Sew pajamas from T-shirts: Creative Recycling for Kids

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Leggi questo post in: Italiano

Raccolta di Riciclo creativo

I’m really excited to be participating in Silvia from Mammabook’s Creative Recycling for Kids initiative again this year! Being one of the few Italian refashioning bloggers, Silvia asked me to participate with a refashioning for children project. Last year I wrote two posts on updating outgrown clothing for the summer, first shortening long socks and turning long sleeve onesies into short sleeve t-shirts, and then a no-sew method to shorten outgrown pants into capri pants or shorts.

This year’s initiative is different and really fun; Silvia has paired up participants who have similar interests and they each create something following a tutorial that the other has published. I’m paired up with my friend Irene from Serger Pepper, whose leggings for girls and asymmetrical hands-free bag I have already sewn and whose sewing tips and tutorials are super useful. Check out the amazing project she made using two of my tutorials for this initiative! Irene has a lot of really great tutorials and patterns and, considering that I wanted to make something for my little boy that he could use in the time period that I prepared the post (before it suddenly got hot a week or so ago), she helped me choose her T-shirts to Pajamas tutorial. Silvia gave me the OK to publish my English version of the project here but, if you want to read the Italian version, you can read it here on Mammabook.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

This was a perfect choice because I love refashioning t-shirts and my Nicky needed some PJs. In the tutorial Irene pairs the original sized small t-shirt collar with the bottom hem of another shirt and uses the rest of the t-shirt parts to make the sleeves and pants. She also put cuffs on the wrists and ankles, making this two piece project totally hem- and collar-free! What a fantastic idea! (Preparing and sewing hems is my least favorite part of garment sewing!)

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

And I really don’t usually sew a lot of clothing for my son, so it felt really great to make something with love for him. And how can I resist a silly little guy like him?!

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I started off with these two t-shirts. I got the size small red shirt for 50 cents at my local used market. I’m always on the lookout for t-shirts with 5% spandex because they are wonderful for making stretchy cuffs and waistbands (like for my t-shirt underwear I made Nicky when he stopped wearing diapers). I was also careful to choose a shirt whose collar was the right size to fit over his head.

http://www.cucicucicoo.com/it/2013/11/trasforma-magliette-vecchie-mutandine-per-maschietti/

The second t-shirt was an XXL 100% cotton hand-me-down. And when I say XXL, I mean XXL! I would’ve kept it to make a super easy long-sleeved dress or nightgown for my daughter except that the hems weren’t in great condition and it had some stains.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

Irene’s composition and colors were definitely feminine, but I wanted to make it more masculine. So I decided to make the bodice of the shirt in one color broken up by a single color-blocked stripe and the sleeves and legs the same color as the stripe. The stripe would allow me to use both the original collar and hem of the size small t-shirt. Then I would use the remains of that shirt (with 5% spandex content) for cuffs and a waistband (instead of using elastic).

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

Using clothing that fits him, I drafted up a pattern.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I didn’t bother making a separate stripe pattern piece, but just folded  the bodice piece to cut it out the right size, of course taking into account seam allowances.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I cut out my pieces and cuffs from the shirts.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the red shirt to make the waistband, so I cut the legs with extra fabric for an elastic casing.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

And I sewed them up. So cute!

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I love the simple detail of the stripe, which is on both the front and back.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

By doing this I was able to reuse the original neck and original hems. I love time-savers and this idea of Irene’s was just genius!

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I also prefer sewing on a cuff to hemming wrists and legs.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

Next time I will definitely plan it better so that I can make a waistband, too, instead of using elastic. I used a triple straight stitch to sew the entire set, even the elastic casing. After sewing each seam, I finished off the seams with a serger.

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

What a quick project!

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

I just love those contrasting cuffs! (And aren’t those vintage 60s sheets just awesome?!)

Sew pajamas from old T-shirts

And no money spent for a useful garment that makes this little guy happy? I think I’ll be making lots more of these! Thanks to Irene for the fantastic tutorial and to Silvia for the fantastic tutorial swap idea! It was really such a wonderful experience!

9 COMMENTS

  1. Come scritto di là da Silvia: è semplicemente fantastico! Non ti va di partecipare con una delle tue stupende creazioni allo swap estate di riciclo e fai da te? basta qualcosa di piccino picciò! 🙂 BUonissima giornata, Vale

  2. You did a great job, Lisa!
    I love these two colors together and the strip is awesome 🙂
    You caught me, I hate making hems… too much wasted time… so much better adding cuffs… what about the triple straight stitch? Isn’t your sewing with knits new BFF?
    Hugs,
    Irene

    • Oh, YES! I am just in love with the triple straight stitch! And I am *always* thrilled for a way to avoid hemming! We definitely agree on that one! Thanks again, Irene! 🙂

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