Monday, May 30, 2011

Stretch that wardrobe, save your money!

Hi there!  Hope everyone's having a nice, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  It is a beautiful sunny morning here in western PA.  I'll enjoy it, because we don't get too many of these!

Last night, in about 30 minutes, I transformed 3 pairs of my little guy's pajama pants into pajama shorts.  I'll show you how to do it!

But of course, there's a story behind it.  There's always a story:

I had this bin (or tote, as DH calls them.  Is it a bin, or a tote? I don't know) of clothing for my son.  I have one for both of the kids.  It's the bin of clothing that people give me, or clothes I find on super-duper clearance that don't fit now but will fit later...all that kind of stuff.  You know what I mean.  Well, this bin also had all the summer stuff from last summer that would probably still fit this summer.  Three pairs of baseball pants, baseball socks, summer pj's, shorts that were too big last year, t shirts, swim trunks...a lot of stuff.

When tee-ball season came around, I tore the house apart looking for this bin.  Top. To. Bottom.  It is nowhere to be found.  My only conclusion is that it must have been accidentally thrown in with the "going to Goodwill" stuff.  *heaving a huge sigh*

So, the little guy has been running around in either shorts and tee-shirts for pajamas, or he tries to wear his fleece pj's that I still haven't put away for next winter.  (Well, I did yesterday.  Sort of.  I kind of threw them in the spare room.  I'll put them away later.)

Never (well, seldom) being one to run out and buy all new stuff when I don't have to, I dug some of his random light(er)weight pj pants out of the infamous "going-to-Goodwill" bag, and grabbed a pair of scissors.

At first I tried to wing it.  Or I wang it.  Or wung it.  What is the past tense of "to wing?"  Let's just say, it was bad.  I threw that pair away, it was so bad.  Here's a little example of the bad-ness:
what the...?  
Then I tried to find a tutorial online.  Would you believe how difficult it is to find?  I never did end up finding a good one, which is why I'm doing this one.   The best "tutorial" I found was one that basically said: "Take your scissors.  Cut the pants.  Voila!  Shorts!"  No joke.  That's all I could find.

So I ended up winging it again, but with more success this time.  Behold, the tutorial:

How to make kids' knit pajama pants into pajama shorts

1. Cut the pants - Have your kid try them on and make a little mark where you want them to stop.  Cut a little lower than the mark.

2. Cut the cuff off from the bottom - Trust me, their circulation won't be cut off when you sew this back on.  You'll see.

3. Cut the cuff right below the serged part - You'll have just a folded band with no stitching.  You can't tell from the pictures, but it's very stretchy now!

4. Position the cuff onto the shorts to get ready for sewing.  Make sure to have your raw edges lined up; you want the "unfinished" edges all facing the same way.
raw edges all pointing down

shimmy the cuff into position (even with the bottom of the shorts) and pin at the seam.  You don't really need to pin anywhere else, thank goodness.

5. Get ready to sew: Stretch the pant leg over the arm of the machine, sort of like you're putting a sock on it.
It's OK that it's not perfectly lined up.  You can do that as you go.
set your machine to a stretchy stitch - I used #8 on mine.  Check your user manual if you're not sure about yours.  I check my user manual a lot and I've been sewing for quite a while.  No shame in that!
Oh, and if you have a ball point sewing machine needle, put it on.  I have no idea what it does that's so darn special, but if you're sewing knits, you should use one.  

6.  Sew, baby, sew.  
all nice and lined up

I just followed the right edge of my presser foot.  
As you're sewing, try to let the machine do the work.  Let it feed through by itself, as much as you can.  But you do need to stretch the band to make it line up with the fabric underneath, as wrinkle-free as possible.  It'll go back to its regular size when you take it off the machine, so don't worry about stretching it out as you sew.  Does that make sense?

This part can be a little bit of a pain, especially if you come to the end and you realize you have a bunch of fabric left over and not a lot of cuff left over.  For some reason, I only ran into this problem on these pants.  Go figure.

Just fold it under as neatly as you can.  This isn't Project Runway, people.  It's pajamas.
this is what it looks like when you pull it off the machine.  trim the thread, flip it down, and...

7. Admire your work.  Admire it!

mistake?  what mistake?

super comfy pj shorts.  and just look at those little 5 year old leggies!  so cute!
If you have questions, please ask!  

I'm linking up to some sites this week; check out my "love to link"...uh, see where!


  1. Is that your new sewing machine I see in use making these cute shorty PJ's?????

  2. thanks for linking up to the frugal tuesday tip. i hate working with knits. my grandmother had me shorten her cuffs all the time and they were all knit. definitely had to practice on the scraps that I cut away before working on the real garment for tension adjustments.

  3. arg, knits. I know. I never thought to adjust the tension; I'll have to try that next time. :)