I have three copies of Simplicity 4889.  There are very few patterns that I buy multiple copies of, but this one I was happy to.  It’s unisex, so I can make jammies for everyone out of the same pattern.  And the size range is nice and large, so I don’t have to worry about sizing it up so that it will fit around my ample hips.  Having a classic t-shirt pattern in the mix too is a great bonus.

Mine, the crafty pants on the left, are the largest size the pattern goes up to.  And they’re nice and huge on me.  When I use this pattern again to make work out clothes, I’ll use the next size down.  On the right is the monster jammies I made for my roomie.  Pure awesomeness, I assure you.  She’s worn hers two days in a row now, picking them over her camo jammies.  Yup, that’s me, world’s most awesome roomie.

Cost wise, this was a very inexpensive project.  The flannel was on sale at major-national-chain for $2.49/yd (4 yards for mine, 3 1/4 for hers, and there were plenty of scraps left over).  $18.05 for two pairs of jammies?  Ah-mazing.

The most important thing to remember when making your very own flannel jammie pants?  PRE-WASH YOUR FABRIC!!!!  Flannel can shrink as much as 3-4 inches per yard, which can turn nicely fitted jammies into high-water hot pants, which are NOT comfy to lay around the house in.  Open up the piece of fabric and zig-zag stitch along the cut edge (or serge) to prevent raveling and fraying in the wash.  Wash in warm or hot water.  If the flannel is dyed red, you might want to wash it alone the first time.  And if there’s lots of different colors, you can pour about 3/4 c. white vinegar into the wash with the fabric to help set the dye.  (If you’re using vinegar, skip fabric softener).  Dry normally.

After pre-washing fabric, it may not fold in half as easily as it did off the bolt.  You may need to put the fabric on grain before going any further.  The easiest way to do that with flannel is to snip the fabric through the selvedge about 1-2 inches from the cut end and tearing.  If it doesn’t tear all the way to the other edge, snip again 1-2 inches from the first snip and try again.  Washing fabric snaps it back to straight of grain and fixes any distortions that it may have gone through in the process of putting the fabric on the bolt.

Before you buy flannel, though, it’s important to inspect the fabric before you buy.  Look closely at the wrong side of the fabric.  Does the weave look even?  Are the threads of the weave meeting at 90 degree angles?  When the fabric is rolled out on the cutting table, does it lay flat without a lot of creases or folds in the fabric, especially near the fold?  Avoid pieces that have uneven weaves, where the grain is slanted rather than square, or that don’t lay well on the cutting table.  These pieces, no matter how cute the print, are more likely to wear out faster, hang poorly as a garment, and distort your project.  If you’ve ever bought a pair of jeans where the side seam wanted to run down the front of your leg, you’ve been the victim of off grain fabric.

Another thing that most people don’t realize is that flannel isn’t always fuzzy when you buy it.  During the manufacture process, chemicals called sizing are used to help the fabric move through the machinery more easily.  That can cause the fabric to have a smooth feel in the store.  It can also cause stiffness and an odd, glue like smell.  That doesn’t mean the fabric is damaged, it just needs to be washed well before use.  And once the item is made, it will get fuzzier with washing and wearing.

Jammies are a very easy clothing project to get started with.  I hope my love of jammies, and a little extra info on shopping for flannel will inspire you to try jammies for yourself.

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