Jazz up your jammie-time with these adorable sleep shorts. There's one pair for Him with a drawcord and pocket, and one pair for Her with kicky ruffles and a satin bow. We show you how to make a pattern using an existing pair of your favorite shorts. Super easy, super comfy and a super cute idea for Valentine's Day, especially in pretty pinks (remember... real guys can wear pink) and grays. We used a combination of fabrics from both Dena Designs and Robert Kaufman, courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop.
We always recommend reading all the way through our project instructions once, or even two or three times, prior to jumping into the cutting and sewing. I do it myself and call it, "building it in my brain." It's an especially good idea for this project, because you are creating your own pattern and doing math along the way... similar to walking and chewing gum. I don't mean to scare you off at all. The steps are actually quite easy. I simply want you to soak up the concept like a little sponge first, and then squeeze the creativity back out. That was a nice metaphor, don't you think? Don't you want to be a little creativity sponge?!
Our thanks to the fine folks at Fat Quarter Shop for providing all the fabric for our His & Hers PJ Shorts. They have a great selection of both collections we used: London by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics and the Kona Cotton solids by Robert Kaufman.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 4120QDC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1½ - 2 yards of 44-45" wide fabric for front and back of shorts; we used London by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics in Pink Devon
NOTE: Exact cut depends on the chosen length of your shorts; see the Getting Started section below for cutting directions.
- ¼ yard of 44-45" wide fabric fabric for the waistband; we used Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman Fabrics in Coal
- 2 yards of natural cotton twisted cord for drawstring
- 1 - 1¼ yards of fabric for front and back of shorts; we used London by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics in Pink Cotswold
NOTE: Exact cut depends on the chosen length of your shorts; see the Getting Started section below for cutting directions.
- ½ yard of fabric for the waistband and the hem ruffles; we used London by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics in Pink Canterbury
- 2 yards of 1½" width satin ribbon with a soft drape for waistband tie: we used a pale peachy-pink satin
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Wrapping paper, old newspaper, or other large paper for pattern
- A pair of pajama shorts or loose-fitting athletic shorts that fit comfortably
- See-through ruler
- Long ruler or yardstick
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Medium sized safety pin
- Straight pins
The main short pattern
- Locate a pair of pajama pants that fit you or the intended recipient of the new jammie shorts. A loose-fitting, comfy pair is best.
- Fold the shorts in half, so the crotch seam is fully extended and the shorts 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 shorts.
- Place the shorts on the paper and trace around the entire perimeter.
- Here you see us getting ready to trace the pattern for the girl's shorts.
Adapting the traced pattern to create the final cut line
- After the pattern is traced around the original shorts, you need to determine the length of the short.
NOTE: FOR HIS, in our sample, we chose a 22" finished men's short (measured from the top of the waistband to the hem along the SIDE of the shorts) with a double-turn 1½" hem and a 2" waistband drawcord channel. FOR HERS, in our sample, we chose a 18" finished women's short (also measured from the top of the waistband to the hem along the SIDE of the pant), including the 2" waistband drawcord channel and a ½ " ruffle.
- On your traced pattern, measure down along the straight side seam 21½" (the finished length of 22" plus 1½" for the hem minus 2" for the waistband) and make a mark. Using your see-through ruler, draw a horizontal line from the side seam to the inseam line, perpendicular to the side seam. You are creating a straight hem line.
NOTE: In the photo below, you are looking at our men's traced pattern BEFORE we shortened it. We did something you can also try for the men's shorts; we started with pants and cut them down to shorts.
- Again using your see-through ruler, create a second line that is ½" outside the traced line along the inseam and top traced line. This second line is where you will CUT your fabric and accounts for the seam and waistband allowances you will need. You do NOT create a second line along the long straight "side seam" edge of the shorts; that is the fold line. Nor do you need to create a second line along the bottom as you already accounted for the 1½" hem.
NOTE: The very top inside corner of the pattern should angle out about ½" to account for how the drawstring casing will fold down.
- On your traced pattern, measure down along the straight side seam 16" (the finished length of 18" minus 2" for the waistband) and make a mark. Using your see-through ruler, draw a horizontal line from the side seam to the inseam line, perpendicular to the side seam. You are creating a straight hem line.
- Again using your see-through ruler, create a second line that is ½" outside of the traced line along the inseam, bottom hem line, and top traced line. This second line is where you will CUT your fabric, and accounts for the side, waistband and ruffle seam allowances you will need. You do NOT create a second line along the long straight "side seam" edge of the shorts; that is the fold line. As with the men's shorts, 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 short fabric in half lengthwise. You'll have a long, narrow folded piece from which you'll cut your two leg pieces.
