How to Sew Easy Pajama Pants

Cyndee Kromminga
Pajama Pants Pattern

Pajama pants are a wonderful teaching project for a beginner to sewing as there are few seams and they can be completed very quickly. They are shapeless, comfortable pants that are perfect for sleep or lounging. Make your own basic pattern and whip up a pair tonight.

Pajama Pants Pattern

This project is made using an old pair of your own pants as a guide for the pattern. It's a great way to achieve a perfect fit. A printable version of this project is available after the instructions.

Things You Will Need:

  • A pair of elastic-waist pajama pants or sweatpants that currently fit you
  • Butcher paper
  • Scissors
  • Cotton or flannel fabric (most sizes can be made with 2 yards or less)
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Trim for hem embellishment (optional)
  • 1-inch wide elastic
  • Large safety pin or bodkin

Special Note: Wash and dry your fabric before starting. If the fabric is going to shrink, it is better to have it happen before your pajamas are completed.

What To Do:

  1. Turn an old pair of pajama pants or sweatpants inside out. Fold them in half with the back facing out (see Diagram 1 below - click on the image for a larger version). Lay the folded pants on the back of the butcher paper.
    Diagram 1
    Diagram 1
  2. Trace around the edges of the pants 1/2 inch from the stitch line. Stretch the waistband out to trace around. Trace 1 1/2 inches above the top of the waistband. Trace one inch below the leg hem.
    Trace 1/2" from the seam.
  3. Fold the pants in half again, this time with the front facing out. Lay the pants on the butcher paper and trace in the same way as you did the back.
  4. Cut out each pattern shape. Mark the patterns "front" and "back" to keep track of your pieces. Note: The back will have a deeper curve in the crotch to accommodate the butt.
    Notice the differences in the curves.
    Notice the differences in the curves.
  5. Lay the length of the patterns on your fabric in the same direction as the fabric grain. Cut two backs and two fronts (one of each in reverse) from your fabric.
  6. Place one front and one back together with the right sides facing. Align the outer edges and pin. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other front and back pieces. Press the seams open.
  7. Open one leg and lay on your ironing surface with the wrong side facing up. Fold over the hem 1/2 inch and press. Fold over another 1/2 inch, press and pin. Sew the pinned hem. Repeat with the other leg. Add trim to the hem if desired.
  8. With the right sides facing, pin the inseam of one leg and sew using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other leg. Press the seams open.
  9. Turn one leg right side out and slip it inside the other. Match the seams, aligning the edges of the front, back and crotch seams (see Diagram 2 below - click on the image to view a larger version).
    Diagram 2
    Diagram 2
  10. Pin the edges. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Pull the inside leg out, but do not turn the pants right side out.
    One sewn leg.
    One sewn leg.
  11. Fold over the top edge of the pants 1/4 inch and press. Fold over 1 1/4 inches more to the wrong side, press and pin. Sew the pinned edge, leaving an opening for inserting elastic.
  12. Cut the elastic one inch larger than the pajama recipient's waist. Attach a large safety pin or bodkin to the end of the elastic and thread through the waistband casing. Overlap the elastic 1/2 inch at the ends. Sew the ends together.
  13. Stretch the waistband to pop the elastic inside the casing. Sew the waistband opening closed and turn the pants right side out. To prevent the elastic from twisting in the wash, sew a vertical line across the band at the front, back and side seams.

Printable Pajama Pants Pattern

Download and print the instructions, diagrams and images for your sewing file by clicking on the image below. The instructions will open in a new Adobe tab.

Pattern Tips

If you are lacking pants to use as a guide or you would like to customize your pattern, these tips should help you achieve a successful outcome.

  • If you are making pajama pants but do not have an old pair of sweats or pajama pants in the size needed, there are many free or inexpensive options. Ask friends if you can borrow a pair or check out local yard sales and thrift stores for a pair to base your pattern on. Remember, they do not have to be pretty and they are unisex, so boy or girl pants can be used as a guide for either gender.
  • If desired, the leg width can be made skinnier or wider by adjusting the line of the inseam. Start your altering line just above the knee area and taper or flare to the hem.
  • Make pajama pants for summer by using lightweight cotton fabric and shortening the legs to Capri or shorts length.

Sleepover Activity

Most sleepovers are filled with lots of giggles and gossip, but your home will forever be the go-to house for fun if you plan an activity like making your own pajamas! Have your child's sleepover guests bring an old pair of pajama pants and a fabric of their choosing. In a few short hours they will have a new pair of pants to sleep in.

How to Sew Easy Pajama Pants