G-tube Jammies Tutorial

Wintertime calls for footed pajamas or “woolly sleepers,” as we called them growing up. These are such a warm and cozy nighttime solution for kids who kick off their covers (know anyone who does that? We live with one such wiggler…). But when kids need g-tube feedings during the night, or medication that goes through the g-tube, access into those wonderful woolly sleepers becomes a bit of a challenge. What to do?
Answer:  The G-tube Access Pocket!

I’ve been putting these access “pockets” into woolly sleepers for my daughter for years. They are quick and easy to sew, don’t seem to decrease the cozy-comfy quality of the sleepers, provide easy access to the g-tube and look very nice too. When our daughter passed her footed jammies down to a smaller cousin, little Miss M dubbed the g-tube access pocket a “tickle hole,” since her parents found it a lovely way to tickle her tummy, and she looked forward every fall to inheriting a new batch of “tickle hole” pajamas.

Just a note about footed pj’s:  Look for ones with zippers that run as far down the leg as you can. This is common with smaller sizes, because it simplifies diaper changes. With larger sizes, the zippers sometimes end at the crotch. This requires a full undress when changing diapers or pull-ons, so try to find ones with ankle-length zippers. I’ve had good luck finding this style up to a girl’s size 16 at Target in the past. The pair in this tutorial came from Vanity Fair and you can see how the zipper runs right down to the sole of the foot!

If you have a favorite technique for sewing welted pockets, feel free to use it. I usually sew traditional welts on my g-tube openings because they lay flattest. But for folks uncomfortable with traditional welts or those short on time (anyone you know???), this variation is just the ticket! Thanks go to Luvita Nichels for her inspiration.
To adapt footed pajamies for g-tube access, you will need:
Footed pajama in your child’s size, prewashed so it doesn’t shrink later
1 - 6” x 9” piece of coordinating fabric (I like to use a soft knit since it will touch tender skin)
1 - 6” x 9” piece tricot knit iron-on interfacing
1 - 5/8” button
Pattern (or try this link for the G-tube pocket pattern if you have trouble downloading)
Notions: ¾” tape, wash-out marker or sliver of an old bar of soap, pins

1) Measure for welt placement. The welt opening doesn’t have to sit right on top of the g-tube; in fact, there is less chance for accidentally rubbing the tube or button if it isn’t lined up directly on top. I’ll give you directions for how I determine placement but you may need to adjust your measurement depending on where your child’s g-tube is placed.

I measure for the opening by folding the front neckline down to the crotch and marking the fold line. Use pins, a wash-out marker (for light fabrics), or soap sliver (for dark fabrics) to mark across the fold on the LEFT half of the sleeper (unless your child’s button is placed on her right side!).

2) Prepare the pieces. Iron the tricot interfacing to the back of the piece of coordinating knit fabric. Cut out the pattern; you should have two pocket flaps and one welt opening. Across the center of the welt opening fabric, stick one 4” piece of ¾” wide tape (Scotch tape is fine...I outlined mine just to help with the photography). See the pattern piece for placement.

3) Sew the welt opening. Center the welt opening, right side together with the right side of the pajama fabric, along this line. Angle the welt opening about 3/4”, with the corner closer to the zipper angled up and the corner closer to the side seam angled down, and pin to the front layer of the pj’s. Since welt pockets are most often angled, this makes it look professional and planned.

Sew around the 4” piece of tape, matching the stitching to the tape’s edge and shortening your stitches at each corner. Peel away the tape.

Carefully slit the fabric in the center of the box in a line along the center of the box you just stitched, stopping about ½” from each end. Cut in an angle from each end of the slit to the corners, coming right up to but not through the stitching (see the pattern for a cutting guide). Press flat.

Turn the welt opening through the stitched box to the wrong side. Smooth the fabric so the seam allowances meet at the slit and the welt fabric folds around the seam allowances. Press flat.

Fold the jammies back at one end so the triangle of fabric formed when you slit the stitched box is extending out.

Stitch carefully over the stitching at the end of the box through the end of the welt, being careful not to catch the main pajama fabric in your stitching.

Press the welt flat. Stitch with a zigzag (I prefer the “double zigzag stitch” that takes a stitch halfway along each let) about 1/8” away from the outside of the welt.

Trim the long ends on each side of the welt and round the corners.

4) Add the pocket flap. The pocket flap serves two functions:  to keep the welt from gapping (br-r-r-r) and to provide an obstacle to exploring little hands. Sew around all sides but the top with a ¼” seam allowance and clip the corners.

Turn right sides out, press flat, and topstitch a scant ¼” from the edge. Mark the buttonhole placement and stitch out the buttonhole. Pin the pocket flap right sides against the top edge of the top welt, pointing away from the welts. Stitch across what is now the bottom edge of the pocket flap with a ¼” seam allowance.

Anchor down the pocket flap seam allowance with a zigzag stitch. Fold the flap down, press thoroughly, and stitch down a generous 1/8” to hold the flap flat. Mark for the button placement and sew on a cute button.

There you have it!

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Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Great post. I just tweeted about it to let occupational therapists know about your informative blog. Thank you. Great content.

Anonymous said...

I am going to use this right away!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Now my son can actually wear his Christmas jammies to match his brother and cousins (for more than just the evening).

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much for the helpful step by step instructions! My son has a G-tube and his Oma (Dutch for grandma) used your idea for his rompers which he wears under his clothes. Now it's easy to disconnect the G-tube between feeds.

Rose-Marie said...

I'm so happy this was helpful for you and your son and his wonderful Oma!

Unknown said...

Wish I knew how to sew. This idea is perfect! :(