More flannel Carolyn Pajamas

Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - finished project

I sewed something!  Can you believe it?  I can barely believe it myself.  🙂  This is a pair of Carolyn Pajama shorts using the leftover flannel from my winter PJ set, which has been getting plenty of wear over the last few months.  I had just a bit (maybe 3/4 yard?) of fabric leftover and wanted to put it to good use.  Plus, this was a quick and easy project to lure me back into the sewing vortex after my unexpected and much too long hiatus.  (I’m wearing it with a hacked Renfrew tee that I made last summer, which has also gotten a ton of wear.)

Project Stats

Pattern: Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files, size 10, shorts only.

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel in navy herringbone and maroon, with some Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium fusible interfacing (just along the pocket opening).

Modifications: I added 1/2 inch in height to the waistband piece (so 1/4 inch when folded in half) to give myself a little more wiggle room when inserting the elastic.  The waistband channel is exactly 1.5 inches when sewn up, and if you try to insert 1.5 inch elastic, it can be a real pain in the ass.  The extra room made a huge difference in my sanity.  🙂

Level of crafty satisfaction: These are great.  I like that this pattern offers a classic silhouette but jazzes it up a bit with piping, contrast cuffs, and a faux fly.  I can also highly recommend this flannel.  It’s thick, cozy, and warm – perfect for snuggly PJs.  Plus, it holds up well to lots of washes and abuse.

Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - back

These PJs fit me really well with no major alterations, which is pretty rare for me.  Then again, we’re talking about loose-fitting loungewear here, so the fit is pretty forgiving.  Why can’t I wear PJs all the time??

Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - sideAre you blinded by my pasty white winter legs?  This was the first time they had seen daylight in quite a while.  Our winter has been remarkably mild, but I haven’t quite gone bare-legged outside yet.  Soon, hopefully.  🙂

A few flat shots on my cutting table:
Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - on table front

The piping along the pocket openings if flat, as is my preference.  No cording.  For some reason I really don’t like the idea of wearing garments with cording.  To each their own though – that’s the beauty of sewing.Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - on table back Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - on table inside out

Look at those tidy innards!  I almost enjoy looking at the inside of my sewing projects as much as the outside.  Do you ever feel that way?  🙂

Inserting the Elastic: A Better Way

Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - waistband opening for elastic insertion

I mentioned above that I added a little more height in the waistband to make inserting the elastic through the casing go a bit more smoothly.  I also tried out a few other modifications, all of which I got from this awesome Sewing with Nancy video on YouTube: Sew Elastic: Stretch Your Options (Part 1 of 2).  Seriously, go watch this video right now.  I’ve been a huge fan of Nancy Zieman for decades, and I learned more about elastic in this 30-minute video than I have in all my years of sewing.  Her videos are just jam-packed with quality information – I love them!

Here’s what I did:

  1. When sewing the waistband pieces together along the short ends, I pressed the seams open and sewed the seam allowances down along either side of the seam.  This way, the SAs won’t get scrunched up when you’re threading the elastic through the casing.  Everything stays nice and flat, the extra stitching won’t be very visible if you use a matching thread color.
  2. I left an opening in the center back waistband seam, only on the half that gets folded over to the inside (see photo above).  I made sure to backstitch the seam securely right at the fold, and then switched to a long basting stitch in the area that would become the opening.  After sewing down the bottom of the waistband on the inside of the shorts, I seam ripped the basting stitches to reveal the opening.  This worked GREAT and was much easier to work with than leaving the bottom of the waistband open for a few inches, as recommended in the pattern.
  3. To close the opening after inserting the elastic, I sewed through all layers using a simple zig-zag stitch in matching thread.

So easy, and a much-improved sewing experience.

Carolyn PJs for Men!

Flannel Carolyn Pajama pants for a man - front

Who says this pattern is just for women?  🙂  As promised, I sewed up a matching pair of PJ pants for John.  I had planned to trace a pair of his RTW PJ pants, but since John and I are practically the same height and weight, I figured he might just fit into the Carolyn PJ pant.  And he did!  Done and done.  Why trace a new pattern when you can use an existing one, right?Flannel Carolyn Pajama pants for a man - back

The fit is not perfect, but since these are just PJ pants, it doesn’t really matter.  John clearly doesn’t have as much booty to fill out the pants as I do, but the extra room just makes the PJs more comfortable to lounge around in.  You can tell by all the wrinkles and cat hair that these pants have been getting lots of use around the house.  🙂
Flannel Carolyn Pajama pants for a man - piping detail

Unlike my matching pants, John’s version has piping down the entire side of the leg.  He specifically requested this, saying that pants without piping down the leg are obviously inferior would not be welcomed in his PJ drawer.  LOL.

I sewed up these pants a while ago – maybe in January? – and just got around to photographing them today.  I’m really careful about asking John to participate in anything blog-related for fear of him becoming a disgruntled Instagram husband.  Today he seemed pretty chill and relaxed, so I seized the opportunity.  I still want to get a photo of us together in our matching PJs… one day.  Honestly, taking photos with the self-timer is my least favorite part of blogging, so I have little motivation to make it any more difficult than it has to be!

Final Thoughts
Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - front

I bought 8 yards of this blue flannel and used it all up, covering my entire household in cozy pajamas.  Pants for John, and a shirt, pants, and shorts for me.  Granted, it took me about 6 months to do it, but who’s counting??  🙂

It feels good to be back on the sewing bandwagon, especially as the seasons are about to change.  Have you switched over to spring (or fall) sewing yet?  I think I have, hooray!

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12 thoughts on “More flannel Carolyn Pajamas

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m still struggling quite a bit with balancing sewing with my new work schedule (and my lower back issues), but it’s truly my passion, and I don’t see it disappearing for good. I’ve been trying to keep my weekend afternoons open for sewing, which is the only time I’m realistically going to get anything done!

  1. Welcome back! So glad you’re back in the bandwagon, but it does seem strange to read a post without any fitting issues, lol. The mind boggles about the abuse you put your pjs through! 😳

    • Hahaha!!! I think repeated rounds through the washer and dryer are just about the only abuse that bulky flannel pajamas are going to get, LOL. 🙂

  2. Yay! Sewing! The Carolyn shorts are so cute, and how funny you were able to use the same pattern for John! Love his comment about the leg piping… ha! I finally sewed myself a set of these pj’s and I finally get how awesome this pattern is. I love having a real set of pj’s! And I’m totally with you on both the flat piping and the elastic. Cording seems like it would be way too stiff for pj’s, and I hate fighting with elastic that’s too snug of a fit!

    • Thanks Lisa! Agree on all fronts! 🙂 Isn’t this pattern fun? I love the idea of PJs that aren’t old clothes that are no longer acceptable to wear in public, which make up 99% of my pajamas. I’m glad your PJs came out well – enjoy them!

  3. Your shorts and John’s pants look great! I have loved seeing your coloring and hearing about your reading but it’s fun to see you back to doing some sewing! I’m going to have to try that elastic insertion technique next time– I’ll have to watch the video soon.

    • Thanks Teri! I’m trying to get better about making time for sewing in my new schedule. Sewing is really my passion – I’m sure you can relate! 🙂

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