Cozy in Flannel

When you haven’t been sewing for a while, it’s nice to start off with a nice easy project. Flannel pyjamas definitely fit the bill – or so I thought!

A photo of an Ottobre magazine pattern sheet.

The first challenge was finding a pattern. My youngest are tweens now and finding a pattern in that size range is tough. Most Big 4 patterns stop at size 12, and tend to be a little “young”, while women’s patterns often start too large, the fit is off for tweens, and the look can be a bit “old”. Ottobre Magazine to the rescue!

The Zen pyjama set from Ottobre Magazine.

The two great things about Ottobre magazine are 1) the size range (50-170) which covers tiny infants to about age 14-15, and 2) the styling. The styles are age appropriate and fun, but cool enough that my kids will actually wear the clothes.

Of course, you need to trace out each pattern piece from the cryptic pattern sheets onto tracing paper. You might want a cup of coffee before getting started!

Ottobre patterns come on double-sided sheets of paper – each about 60 cm by 100 cm. This issue comes with three of these. They include all the pattern pieces for all the garments in the issue, in multiple sizes. You trace out only the pieces you need.

The cut of the garments is always great, and the instructions are good, if brief. There are some tutorials online for plaquettes, cuffs, etc.

Once you get the hang of it though, it’s worth the effort! It’s also a good value, since you get 40 patterns in this issue. And even if one is a rectangular scarf, the others more than make it worthwhile. More recent editions have about 25 patterns.

OTTOBRE design® kids WINTER 6/2011 which includes sizes 50-170 (EUR pattern sizing system). This issue includes a section on sleepwear.

So the next challenge was the flannel. I love sewing with flannel. The fabric sticks to itself, in the best way, making it unnecessary to pin much.

Of course, my kids suggested solids, but it seemed so boring.

Two types of flannel and some bamboo jersey.

Me: “Don’t you want a colour, or something fun?”
Also me, but later: “Wait, this is a window pane and a wobbly stripe! &^%@#!”

Anyway, I got a perfect pattern match on the window panes and a close-to-perfect match on the stripe.

Window panes have been defeated!

Cats have been conquered!

I made a couple of modifications. I lengthened the boxer short to a pant, and I added a really wide hem at the bottom – maybe 5 cm/2″. I really like this look, but it also lets me lengthen the pants when the kids grow.

It’s tough to see, but these pants have a super wide hem.

I remember how amazed I was when I learned that most men’s pyjamas come with pockets, so I was determined to add some. I just copied the pocket from Vogue V8964, which I’ve made previously and trimmed it down a little.

And I added ribbon to the back of the waistband so you can tell which way they go.

A ribbon in the waistband for sleepy pj wearers.

For the top though, they wanted bamboo jersey. This fabric has an incredibly soft hand – amazing to sleep in. But of course, it’s slinky.

I finished the neckline with fabric bands, and used a double needle to hem the sleeves and bottom.

This pattern also had some modifications. I made a short, cap sleeve. I also lowered the neckline by about 2.5 cm/1″. I found the neck was really high, and not great for pyjamas with this slinky fabric.

It’s a really good fit.

I have to say the sizing from Ottobre was perfect! And my kids love these pyjamas and insisted on wearing them immediately. I had to wait until clean laundry day to fish them out to photograph them.


Pattern: Zen t-shirt/pajama top (38) and Green check boxer shorts (37) from OTTOBRE design® kids WINTER 6/2011 which includes sizes 50-170 (EUR pattern sizing system). This issue includes a section on sleepwear.

Fabric: Ivory bamboo jersey, and two types of cotton flannel from Fabricville. The cat pattern was one of their in-house prints.

Size: 158 (about a kids’ 14).

Cost: Magazine $13.50. Fabric: About $70 ($35 per pair)

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: Top: Lower neckline, shorten sleeve. Bottom: lengthened pyjama pant, removed the fly, wide cuffs, added pockets.

Results: Great. Great fit and very comfortable, I hear.

One Last Hurrah for Winter

Spring has finally spring here in Montreal, so I thought I’d share my last winter sewing project before it’s embarrassingly late.

