I’ve re-fallen in love with sewing lately. It was hard, for a while, to get excited to sew when that meant lugging out a clunky sewing machine that was so tired and sick and senile it could hardly get through 2 or 3 inches of stitches before getting stuck or tangled or just slipping quietly into a coma. But the new machine I got for Christmas was sent straight from heaven, and I’ve been having such a great time starting projects I’ve put off for months and rediscovering a favorite hobby that had almost been ruined by an uncooperative machine.
One quickie project I’d wanted to try for months (but wasn’t willing to sacrifice to the old demonic sewing machine) was refashioning an old long-sleeved thermal top into baby pajama pants. My sister (who graciously gives me all her old thrift-store-bound clothes so I don’t have to go buy them back from the thrift store) gave me this old shirt, thinking maybe I could use it for a project. It looked to me like it would make the perfect pair of comfy-cozy baby lounge pants. And 30 minutes later, it was a pair of comfy-cozy baby lounge pants!
If you’ve seen many of my sewing projects, you know that my favorites are the super-fast, super-simple, low-fuss ones. Sure, it’s fun now and then to sew something a little more fancy and intricate, but my very favorite things to sew are almost always the simple, quick projects that don’t require much time or skill. I sure love instant gratification. Part of the reason I put this project off for so many months is because I kept trying to make it more complicated than it needed to be—first I thought I’d use the sleeves as legs, then use the body of the shirt to make a matching pajama top . . . and after months of setting it aside, I finally said to myself, “Self, cut it out. Just make it a simple project and be done with it.” I can be so wise sometimes.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a pair of cute and quick baby lounge pants:
- an old t-shirt or thermal top
- a pair of pants that fits your kid to use as a pattern piece
- sewing machine, matching thread, etc.
1. Start by turning the top inside out and laying the pants on it, lining up the bottom of the legs with the shirt’s bottom hem (make sure the front and back layers of the shirt are even and flat). These Spongebob pants were getting a little short on Forrest, so I left a little space between the pant legs and the shirt hem to make a longer pair. (I took this picture before I realized the shirt should be inside out, so ignore that—make sure the top is turned inside out!)
2. Cut around the shape of the pants, through both layers of the shirt, about 1/2” away from the pants along the legs. Cut further away from the waistband on top (about 1 to 2”) to leave room to make a casing for an elastic waistband. Don’t cut the bottom hem of the shirt off—by leaving it intact, it works as the leg hem so you won’t have to do that part yourself. Yay! (If you want wider, yoga-style pant legs, just cut further away from the pants. I was going for tight-fitting, legging-style pajama pants, so I cut the fabric pretty close to the pants.)
3. Pin the two shirt layers together along the outer and inner legs. Don’t pin along the waistband or the foot opening at the bottom.
4. Sew the layers together along the outer leg and inner legs, using a 1/2” seam allowance. Don’t sew along the waistband or the bottom of the legs.
5. Now we’ll make a casing for an elastic waistband. Fold the waist of the pants down about 1/2”, like so, and press: (the pants should still be inside-out, so you’re folding toward the wrong side of the fabric, or what will be the inside of the pants)
6. Sew along the bottom edge of the fold:
. . . and stop sewing before you get back to where you started, so you’ll have an opening of about 2 inches that you can use to insert your elastic:
7. Cut a piece of elastic so it’s about an inch smaller than your child’s waist size, and insert it through the waistband opening:
8. Now just sew down that last inch or two of waistband that you left open, and you’re finished!
You’ve got yourself a really fast, really simple pair of cute baby lounge pants.