The “Pajama Party” Pink Jammies

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton
Pattern: McCall’s 7413

Year: 1980-something
Notions: Thread and ribbon
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: April 26, 2012
Wear again? Yes! The only reason I’m not wearing them now is because I had to put them in the wash!
Total price: $0.00

I totally cheated on this week’s challenge. You see, these PJs were actually part of Karen’s (over at Did You Make That?) Pajama Party. I’ll borrow some text from my blog to share with you…

When I was little, one my favorite things to do was spend the night at my grandparent’s house. Grandma never made us finish all our dinner in order to have dessert, always had our favorite–and forbidden–sugar laden cereals on hand, and she always rented a video for us to watch. This video was usually a musical (as Grandma has a fondness/weakness) for the genre. We’d change into our jammies, make some popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch to watch. Grandma always sang along with the tunes (rather well, I’d add). One of my favorites was The Pajama Game starring Doris Day as saucy factory line worker and union leader Babe Williams and John Raitt as newly hired plant manager Sid Sorokin. Undoubtedly, I didn’t understand the sexual politics of the movie at the time–I just loved the fact that they sang and dance; I wanted then–and still do now!–to live a life where I/the world around me spontaneously burst into song! An oh! The song! “Hernando’s Hideway,” “The Pajama Game,” “Steam Heat,” “There Once was a Man,”and “Hey There (You with the Stars in Your Eyes)”… and as an added bonus there’s a really awesome shot of what a mid-century garment factory looked like in the inside at the very beginning! Oh those industrial sewing machines! (It’s on Netflix Instant right now… go watch it!).

But I digress… I seriously spend 99% of my life (as I currently work from home) in what I’ve taken to calling “lounge pants”–inevitably, this term is met with a roll of Mr. Retro’s eyes and sigh that clearly says, “Dude, who are you kidding? They’re JAMMIES!” As my old jammies are in a desperate state, it was time for some new PJs.

My fabric didn’t originally speak to me. Confession time: I’m not a fan of pink. At all. Never have been. In fact, I’ve just recently–and very reluctantly I might add–started to *consider* adding pale pink (it looks good with a tan) and fucshia into my wardrobe. Middle of the road pinks, however… I just can’t. So when I was gifted this fabric I was less than enthused. I mean, seriously, this fabric can’t decide if it’s a solid fabric, mattress ticking, or reproduction wallpaper! But it’s light and airy–two things desperately needed during the summer months here in Philly for comfortable sleeping!
As for the pattern, I chose a “vintage” 1980s McCall’s pattern (can we really call the 1980s vintage at this point? I mean seriously… I grew up in the 1980s!) and altered it a bit as originally the waist looked like this:

And the crotch looked kind of like this:


And that was just not going to fly. So I had to cut off about 2 1/2 inches at the top to get the waist to sit right and the crotch–lovingly termed “penguin crotch” by Mr. Retro–to hang correctly. Thankfully, this did not effect the leg length. Apparently, the fashion formula for1980s PJ pants was thus: Urkel waist + Hammer/penguin crotch + Andre the Giant legs! Seriously–pre-alteration the legs on these pants were about a foot and half too long!

But I digress–here’s me in my jammies!

Aside from the aforementioned waistband-penguin crotch shenanigans, this pattern was incredibly simple! I serged all seams–including the crotch!–and then carefully sewed a seam inside the serged one with my regular machine. I carefully measured all of the folded over edges with my hem measuring tool. I’m incredibly proud of how the “guts” of this garment turned out–they look nice and professional. (If you’re really interested in seeing a “crotch shot, hop on over to my blog).




Tina C.

Tina C. is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA with her beau and her two ridiculously spoiled Siamese cats (this does not a crazy cat lady make!). She's not buying any off-the-rack clothing this year, so she better get cracking and learn how to sew!


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  1. HA! Love the Urkel waist/Hammer crotch designation. I am hoping at some point to make more pjs this year as I have a small boy running around my house now and I can no longer sleep…um…the way I used to. ;)

  2. I love the way your pjs turned out. It’s great seeing everyone’s photos in their new pjs!

  3. I love love love that book you are reading. Are you loving it?

    • I LOVED this book! I read it a few years ago (shortly after it came out) and absolutely adored the fact that Chabon is a “fan boy” of comic books (as I am a fan girl) and got the history right!

  4. Yay for new pjs! That print is awesome. I think my mom used to make me pj pants from this same pattern. We also had the same fit issues as you. But great job working them out!

  5. Hilarious Tina! You just made my day! I love the pyjama game ! It has great 50’s costumes in it – there’s even one scene where Doris is sporting a lucite purse – drool! Very pretty fabric – nice job. Dying to know – what’s the book?

    • Trish–the book is The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and a beautiful narrative. It follows two Jewish cousins during and post-WII. Both are involved in the comic book industry (and here’s where Chabon rocks–he’s a fan boy and did his homework. He loosely bases them and their work on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and their work) and both fall in love with the same woman. It’s a story about love, family, and friendship. Get thee to your nearest library and check it out!