Tuesday, September 9, 2014

RBD Flannel Hop ~ Pajama Pants & Faux-Piped PJ Pillow!

It's Day 2 of the Riley Blake Designs Flannel Exhibition Blog Tour!

When I was a kid, it was a tradition to get a new nighty or jammie bottoms to wear on Christmas Eve.  So soft and warm to snuggle in on the night before Christmas.

Oh, my...  We are all just little angels!

Last Christmas Eve, after an Über-busy season, I finally had a minute to make pajama pants for my own family.  I made 5 pair that night.  They were mostly Riley Blake Designs' flannels, with a little Zombie Apocalypse cotton thrown in...

I'd previously made a pair for my dear husband, and still needed to make some for my son, but his legs were toooo long for the amount of fabric I had, so he got shorts.  Which he wore over his long thermal underwear.  You'll just have to imagine - I was laughing so hard, I forgot to snap a picture!  But with this hop, I have the perfect excuse to make some for my little boy.

He is working on an aviation degree...

... and I just HAD to use the Fly Aweigh flannel that features little airplanes and helicopters... Awwwww.

PJ pants are one of the first projects I teach my 4-H kids at summer sewing camp (for the past 15 years), not to mention the million pair of pants and PJs made for my own brood when they were little.  I've learned a few tips:

1)  No Surprises:  Prewash.  I don't normally prewash fabric for quilts, but if I'm sewing articles of clothing, I want to be sure that I don't get any shrinkage after construction.  Allow extra yardage for shrinkage and a bit of raveling.

And this high quality, soft flannel is even more luscious after washing and drying.  Even after nearly 9 months of use (yes, I quilt in my jammies), mine are as soft as ever.

2)  Save Stitches:  Nothing fancy.  I like to use a pattern with no side seam. If it does have a side seam I've been known to pin the front and back together at the side seam.  I skip the pockets too.  Sometimes I use elastic, sometimes a self-tie at the waist, sometimes both.

3)  Pattern Usage:  Unless you are using an old pair of pants or PJs as a pattern base, use the markings on the pattern to align on grain.  They'll look and hang better if you do.  Add length or shorten on the indicated lines.  Then lower the waistline by about 3" for today's fit.  Your kids will thank you.

4)  Clean-Finish:  That's a fancy way to say finish the edges of your fabric so the seams won't ravel. Serge or Zig-Zag the edges.

5)  Get to Know Your Buttonholer.  Practice making buttonholes on scraps.  Mark the line, hook up the fancy foot or press the right buttons.  Even most old machines have a buttonhole dial.  Be sure to use stabilizer - a bit of heavy-weight fusible interfacing does the trick.

6)  Double-Stitch the Crotch Seam.  'Nuff said.

And... just because...  I made a PJ pillow to match.  Applique'd with fusible adhesive (Heat'n'Bond Lite) and a blanket stitch.  The back is a double flap overlap (skip the zipper; button and buttonhole also optional.  Can you tell it's my quest to simplify?)  Machine-bind with a simple faux-piped binding (see complete TUTORIAL << here) and you're all set!

Quick PJ Pillow with Faux-Piped Binding


Cut an 18" x 14" rectangle for the pillow top.   
Applique' the biplane pieces as pictured below.
Download applique' pattern >>  BIPLANE APPLIQUE' TEMPLATES

Cut one 18" x 20" rectangle; fold in half (18" x 9")
(Optional:  Stitch a buttonhole in the center, about 1" from folded edge)
Lay out with raw edges at the top and sides, folded edge toward you.
Cut one 18" x 16" rectangle; fold in half (18" x 8") and lay out over first flap
with folded edge overlapping at center to create an 18" x 14" rectangle.  Pin at overlap.

Layer pillow top over prepared pillow back, wrong sides together.    
Match raw edges and pin, then stitch to baste edges.  

