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Tutorial Tuesday – Pajama Pants

This project took three times as long as it should have. Two reasons: (1) Gaia was helping me and (2) I had some seriously retarded problems feeding the elastic through the waistband. It seem that every time I go to make a tutorial for you guys, even something I’ve done before (like these pajama pants) I have some kind of insane issue to deal with.

A note: I did not take very many measurements. I used a pair of pants that fit Miss Gaia as a pattern (you’ll see) and so you’ll have to modify your own version for whomever you’re making them for. If they are for a grown man with a fly, well I don’t have much advice. I did a pair for Hutch last week and I had to wing the fly. Because I forgot about the fly, I had to add material to the side seams. But if it’s for a little boy then no fly should be necessary (forgive me if come off as completely ignorant as to when boys require flies – it’s because I am).

Let’s get on with this bad boy…

Materials needed:

  • about 2/3 yard of fabric (I used flannel ’cause it was on sale and is comfy)
  • elastic (I used 3/4″ elastic especially for pajamas)
  • sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, etc.
  • ironing board, iron, etc.
  • safety pin

To begin, lay your fabric out on your cutting area.I use my floor because then I have tons of space. Fold it in half. I like to see the print while I cut things freehand, but if you put right sides together you can save that time later.

Lay the “pattern pants” on top of your fabric of choice, at least an inch and a half from the edge or fold. It’s easiest to have the strait part of the pants on the edge and just cut the point from the middle.

“Lother?” God, it should say “OTHER.” I suck at picture captioning.

You should have two pieces of fabric, which will become one leg of the pajamas.

Repeat for the other side. When/if you cut on a fold, make sure to cut along the fold to get two pieces. You should now have 4 identical pieces of fabric.

I accidentally cut out a little square on one side. Ignore it… it doesn’t matter later.

Match up the front pieces putting right sides of the fabric together. Pin along the slant from where the waist will be to the crotch. You can go ahead and do the same for the back piece.

Sew the slant only to the point using a half-inch seam:

Do the same for both the front and back pieces.

You should have two panels that look like this:

In the photo above I’ve gone ahead and done the next step. Match up the triangles in the crotch and place a pin there. Then pin along the inside of the pants.

Sew the inside seam. I start at the bottom of one leg and sew up to the triangle, keeping my 1/2″ seam the whole time. Then when I reach the point I stop, keep the needle down, and swivel the pants so I can keep sewing down the other side. I tend to back stitch on both sides of where the seam reaches a point because there’s a lot of wear going on in the crotch area with jumping and playing and sitting and all that jazz.

Sewing adventure! (Skip to the next paragraph to continue tutorial.) I had a flashback today. My mother sews a lot and as a child I used to “help” by putting pins in the pin cushion and handing her pins when she requested them. (I also learned a lot of naughty words by watching my mama sew… now I know what all the fuss was about.) So when Gaia asked if she could put the pins in the cushion for me I let her. Well at one point I turned to grab a pin and she had pushed all the pins all the way down! It’s just annoying not having pins ready for action, so I lightly scolded her and explained they were harder to get that way. And then I laughed to myself, because my sister and I used to push the pins down in my mom’s pincushion and she’d get so frazzled. Ha! [End Adventure.]

So you got the middle all sewed up at this point, yes? Good! Now you get to sew the sides. I had this thing happen where I had some overlap from one panel. I knew all this fabric was important, so I matched up the ends again, pinned, and then sewed. Again, use a 1/2″ seam.

And now you should have something looking like inside out pants!

At this point I tried them on Gaia, and they were perfectly baggy. Score!

Head over to the ironing board. Grab a tape measure and measure your child (or whomever) from behind. It’s easiest if they already have pants on because then you just start at the top of their pants and measure the length of the seam all the way to the crotch triangle.

For Gaia it was 10″, so I measured from the seam up 10″ and marked it. This line is a reference for where I would like the top of my pants to be.

Next, fold down a little bit of fabric and press. The photo says 1/4″, but it can be a little larger. Keep in mind the width of your elastic and thus the width that your waistband needs to be. Then fold over again to create the band. You fold twice to create a pretty edge…

Do the same for the legs. (Gaia tried them on again so I could see about how much to fold. You may have to cut off excess, but make sure you can fold twice for the pretty edge!) I pinned the waistband part, but not the leg cuffs…

Now I don’t have photos of the elastic installation because it was a uniquely frustrating experience.

Sewing adventure! (Skip to the next paragraph to continue tutorial.) First of all, I forgot to leave a gap for the elastic, so I had to rip part of my seam to make room. Then my stupid safety pin kept coming undone inside the waistband. I don’t have lots of safety pins, so I kept fighting with this one because although it was broken I knew that this one safety pin actually existed. Then I got to this part in the waistband that apparently was narrower than the rest. It was a side seam, so there were several layers of fabric to push through. The elastic was apparently too thick to easily slide down to my gap (which was 3 inches away). Eventually all the pulling and fighting actually made my safety pin break. It was now a strait line. So, I get that out. Now what? I probably spent half an hour at least trying to push my pinky in and hook the elastic somehow. I finally had a brilliant idea of using tweezers. And I pulled that damn elastic as hard as I could until it overcame the narrow passage and came through the gap. Gah! Finally! [End Adventure.]

Elastic waistbands are really easy though, you should sew along the edge of the fold leaving a two inch gap. Then take the safety pin and put it through one end of your elastic (make sure to measure it around the waist in question and add 1/2″). Then push it through the waistband. When it comes back out sew the two ends of elastic together (I add 1/2″ cause I overlap my elastic) using a zig-zag stitch and back stitching several times. Stretch out the waistband so the elastic is hidden, then sew the opening closed by sewing along the edge of the fold once more.

It should look like this:

I didn’t pin the leg cuffs because at this point I like to put the pants back on Miss Gaia and double check the length. I did it perfectly, so I just sewed across the edge of the fold…

Turn right side out and dance in the kitchen in your new pants!

I love making tutorials for you guys. Although I use my sewing machine quite frequently, it never fails to learn something new when trying to make it something worth blogging about. 🙂 I’d love to see your pajama pants if you makes some!

Happy crafting!



  1. Hi I’m blog hopping from “The Things We Find Inside”.
    I use to make tons of pajama bottoms for my son when he was little. He loved them.
    If you would like to look at my blog it’s at
    I would love your comment, and follow is you like.

  2. Adorable. I used to make these for my children (5) cost effective for a mom on a budget.
    I think you did a fabulous job.

  3. These are really cute! I love hanging out in PJ pants, and so do the kiddos. I wish I still had my sewing machine (I left it with my Mom when I moved) so I could make some. I may have to look into getting a new one, though, for these fun sewing tasks!

  4. Those look great! I made one pair for my hubby, and they were way bigger than I thought from a pattern. I’d like to try kid ones again. They are so expensive to buy otherwise.

  5. Those are adorable! Good job

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