Completed: Tractor Jammies

I don’t have many UFOs lying around, in fact I really try to see a project through every time, but the few UFOs that I have are nearing the point at which they can be counted as archeological digs when I finally get around to unearthing them from the depths of the closet. These pjs for my son are the newest of the ancient UFOs.

I started these jammies way back when my boy, who is now inching closer to 4 years old was still in a crib.


At the time,I had never sewn with knits before but when I saw this tractor/bulldozer/other-manly-machine printed jersey at the store, I couldn’t help myself. I knew my little man who adores anything with wheels would love it. The yardage was heavily damaged with smeared print and giant holes all over the place so I got it for something nutty like 40 cents/yard. I bought all 4 or so yards they had. Then I went home and pondered what to do with it.

I started by making a fitted crib sheet. I took measurements, stitched a few gussets, then added elastic at the short ends. It worked out just fine. The crib sheet fit wonderfully and I had no fear that it might come loose and get tangled around my baby. Unfortunately that gave me the false confidence that I could make something else with it.

I ran out to the store and snapped up a pattern for toddler pajamas, New Look 6847.


I cut out both the pants and shirt. At the time, he was a very big kid for his age. At 8 months old, he wore size 18 month clothes. Considering that I wanted him to be able to grow into the jammies and wear them beyond the following week, I cut a size 2.

From that point on, everything was a disaster. I started stitching up the pants. I used a ball point needle, but it just pushed the fabric down through the throat plate and got it mangled in the machine. The presser foot on my machine had too much pressure which I couldn’t adjust and only managed to stretch everything as it was sewing in one place. Once I got beyond those issues, I used the recommended stretch stitch on the machine only to find that it wasn’t at all stretchy once it was all done. Speaking of done… the pants came out about 6 inches too long. Somehow I didn’t think of checking the finished leg length. Needless to say, I shoved the pants in the dresser drawer to be tried at a much later date and the pattern pieces, still pinned to the shirt fabric, began to float around my sewing room from one place to the next, always being shoved aside. At some point they eventually fell behind the fabric bins under my table and were forgotten.

Sometime last spring I pulled the pants out of the dresser drawer and tried them on my son. Lo and behold, they finally fit at age 3! Even though the workmanship leaves plenty to be desired, the boy loves them to death and they have been worn regularly with assorted shirts since I hadn’t the heart to go in search of the other half of the abandoned project.

A few weeks ago I got a new storage bin for my ever-growing fabric stash. When I pulled everything out from under the table to rearrange I found the bag with the tractor pj shirt pieces. It sat in the middle of the sewing table, staring at me with it’s brightly colored headlights for a few weeks longer until I finally forced myself to knock out that simple little knit shirt project in 20 minutes, this time armed with an arsenal of knowledge and tools for working with knits and about 20 t-shirts and a half dozen knit dresses. Wanting a long sleeve top for winter, I recut the previously short sleeves based on my son’s current arm length.

I now have a serger so I stitched every bit of that bad boy with the serger. I abandoned the neck facings in favor of a simple folded band. It originally had a slight V-neck but I didn’t mess with it. I just stitched the band clear around the neckline. I didn’t even bother with traditional turned hems. I simply serged the sleeve ends and bottom hem and said “done.”

Once I finished the shirt, I felt bad that he can no longer use his matching sheet as he’s been out of a crib since his second birthday so I whipped up a simple little rectangle pillow with the last bits of fabric. I serged it and then stuffed it. I didn’t know what to do about hand stitching the opening shut so I tried to run it on the serger, too. Let’s suffice it to say that it was so bad I’m embarrassed to show you but the boy loves it and couldn’t have been happier to snuggle up with his tractor jammies and pillow.


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