Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Sew a Petersham Facing - Christmas PJs!

I just finished making a new pair of Christmas Jammies for me! Don't you love curling up in flannel jammies in the winter with a nice cup of coffee. I had to make up my own pattern for these, since I couldn't find one I liked. I basically traced of a pair of ready to wear pajama pants that I loved. 

The process of making these is pretty standard, but I wanted to show you how I did the waistband with a petersham facing. It's so easy and it's nice and soft. I love using petersham. For pajama pants like these, the facing serves as a casing for the elastic.

About Petersham
For those not familiar, Petersham is a type of ribbon very similar to grosgrain ribbon, but with scalloped edges that allow it to curve when ironed. So it can conform to curves nicely without wrinkling or bunching. And it has enough stiffness to add some support, but it remains soft. It is sometimes called  milliner's ribbon, as it is also used in making hats. The narrow widths of petersham can be used in place of bias tape. It's also a great facing for waistbands. 

Along with your standard sewing supplies, you will need a petersham ribbon long enough to go around the waistband of your pants and 1" elastic to go around your waist.
I used 2 inch wide ribbon. After seam allowances, this will give you plenty of room to thread your elastic through the casing. 

How to Sew Pants with a Petersham Facing

If your pants pattern calls for a facing, simply leave this part out. You won't need to cut those pieces.

If your pattern doesn't call for a facing, or if you are making your own pattern, cut your pants pieces to the level you want them to hit on your waist, adding 1/2" for seam allowance. (Side note: I find pants with a facing to be much more comfortable and better fitting than those that are just turned over and stitched to make the casing.)

Sewing the Facing
  1. After sewing up the rest of your pants, you will want to measure around the waist of the pants. You can do this by simply measuring with a measuring tape. Or you can pin the ribbon in place around the pants and mark where they overlap, then unpin and remove the ribbon to sew it. 
  2. Once you have this measurement, add 1 inch for seam allowance and cut your ribbon to this length.
  3. Sew ends of the ribbon closed with 1/2 inch seam allowance so that you now have a tube.
  4. Pin ribbon to raw edge at top of pants with right sides together, matching the seam in the ribbon with the back seam of the pants. Sew around top edge with 1/2 seam allowance. Clip and trim seam allowance as necessary.

  1. Turn facing to the inside and press. Use lots of steam to encourage the Petersham ribbon to conform to the curve of the pants. Pin ribbon in place inside pants.
  2. Topstitch close to the bottom edge of ribbon, leaving a 2 inch gap at the side of the pants for the elastic casing.
  3. Thread elastic through casing. Sew ends of elastic closed. (I like to try the pants on here and just adjust the elastic to a comfortable size.)
  4. Finish topstitching the casing closed.
  5. You're done! How nice does that look!

Perfect for cozy mornings!

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