Our thanks to our creative friends at our Signature Sponsor, Janome for sharing this project with us. It was created last year for a special New Sewists Series they put together, and the instructions show you how to make pajama pants without a pattern; simply grab your favorite current pair and use them as a template. We added a jazzy bottom accent cuff to ours so we could mix and match our beautiful Michael Miller Bonnes Amies fabrics. This is a perfect project for beginners: super fast, easy and instantly gratifying. We thought it would be great fun to surprise the whole family on Christmas morning with matching PJ pants. I recruited one of the cutest families I know to be our models, and the rest is dreamy history.
Our thanks to the great folks at Michael Miller Fabrics for providing the Bonnes Amies fabric we used for our four pairs of PJ pants. This is a fairly new collection, but is available now in many stores and online outlets, such as from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop. We also found it online at Hancock's of Paducah. The colorways and patterns are not only great for a project such as this, but would also be spectacular for spring sewing, which will be here before we know it!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3160QDC)
- Buttonhole foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
Amounts are for ONE pair of average adult jammie pants
- 2½ yards of 44-45" wide fabric for the main pant
- ½ yard 44-45" wide fabric for the drawstring tie and the contrasting cuff
Our fabric combinations in Bonnes Amies for Michael Miller Fabrics were as follows:
Mom's Pants: Marseille Pierre pant with Marseille Jacques accent
Dad's Pants: Marseille Slim Stripe pant with Marseille Jacques accent (cut as a slightly different point in the stripe than Mom's accent in the same fabric)
Son's Pants: Marseille Picnic pant with Marseille Slim Stripe accent
Daughter's Pants: Marseille Gaston pant with Marseille Petit Point accent
- All purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
- Wrapping paper, old newspaper, or other large paper for pattern
- Safety pin
- A pair of old pajama pants that fit comfortably
- See-through ruler
- Long ruler or yardstick
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
We used Dad's pants as our sample for these instructions.
The main pant pattern
- Locate a pair of pajama pants that fit you or the intended recipient of the new jammie pants. A loose-fitting, comfy pair is best.
- Fold the pants in half, so the crotch seam is fully extended and the pants are as flat as possible. Press if necessary.
- Unroll a length of wrapping paper, butcher paper or other large paper on the floor. You need a piece bigger than your folded pants.
- Place the pants on the paper and trace around the entire perimeter.
Adapting the traced pattern to create the final cut line and cuff pattern
- After the pattern is traced around the original jammie pants, you need to determine the depth of the cuff.
- There are a couple different methods to determine this depth. You can look at the overall length and, with your tape measurer, decide the measurement that looks proportionate. Or, like us, because we used a striped fabric, you can choose a dominant repeat to determine the depth. For our Bonnes Amies Marseille Jacques fabric, the appropriate depth was 4½" (this is the depth without the seam allowance; we'll add that later).
- Draw a line parallel to the bottom of the pant leg, at the same depth as the finished cuff. In our sample, that meant we drew a line 4½" UP from the bottom edge of the original traced pattern.
- Cut off the pant pattern along this new line.
- Now you need to make the pattern for the cuff. Our cuffs are doubled and sewn to the bottom of the pants for a nice, neat folded edge along the bottom.
- Place a new piece of paper over your existing pattern and trace the bottom of the pant. You only need to trace a section just a bit larger than your finished cuff depth.
- Carefully trace, drawing a dashed line at the very bottom, and tracing up both sides by the depth of the cuff (4½" in our sample). The dashed line will be the folded bottom of the cuff.
- Remove the new paper from the existing pattern. Draw a new line parallel to the dashed line, at the same depth as the finished cuff. In our sample, that meant we drew a new line 4½" from the dashed line.
NOTE: Depending on your original jammie pant shape, the sides of the leg may taper in a little. In that case, erase your original traced side lines and connect the two parallel lines with straight lines (to the fold line and continuing for the second half of the cuff). This will make the bottom of the pant a nice, straight cut.
- Cut out the rectangle you've just drawn.
- Place this rectangle on a new piece of blank paper, trace it, then flip it over and trace the opposite side. The middle of this new, double-in-size rectangle should still be indicated with a dashed line. Again, this dashed line is the bottom of the cuff and will be helpful for placement when fussy cutting the fabric.
- Add a ½" seam allowance on the side, at the top and bottom.
NOTE: We suggest writing on your pattern where you will 'cut on the fold,' and which sides are the outside of the pant leg, the top and the bottom. This may not be important if you are using a solid fabric or a very randomly patterned fabric, but it was especially important to us because we wanted our stripe on the top portion of the cut to be fussy cut at a very particular point on our striped fabric.
- Cut out the final cuff pattern piece.
- Remember your original pant leg pattern. Go get it again, and using your long ruler, or yardstick make a second line ½" from the traced line on the curved side of the pants, and 2" from the traced line at the top. This second line is where you'll CUT your fabric, and accounts for the seam and hem allowances you will need. You do NOT create a second line along the long straight edge of the pants; that is the fold.
