Upcycle Ruffle Pajama Sets From Plain Pajama Bottoms


Blog Contents:

  • Communist Poland (random topic right?)

  • My Sewing Spree

  • "No-Pass-GO"

  • Lingerie

  • PJ Intervention

  • My T.E.D. Talk

  • The Before

  • The Upcycle

  • The After Photos

  • Next Upcycle

  • Links


Communist Poland

When I was 16 years old, I made my first Pajama set. We had just returned from a visit to family in Poland. At that time in 1987, it was still Communist Poland. I probably don't need to tell you that the dollar had A LOT of buying power. And certain items were plentiful to purchase, while others--mainly food and electronics, not readily available--but nothing like the early Martial Law 80's when there was absolutely nothing.

me, 16 years old visiting family in Poland...

my brother practicing his photography back then with a USSR made camera...

...but enough of the history lesson--albeit interesting and my blog allows me to revisit this history when I can !

What was in good supply were fabrics! And I loved sewing, even back then. In fact, it was my activity since I was not inclined towards school sports nor had any musical proclivities. My parents bought a bunch of it for me.

me, 19 years old, in Cracow, Poland, bus stop

I studied for 2 years at the Jagiellonian University just right after the Berlin Wall came down in 1990

...can you tell which girl is me?

My Sewing Spree

Returning from that summer trip, I threw myself into my sewing and created so many things. Three dresses, 4 skirts, a jacket, and one PJ set.

Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly the impetus behind the creation of those PJS. But knowing my penchant for anything Vintage, even back then, and for romantic styled clothing, I probably saw something historic and emulated.

One thing I remember for sure, I used eye and hooks to close the front PJ top. I also recall the sewing process was so painstakingly arduous, I never attempted another pair until now, 33 years later. And because my sewing skills weren't as honed as they are now, I never slept in them because I never wanted to wear them out! With all these warm-hug memories coming to me now, I do recall feelings of pride of accomplishing a complicated sewing project--I never used patterns!

Can you believe I have a picture??

ME, 16 Years Old!...in our backyard in San Francisco...wearing my first set of PJs sewn by me!


As a kiddo, I might have owned 3 sets of PJs at a given stretch of time throughout my childhood.

They were worn for several nights--a 'NO-PASS-GO' with my now 'wear once and launder' mentality (After all, we sleep in PJs for 8 hours on average--oy! and the tossing and turning, and all those skin flakes---ok, no talking about this anymore).

However, in defense of wearing PJs several nights in a row, we did bathe at night before bed--it's a Polish European cultural thing bathing before bed. I haven't stopped bathing at night. I have had friends think it's 'gross' that I don't shower in the morning, but I think it's 'gross' to sleep in your crisp, clean bed linens in one of your most cherished places after a long, sweaty day.

Tomatos, Tomatahs, right?

And just want to clarify, there are times I will wear PJs for a few nights in a row, like when we go on holiday and I can only bring a small suitcase.

Lingerie-- thought that would get your attention ; )

So what do I sleep in?

Worn-out t-shirts. Old leggings. Old cotton sports shorts. Or whatever seems comfortable or cozy or threadbare. Isn't this what everyone else wears???

Um, no lingerie...even though I think lingerie is so pretty--just never seems very inviting to sleep in-- anyways, isn't meant to be taken off??

And then comes that need to toss a few items like the 2 pairs of Old Navy PJ bottoms I purchased before babies, worn during pregnancy, and tossed out 18 years later in Cabo San Lucas on vacation with friends when the threadbare shorts embarrassingly ripped in the bum.

thankfully this picture is super grainy,

and out of focused,

since it's truly how I look this morning as I type this...

oh the granny that I am!

PJ Intervention

My Pjs, embarrassing according to my husband and 2 teen daughters, have not gone unnoticed. And the recent Cabo San Lucas trip was the family tipping point catalyzing my 'PJ intervention'.

My daughters have bought me PJs for Mother's Day or my Birthday--a heart-warming effort, but they never quite fit right. So these PJs become part of my repertoire, but they begin to look like misfits. And I won't get rid of them--because they heart warm me.

this is me last winter...my best friend and I text photos of our craziest winter PJ looks!

...YES! we truly do this!

