I could swear I used to know how to do this

I recently scored a nice, inexpensive, refurbished sewing machine.  I hemmed a pair of pajama pants that were about four inches too long for John, then thought, “Hey – pajama pants would be a nice, easy project in general.”  Cheap, cheerful – great weekend project.  I even found this Instructables article on using your own favorite pants as templates for making your own.  Cool.  We kind of live in pajama pants around here, so this makes all kinds of sense.  John is especially in need of a few new pairs, so he was to get the first fruits of my labor.

John and I had an errand-running day, and we fit in a trip to the biggest local fabric emporium while we were out.  I said, “So what were you thinking about for fabric?”  Poor John looked like realized he was an inadvertent contestant on “Who Wants to be Asked Questions They Never Considered” – a new game show we apparently have in development at our house.

“Um… I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Well, look around.  See anything you like?”

John almost immediately gravitated towards azure fabric with sharks on it.  “I kind of like the sharks,” he said, fingering the fabric uncertainly.

“Okay, you want the sharks?”  I asked.

“I dunno,” he replied.  At this point, I realize that the woman helming the cutting table in this department is trying hard not to laugh.

“Do you want Wookies, maybe?  Tie-fighters?”  I glance over again.  The clerk is doing a fair impression of stoicism, but there’s some quivering of the lip going on.  Her eye is twitching.  “It’s okay,” I tell her.  “Everybody laughs at us – go ahead.”  She dissolves.

We got the sharks.

Upon arriving home, I throw the fabric in the wash and grab John’s favorite pajama pants to trace out a template on craft paper.  A few hours later, when John comes back from a bike ride, I have him try them on before I do the final hems and install the elastic.

They don’t fit.

Seamstress FAIL

They don’t fit HIM anyway.

I’m going back later this week for more shark chintz and a proper pattern.


  1. Love the sharks – and are those hand-knit socks I see down there?

  2. Yes, those are handknit socks!

    Marie, is Punkin still fascinated by sharks? I have some leftover fabric…

  3. I don’t think Punkin really has much interest in sharks, but Buddy finds them utterly fascinating! (Was it you and John who bought the shark puppet at the Aquarium? That has been one of his choice stuffed animals to go with him to day care for quite some time now). I’m sure I could make him something fun out of leftover fabric if you aren’t going to do anything with it!

  4. I’m pretty sure it was Mark who bought the puppet. At the time, P was utterly fascinated by the sharks – she couldn’t get shut of the otters fast enough in favor of the predators.

  5. I still think they’re darn cute, and go well with the handknit socks!

    If John can’t get comfy in them, I’m sure some lucky nephew could :)

  6. Brenda Dayne says

    “They don’t fit HIM anyway,” implies that maybe they fit you? Dunno, but I’d be careful. I think maybe two pairs of shark pants in one family might cause some sort of rip in the fabric of space and time.

  7. Hi Brenda! Yep, that is the implication. Those are my legs and feet.

    I think that when I do make the second pair, we shall have to coordinate very carefully. I’m pretty sure it’s written in the book of Armageddon:

    “And shalle cyoot cupple wear sharkie jammies onne the same eve, there shalle be a ryp in space und tyme, und out of it shalle cume the bytchiest une ye knewe in Heigh Schule who shalle thenne tease ye without mercye.”

    Something to avoid.

  8. Brenda Dayne says

    I meant to mention a good way to knock off that second pair of shark pants and make sure they fit the person intended, is to add an extra inch to the OUTSIDE leg seam on both front and back pattern pieces. This gives you an extra four inches to play with overall, which is usually more than enough of a fudge factor.

    Sew the front and back leg sections together at the inseam first, followed by the crotch seam. Finally, use a basting stitch for the outside seam, try the pants on, and make adjustments to the outside leg seam as necessary.

    The above presumes, of course, an ample fabric supply, and a willingness to risk the destruction of the universe, to say nothing of teasing without mercy.