Project Holiday Family PJs
Skill Level: Intermediate
Skill Level: Intermediate
Make this year’s family pajamas in your favorite Holiday fabric with your sewing machine and create matching shirts with the free .pes embroidery design that comes with this project! You can buy pre-made shirts or sew your own.
Click here to download the instructions, which include step-by-step photos, and a link to the design.
The Embroidery Design and the Hoops: There are 4 different designs available with this project – Large (design size is 10.23” x 5.73”), 5” x 8.5”, 4” x 7”, and 4” x 4” (actual design size is 3.87” x 2.35”). Determine the size hoop based on the size design you are applying to the size top you are stitching on. I utilized the 6.25” x 10.25” hoop and the “Large” design for the adult shirts. I used the 6.25” x 10.25” hoop and the 4” x 7” design for the Small and Medium child shirts. I used the 4” x 7” design and the 5” x 7” hoop for the 5T and dog shirt. I used a 4” x 4” hoop for the baby bodysuit. The three larger designs incorporate appliqué, while the smallest design is embroidery-only.
The Embroidery Machine Needle: Because I stitched on a lightweight jersey knit, I used a Klassé Ballpoint 75/11 needle to stitch out the embroidery designs.
The Stabilizer: You will only hoop the Baby Lock Stick-Tear Stabilizer so that you can adhere and “float” the shirt on top of the hoop, which helps because you don’t have to hoop the shirt in with the stabilizer! Hooping the shirt within the frame could cause unwanted stretching. Using the Stick-Tear also prevents the knit fabric from moving as you stitch, allowing for a pretty stitchout. Additionally, I highly recommend the Baby Lock Rinse-Away Tear Away Embroidery Stabilizer for this project. You just slip or “float” a layer underneath before beginning the stitchout and it goes along for the ride. It gives great stability for the design, gently tears away and then, gradually washes away in the washer. The Baby Lock Soft Stitch Fusible Stitch Cover can be used after stitching by fusing a piece to the backside of the embroidery to avoid any irritation from the backside of the stitchout on the skin.
The Tutorial: You’ll find the Embroidery/Appliqué of the shirt first. There isn’t really a tutorial to stitch the pajama pants because the pattern will provide that for you but, there are some fun tips for them included after the embroidery tutorial.
The Pre-wash! It’s a good idea to pre-wash the fabric for the pants, as well as, the shirts (whether purchased shirts or fabric to make tops). This will take shrinking out of the equation so that you have pajama pants that are the right size and pretty embroidery designs that lay right because the fabric underneath it has already been washed to shrink.
Shirt Embroidery Instructions
Place 1 layer of Baby Lock Stick-Tear Tear Away stabilizer in the hoop you are using with the waxy size up. With a pin, lightly score the top layer and peel the waxy paper away.
Lay the shirt out flat and mark a line down the center. Make a notch for where you want the top of the design to be. I made my mark 1.75” down from the seam at the neckband for the adult shirts and 1.5” down for the kids shirts, and 1” for the baby bodysuit. Note the length of the embroidery design you are using and measure and mark the bottom mark from the top mark. This way you can easily place the markings on the shirt within the embroider-able space of the hoop.
Place the hoop on the table. You can see through the stabilizer somewhat so, if you have a gridded cutting mat, you can line up the hoop center marks with the grid, which offers some positioning assistance!
Turn shirt inside and out. Looking through the neckline, place the neckline marking first, lined up with the center.
Then, open up the bottom of the shirt to line up and press down the center line along the center marking of the hoop. Stick and re-stick, as necessary, ensuring that the top mark and the bottom mark are within the embroider-able area of the hoop.
Smooth and stick portions to the right and left of the center line. Keep in mind that you’ll have lesser room/space to work with as the shirt size gets smaller but, the process remains the same.
Cut a piece of Tear Away Rinse Away Stabilizer that is large enough to cover the backside of the hoop. Place the hoop on the machine and slide or “float” the Tear Away Rinse Away stabilizer underneath the hoop. Use the Move Arrows on-screen to line up the design with the Center Top to ensure the correct positioning for the design.
