My oldest daughter wanted to make a mermaid tail as her birthday present to a friend. Since we were at the fabric store, but I hadn’t yet done the math to figure out how much fabric I’d need, I just bought a yard of a solid and a yard of a pattern with the right colors.
Once we got the mermaid tail figured out, however, we had quite a bit of extra fabric left over. My daughter kept running her fingers over the pretty, soft minky, and then asked if we could make her some cute PJ pants out of the fabric so she could snuggle in it. Alas, there wasn’t enough length, but we did have enough to make some long shorts that she loves. We also made a t-shirt out of the solid to match, but I didn’t take any photos while we were doing that one, so we’ll just talk about shorts today.
We began by cutting our fabric piece in half and then folding each of those pieces in half. We then used a super-comfy pair of shorts that she loves as a pattern. We set the folded edge of the shorts away from the folded fabric by about a half inch, and then cut a generous seam allowance as well. We also added a few inches to the bottoms so that they’d be nice and long for jammies. When you cut the top, be sure to give yourself enough room to fold over a waistband. My seven year old was able to do most of this part herself.
Minky sheds like crazy, so we started off by serging the top and bottom of the shorts to minimize the amount of fluff spreading all over the room. Then align the two identical pieces with right sides together, and sew from the waistband end and off the point. If you have a serger, you can do this with the serger; if not, use a narrow zig-zag to preserve the stretch on your seam. Then refold the shorts so that the legs are aligned, and sew beginning at the bottom of one leg, continuing up and under the crotch and then down the other leg.
To finish the shorts, you’ll simply fold the bottom of the legs under 1/2 inch and stitch down as a hem. Fold the top over 1″ and stitch down, leaving a 1.5″ gap through which to thread elastic. Cut a length of 3/4″ wide elastic that measures 2.5″ shorter than the child’s waist measurement. Thread the elastic through the casing, overlap the ends to secure the elastic, then stitch the casing closed.
Even with the help of a little girl, this project from start to finish took less than a half hour. For the next wearings, I’m going to have to talk her into getting dressed in the morning, but at least getting jammies on will be no problem!