Reverse Facings Disguised as Pajama Cuffs

This pair of pajamas is the result of a sew-along with The Sewing Loft Blog and Melly Sews, where readers were invited to make a pattern from existing pajamas and then sew a pair from it.  I am thrilled with the result! At the end, I wanted to add cuffs to my PJs just like Melissa’s, but noticed that my un-hemmed pajama length was just the right finished length, and that I would have to cut off the pajama legs at the bottom equal to the cuff width, and then add a contrasting piece back on in the same width to create a contrast cuff. It seemed counter-intuitive and I did not have a contrast knit that “worked”, so I added a facing on the outside in the same fabric as the pajamas, and added a contrast striped flat piping to give the effect of a cuff.Pajamas Green knit

It was easy to do, and I love the look of the “faux” cuff.  I used a “pistachio” cotton knit in my stash. The piping is a black/white stripe interlock knit.

Here’s how to fake the cuff. I mean create a faux cuff:

  1. Make the pajamas and keep the hem to the desired finished length plus ½” seam allowance.
  2. From contrast or same fabric cut two pieces on the crosswise grain. The length of each piece should be equal to the leg hem; the width should be the desired width of the “cuff”; add ½” seam allowances on all sides. Henceforth these pieces are referred to as “facings” or “facings/faux cuffs”.
  3. Sew short ends of each facing together to form a loop.striped cuff or piping
  4. Cut two strips of knit to be used for flat piping the length of PJ hem x 2 inches. Sew together the short ends to form loop. piping
  5. Fold the narrow piping strip loops in half on the long side, wrong side in and raw edges together, and press.
  6. Sew each piping strip onto a facing edge on the long side using ½” seam allowance, raw edges together. Sewing tip: In the picture below, I’m using an old machine with no seam allowance markings, and using a sticky yellow paper strip to keep the seam at 1/2″. attaching piping to top of faux cuff
  7. Trim and grade* seam. Press the piping strip up and press the seam allowance down towards the facing.
  8. Pin, and then sew right side of facing/piping circle to wrong side of PJ hem with ½” seam allowance. The inseam of pajamas should align with the seam on facing/piping unit.  Repeat for other leg.
  9. Grade seam and press toward pajama hem. pj leg and faux cuff
  10. Turn over and understitch* this seam on the PJ side, catching the seam allowance. See picture below.

    Under-stitching will keep the pajama edge from peeking from underneath the “cuff”.
  11. Press the facing/piping unit up: wrong side meets right side of pajamas, making sure the in-seams match up. Pin in place. (You can see my under-stitching in the picture below)

    pined up cuff
    Stitch in the ditch of the seam indicated by pins in the picture.
  12. Stitch in the ditch* of facing/piping seam to permanently attach the “faux cuff” to PJs. The concept of “stitch in the ditch” just means that you machine stitch right inside the indicated seam. In our case where the striped fabric meets the plain fabric.
  13. Done! Make a t-shirt with it if you wish, and wear! These are nice enough to answer the front door in…..

For new seamstresses:

*Grading a seam allowance is a way to reduce bulk in the seams by cutting away part of ONE seam allowance edge (after sewing the seam) so it is not even with the other one.

*Under-stitching is turning both seam allowances to one side and stitching at the edge from the right side of the project. It prevents the under-stitched part from peeking out from the wrong side. You can see the under-stitching picture above.

* “Stitch in the ditch” is just a line of sewing to keep part of a garment in place. See the picture of the turned up cuff being “stitched-in-the-ditch” to the pajama leg. The stitching is done right between the piping and the cuff and is almost invisible.

After making the first pair in the sew along, I immediately pulled out a fruit print cotton knit which was just begging to be made into another pair.  The picture below is a “selfie”.  Just sayin’. 078

Do you have any cool PJ ideas? I’m a little hesitant to ask this question but do you wear a pajama set to bed? The pajamas-worn-in-public concept is trending for the past two years. Are you in? Or are you out?


6 thoughts on “Reverse Facings Disguised as Pajama Cuffs

  1. Thanks, Roz! Agree with you about no PJs in public. Cannot believe big time designers (Marc Jacobs, Rachel Roy) went in public with complete PJ sets — not even a modified pajama look. Having said that, I want to consider a modified pajama-top in public. (I can almost hear you scream). 🙂


  2. Very cute pajamas! And, thanks for the tutorial on the fake cuff. I have made a few pairs of pajamas and added cuffs, one was a ‘real’ cuff, and the other was more like a band on top of the fabric. I like this version that you describe.


    1. Thank you! Once you do one, it’s hard to keep from doing more! Kind of like cookies……
      After these two I made short pajamas for my daughter — used up the leftover print fabric.


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