Start the first stitch, which will be the Appliqué Material Stitch for the Appliqué. VERY IMPORTANT: Whenever embroidering shirts on a flatbed embroidery machine, make sure to “babysit” the shirt, keeping all extra fabric out of the way (watching your fingers, of course!) as it stitches so that excess shirt fabric or sleeves doesn’t decide to go along for the ride. Also, make sure that the sleeves don’t end up under the hoop, as well. That is never fun!
Note: “Babysitting” the shirt as it stitches is especially important for baby bodysuits. These, in particular, can be challenging to stitch out on a flatbed machine without snagging parts of the bodysuit. If you are a beginner, you might consider stitch ripping one of the side seams to allow for a little more flexibility when embroidering. Then, stitch the side seam back up when embroidery is complete. Below, I utilized a softer point stiletto tool (Clover Press Perfect Hold It Perfect Stiletto) to assist and keep my fingers out of the way.
Place appliqué fabric over the top of the stitchout. You may be able to accomplish this while the hoop is still on the machine. However, if you remove the hoop, do so carefully. You don’t want the stabilizer to un-hoop! Stitch out the next step, which is the Appliqué Position stitch.
Carefully remove the hooped fabric from the machine, leaving everything hooped. Do not un-hoop anything. Using Appliqué Scissors or Snips, snip away extra fabric around each letter. Take your time and snip as closely to the fabric without snipping the stitch line. If you do happen to nick the stitch line, don’t sweat it, you should still be ok. The closer you can get, the better to ensure that the satin stitch covers the raw edge completely! The correct way to use the Appliqué Scissors is to put the bulkier blade under the fabric and snip. I actually prefer to use the tip to get under the fabric; I feel like I can get really close with that edge. I take teeny tiny snips when I get into tight areas. Just make sure that you don’t snip any of the knit fabric underneath!
Carefully place the hoop back on the machine. Stitch out the Appliqué Satin Stitch. Again, continue to “babysit” any extra fabric as it stitches!
Then, stitch the rest of the design!
When completed, remove the hooped frame from the machine and flip it upside down to the backside, leaving it hooped. Tear away the Tear Away Rinse Away stabilizer.
Then, using your thumb fingernail to gently push around the outer edges of the letter to just separate the Stick Tear where perforated from the stitches. Flip the hoop back over to the frontside to gently pull the shirt away from the stabilizer.
Continue to remove stabilizer bits. You might opt to throw in the washing machine; I found it easier to remove the rest of the little bits of stabilizer.
If desired, fuse a piece of the Baby Lock Soft Stitch to the backside of the embroidery design to avoid irritation from the stitching.
Pajama Pant Tips
Follow the instructions in the pattern to construct the pants but, if you have a serger, consider using the serger for your seams!
I like to include a tag for the backside of my handmade pants! Something fun you can do with your sewing machine is stitch the person’s name or size on a piece of ribbon with the sewing letters built-in your machine (where applicable). -Cut a 4” piece of ribbon and finger press it in half. Open it back up and put a little bit of the Tear Away Rinse Away Stabilizer behind the ribbon and stitch the desired letter or phrase onto the ribbon, starting just above the center fold. -Gently tear away the stabilizer and fold in half. Slip in under the pressed waistband before stitching. Trim up tags, if needed. And, there you have it, a personalized tag!
You may have noticed I used a different foot from the standard foot. I used the Teflon foot and love to use that foot with flannel – it glides so nicely over the fabric!
Another thing I like to incorporate in sewn pants that include encased elastic, is to stitch the elastic in place so it doesn’t twist in the waistband. Once you have the elastic in place and ensure the fit is good (make sure the gathers of the waistband are distributed evenly around the elastic by pulling the whole waistband), stitch the elastic in place on the waistband at every seam. This will ensure that the elastic does not twist in the waistband!