Outer color:  Cut 2 @ 1-1/4" strips;  Piping color:  2 @ 1-1/2" strips.  
Sew each color at the short ends, then sew both strips lengthwise together using 1/4" seams.  
Press in half, lengthwise.  This will form the flange that will become our faux-piping. 

4)  STITCH BINDING to back side of basted pillow, accent color UP.  
Form miters and finish seam as with any quilt binding.
Here's the Basic Binding TUTORIAL <<

Bring binding to the pillow front and pin, clip or use a glue-stick to hold in place.
Stitch-in-the-Ditch by machine, pivoting at the cornes; overlap beginning stitches, clip threads.

Cute pillow top...
...and the back.

Stuff your jammies in the back of the PJ pillow for storage, like we did as kids.
Love me some soft flannel jammies!   *Ü*  

Fly Aweigh Flannels by Samantha Walker for Riley Blake Designs

 Flannel nighties, Christmas 1971.  Oh, yeah.

Don't miss the rest of the schedule for the RBD Flannel Exhibition Blog Tour.  The hop started last Friday, and new projects will be showcased every Tuesday and Friday from now until November 4th!

9/23 Paula - Sassy Quilter - Patchwork Dog Bed
9/30 Heidi - Fabric Mutt - Seat Cushion
10/14 Mdm. Samm - Sew We Quilt - Newborn Nightgown
10/17 Marni - Haberdashery Fun - HST Baby Blanket
10/31 Lucy - Lucy Blaire - The Cora Dress


  1. Super pyjamas. I used to have a purple and pink cat to hold my jammies in...thanks for the memory, I'd forgotten about him! Also, for jammies I love the nighties y'all are wearing in '71...that's my kind of sleepwear. On a cold winter's night you can pull in your knees and feet and stay all toasty till the sheets warm up LOL Great tips and tricks...thanks!

  2. ohhhhh i love pi's bottoms...and an airplane theme...love it...you make them look sooooo darn perfect...the pillow has me just smiling...you fly my sweet ..you make us fly with you..

  3. Fantastic PJ`s! Thanks for the super tips and great pictures.

  4. Those are wonderful and I am sure they feel fantastic too. LOVE your little biplane pillow too.

  5. Love them. I quilt in my pj too. Is there any other way? They all look so comfortable, envy is creeping in here!

  6. I've never made pajama pants but that is on my to-do list for this Christmas, especially after seeing how nice these turned out. Nice pants! P. S. I'm so sad I didn't get to see you!

  7. Thank you for this Deonne, I actually purchased snuggle flannel with a sewing theme for myself to have some new sewing sweatpants and just haven't made them yet. I do have an old pair of pants to work off the design, we'll see how it goes! Also, I was talking about you when my mom and I went huckleberry picking ~a month ago, we had a GREAT crop this year! Thanks again for sharing your process with the pants, I love the airplanes...

  8. Nice PJ pants and pillow. Love the pics of you and your sisters.

  9. OMG!!! I have a 4-year old grandson that LOVES planes and helicopters, I am so doing this for him for Christmas. Thank you so much :)

  10. Oh I Love to create in my jammies too!! at night it's Flannel Nighties. Thanks Deonn for all the lovely Details and tips, one of these days I will try Pants~
    Huggs, Nancy

  11. Great idea. Love the idea of a matching pillow with the pajama pants.

  12. I miss mom's PJs on Christmas!
    And can I tell you I used to ALWAYS wear long undies with shorts over them! Man that was the greatest! Cant remember when I stopped but I even wore them to school!! (But I'm not a dude so!!! LOL)
    Love all the jammie pants!!

  13. I loves planes & pajamas!!! Great pants!

  14. No pictures of your big boy wearing his jammies? Thank you for the tips and tricks of making pajamas.

  15. I've also been on the tour and I meant to leave a comment earlier and let you know how great this is! Love your pillow.

  16. Love the jammies and pillow. What little boy wouldn't. And thanks for sharing the family picture, brought back memories. :)


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