Making PJs should be just as easy as wearing them, like this cute floral combo by Corinne Bradd – which even novices will love. Cotton is a really manageable fabric and will make the shorts super comfortable, and it's a great opportunity to try making your own bias binding. If you aren't a fan of elastic waistbands, thread a length of decorative ribbon through the channel and knot at each end for a waist-tie.
- Printed cotton, 1m
- Lightweight fusible interfacing
- Bias binding, 2.5cm wide
- Elastic, 2.5cm wide
- Plain vest top
- *Pattern is for shorts with hip measurement of 102cm. For other sizes, simply adjust along the marked line on the pattern.
Main shorts: cut one pair from cotton (giving two pieces, one reversed) Pocket: cut one pair from lightweight interfacing Waistband: cut one 6cm x 105cm strip
1cm seam allowance used throughout.
Stitch PJ shorts
1 Download and print the pattern above. Cut out all of the pieces as indicated in the cutting guide. Pin and sew the curved centrefront seam from A to B, press to one side, and topstitch 5mm from the seam to secure.
2 Iron the interfacing pockets to the reverse of printed cotton offcuts, leaving 1cm around. Turn in, press and tack around three sides of the pocket, leaving the top curve unfolded. Unfold a length of 2.5cm wide bias binding and match the raw edge to the curve of a cotton pocket piece, right sides together. Tuck the ends under in line with the pocket edges, then fold the bias and cotton over to the inside and topstitch in place.
3 Lay the main fabric shorts piece out right side up, and pin the pockets in position, lining up the top edge with the waistband. Topstitch around the three edges of the pocket and remove the tacking. Fold one main piece right sides together, pin and sew the centreback seam from C to D. Press and topstitch as for the front seam. Re-fold the shorts to bring points B and D together. Pin, sew, press, and topstitch the inner leg seams.
4 Turn the shorts right sides out. Fold the bottom of each leg up by 5mm, then 7mm, to make a double hem, then topstitch 5mm from the edge. Fold the waistband strip in by 1cm on the short ends, then press and tack. Pin and stitch the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the waistband, starting from the centre-back seam. Adjust the other tacked end to meet if necessary.
5 Fold the waistband strip over to the right side of the shorts. Tuck under 5mm and pin the edge along the line of the original seam. Topstitch to cover the seam and create a channel. Trim the elastic to your waist measurement, plus a 2.5cm overlap. 6 Thread the elastic through the waistband channel via the gap at the back. Overlap the ends of the elastic by 2.5cm and stitch together securely. Push the join back inside the channel and hand-stitch the gap closed with small stitches.
Customise the vest
1 Cut 4cm wide strips of leftover material on the bias (see Core Skill below for the most economical fabric use). Fold in 5mm along each raw edge and press, then fold in half lengthwise and press again. Unfold the binding then pin, right sides together, to the front neckline edge between the straps. Sew in place, gently stretching the top as you do so if it has low elasticity. Tuck the strip over to the inside of the neck and slip stitch in place.
2 Snip the straps from the back of the top. Working from the centre-back outwards in either direction, attach the bias binding in the same way as before, leaving an excess strip where the binding meets the straps at the front of the top. Ensure the new binding covers the raw ends of the piece sewn to the front edge. Fold in 5mm on both raw edges of the excess strip and pin around the straps. Stretch the straps a little and pin to the end of the strip to prevent it slipping inside the covering.
3 Topstitch the folded edges together and secure the end of the strap inside the covering. Tuck in the ends of the resulting tube. Secure the original strap to the end of the covering with small stitches. Pin and hand sew the ends of the straps to the inside of the back in their original position.
Core Skill: Offcut bias strips
It’s easy to create a length of bias binding from your leftover cotton. Simply divide it into squares and cut several 4cm wide strips at a 45° angle until they become too short to work with. Join them by placing right sides together, creating a 90° angle at the short end on the far-right side of the horizontal strip. Sew from the top-left corner to the bottom left corner and snip the seam allowance.