After more than a year of labor, I finally finished my first self-drafted sewing pattern — a pair of fancy flannel pajamas. Let the slumber party begin!
I started this sewing pattern in late winter/early spring 2019, drafting pattern pieces based off my measurements. Using “Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear,” the online Pattern Workshop course, and Adobe Illustrator, I launched an adventure in designing sewing patterns.
The process has been about 70 percent exciting and fun and 30 percent frustrating and tedious. I’m sticking with it, because my dream is to have my own PDF sewing pattern business! That goal will be a greater focus as 2020 plods along (more on that later in this post).
Should you be interested, below is a five-video playlist for my ostrich pajamas. It takes you through different stages of development.
These are the individual videos (in chronological order):
- My First Sewing Pattern – Pajamas!
- It’s Version 2.0 of My Pajamas!
- Me-Designed Pajamas, Version 3.0
- Work in Progress: How I Match Pattern Fabric Fabric Across a Button-Up Shirt
- Finished! My First Sewing Pattern (see the finished jammies in 3-D, including inseam pockets!)
Let’s get into what it was like to sew these PJs.
Do these ballerina ostriches enchant you as much as they enchant me? This is 100 percent cotton flannel fabric from… sheets I found at Target! I was rolling in the kids’ bedding section, and the ostriches danced into my heart. I knew they’d be the perfect sassy flannel pajamas. I just needed a pattern.
I’ve got three things of note for you:
I’m proud of the pattern matching on these pajamas. I took my time and synchronized those dancing ostriches across the front of the button-up top. To me, that was the most important place to align the print.
I didn’t align the print, for the top or the pants, along their respective (out)side seams. When you’re sewing a print like this, you can overmatch and look like you’re wearing wallpaper, which is a weird look.
For the bottoms, I aligned the rows, making sure the ostriches’ pointe shoes and bows were along the same X-axis. I didn’t attempt to match individual printed ostriches across the front or back crotch seams, because those seams are:
- Mostly covered by the top.
- Kinda lumpy and puffy, so perfectly matched individual ostriches would go unappreciated.
- Not where you want people’s eyeballs to linger.
I do have one pattern-matching “fail” with these jammies. But I think it’s funny so it doesn’t bother me (despite being directly over my front crotch).
I made the buttonholes with my vintage buttonholer, and it worked swimmingly. To evenly space the buttonholes, I used my handy-dandy (and supremely satisfying) buttonhole gauge.
I went with basic buttons and (almost) matching pink thread. I didn’t want the buttons (or any topstitching) to be a major design feature. The ostriches and giant flounce cuffs are A LOT, and I didn’t want other elements fighting with them.
Major ‘Duh’ Moment
Between muslins No. 2 and No. 3, I failed to add width to my pattern for the button overlap. Oops. It’s easy to miss things like this when you’re doing other mods to pattern pieces. This is why it’s good to have detailed notes, especially if you’re going to take a year to finish a pattern design. *SMH*
Anyhoo, the seam allowances for the top’s sides are 1/4 inch (vs. 5/8 inch) and the button overlap is 3/4 inch (vs. 1 inch). Before I pack up my paper pattern pieces, I need to add width to the top front and back pattern pieces.
What I Like
Here are a few things that turned out particularly well.
The Perfect Match
These pajamas are a great marriage of pattern and fabric. What else are you going to make with a flannel ostrich print?
The Warmth Factor
I’m cold most of the time. Flannel pajamas keep me roasty toasty on cold nights. Matching flannel PJ sets make me feel put together AND keep me from freezing.
Those Cuffs Tho
Full circle cuffs — yeah, those are circles with a hole in the middle — add drama and whimsy to a pattern that otherwise wouldn’t stand out. To my surprise, the cuffs don’t get the way when I’m living my night life — washing my face, brushing my teeth. Most of the time, they flop backward. If I need them to stay in place, I stuff them into the shirt sleeves, NBD. Not annoying.
P.S. The cuffs are finished with extra-wide, double-fold poly-cotton bias tape in black.
What Could Be Better
Even though I made all the choices for this garment, it ain’t perfect.
Less Loosey Goosey
I should have made the elastic waistband tighter. It’s loose — loose enough that when I have my phone in a pocket, the waistband on that side dips. I prefer pajama pants with a waist tie, and I wish I would have done that for these jammies. But I was too lazy, TBH.
Shape of the Pants
The pattern is from pattern blocks in “Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear.” I got a good fit for relaxed-style pants, but it’s not my ideal style. I like a straighter leg, and the front of the pants is a little poochy. I could have done a better job refining the shape of the pants pattern pieces, but after three muslins, I was itching to make the dang garment. Plus, it’s not like the pants take away from the functionality of the pajamas.
Those Cuffs Tho, Part 2
If I were to make this pattern again, I’d go for half- or quarter-circle cuffs. They’d still be flouncy, but they’d use less fabric and probably be easier to sew to the sleeve.
Overall, I’m in love with these jammies (and wearing them as I write the post!), and I feel quite accomplished that my first self-drafted sewing pattern was this complex! It gives me confidence for what’s next.
What’s Next for Sie Macht
For the next bit, I’m going to slow-down-slash-take a blogging break. I want to focus on site reorganization and redesign (ooh la la), and buckle down on designing sewing patterns. I want to beef up other ways to generate revenue, and while I love blogging, it doesn’t make me much cash for the work I put into it.
I will keep you looped in with occasional posts and videos here and via Instagram. I’m on IG all the time (too much, maybe?), and that’s a great way to reach out. And I’ll still send the monthly Sie Macht email newsletter.
This isn’t a forever thing; it’s (primarily) a coronavirus-quarantine thing. I’m balancing Sie Macht stuff, homeschooling, parenting, household stuff, and (unfortunately) increased anxiety, which doesn’t do much for my creativity or focus. So, I’m giving myself a break. See you around with bigger and better Sie Macht goodies!
This post contains Amazon affiliate links chosen for you! If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support! Should you be interested, you can read about our affiliate program participation on the About page.
I love the pattern and the pajamas! Congrats! Also, the Sie macht tag on the back is a great touch. 🙂
Thank you! I feel very accomplished, and I can’t wait to design another pattern.