achievement unlocked: flannel jammies

By “jammies,” I mean pajamas. When you have a child, you end up referring to pajamas a lot in conversation, & I always call them jammies, & I’ve been amazed at the number of people that are like, “…What are jammies?”


Am I a master photographer or what? Checking you in my rear view, Annie Leibowitz!

So, these are Butterick 6296, designed by Liesl Gibson. I picked up this pattern after deciding I wanted to sew up some pajamas similar in style to the Carolyn pajamas by Closet Case Patterns (button-down shirt with a collar, pants with pockets, piping), but also deciding that I didn’t want to spend $14 on a pattern. This guy was 99 cents during a Hancock sale.

I cut the long pants & the long-sleeved top, but I chose the shorter shirt hem length from view A. I also knocked an inch & a half off both the leg & sleeve lengths. Based on finished garment measurements, I cut a 22 for the pants (I prefer a roomier fit in pajama pants, which was another strike against the Carolyn pajamas, which are designed to be a closer fit–I am a very thrashy sleeper & hate being constricted by my pajamas while I am flailing around in my sleep) & an 18 for the top. This was a surprise, because I usually need a larger fit up on top than I do on the bottom. I probably would have cut a bigger size if I’d had more fabric, but I knew it was going to be a struggle to fit all the pieces on the yardage I had, so I economized everywhere I could, & luckily, it turned out just fine.

I originally bought this flannel to make a McCall’s 6696 winter-weight shirtdress. That just never happened, so the fabric was re-purposed for something that would get a lot more wear anyway. To be honest, I rarely wear dresses, but I wear pajamas constantly. I’m wearing pajamas right now! Just one of the many perks of having chronic treatment-resistant depression & being a stay-at-home mom. Actual clothes are kind of optional for this lifestyle.

I made my own piping, because I always do. I prefer thinner piping than the pre-made stuff that is sold in packages. Plus I like to customize. This fabric has so many different colors on it, I wasn’t sure what color to choose for piping. I pulled out all my solid yardage & held it against the flannel until I found something that worked. I wound up going with this deep raspberry color that is technically not present in the flannel, but it somehow splits the difference between the hot pink & the coral, complements the navy background perfectly, & plays well with all the other colors as well. & bonus: I had buttons the exact same color! What a happy coincidence!


I thought I had run out of navy blue thread before I got to the buttonholes (turned out the cat had just knocked the spool under the couch–what an asshole), so I used mint green. I like it! It’s not a detail you’re likely to see in RTW, which is part of the fun of making your own clothes.

I didn’t use any pockets on the shirt, both because I was low on fabric, & because I just don’t use shirt pockets. The pants pattern has these amazing deep pockets, & that was more than enough for me! Pockets on pajama pants, man. Fucking genius.

The pattern calls for piping the cuffs of the pants & sleeves, as well as the collar & button placket. But I chose to also pipe my pockets & the back yoke.







I also hemmed the shirt with vintage hem tape I bought at a yard sale a few years ago. I bought a whole cigar box full of old bias tape, ribbon, & hem tape. They’re mostly weird colors like brown & cream. & navy, which at the time, I was like, “Ugh, I’ll never use this.” I stand corrected!


It’s so wide & satin-y, it gives the shirt a really luxe feel, which makes up for the fact that it is somehow totally uneven. One side of the placket ends a full half-inch above the other, & when I picked out the hem & re-sewed it to fix it, I somehow only made it even more pronounced. I know one of my legs is longer than the other, so one hip is higher than the other. Maybe one shoulder is higher than the other too? This is literally my only button-down shirt, so I have nothing else to compare it to. Maybe I just fucked up the sewing. If this was an actual button-down that I was planning to wear outside the house, I would go back & trim down the longer side & try to fix it, but it’s pajamas, so fuck it.

A few sewing issues: the collar was all kinds of baffling. I have very little experience sewing collars, so some of it may have been user error, but there was nothing in the instructions about understitching the under collar. I thought of it myself & then skipped it, which was a mistake, because the under collar really wants to peek out in the back. Again, if this was a real shirt, I’d fix it.

My leg bands also did not fit the pant legs properly. I had to do a lot of easing because the bands were bigger than the legs, & there are a few puckers as a result. No clue why this happened, as this flannel is a very stable woven that shouldn’t have stretched that much when I attached the piping. I did shorten the legs, but I did so at the lengthen/shorten line, so the width of the bottom of the leg shouldn’t have been impacted at all. The difference in size was way more than could be explained away by making a cutting errors. So that was annoying.

But in any case, I came away in the end with well-fitting cozy flannel pajamas that have gotten a lot of use. I absolutely love them! & I have already bought some lovely Tiger Lily lawn to make a short-sleeved short-pants pair for warmer weather.

We’ve had a stretch of 70+-degree days in Kansas already this month, so I’m not a complete kook for planning this project in February. I’d also like to experiment with mid-weight cotton & even jersey. So I have a lot of upcoming opportunities to perfect my collar-sewing & hem lengths, & work out that band-fitting issue!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

7 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: flannel jammies

  1. I love jammies! I don’t like standard pajama tops with buttons though… I think they feel a little too much like real shirts? I prefer a simple fitted top. Which makes it easier to make my own jammies…. the bottoms are so much easier. 😀 I mostly wear yoga pants to bed these days, tho.

    1. I hear you. I actually don’t have any button-down shirts because I haven’t had luck finding RTW shirts that fit my bust. I have some patterns for button-downs & am hoping to sew my own eventually, but I really mostly just wear t-shirts. So button-down pajama shirts mean I am actually more dressed up when I go to bed than I am the rest of the time!

      i have literally an entire drawer in my dresser just for pajamas. It’s not like I have a shortage! But I’m on a quest to replace all my RTW clothes with stuff I’ve sewn, so…

    1. I know, right?! I swear, every other parent I talk to is like, “What are jammies?…Oh! I’ve never heard them called that before!” Maybe it’s a Great Lakes thing?

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