs are straight and wide so it was fine to just cut the extra length from the bottom. I cut 7.5cm from the length, an alteration I will be doing to the paper pattern too as I remember my last pair were also super long! I left enough fabric for a 1cm hem – twice turned over and then hemmed.
Finished! Lovely comfy lockdown trousers!
With fabric to spare! With PJ bottoms and a McCalls camisole already in the bag I thought I’d make some matching PJ shorts now that the nights are warmer.
I used the Simple Sew Lapwing Trousers pattern again, making a few obvious changes – the first being making the pattern well, shorts length. With the side seams being straight it was quite easy to measure the length I wanted and then square them off at the bottom. From the top of the pattern piece down to the bottom along the outside leg measured 40cm, and the inner leg seam was 9cm.
I decided to omit the pockets this time for a few reasons. 1- I was worried the extra fabric would add a little unwanted bulk/weight and make my shorts a little less shimmy, 2- I really didn’t want the bottom of the pockets to poke out of the bottom of my leg, I could have amended the shape but, 3- Maybe I was just a bit damn lazy! No regrets here though!
I was tempted to add a shirred waist like I had done on my full-length Lapwings, but I had the perfect width waistband elastic in my stash so I opted to turn under the top of the shorts by 1.5cm, press and then turn under again and stitch around to create a channel. As I was using elastic not drawstring I omitted the drawstring openings and just stitched around the little gap I’d left myself after inserting the elastic.
To add a bit of a professional finish to the waistband, I did a row of stitching across the top and bottom, stitching through both the fabric and the elastic. This stops the elastic from flipping, twisting and shifting inside the casing. You have to make sure to pull the waist out as you sew so that when the elastic pings back into place all the gathers it creates are evenly distributed.
To jazz up the front a bit I made a bow out of yet more leftover fabric (!) and hand stitched to the centre front. Cute huh?
To hem I turned under and pressed 1cm, and then turned under another 1cm and stitched. As I’d cut the legs so square it was easy to get a nice neat finish, though I would like to have a play around with curved hems next time to maybe add a bit of a flirty flare.
Would love to know what everyone has been making in iSEWlation? Have you been using up your stash or have you been avidly internet shopping? Are you using this time to learn new techniques or are you busy making your summer wardrobe? Maybe you’ve made scrubs? Let me know!
Location: Endcliffe Village Sheffield
Currently listening to: The impossible Breaks Free, Franc Cinelli
Angela’s Lapwing Trousers to PJ transformation are certainly a worth swooning over and we’ve found these pretty woven fabrics below from Abakhan that would work equally as well, for this pattern. If you prefer a non-strappy PJ top the Simple Sew Sophia top would be a great substitute (and you’ll get a skirt pattern to boot!)
Tulip Print Viscose Poplin Fabric
£5.99 per metre
Lillies Print Javanaise Viscose Fabric
£5.99 per metre.
Feather Print Viscose Poplin Fabric
£5.99 per metre.
Mexicola Circles Cotton Fabric Mustard
£13.00 per metre.
For more details on fabric requirements and sizing check out the back of the Lapwing Trousers pattern envelope at the bottom of the post.