Condo Blues: The Everything Guide to Sewing Jersey Knit Sleep Shorts

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Everything Guide to Sewing Jersey Knit Sleep Shorts

I need a new pair of summer pajamas for a marching band trip. A cute pair of sleep shorts fits the bill since I will be sharing my hotel room with roommates. An easy thing to buy, right?

Well not if I want a pair of pajama shorts that are long enough to cover my but, otherwise I risk a sleep wedgie. Have you ever been woken up by a sleep short creeper? Trust me, you don't want to if you can help it.

tips for sewing jersey knit fabric

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DIY Music Summer Pajama Shorts

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My plan was to make a pair of pajama shorts using my go to pajama, nightgown, and robe pattern Simplicity 3696 out of music note flannel and a blank t shirt had in my fabric stash. Turns out I didn’t have enough flannel for an entire garment but I could use it as trim if I paired it with black jersey t shirt type knit material that has been hanging around for so long I forgot which project I originally bought the fabric for. (Please tell me I’m not the only person who does this.)

The thing is, the reason that jersey knit fabric has been hanging around for so long is that jersey knit is notoriously difficult to sew because the thing that makes it so comfortable to wear is also the thing that makes it so hard to sew cleanly – the stretch.

Other than knowing I needed to use a ball point jersey knit sewing machine needle in my sewing machine I don't have a clue how to sew with t shirt fabric after learning how difficult t shirts are to machine embroider when I'd thought they'd be easy. (Tip: buy the  heaviest weight t shirt you can find and use a heavy weight machine embroidery stabilizer like this one otherwise the fabric will slip under the needle and the design will be off ruining the t shirt design.)

Before I even cut my knit fabric I brushed up on how to sew t shirt jersey and all fabric knits by taking the Craftey on line class The Ultimate Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics and it helped loads! The class is full of tips, tricks, and hints on how to sew stretchy fabrics without driving yourself crazy or end up with a wonky garment you wouldn’t be caught dead in. Totally, totally worth it!

I used my regular size on the shorts pattern to cut the jersey fabric. In hindsight, I probably should have used the first size down since I was adding extra fabric side panels as a design element. live and learn.

I cut two 5 inch wide panels the length of the shorts from the waist to the hem from the fleece fabric from the side panels and inserted them into the side seams of the shorts. I pinned the front and back of the shorts together and very carefully tried the shorts on and marked how much of the extra jersey fabric I’d have to remove to get the fit I want.

Then I finished the shorts according the pattern’s directions and the tips from the Craftey class and added a drawstring. 

Finally, I machine embroidered music notes using my Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine onto a t shirt to wear as a pajama top.

Good night!

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