After that trip to Cabo, my husband bought me the 'trendy' pricey PJs for Christmas. I made him returned, because I am not sleeping in something that costs $100!!! He was actually hurt that I would return them because I know he was trying to do something super special for me. But after promising to up my PJ game, he understood, and I returned them.

But let's face it, because I had to face myself, I look like a Dicken's Victorian era squalor, street urchin, gamine wear...

Game Over

The build-up of the intervention-like steps the family have taken, finally got to me.

As a result, I have been going through my rattie-tattie sleepwear collection and throwing it all out. I figure if I sew all new PJS, I will have soft-to-wear PJs in about 10 years : )

at least my family likes my 'slippers' collection

My T.E.D. Talk

Wait a second....

"Can't you just buy yourself a new pair of PJS for $14.99 at Marshall's for Pete's Sake?" the audience asks at my Upcycling T.E.D. talks....

That's not the point for someone like myself with Upcycling obsession.

Upcycling is very much a hobby for me, but also my effort to reduce my Carbon footprint.

Some people like to scrapbook, some people are obsessive joggers, don't even get me started on addicted golfers, or how about the sourdough bread makers?

I like puzzles!

So now that you know where I stand with PJs, maybe I should prove to you that I will change my ways! But only changing the hot weather PJs, NOT my hibernation layered collection.

...but promised my husband to get rid of my Sock Monkey One'sie winter cover-up

...however, my other cozy, cold-weather, hibernation PJ ensembles are here to stay!

my husband always takes these candid photos...


I've Talked Your Ear Off By Now...

I think it's Time To:


The Before

Just your standard crisp, cotton PJ long bottoms. Shapeless. Roomy. Zero sex appeal. Perfect-for-me-PJs. These were from Eddie Bauer.

Let's Get Started!


Part One:

Make Shorts


1st Step--Cut Out Shorts

  • 1.1. Find a pair of shorts to use as pattern.

  • 1.2. Lay existing shorts and align on top of PJ pants at crotch.

  • 1.3. Chalk the pattern lines.

  • 1.4. Cut along lines.

  • 1.5. Open up new shorts.

  • 1.6. Open waistband to let fabric out.

2nd Step-- Sew Sides of Shorts

  • Sew new side seams together

3rd Step-- Create Waistband

  • 3.1. Cut excess fabric to even out the waistband top.

  • 3.2. Serge with overlock the edge.

  • 3.3. Fold over waistband and sew down.

  • 3.4. Add Elastic.

4th Step-- Add Ruffles

  • 4.1. Cut strips of fabric from pants.

  • 4.2. Serge one edge with 3-thread, rolled, overlock stitch, and then sew a gather stitch.

  • 4.3. Sew gathered edge with the raw edge of the leg bottoms of shorts.

  • 4.4. Serge the gathered edge with the shorts edge for a clean finish.

  • 4.5. Sew last finish stitch at shorts bottom at the top of ruffle.

  • 4.6. Have a look at your new PJ shorts!


Part Two:

Make PJ Tank Top


5th Step-- Sew Top Panels

  • 5.1. Chose the decorative scalloped edge of PJ pants for the new edge of the top.

  • 5.2. Cut open pant legs into 4 panels.

  • 5.3. Sew 4 panels together.

  • 5.4. Put seams on front sides for a more balanced look.

6th Step-- Add Ruffles to Edge of Top

  • REPEAT Step 4...same steps for creating ruffles for top of PJ tank.

7th Step-- Add Elastic to Back of Top

  • 7.1. Cut a small piece of elastic.

  • 7.2. Attach elastic to sides of top.

  • 7.3. Pin elastic along top.

  • 7.4. Sew elastic.

  • 7.5. Look at your work so far!

8th Step-- Make Straps

  • Sew thin straps for tank top.

Tah Dah!

My Ruffle PJs are Finished!


Ready To See How I Styled It?

styled with my favorite prop...

...a cup of coffee!


...and my favorite kitty!


Now For Pictures of Mr. James aka Jimmy Choo

making more of these cute, Ruffled PJ sets soon!


Below is a sneak peak of SMT's next

Upcycle & Refashion!



Links To Other "Ruffled" Upcycles & Refashions:

Ruffled Side Blouse Upcycled

from 1990's Corporate Work Dress

Ruffled Crochet Top

Upcycled from thrifted

Granny Square Blanket


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