Lounge in Style: How to Sew Pajama Pants

Pajama pants are a fun, quick sewing project. This tutorial will show you how to whip up a pair of pajama pants from your own pattern. (Don’t worry, it’s super easy!) You can use this tutorial to make pajama pants for the whole family (Matching pairs, perhaps?). 

Yellow Striped Pajama Pants on Hanger

Learn how to sew pajama pants step by step!

how to sew pajama pants

Create a comfy, cozy pair of pajama pants while learning garment sewing basics in 7 easy-to-follow, online video lessons you can watch at your own pace.Enroll Now »

How to sew pajama pants

What you'll need:

  • Pattern paper (I used a roll of white bulletin board paper; exam table paper or butcher paper also work well)
  • A pair of lounge pants that fit well (You’ll be able to make minor fit adjustments, but it’s best to start with something pretty close)
  • Pajama fabric, such as cotton or flannel; the amount will depend on the size pants you are making (This is also a great project to upcycle vintage bedsheets, which is what I used)
  • ½” wide elastic
  • Thread to match

Directions:

Polka Dot Pajama Pants on Table

Step 1:

To make your pattern, fold your existing pants in half and pull the crotch all the way out. Flatten them out as much as possible and lay them on top of your pattern paper. Trace around the pants, making sure to trace the waist as stretched out as possible if it has elastic or drawstring. If you need to make minor fit adjustments, such as raising or lowering the rise of the pants, or making the legs slimmer or looser, do that now.

Drawn Pattern for Pajama Pants

Step 2:

Add a seam allowance by tracing a second line 1/2” outside the first line. For the waist and hem, increase the seam allowance to 2”. Cut the pattern out.

Step 3:

With your fabric folded in half, place the long, straight edge of the pattern right up against the fold. Cut and repeat for the other leg. If you do not have enough fabric width to cut on the fold, you can make each leg two pieces. Just be sure to add an additional 1/2" on the outside leg, and sew that seam before moving on to the next step.

Orange Striped Fabric on Measuring Table

Step 4:

With the right sides together, sew the inside seams of the legs, from ankle to crotch, using a 3/8” seam allowance. Press the seam open and finish the raw edges.

Striped Fabric on Sewing Machine for Sewing Pajama Pants

Step 5:

Turn one leg right side out and slip it inside the other leg, matching up the crotch and side seams. Sew along the crotch using a 3/8" seam allowance. Turn the pants inside out.

Sew Pajama Pants: Fabric Under Needle on Machine

Step 6:

To make the elastic casing, fold down the top edge of the waist 1/2” and press. Fold down 1” and press again. Use pins to mark an opening about 3” long to insert the elastic. Sew around the waist, making sure not to sew the opening closed.

Step 7:

Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. Sew the ends of the elastic together, then sew the opening of the casing closed.

Step 8:

Hem to the desired length.

Step 9:

Take a nap in your new pajama pants!

Learn how to sew pajama pants step by step!

how to sew pajama pants

Create a comfy, cozy pair of pajama pants while learning garment sewing basics in 7 easy-to-follow, online video lessons you can watch at your own pace.Enroll Now »

41 Comments

jc

Thanks so much! You all are so resourceful and encouraging. I’m still a beginner and want to sew something not too complicated.

Can you or someone suggest WHERE to buy paper for pattern tracing? 🙂

Reply
BKE

You do not have to buy expensive pattern paper when sewing up a quick project. I often use freezer paper that you buy in the grocery store. Use the non-coated side to make your markings. You can also use old wrapping paper, brown craft paper, newspaper or even old sheets. If it is a good pattern that you wish to use again you can retrace on pattern paper.

Reply
diane

I never do I use paper bags to make my patterns and I use bean bag that I made myself to put them on top of that pattern to hold them down. WORKS GREAT.

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Carole S

I’ve used newspaper or old wrapping paper that I no longer want to use.

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Linda H

Next time you’re at your doctor’s office ask them if they have the “end” of a roll of that examining table paper … sometimes they do and are happy to see it go for a useful purpose (you could even make the office nurses pairs of the PJ bottoms for Christmas ….). I have purchased rolls at Medical Supply stores, too. LOTS of uses for this type of paper. I DO, however, purchase a heavy interfacing once and awhile to cut out a pattern that I intend to use over and over and over again. Last a LOT longer than the lighter paper ones and worth the investment to me.

