Pyjama Party – Preparation

Everything Ready

Today, we’re going to prep our Tofino pants. Sewaholic patterns are designed for women who are generously sized around their hips. If this isn’t you, you may discover that there’s a surprising disparity in sizes – that your pattern size for your hips is smaller than that for your waist. That’s certainly the case for me.


Now, some people say that they’ve been dissuaded from Sewaholic patterns because of the body shape they’re designed for. To which I say, Shake that foolish notion out of your head, spit, spot! It is really, really easy to grade most Sewaholic patterns to your own hip size. Apart from the Thurlow trousers, there isn’t a single Sewaholic design that is aimed to be hip-hugging. Everything is very forgiving, which means that everything is easy to grade. Clever woman, that Tasia.

So, here’s what I did on the Tofino. I graded down between a size 12 to a size 8 on both seam lines for the front and back pattern pieces. I began my grading from either the top of the crotch on the inside seam and from about lower hip level on the outer seam. I carried the grading through to about knee level in a long, gradual line. When I say ‘graded’ I mean ‘drew a line in pencil’. It ain’t rocket science, know what I’m saying?


This becomes my cutting out line. I think this removes just under 4cm of circumference from each leg piece. I am more than happy to keep the larger size around my waist and hips because of my paunch!

Once any grading is done, I cut out my pattern pieces – all five of them – ticking them off on my pattern instructions as I go. I find this helps me keep track!

Ticking Off

I then press each paper piece with an iron on medium heat. My fabric has already been pressed, wrong sides together, selvedge to selvedge. (There’s a great piece about selvedges here, and a handy guide to all this prep here.) I pin my pattern pieces to the fabric, being careful to line up my grainline. You’ll want lots of clear space for this process – if you don’t have a large table, get down on the floor!


I cut the fabric pieces out, snipping into all my notches and adding a tailor’s tack at the one dotted piece on the pattern. This is good practice – I suggest you do it. The notches are particularly important on this pattern, where you have looooonnnnng sections to line up.

Prep Collage

Then I take most of my pins out, leaving one pin in per pattern piece, and fold everything up in a neat little pile, ready for the next step. (I take most of my pins out because of the danger of ‘fabric memory’. This is when a fabric permanently holds on to the impression a pin puncture leaves in the weave – bad news sometimes.)

Everything Ready

You wanna know what the next step is? Tasia makes things the most fun! It’s making a sweet fabric belt – woo, hoo!

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11 Responses to Pyjama Party – Preparation

  1. Helen Johnstone says:

    I am glad to hear that Sewaholic patterns are generous. I have a bit of a tum but a smallish waist. I will follow your instructions carefully. Cant wait to get back from my hols to start

  2. Oh that is why I seem to be a 14 and a 10 at the same time… I was worried there was something quite wrong with me, or that the baby has forever changed my body (it has but that was weird!). Thanks for the tip, and I better start cutting!

  3. Fiona says:

    When you get to it, would you mind letting those of us in the uk know where you got your ready made piping from. I haven’t found any at all locally or on-line.

    • Gill K says:

      I found some on
      Haven’t ordered any yet though so I don’t actually know what the quality/ service etc is like.

  4. Catherine says:

    Thank goodness for the upcoming Queens Birthday long weekend! Hopefully I can get started on the cutting while juggling all my other projects!

  5. Juliab says:

    I am keeping a close eye on this sew a long as I am planning on making some pyjama bottoms out of a vintage duvet cover very soon. Just got to make some dresses to take on holiday first. I have never made trousers/jama bottoms before and am looking forward to the challenge. BTW, I have just bought a gardeners foam kneeling mat from Asda for £1 today to save my poor knees when cutting out fabric on the floor! The things we do for the love of sewing eh?!

  6. powell2317 says:

    Thanks, really enjoyed this. I’ve been sewing for ages and am comfortable following patterns but have avoided grading patterns as it sounded hard – but you make it understandable!

  7. Hopefully you could post the picture of your finish product. Can’t wait to see it!

  8. Pingback: Pyjama Party with Karen @ Did You Make That? | enchantedbybooks

  9. Tiffany says:

    I love that someone is making patterns for those of us with larger hips and small waists. What a great idea. There have patterns based on size (small or plus) but not shape. Now us with badonkadonks can have an easier time fitting our shape. How awesome! Hooray for curves. 🙂

  10. Jo says:

    Hi Karen,
    I know this is a pretty old post, but I wanted to comment anyway because you’ve quickly and clearly dealt with all my head-scratching over where to grade from & to on these. Thank you! 🙂

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