It is very easy to convert the Jeanne knit PJ set into a shorter version that is better suited for summer nights. We will show you how to shorten the top and pants and finish sleeves and legs with rib knit bands.
For this project, we will be using the popular Jeanne knit PJ set. This pattern works well for kids and women. For best results, use a soft, comfy jersey knit for the main fabric, and rib knit for the bands.
Turning pants into shorts
For shorts, we aim for something that is shot enough for hot weather, but long enough to stay put. We recommend the following lengths, based on the pattern size, but feel free to adapt, if you want it shorter or longer:
- F to K : 7 cm (2 3/4'')
- L to R: 12 cm (4 3/4'')
- S to DD: 15 cm (6'')
- EE to GG: 20 cm (8'')
Overlap the pieces by 1.2 cm (1/2'') and measure along the bottom edge.
Determine band length
The leg band will need to be smaller than the leg opening. For rib knit bands, we recommend a 80% ratio. It is easy to sew and not too tight.
NOTE: If you are using self fabric (the knit you use for the garment), use a 90% would be better since knits have less stretch.
We measured a 40-cm leg opening.
40 cm x 80% = 32 cm for the length of the bands.
For the width, we recommend 6 cm (2 3/8'') for all sizes.
You will need two bands (one for each leg). Cut them and set aside while you prepare your t-shirt, sleeve cuffs and neck band.
For the top, the process is even easier! Measure between 6 cm (2 3/8'') and 8 cm (3 1/4'') from the armhole/underarm corner and mark. Then, trace a line, starting square the underarm square with the fold line across the sleeve piece. You will need to curve the line a bit to make the two corners square:
Cut your pattern piece along the line (keep the other section in case you want to make a long-sleeved top later on!) and measure the bottom edge.
On our size L sleeve, we measured 13.5 cm. The sleeve is cut on the fold so the total length of our sleeve opening would be double that amount: 27 cm:
We will use the same ratio for the sleeve band, 80% of the sleeve opening.
27 cm x 80% = 21.6 cm for each band
As with the leg bands, if you are using self fabric (with less stretch than rib knit), use a 90% ratio.
These are the bands, ready to be sewn (neck band - cut using the original pattern piece), sleeve bands (self drafted), leg bands (self drafted):
Cut your top and pants fabric pieces using your modified pattern pieces. Assemble the top and shorts using the instruction of the original pattern:
Alternate technique to sew the bands
You can sew and apply the bands with the usual technique but here is a little trick to help you keep the seam allowance flat during assembly, for less bulk.
With your band into position, fold back the top layer by 6 mm (1/4'') and stitch through all layers, along the fold:
By doing this, your band is sewn with the seam allowance open in one step!
Fold the band wrong sides together, mark halves (and quarters) on the band and opening with pins.
Turn the garment wrong side out, pin the folded band to the edge of the opening (raw edges together), matching the pins. Sew, stretching the bands between the pins:
Press the seam allowance towards the garment:
Repeat these steps for all the bands.
At the neckline, we topstitched with the cover stitch and added a small bow:
We also added a bow on the shorts. You can find many tutorials online for "fork bows", that you can make with any ribbon you have on hand.
These summer PJs are great projects to gain confident and practice sewing bands and knits. Have fun with different fabric prints and band colors :)