- Place the straight side of the short 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. You now have both legs for your pajama shorts.
Cut HIS cargo pocket
- From the same fabric you are using for the body of the shorts (London Pink Devon in our sample), cut a 9½" high x 7" wide rectangle.
NOTE: If you are using a directional print, such as the cool stripe we used, fussy cut this rectangle in the same direction as the shorts. If you want, you can also cut it off-direction, which will make the pocket more visible.
Cut HIS waistband
- Measure horizontally along the top edge of the short pattern you have created, from the fold line to the INNER (sew) line. In our example, this measured 9½".
- Double this measurement (because you only measured half of the short). In our sample, this was 9½" + 9½" = 19". Then double this measurement (you need to go around both sides) and add 1" for seam allowances to come up with the final length of the waistband. In our sample, that equation was: 19" + 19" + 1" = 39".
- The waistband is a folded piece, so to figure the height, you must double the finished height then add 1" for the seam allowances. For our design, this equation was 2" + 2" +1" = 5".
- Cut ONE waistband pieces from the waistband accent fabric (Kona Cotton Coal in our sample). For our sample, we cut ONE piece 39" wide x 5" high. Set this piece aside.
NOTE: If your initial measurement is greater than 10½", you won't have enough fabric width to cut the waistband as a single piece. Instead, you will need to cut the waistband as TWO pieces and then seam the two pieces together at the center front and center back to create the complete waistband. This means you will need to take your original measurement and add 1", then cut TWO pieces at that length. For example, if your original measurement is 11½", you would need 11½" + 11½" + 1 = 24"; cut two pieces 5" x 24".
Cut HER waistband
- HER waistband is completed in the same manner as His. Measure horizontally along the top edge of the short pattern you have created, from the fold line to the INNER (sew) line. In our example, this measured 9¼".
- Double this measurement (because you only measured half of the short). In our sample, this was 9¼" + 9¼" = 18½". Then double this measurement (you need to go around both sides) and add 1" for seam allowances to come up with the final length of the waistband. In our sample, that equation was: 18½" + 18½" + 1" = 38".
- Cut ONE waistband pieces from the waistband accent fabric (London Pink Canterbury in our sample). For our sample, we cut ONE piece 38" wide x 5" high. Set this piece aside.
Cut HER leg ruffles
- For our design, we wanted a fairly dense ruffle, so we used the entire width of our fabric, 44". If you prefer a looser ruffle, you could use a shorted length.
- The ruffle is a folded piece, so to figure the height, you must double the finished height then add 1" for the seam allowances. For our design, this equation was 1½" + 1½" +1" = 4".
- Cut TWO ruffle pieces from the ruffle accent fabric (London Pink Canterbury in our sample). For our sample, we cut TWO pieces that were each 44" wide x 4" high. Set these pieces aside.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Attach HIS cargo pocket to side of pant leg
- Find the 9½" high x 7" wide rectangle.
- Fold and press back ½" along all four sides. Then, fold and press again 1" along just the top edge.
- Edgestitch along the inside folded edge of this hem, creating a clean finished hem along the top of the pocket.
- Set the pocket aside.
- Hold one of the short panels up to yourself and extend your hand straight down to guesstimate pocket placement.
NOTE: Be sure that the pocket is at LEAST 2" above the raw bottom edge, since you need 1½" of length at the bottom edge for the hem. The bottom of our pocket was 4½" from the raw edge.
- Pin the pocket in place, making sure the bottom edge of the pocket is parallel to the bottom raw edge. Also make sure the pocket is centered on the panel. You can do this by measuring across the shorts panel at the pocket top edge, finding the center number of the tape measure, and centering the pocket at this number.
- Edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom edge of the pocket, making sure to leave the top of the pocket open... because it IS a pocket!
Make HER ruffles
- Find the TWO 4" x 44" ruffle rectangles.
- Fold one rectangle right sides together, aligning the 4" edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open. You have a ruffle loop.
- Fold this ruffle loop in half wrong sides together and press well.
- Using a long basting stitch, stitch ⅜" along the top raw edge of the ruffle piece through both layers, leaving 4-5" lengths of thread at the beginning and end of the stitch.
NOTE: If you are new to ruffling, we have a short tutorial on the subject.
- Pull the 4-5" thread tail to gather the ruffle evenly to about a 22" loop. You'll do the final adjustment to match the leg opening in a later step.
