Simple Pajama Pants Tutorial

This last Christmas I made pajama pants for my girls. I found the fleece fabric at JoAnn and thought they would be cute for some warm and comfy pajama pants. My sewing friend, Emily, showed me the easiest way to sew pajama pants. It seriously saved me so much time by doing it this way. And since Kaye, my 4-year-old, has the same size waist as a 12-month-old, I was able to adjust the waist size to fit her perfectly. If you make something inspired by Simply Modern Mom, please upload pictures of it to ourย Flickr group to show it off to everyone. You may be featured on Simply Modern Mom.


  • fleece fabric or other pajama fabric
  • matching thread
  • elastic
  • pattern ease or long butcher paper
  • a pair of child’s favorite pants (pajama or sweats)

1. Grab a pair of your child’s favorite pants and turn them inside out. Preferably another pair of pajama pants or sweats. Then tuck one leg inside the other. Place on top of the pattern ease or large butcher paper to sketch the pattern. Pants are usually made up of 4 pieces – 2 front pieces and 2 back pieces. However, since these are simple pants, you will be drawing one pattern piece where you will only need 2 cut pieces of it.

2. I started out with the back piece of the pants, it’s different than the front piece. See the tag sticking out in the picture. Make sure the pants is folded at the seam to get an accurate drawing of the pattern piece. Trace the pant pattern with the straight leg seam facing inside the pattern. Leave some room around the pattern to draw the seam allowance later.

3. With the pants still turned wrong side out, flip the pants over to sketch the front pattern piece. Now you will match the straight leg of the front piece to the straight leg of the back piece that you just sketched. Label it to help you remember. This is where you combine the front and the back piece pattern into just one pattern to save you sewing time. Just to make sure, the curve for the crotch in the front and back are on either sides of the pattern with the straight leg in the middle of the pattern.

4. To draw the waist portion, stretch out the elastic waist band a bit so that it gathers when you place your elastic. Plus it gives some stretch room to pull the pants up and down. The waist portion stretched out will be about the same width or slightly wider than the rest of the pant leg. And the waist of the front piece may be shorter than the back piece. Mark the difference then draw a line from the top of the back piece wait line to the top of the front piece waist line. This line will be at an angle down. Or to keep it simple, match the waistline of the front (shorter) piece to the top of the back (longer) piece so the waistline is the same for both pieces.

5. Now add 1/2-inch seam allowance around the pants. I usually do a 1-inch at the bottom hem. It’s easier to hem the pants shorter than to make it longer if your pattern came out a bit short. Plus it gives them some growing room. And then consider the casing of the pants. How wide is your elastic? Mine was 3/4-inch wide. Take the width of your elastic x 2 for the fold over + 1/4 inch for some room + 1/2 inch for the seam allowance = your casing at the waist.ย So I added an additional 1 1/2 inch at the top for the casing since I already had an inch from the pant pattern’s waistband.

6. Cut out your pattern, including the seam allowance. Then trace onto your fabric. You will need two pieces of this pattern, one for the left leg and one for the right. So I folded my fabric in half, trace the pattern and cut both pieces out at the same time.

7. With the right sides together, match the inner straight leg to the point of the crotch curve. Pin and sew the two separate pieces. I did a straight stitch then a zig zag in the seam allowance. If you have a serger, you can serge the seam allowance. The top curve won’t match up and that’s OK. It’s not supposed to match up (see picture below).

8. Once you sew the inner leg portion of the pants, flip one of the legs right side out. Tuck the pant leg that’s right side out inside the wrong side out pant leg with the crotch part lined up. The two pant legs should have the right sides touching.

9. Pin the curves together and sew one big U that’s the curve. This is the curve that’s from the crotch to the top of the waist.

10. Pull out the other pant leg and you have an almost finished pair of pants.

11. Fold down the casing for your elastic at the waist. Sew it in place but leave an opening to pull the elastic through.

12. The elastic is the length of your child’s waist measurement + 1/2 inch for sewing the end together. Pin a large safety pin at one end of the elastic and use it to help pull the elastic through the waistband. Then sew the elastic ends together.

13. You may have excess seam allowance at the waist. You can trim that off to make it even after you sewed the elastic casing.

14. Sew the opening close. I added a little tag at the back so my kids can easily identify which is the front and which is the back when putting it on.

15. Have child try the pants on to see how much to hem at the bottom of each pant leg. And done!

ยป Have you made pajama bottoms before? How did you make them?

68 Responses to “Simple Pajama Pants Tutorial”

  • April

    Love it! I will be making these for my kids. Now to find the right print. I love fabric shopping. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emily

    This is a great tutorial! I made some fleece pants for my daughter but they’re the same in the front and back- they’re functional but yours are much better. Perfect timing since I need to make her some more. Thank you.

  • Angela

    Love this would be so much easier than buying separate patterns for all 3 girls. They always have sweats or could just add a little to length and waist and use again next year. Thanks so much

  • Emily

    Are you able to add a downloadable pdf for the pattern you used – or can you add size info? I would love to make some for my 3 & 4 year old neices but don’t have sizes or their current pants to use as a guide!

  • cindy

    Great tutorial, one that I think even I can follow. I’d like to make matching pj’s for my whole family (hubby, me and 2 teenage boys).

  • Chahrazad

    Thank you so much for sharing. I would love o be so organised, and having more time to be with my kids and my husband. Not to be all the time so busy .Be sure that you are a big source of inspiration.

  • Tatiana

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I just made some nice flannel pants for myself, and they turned out really good! I am impressed with your method, it’s simple and effective! And I just started sewing! Thanks a lot!

    • Rebekah

      How many yards did you use/would you use for Adult Medium? Huge sale at JoAnn’s this weekend, and I want to get the right yardage!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • debby

    Just made some of these for my daughter and they came out super cute! thanks so much for the tutorial! It was really easy to follow.

  • Kristi

    I am going to make a set of PJs for my 8 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old, and their dollies for Christmas! What a great tutorial!

  • faith

    I saw the tutorial link on the Fabric Place Face Book page, it is so nice to find more sewing ideas ๐Ÿ™‚ I have used this method to sew pants for years, easy & fool proof as long as you remember to place the legs inside correctly ๐Ÿ˜€

  • kristi

    Thanks so much! I knew I wanted to make PJs for my kids this xmas, but they’ve long grown out of the patterns I had when they were in the T sizes. I whipped them up while they were skiing with dad, and they are already under the tree.

    An easy variation–I added button holes at the front and instead of using elastic, I used new shoelaces to be tied (or secured with a toggle) at the front. I think this will help the pants grow more with the kids, and they are old enough to tie a bow at the waist. You could also make a cute tie with remaining fabric, but I was being quick and dirty.

    Thank you!

  • Andie

    AWESOME! I have been looking for this pattern and my local store was all sold out. Lucky me here it is in any size I need!

  • noa

    thank you so much !!!!!!!!!!! I love โ™ฅ it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • noa

      I made it but the only problem was that I made it too small so it didn’t fit me ……..

  • Jennifer Hawkins Hock

    The leg-inside-a-leg technique is great for sewing the crotch seam. You’ve described and illustrated it so well I want to link to this tutorial at my Toile La La blog. I’ve been teaching my niece to sew a skirt as a first project, but pants like this would be a good beginner project too!

  • Rhonda

    Thank you for this tutorial. I am a beginning sewer and tried this out this morning. I successfully made a 12m size pair of pants for my daughter. It was fun to do and totally stress free because your tutorial was so thorough!

  • Cristin

    So freaking fun! LOVE some comfy pj pants – will try this for my 2yo son this fall!
    Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚


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