Pajama pants are kind of a Christmas gift staple. They’re practical, like underwear, but way cooler. Make them even more exciting by sewing a pair yourself using a fun holiday fabric or one that uses a favorite character.
This is the third week in my 12 weeks of handmade Christmas gifts series. There are still ten weeks left for crafting before Christmas, giving you plenty of time to get started if you haven’t. Every Wednesday, I’m sharing a project that doesn’t require a lot of skill or time and still looks great. If you missed a week, you can click on the category link 12 weeks of handmade Christmas gifts and see all of the tutorials in this series. This week’s project is sewing a pair of pajama pants.
Pajama pants are possibly the easiest sewing project ever. You don’t need a pattern. You don’t have to be precise. And you don’t have to have a lot of sewing skills, although a machine makes this much faster than if you are sewing pajama pants by hand. I have made a lot of pajama pants and a pair usually takes about half an hour, start to finish. If this is your first pair, it might take you an hour.
We have a family tradition of wearing our jammies for our annual Christmas card photo. It’s really dorky. And you can probably guess from the kids’ expressions, a lot of fun. I think this year I am going to make all four of us matching pajama pants. I’ll buy matching cotton tee-shirts to go with them.
If you’re gifting, pair homemade pajama pants with a matching solid tee and some fuzzy slippers. There is a pattern on 2 Create in Color if you have time to crochet a pair of slippers. Even if you don’t, this makes a great gift for boys and girls of all ages.
12 weeks of Handmade Christmas: week 3
I always buy my fabric and other sewing supplies at Joann.com. Look for coupon codes before you checkout. I can always find at least one that’s active.
Flannel is my favorite. Regular cotton works too, but will need ironing sometimes. The height of the wearer will determine how much you need. As a rule, buy twice the leg length. For a child, about two yards. For my husband, I think I needed four yards.
half-inch thick (for a kid) or one-inch thick (for an adult)
- coordinating thread
- needle / sewing machine
- pants (pajamas, jeans, whatever) of the recipient
Pajama pants instructions
Step 1: make your pattern
The hardest part of this whole project is creating your pieces, and it isn’t really that hard. I use existing pajamas as a pattern. I’ve also used jeans, just remember that they are more fitted.
Turn the existing pants inside-out. Zip/button as needed. Fold the pants in half, lining up the inseams, and smooth them flat.
Lay out our fabric. It should still be folded in half lengthwise, as it was when you bought it. If the pattern doesn’t have a direction, fold it in half again from top down. At this point, you have a rectangle folded into four pieces. If your fabric is directional (like mine was), leave it folded just the first time. You will need to cut once, then move the pattern and cut again going the same direction.
Put the existing pants on top of the fabric. Line up the side of the pants that is not the inseam with the folded edge of the fabric.
Step 2: cut your fabric
If you are tracing pants with an elastic waistband, stretch it out and eyeball how far it will reach. Cut around the pants, leaving an extra one-inch seam allowance on all sides. If your fabric was double folded, you just cut through four layers and should have two pieces. You’re done. If you have directional fabric and need to cut again, move the pattern and repeat.
Step 3: sew your seams
You should have two pieces of fabric, folded in half. The bottom half of the raw edge is your inseam. With each piece inside out, stitch along that edge using a straight stitch. I usually go from the ankle up. After both legs are stitched, line up the crotch. Using the same straight stitch, sew that edge too.
Step 4: hem the ankles
While the pants are still inside-out, hem the ankles. Fold the edge over about a quarter-inch. Stitch flat using a zig-zag stitch. This keeps the edge from unraveling, but also avoids a bulky hemline.
Step 5: finish the waistband
Measure the elastic for the waistband. Measuring the hips of the wearer is ideal. If you need to be sneaky, measure his or her favorite pants. When measuring the elastic to the hips, be sure to stretch it. Still inside-out, fold the waist edge over about half an inch more than the size of the elastic. So if your elastic is a half-inch, fold the edge over a whole inch. Using the zig-zag stitch, sew around the waist, leaving about an inch open at one spot. Thread the elastic through the waistband. I like to use a safety pin, pinned through the end.
Pull the elastic a little tight, then stitch the edges together. Fit the elastic back in the waistband and smooth the opening. Zig-zag stitch that space closed. Turn the pants right-side out.
Note: I’ve used cord and done a drawstring waistband before, but it doesn’t hold up as well in the laundry.
You’re all done.
What kind of fabric would your favorite pajama pants be made from?