Here in Quebec, it isn’t unusual to see temperatures around -30°C (-22°F) in the winter, and then +30°C (86°F) in the summer. It takes two different wardrobes. So each year I box up all the kids’ winter clothes and bring out all the summer clothes and take an inventory. It seems that over the winter my kids have all gone up at least one size, and one thing everyone was missing was pyjamas.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
One last pair of PJs before spring.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This fabric has been in my stash for ages. I’m really glad to get all that space back. Flannel takes up a lot of room.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
I sewed little tags in the back to they know how to put them on.

Once again I used the Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, for the bottoms, and store-bought t-shirts for the tops. I used flannel for the bottoms, which may sound a bit crazy if you live somewhere warmer. But here, it’s likely be chilly at night right into May. I finished these in March, and they’ve gotten tons of wear. This fabric was chosen by the kids and has sat for ages in my stash, so it was time.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
They are getting so big!

I’m not sure how many times I’ve used this pattern anymore, but it’s a lot. So I was sooooo sad to see that it only goes up to size 8. I’m sewing size 7 now, so it looks like I’ll have to branch out pretty soon.

Hope you’re enjoying the change of seasons.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
They’ve almost outgrown this pattern.


Pattern Review: Bedtime Story Pajamas by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Flannel Star Wars Angry Birds Flannel in Blue from Camelot Fabrics.

Sizes: 3, 5, 7 and 7.

Sewing Level: beginner, intermediate if not just the pants.

Modifications: None.

Results: Excellent! I’ve made these many times before. I would highly recommend this pattern.

Just to be clear: Angry Birds and Star Wars names and images are licensed to Camelot Cottons by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Rovio Entertainment Ltd. The pjs shown here are not official licensed products and are not available for sale. But you can always buy some fabric and make your own!

Cozy for Christmas

Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men's pyjamas and robe
Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men’s pyjamas and robe

This fall, Vogue quietly released another men’s pattern – Vogue 8964. It’s a pattern for men’s pyjamas and a matching robe.

“Just what the world needs! Another pattern for men’s pyjamas,” I thought at the time.

Then my husband asked me to make him pyjamas for Christmas and I realized I had no pattern, and so I bought this pattern at the next sale. So, well played, Vogue Patterns. Well, played. And also, I suppose I am proof that total market saturation in men’s pyjama patterns has not yet been achieved.

This is a Christmas gift but not a surprise. My husband is picky, so I made him choose his own fabric. This is a yarn dyed plaid flannel from one of the local chain stores. It looks nice, feels super soft, but ravels like crazy. It’s also extremely forgiving, since the plaid pattern hides any minor errors. On the other hand it is almost impossible to see your stitching.

Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men's pyjamas and robe
These pjs have a slightly tapered leg.

My husband only wanted the pants. These are elastic waist, with a faux drawstring (which I left out), button fly and slightly tapered leg.

The button fly is really nicely designed. I haven’t done much sewing for men, and I’ve never sewn this type of three-layer fly before, but it wasn’t difficult.

Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men's pyjamas and robe
Button fly on Vogue 8964

I made some minor changes. I left out the drawstring, since it is decorative. I also added inseam pockets, which are under stitched and attached at the waistband. Because the fabric ravelled so much, and because it looks more professional, I used flat felled seams in most cases.

I only have two complaints. First, the pattern should really include pockets, like ready-to-wear pjs.  Second, the instructions advise you to attach the button for the fly, before assembling the rest of the pants. However, the fly hangs from the waistband and the buttonhole position can shift a little, once everything is put together. I had to cut mine off and re-attach it.

The pants are on the long side. My husband is 5’11”, and I still had to cut 3″ off the bottom while hemming.

Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men's pyjamas and robe
The fabric is a super soft plaid flannel.

But why this pattern?

This has to be the only category of patterns for men (except possibly scrubs) where there is an embarrassment of choice. Vogue and Burda have only one men’s or unisex PJ pattern each. Butterick has three. McCalls has five. Simplicity and New Look each have six and Kwik Sew has seven. That’s 29 in-print patterns to choose from, folks. Crazy.

In the end I chose this one because it looked the most finished and comprehensive. The pattern includes piping detail and a real fly, for example. It also includes a robe.  It’s a pattern I would use to make pjs for myself. And it was on sale.

I’m really happy with the results. The fit is good. The fly made it slightly longer to make then some of the simpler patterns out there, but it was still a very quick make. The pattern is rated “easy” by Vogue, and that sounds about right. Best of all, it looks like store-bought pjs.

