Friday, 6 March 2020

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Walk the Plank PJ Bottoms


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

Unlike last month's instalment of Free Pattern Friday, I am absolutely sure that this one is actually available! And if you've got any kids in your life that you like to sew for, you are going to need to know about this one. Today I'm talking about the Patterns for Pirates Walk the Plank PJ bottoms pattern. And holy shizzle it's a good 'un. This pattern spans a whopping size range of 3 months to 14 years, at which point you could simply download the equally free adults' version (sizing XS to Plus 3X). So basically, when teamed with a ratty old T-shirt, your entire family is set for pyjamas forever and ever. And because both the adults' and kids' pattern include short shorts, knee length and full length options, you're kind of sorted no matter what climate or season you're sewing for. So first up, let's give Pattern for Pirates an enormous great thank you for their generosity and sharing both these patterns for free (which are easily downloadable from their site through their checkout, no sign ups to anything required). 

(image source: Patterns for Pirates)

Pattern type:

These loose and comfy PJ bottoms are described as a super easy, pull-on style with elasticated waist and no side seams. So this is basically a one-piece pattern! With three length options, they've got all your seasonal needs and style preferences covered.  

Sizing info: 

As I blurted out in my opening paragraph, this pattern is graded between 3 months and 14 years, which is ridiculously generous, IMO. My kids are currently about 6.5 and 3.5 years old, so I made the sizes 7 and 4 for growing room and I fully expect they'll get two years worth of wear from these. 


Fabric info:

I know there's been a real trend in recent years for knit pyjamas with tighter, slim-fit, ankle-cuffed bottoms, but I would argue that there's very much still a place for this looser, woven style. For one, you've got heaps more options in terms of fabric. The Walk the Plank pattern simply specifies woven cotton (quilting or flannel), but I think this pattern could be made in a wider variety than that. I agree that sticking to cotton is arguably your best bet, however you could go with any weight of brushed cotton, plus lawn, poplin (and other shirtings), double gauze, chambray, and even go as light as voile if your climate suites it. 

The pink pair Dolores is wearing in these pics were actually made from a very old pair of brushed cotton PJs that used to be mine. I'd bought them from *cough* Primark about 15 years ago and worn them frequently since then, until the fabric got so thread bare in places that a rip appeared in the bum cheek area. I still wear the matching PJ top, FYI. I was able to incorporate the original hem and piping around the ankle, which is not a feature included in the pattern but could easily be added.

The shorter stars pairs started life as another Primark garment, in fact. My charity-shop-aholic friend Ilana, picked up this 50s style, light-weight, cotton sundress for me, but it isn't really my style these days. I unpicked the skirt and used as much of it as I could, making both pairs as long as the fabric allowed with their respective sizes. When Dolores grows out of hers I'll keep them for Frankie for when he's bigger. 


Findings:

This is a simple sewing pattern that would be suitable for beginners, or a pleasingly quick and useful make for more experienced sewers. The instructions are clear with photos for each step. The only parts of this pattern that I would change are based mainly on personal preference rather than any faults or flaws. For example, in the instructions for this pattern the waist elastic is attached by zigzagging or overlocking it to the raw edge around the waist, then turning the elastic under and zig-zag stitching through all the layers to secure it in position. 

My preference is to create a channel to feed the elastic through, with the elastic overlapped at the ends, which is what I did instead. I like to do this for a number of reasons, but mainly because I can let the elastic out a bit at a later date when my kids' waist measurements increase. Oh, and there isn't a layer function on the PDF, so you have to print out all the sizes rather than selecting a single one. But that really is a tiny nit pick. 

The finished jammies are awesome! It's been too chilly for the kids to wear the star ones yet, but my daughter loves the pink ones and has worn them heaps. I was a little worried about the volume of fabric causing her to trip up as she rushes about, but I can report no accidents as of yet!


Customisation ideas:
  • As I did with the stars pairs, disregard the specified length of short-shorts, knee or full lengths, and try board-shorts or capri lengths too (or just make them as long as your fabric will allow!). 
  • Applique contrast knee patches.
  • Use jersey fabric instead of woven to push the comfy factor off the chart!
  • Spilt the pattern piece to include a side seam and add in-seam pockets, or to fit the pattern pieces on an awkward shaped piece of fabric. 
  • Add patch pockets to the front and/or back. 
  • I'm sure you don't need me to suggest this, but download the adults' pattern too and make matching PJs for everyone in your family. 

Would I make this again?

Absolutely. I'm sure I'll reach for this pattern many times in the future, and paired with the free Ester & Ester knit top pattern, you've got a great sleep set in the making. 
 

14 comments:

Katherine said...

This is a fab pattern! I've made the adult version for my husband a couple of times, and split the side seam to pockets in which made them perfect. My kids have some, but they are a bit obsessed with having matching tops for their pyjamas at the moment and I haven't managed to make matching t shirts yet, so they aren't getting much wear!

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