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barbara george

buy the rolls of wide baking parchment, super cheap and plenty to use for other projects, xx

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pvc fabric

I love the pattern on the second pair so much!!! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

Reply
Eileen

This is great! I have been thinking about doing exactly this. This tut now gives me the incentive.
Thanks

Reply
Donna Jean Messner

Made a pair at a sewing class. This looks much easier. Am a new at sewing. Can’t sleep without some sort of light weight pants in summer and winter. Thank you for sharing.
Donna 🙂

Reply
Sue

I took a refresher sewing class recently – the instructor transfers her favorite patterns on to a thicker/stiffer interfacing material – lasts for years. I’m going to try that, and the pantsl

Reply
nikki

The part about sliding the one pant leg onto the other and sewing up the crotch couldn’t been explained a bit better. I now have 2 leg holes sewn clear up to the top through the middle. Seam ripper….Lol.

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Connie Biles

I appreciate these type tips for those of us who do not like to go buy patterns when we are in the mood to sew…right now. Also, for beginners or old timers (like me) fun to try new quick and easy ways. ThanX! :^)

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jacqueline williams

I love making new things I always have a hard time with reading a pattern.

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NS

Hi. Aren’t Front and Back different? How do we measure those separately??

Reply
Maya

My question too. I wound up with very cozy lounge pants with a huge boy-pouch in the front and not quite enough space for my round rump. 😉 How can I adjust the pattern to eliminate the front bulge and add some space for extra umpfh in the back? 😉

Reply
Geeko

I am thinking about making pants like this and have the same question. 😛

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janet kile

there is a front and a back – even to relaxed pajama pants — if you are using old pants to copy as a pattern, you will have to trace a front and a back!!

Reply
janet kile

yes – the front and the back have very different shapes.
You will have to fold each side separately or they won’t fit right…….

Reply
Niki

I make fleece pjs, I can’t find the knit material for cuffs and neck any more, any one know where I can find it or is there something new out there

Reply
Linda

I found these on Amazon. Limited colour choice but I only wanted black to lengthen coat sleeves so I was quite happy. The manufacturers name is PRYM. Take care when ordering as they make cuffs AND sweatshirt welts too. You could easily end up with something hip sized rather than cuff sized 🙂 lol.

Reply
Andrea

Hi I am new at sewing. I am making mt husband these pants and done everything but have not put the elastic In. Everything looks good but when I hold them up the waist looks way to big. I stretched his other pjs when I traced them. When I put the elastic in will it make the waist smaller if not how can I make it smaller? Thanks!

Reply
Julia

Hi Andrea, yes, the waist will be smaller once you add the elastic. You can see how the waist is slightly gathered in the top photo, which is a result of the elastic being shorter in length than the casing. As long as your elastic is the right length (stretch the elastic around your husband’s waist to get the best measurement), the waist won’t be too big. Hope that helps!

Reply
vanita

Great way to get new lounge pants when the old ones are wearing out and you have the pattern that fits

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Erika Billedeaux

Lol! I saw the striped pjs and said to my daughter, that looks just like the sheet I bought to make pjs for you guys! Imagine my surprise when a little later you talk about using vintage sheets!

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Erika Billedeaux

Lol! I saw the striped pjs and said to my daughter, that looks just like the sheet I bought to make pjs for you guys! Imagine my surprise when a little later you talk about using vintage sheets!

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Colleen True

W hat elastic do you use. Hate it when the elastic rolls after a washing, want an elastic that holds it’s Shape after laundering.

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janet kile

there is “non roll” elastic in fabric stores. It’s a bit heavier and has vertical ridges. It is labeled non roll.
I also suggest that after you get the elastic in the casing correctly, you stitch through all layers in the center back – will also help control this 🙂

Reply
Amanda Zerr

Thank you so much for these really simple, easy to follow directions! In Step 5, although you show it in the picture, you might want to mention to open up the pants so you are sewing along the large “U” of the crotch line, and to be careful to just sew 2 pieces of fabric together. If you don’t open up the pants (which I didn’t) you’ll end up with your 2 legs sewed together (whoops, this is what I did my first try).

Reply
Aj

Used simplicity pattren A 1231 but for some reason when I put on leg inside the other and stich my notches didn’t add up so on one side I had front leg and the other back what did I do wrong help

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kaelee

Very useful! Made sleeping pants out of my old bedsheet. Purely needle work! 2hrs plus cutting the pattern!

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Jan E

i use liner for wallpaper, around £1.50 a roll which lasts for a couple of years. Bargain.

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Mary Nippert

If you are on a really tight budget, use the top elastic piece from panty hose for your elastic. It stretches to your size, or is already your size, is comfortable, and does not roll.

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Melissa Gynan

Thank you so much. I was struggling with the pattern I needed. This is perfect.

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brandy

So why is everyone so hung up on pajama pants while leaving out the top? Who wears just pants other than guys! Yeh. It’s rhetorical. On the other hand when I was young and sexy …. blah blah blah. Guess if you have a sheet set, make the top from pillowcases and hope they en-case your boobs, sew the bottoms from the top sheet, and the bottom sheet on the bed and great night sleep, all coordinated. Yahoo ……

Reply

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