Vogue 8964 Sewing Pattern for men's pyjamas and robe
What do you think? Do they look home-sewn?


Pattern Review: Vogue 8964.

Fabric: Flannel.

Size: 42.

Cost: Fabric: $11 for 2m. Pattern: $3.99. Total: $15.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: Added pockets and omitted the drawstring.

Results: Quick, with nice finishing details. I would make it again.

Gecko Blanket

This year kid No 2 starts all-day kindergarten, and on the back-to-school list was a blanket for nap time. So off we went to the fabric store to choose some nice soft flannel.

Gecko Blanket (side view)
Gecko Blanket (side view)

He chose the gecko print. It’s just some bargain flannel that I got at the local chain store. I bought three meters and I think that came to about 11$ total, making this a good bargain. The school list asked for a blanket or beach towel, and at that price the blanket is softer, larger and less expensive than any store-bought towel.

Gecko Blanket (top view)
Gecko Blanket (top view)

I sewed this up in about 30 minutes. It’s just two squares sewn together inside-out. I used a soup can to draw curves around the corners. Then I top stitched once around the edge and a second time about an 1.5 inches in so that the two sides stick together properly. I also appliquéd Kid No 2’s initial on the front, but I don’t really want to publish his initial on the internet so you will have to use your imagination. The finished blanket measures just under 1.5 m by 1.5 m.

Gecko Blanket Stitching
Gecko Blanket Stitching

This is such an easy project and it’s a great way to make your own baby blankets. I’ve never made by own receiving blankets, since I was always too busy preparing for baby to do much sewing, but this is a very easy, cost-effective, quick project for even complete beginners.

Valentine’s Day Pyjamas!

Valentine’s day pyjamas! They were supposed to be Christmas pyjamas, but life intervened. Oh well. It’s probably better this way, since the pyjamas aren’t competing for attention with Christmas gifts.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 3.

These are the Oliver + S Bedtime Story Pajamas. I made them four times, once for each kid, hence the delay. I used a digital pattern (a PDF download) and it worked quite well. The pattern itself is great. The only thing that is unusual is that each pattern piece is separately taped together, instead of having them all in a giant sheet. I copied each pattern piece onto tracing paper, so I had quite a few pieces of paper to keep track of. On the other hand, it means you can print out just the pieces you want, which is handy if you just want pyjama pants. I’m not sure which way is better. As always with Oliver + S patterns, the directions are excellent. I don’t have a single complaint.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 3.

I sewed a different type of ribbon into the neck and pants of each pair so that the kids can tell them apart.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 18m, with snaps.

This is the second time I’ve made the pants, but the first time I’ve made the jackets. I made sizes 18 months, 3, 4 and 5. I made the larger sizes with ties, but put in snaps for the baby sized once – otherwise, kid No 4 will just chew the ties.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 5.

I also started with snaps for the older kids. I wanted them to be able to dress themselves. But small snaps are a bit of a small target, even for little hands. I tried larger coat snaps, but then the kids couldn’t get out of them at all because it took too much strength to open the snaps. In the end I took out the snaps and put in the ties. Everyone seems to like this better.

Bedtime Story Pyjamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 18m.

The first time I made this pattern, I made just the pants in sizes 12 months, 2, 4, and 5, also in flannel, in a monster print. I think I’ve tried most of the sizes now. The only one I had a problem with was the 12 month size (not shown), which fit a bit tight in the waist and hips.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajama bottoms in flannel, sizes 2, 4, 5.

When I made just the pants, instead of binding the hem, I just lengthened the pant legs and folded them over twice to hem. Then I appliquéd a big monster onto store-bought t-shirts. These were also a big hit with the kids.

Bedtime Story Pyjamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajama bottoms in flannel, size 5.


Pattern Review: Bedtime Story Pajamas by Oliver + S.

Fabric: flannel.

Sizes: 12m, 18m, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Sewing Level: intermediate (beginner, if just the pants).


I replaced the ties with snaps on the baby-sized jacket. When I made just the pants, I lengthened the pant leg and folded twice to hem, instead of binding the leg hem.

Results: Excellent! I would highly recommend this pattern.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 5.

These are also part of the Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge. I made these for February’s ‘Love’ challenge where the goal is to sew something for someone you love.