Making PJs for The Peanut is so satisfying. They are a quick sew and a chance to use the darling, seasonal quilting-cotton prints that greet me every time I walk into a fabric store. The first pair of pajamas I made for The Peanut were for Pajama Day at school on Halloween. I had just made a couple of pillow cases using the Burrito method. Inspired by that technique I decided to add an accent cuff to the bottom of her PJ pants. You can do it, too!
If you're like me and prefer to print out the tutorials you use, you can download the free 2-page PDF file at Craftsy [you'll need an account, but that's also free with an email adress]. Otherwise, read on to learn how to add an accent cuff and fully encase your seam allowance using a simple sewing technique.
- Existing pattern for PJ bottoms, or for loose-fitting pants
- Main fabric for the PANTS
- Accent/coordinating fabric for the CUFF (see “Sewing Math” under Cutting for size)
- Coordinating thread and notions to complete the pants
|So many options and combinations open up when you add accent cuffs.|
To create the pajama pants you can trace a current, well-fitting pair of pants (be sure to add seam-allowance and waist-casing as necessary) or grab a favorite pattern—a wide, straight leg will work best. You won’t be able to hem the pants when you’re done, so be sure they are the correct length to begin with. BUT DON’T CUT YET! You’ll need to do some Sewing Math first.
NOTE: When deciding your cuff height, keep in mind that you’ll need to be able to turn the pants fabric through the side-edge of the cuff (Construction Step 6). I found 3″ tall comfortable for turning a size 4T. Be careful not to go too short or turning may be difficult.
SEWING MATH Let’s start with the CUFF calculations. You’ll need two pieces of accent CUFF fabric. The height of each piece should be twice your desired final height of the cuff plus twice the seam-allowance you’ll use to attach the cuff to the pants. You’ll need each piece to be as wide as the full width (actually, circumference) of the pant leg plus twice the inseam seam-allowance. (Or for the width you could simply measure the full width including seam-allowance at the cut-line on the pants, as figured in the next step of Sewing Math.) Confused? Here’s what all that means:
(Final Cuff Height x 2) + (Seam Allowance x 2) = Cuff Fabric Height
Example: (3.25 x 2) + (.25 x 2) = Cuff Fabric Height in inches
6.5 + .5 = 7 Final Cuff Fabric Height in inches
Pant Bottom Full Width + (Seam Allowance x 2) = Cuff Fabric Width
Example: 16 + (.5 x 2) = Cuff Fabric Width in inches
16 + 1 = 17 Final Cuff Fabric Width in inches
In this example for a 3 ¼″ tall cuff, you will need to cut two cuffs from the accent fabric, each piece 7″ high by 17″ wide. The cuff will be sewn to the pants across the top with a ¼″ inch seam allowance, and down the inseam with a ½″ seam allowance.
Now, you need to subtract the cuff from the bottom of the PANTS pattern. More calculating is necessary. You will cut off the final cuff height minus the seam-allowance you’ll use to attach the cuff. Like this:
Final Cuff Height — Seam Allowance = Pants Cut Off Amount
Example: 3.25 — .25 = Cut Off Amount in inches
3.25 — .25 = 3 Final Cut Off Amount in inches
In this example for a 3 ¼″ tall cuff, you will need to subtract or cut off 3″ from the bottom edge (the hem line) of the main pattern/fabric for the pants. Got it? NOW you can cut.
|Did you zone out and fall asleep during the sewing math? WAKE UP! Here comes the fun part.|
NOTE: This tutorial is for attaching a cuff only, it does not include completing the construction of the pants.
If your existing pattern uses two pieces for each leg, sew the outside seam down the length of the pants now.
Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: make a Fabric Burrito! If you’ve made a Burrito Pillowcase (also known as Roll-Up or Sausage) this will be very familiar—we’re applying that technique to our cuff.
1. Lay one CUFF fabric right side up.
2. Place one leg of the PANTS fabric on top, align the bottom raw edge of the leg with the raw edge of the CUFF. Pin.
|Step 2: Pin|
3. Roll up just the PANTS fabric until over half of the CUFF fabric is visible.
|Step 3: Roll|
4. Fold the CUFF fabric over the rolled-up PANTS fabric and align its raw edge with the pinned raw edges. Re-pin, catching all three layers of fabric.
|Step 4: Re-pin|
5. Sew through all three layers using your calculated seam-allowance (¼″ in this example). Press—just your stitches, not the entire fabric burrito.
|Step 5: Sew|
6. Turn the cuff right side out: pull the PANTS fabric out through one of the CUFF side openings. Press. TA-DA!
|Step 6: Pull|
Finish your pajama pants as per your pattern instructions. I prefer to use French-seams so all of my seam allowances are encased as nicely as the cuff. In this example I used a traced pattern. I sewed the front and back curved rise seams first, and then the inseam as one long seam. Then I sewed a rolled waist with encased elastic. The ties are strictly decorative, sewn right to the front and knotted over the stitching.
Because the cuff is folded on itself, it adds a nice weight to the bottom of the single-layer pants. And it’s a great accent. Add a matching knit tee for a full PJ set. Try a vertical stripe fabric on the pants, turned horizontal for the cuff. Try using knits to make a pair of cuffed play pants. Or add a cotton cuff to lightweight denim pants.
If you use this tutorial, I’d love to see and hear about your results. Come share your projects on The Inspired Wren Share page.
|You're done? Time for a little bed-hopping Happy Dance!|
PS -- If you would like to recreate the look of this shirt, visit Mabey She Made It where I share a quick tutorial on making seasonal appliqués with basic sewing tools. Grab a large-print seasonal quilting cotton and head on over to learn more.
Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her navel instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.