- Repeat to create the second ruffle loop.
- Set the gathered loops aside.
Both pant seams
- Each pattern piece corresponds to one leg of the PJ shorts. In the next steps, you will sew each leg closed, then sew the two legs together.
NOTE: Because jammie shorts are laundered often, we recommend finishing the raw edges of the seam allowances with your sewing machine or a serger. If you are new to this, we have some machine finishing recommendations in an earlier tutorial. It's best to finish raw edges PRIOR to construction unless you are using a serger. For our sample shorts, we used a serger.
- First, sew the leg sections closed along the inseam. Fold one leg piece in half (remember, fold is along the long straight edge) right sides together.
- Starting at the bottom, pin along the inside, curved edge, ending at the outermost section of the crotch.
- Using ½" seam allowance, sew from the bottom edge 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.
- Turn the finished shorts right side out.
Attaching HER ruffles to the bottom leg openings
- With the right sides of the fabrics together, take one of the gathered ruffle loops, slip the loop over the shorts leg, matching the inseam with the seam on the ruffle loop. Place a pin ONLY at this point where the seams match.
- Slowly adjust the gathering of the ruffle as needed until the ruffles are even and the loop is the same size as the leg opening hem. Now, pin in place all around the leg opening.
- Stitch in place, using a ½" seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance with your sewing machine or serger or create one small, clean-finished edge.
- Flip the ruffle down so the seam allowance folds upwards inside the shorts. Press so the ruffle stays down and the seam allowance stays up. Stitch all around the leg opening through seam allowance with a ¼" topstitch.
- Repeat to attach the remaining ruffle loop to the opposite leg opening.
Create the waistband/drawstring casing
- Find your waistband piece. Fold it right sides together, aligning the 5" edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open. You have a waistband loop.
- Fold this waistband loop in half wrong sides together and press to set a middle crease line.
- Unfold and press up the bottom raw edge ½" all around.
- Slip the waistband loop over the top of the shorts so the fabrics are right sides together, the folded edge of the waistband is facing down towards the short's legs, and the raw edge of the waistband is aligned with the raw edge of the top of the shorts. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the waistband in place.
- Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband. Press the waistband up and away from the pants. Mark the position of your buttonholes (I'll review this below).
- Use the buttonhole function of your machine to create two buttonholes for the drawstring cord or satin ribbon. Refer to your machine's manual for exact instructions on using your machine's buttonhole 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. If you are new to buttonholes, check out our tutorial: How To Make A Buttonhole.
- Find the center seam on the front of the shorts.
- Measure ¼" from either side of the center seam. Measure ⅞" down from the waistband's center fold crease. Make a mark on either side of the center seam where these two measurements intersect. These will be the top points of your two vertical buttonholes.
- Measure ¾" down from each of these marks. These will be the bottom points of your vertical buttonholes. Look at your marks. Your buttonholes should be centered within what will be the top drawstring casing (check out the photo below step 7 again as well).
- Stitch both buttonholes and cut open. Because this is a project that may be heavily laundered, we used Dritz Fray Check around the buttonholes before cutting them open.
NOTE: You could certainly make the buttonholes in your waistband piece before you sew it on to the shorts. I felt it was easier to do the steps as I describe them, because I could be positive my center seams were perfectly aligned and the buttonholes looked good in relation to the waistband and the shorts.
- With the buttonholes finished, re-fold the waistband along its center crease, bringing the folded edge around to the inside. When in place, the folded edge of the waistband will cover the seam. Pin in place.
- Finish the waistband by topstitching approximately ¼" from the seam within the waistband. This secures the waistband.
- Then edgestitch around the top of the waistband as an accent.
- For HIS shorts, place a safety pin through one end of the twisted cotton cording. Push the safety pin through one buttonhole, and use it to work the drawstring cord through the waistband until the safety pin emerges from the opposite buttonhole. Make a knot in each end of the cording.
- For HER shorts, place a safety pin through one end of the satin ribbon BEFORE finishing the ends. You do this because safety pins can leave a large hole in satin ribbon. It's better to pull the ribbon through first, trim off any frayed edges, then finish the ends. Once you tunnel it through the waistband as noted above, you can then cut the satin ribbon to your desired length and finish the ends of the ribbon with a ¼" double turn hem. Also, you will need to fold the ribbon in order to fit it through the small buttonhole. This is correct; pull it through folded, then flatten out the ribbon ties to make a pretty bow.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Gregory Dickson
Other machines suitable for this project include the Baby Lock Audrey and the Brother Laura Ashley Innov-is NX800.