Lounge in Style: How to Sew Pajama Pants

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Sewing | Comments

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?). Use lightweight fabrics, and they’ll be perfect summer PJs!

Yellow Striped Pajama Pants on Hanger

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)
  • Woven 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

Here’s how to sew pajama pants:

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!


  1. jc says:

    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? :-)

    1. BKE says:

      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.

      1. diane says:

        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.

    2. Linda H says:

      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.

  2. pvc fabric says:

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

  3. Eileen says:

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

  4. Donna Jean Messner says:

    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 :)

  5. Brenda says:

    Plse send me these easy patterns.

  6. Sue says:

    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

  7. nikki says:

    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.

  8. Connie Biles says:

    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! :^)

  9. jacqueline williams says:

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

  10. NS says:

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

    1. Maya says:

      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? ;)

  11. Niki says:

    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

  12. Andrea says:

    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!

    1. Julia says:

      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!

  13. vanita says:

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!