NOTE: The very top inside corner of the pattern should angle out about ½" to account for how the drawstring casing will fold down.
Cut out your fabric pieces with your final patterns
- Fold your main pant fabric in half lengthwise. You'll have a long, narrow folded piece from which you'll cut your two pant leg pieces.
- Place the straight side of the pant leg pattern along the fold of the fabric and pin in place.
- Cut around the pattern piece.
- Slide your pattern piece down the folded fabric and place the long straight edge along the fold of the fabric again and pin in place. Cut out a second leg around the pattern piece.
- Follow these same steps to cut two cuffs from the accent fabric, fussy cutting as needed for your fabric.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Attach cuffs to pant legs
- Fold each cuff piece in half lengthwise (at the dotted line so to speak), WRONG sides together.
- Pin the cuff to the right side of the bottom pant leg. Be sure you have the top side of the cuff right side together with pant leg. Then, when it flips down upon completion of the seam, the right side will be facing out.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the cuff to the pant leg. Finish the raw edges with a serger, overcast stitch on your sewing machine, or a pinking shears.
- Press the seam open.
- Repeat to attach the remaining cuff to the remaining pant leg.
Create the pants
- Each pattern piece corresponds to one leg of the jammie pants. In the next steps, you will sew each leg closed, then sew the two legs together.
NOTE: Because jammie pants are laundered often, we recommend finished the raw edges of the seam allowances. If you are new to this we have some finishing recommendations in an earlier tutorial. It is best to finish raw edges PRIOR to construction unless you are using a serger.
- First, sew the leg sections closed. Fold one pant leg piece in half (fold is along the long straight edge) right sides together.
- Starting at the bottom, or cuff of the pants, pin along the inside, curved edge, ending at the outermost section of the crotch.
- Using ½" seam allowance, sew from the cuff to the crotch, removing pins as you go.
- Press the seam open.
- Repeat with the second leg.
- At this point, you have two leg sections. Now you need to stitch them together. The best way to do this is to turn one of the leg pieces right side out and leave the other wrong side out. Place the leg piece with the fabric right side out inside the wrong side out leg. This means the two pieces are now right sides together. Match up the seams you just sewed as well as all the raw edges of the crotch line. Pin together.
- Stitch the two pieces together, following the "U" shape, removing pins as you go.
NOTE: If you are using a serger, you can also finish the raw edges along the top of waist.
- Turn the finished pants right side out.
Create the drawstring casing
- Fold the top of the waist down ½" and press. Fold down an additional 1½", press and pin in place.
NOTE: If you are using a serger, you only need to fold down once to 2".
- If possible, have the person who will wear these pants try them on at this time, to make sure the fit is comfortable. Be especially careful of the pins. Adjust the waist if necessary. Take out the pins and unfold the casing so the top edge of the waist is either the initial ½" folded edge or a serged edge.
- Now, you will use the buttonhole function of your machine to create two buttonholes for the drawstring.
- Find the center seam on the front of the pants. Measure ½" from either side of the center seam. Measure 1-5/8" from the top of the pants and place a mark, then measure 7/8" from the top of the pants and place a mark. Use the diagram below for reference. This will be the top and bottom points of your vertical buttonholes. If you needed to adjust the waistline in the fitting, you may need to adjust the location of your button holes slightly. The buttonholes should be approximately ¾" long, and centered in what will be the top hem of the pants.
- Refer to your machine's manual for exact instructions on using your machine's buttonholing function. You may have a one step automatic buttonhole, or you may have a four step buttonhole. Either way, you can use a ½" button to create a perfectly sized buttonhole for this particular project. Create a buttonhole on each side of the center seam following your marks. If you are new to buttonholes, check out our tutorial: How To Make A Buttonhole.
- Refold the top casing back in place, and using a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance, stitch the cashing in place, staying close to the inside folded edge.
Create the drawstring
- Measure the width of the pants at the waist. Double this number and add 24". This will be the length of drawstring necessary for your pants. Cut enough 3" wide strips from your accent fabric to equal this number, remembering to account for the seam allowances when the strips are sewn end to end. Extra is better than too little.
- Stitch the strips together along the short ends. Trim if necessary to create one long strip the length you determined.
- Fold the strip in half along the long edge, and press.
- Open the strip.
- Fold one edge of the strip into the center, so the edge of the strip is parallel to the pressed center line. Press.
- Repeat for the other edge of the strip, and press in place.
- Fold the strip along the center line once more, and press. You have now folded the strip into quarters.
- Tuck in the raw edges of both ends for a clean finish. With matching or contrasting thread, edgestitch along the open side of the strip and across both ends.
- Place a safety pin through one end of the drawstring.
- Push the safety pin through the buttonhole, and use it to work the drawstring through the pants so the safety pin emerges from the other buttonhole.
NOTE: For faster construction, you can skip the drawstring step and use ribbon or cording instead.
Project Concept and Preliminary Instructions: Alison Newman, Janome America
Fabric Combination and Cuff Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna Sew Fun and the Pfaff hobby 1132.