Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Ellen PJ Bottoms

4 pajama bottoms on a clothesline

Why make one when you can make FOUR?  All of my pajama pants seemed to have fallen apart at once, so I replenished my arsenal with the Ellen Pajamas from 5outof4patterns (affiliate link).  The Ellen are part of the Clark, Ellen and Rusty PJs for the whole family.  I'm not much of a whole pajama kind of person, but I wear pajama bottoms every morning before I get ready.  The first two are flannel, followed by a batik I had left over from a quilt and a sheet I used in college that doesn't fit my bed anymore.  

pajama bottoms
Pajama pants that have a drawstring make me crazy because I don't like
tying and untying it every time I put them on but sometimes an elastic waist isn't snug enough with room in my hips/butt.  One of the features I like about the Ellen is the flat front with elastic in the back and no drawstring.  In the front, she suggests adding some elastic in the seam, not tight, but just enough to give it some stretch.  

I was surprised to see that the waist hits just about at my belly button which is about where I wear my pajama pants.  I was sure I was going to have to shorten the rise but I didn't in any of the pairs I made and I really like the fit.  I also really like that they don't sag way down in the crotch but somehow they also don't ride up when wearing them.  They stay pleasantly in place while being really roomy and comfortable.  The waist band has enough give to get over my butt but then stays where it belongs once they are on.

pajama pants pocket
I rarely sew a pattern exactly as intended but for this one, I followed the directions to the letter and included pockets as explained.  This pattern can be made with or without pockets.  I don't use pockets a lot in pajama pants but I guess I use them a little bit because I had a pair with no pockets and was constantly looking for them.  

I chose to serge the entire thing and do a lot of topstitching because I like the topstitching to hold everything in place.  It's recommended that you might want to run another line of stitching at the crotch for durability but the topstitching on the serged seams should do it for me.  And they are not at all snug, so there's no stress on the seams.

In addition to making no changes to the instructions, I also went with one size and no grading between sizes. I didn't find it necessary to blend two sizes for this pattern because it's designed to be easy wear.  I topstiched the pockets, the outer seams and the whole crotch seam.  The folded down waistband is also topstitched down.

rear view of pajamas
I have not made the Clark or the Rusty PJs so I can't vouch for the fit but if it's anything like the fit of the Ellen, they'd be great for the whole family!  Here's a view from the back, showing that they don't sag and they sort of flatter without being snug.  They are just so comfortable!

A word of caution.  I'm 5'2", so I was sure I could squeak these out of less fabric than suggested.  I tried every manner of fabric tetris with several pieces I had that I was sure would be big enough and I couldn't manage to get both front and back on grain out of my pieces.  I had the striped and batik on hand but I purchased the flannel specifically for these.  I went with 2 1/3 yards and used almost every bit of it.  Make sure you have the amount suggested for your size even if you're short and think you won't use it.  My inseams, finished, came to 29.5 inches and I folded a 1 inche hem twice.  If you're making pockets, you need to know that the pocket lining will show so keep that in mind when choosing your fabric, if that matters to you.

pajama pants waist
I struggled a little with the elastic for the back.  There's plenty of space for wide elastic if you want it.  I used 1 inch in one pair, 1.5 in another and the two flannel pair have "no roll" 1.5 inch elastic.  I hate the no roll elastic because it's extremely hard to work with (thus the no roll) but I have been wanting to use it up so I did here.  For me, I went shorter than the length of elastic recommended, which they say in the pattern to check.  I threaded it in and then safety pinned, tried them on and adjusted before finally sewing the elastic in.  The one thing I don't love about this pattern is the way the back waist fabric sort of floats around the elastic.  I enjoy the fit so much, it's fine, and these are PAJAMA pants that most people will never see me wearing so it's FINE.  Just a little of my persnickety-ness coming through.

As with every 5outof4pattern (affiliate link), I loved every step of the process.  The instrcutions are extremely clear, the PDF is awesome because the links are live and this pattern comes out exactly the way I hoped it would. I look at patterns through the Notability app on my ipad which keeps any live links live and lets me highlight or circle things I need to remember.  I can't imagine sewing any other way!  

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