A PROJECT to make stylish ‘Zoom wear’ for her children, family and friends during lockdown has turned into a business and full-time job for one county resident.

During lockdown with her husband and four children, Alice Meynell, 51, noticed that they were all lounging about in pyjamas filled with holes or “awful” tracksuit bottoms.

She said: “With lots of online school and online working-from-home meetings, we realised there was a need to update their ‘Zoom wear’ – what else would people wear during lockdown?

“I made a few pairs of pyjama pants by hand and they were snapped up by family and in turn by their friends when they saw the pictures on Instagram.”

Soon, she realised that there was more demand for her products than she could make from her kitchen table.

She took to social media and on September 12 posted a request on the page of community group East Lothian Ladies for people to help her sew the garments.

Alice – who was brought up in Humbie but now lives just outside Garvald – was soon swamped with replies from people who had lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis, and who had the skills but nothing to apply them to.

She said the overwhelming response “confirmed to me that it was a business worth setting up properly”, which is exactly what she did.

Now, Alice and six other women, who all live either in East Lothian or on the edge of Edinburgh, cut, make and sew each item for her business Pajama Pantry. She completed her 80th order last month.

The women who help Alice are paid per piece. Some are trained dressmakers, others sew as a hobby but have had to rethink their careers or need to supplement their incomes.

Alice said: “They’re not made with perfect factory precision, but by real people who take a lot of care and trouble, who love what they are doing, and who get paid properly for it.

“Every purchase helps them to get back onto their feet.”

And she added: “I started the business without even meaning to. I’ve had the most amazing response; I’m amazed at how quickly it’s grown.”

She also buys different styles of fabric, only getting enough to make two items in every size from one piece, to ensure sewers do not get bored of sewing the same items over and over again.

The pyjama bottoms, which come as shorts (£30) or full length trousers (£35), are all made from natural cotton and hand printed using vegetable dyes; the pockets are also a hit.

The packaging is fully recyclable, with the only plastic being the elastic in the waistband.

Alice hopes that the business can expand and grow, and is hoping she can find people to help cut fabric too.

She said: “We want to keep this as a local business, supporting local people. Right now, I don’t have a backer, everything is being paid for by me and my husband.”

For more, visit pajamapantry.co.uk