Comfy lounge pants are very easy to make. Add borders, a drawstring, embroidery or other details to make them uniquely yours. Once you have a pattern that FITS you can make a large collection from the same pattern. Change the pattern to create crop, flare leg, straight leg, borders, etc. The key is to start with a good pattern. This project shows you how to draw a starting pattern. You might have to tinker with it a bit until it is just right, but it will be worth it in the end. Use fun fabrics to create nice fitting, colorful, comfy pants. I make my pants and buy cheap tee shirts to pair with them.
NOTE: These instructions are for comfy pants for adults. If you are making pyjamas for children, be sure to follow safety guidelines regarding flammability. For more information go to: Children's Sleepwear: Fire Retardant Fabric.
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A pair of pants is generally made with a center seam down the front, a center seam down the back, a side seam on each outer side and an inside seam (inseam) on the inside of each leg. That is how our pants will be constructed. The back waistline comes up a bit higher than the front. This creates a good fit and is why I make my own pj's. Store-bought pj's often cut the back too low and this creates a problem when bending over ("plumber pants"). When you make your own pattern, you can cut the front lower (low slung look) and the back higher for a nice fit. If you want both front and back lower, that is fine too - it's your choice. Customize the fit to your own taste.
This pattern will be fitted to a finished size. That means it will not allow for shrinkage. Pre-shrink your fabric! That means wash and dry it BEFORE cutting it. It would be horrible to make custom-fit pajama pants only to have them shrink in the wash.
You need 4 main measurements to make a pj pants pattern: waist, hip, inseam, crotch length and thigh. Take the measurements as described below and write down each one.
Waist: Measure your natural waist or measure around the area where you want your pant waist to be (usually a bit under the real waist).
Hip: Measure around the fullest part of the hip.
Inseam: Measure from the crotch to the inside of the ankle - or to where you want the pant leg to come to (ankle, mid calf if capri length, on floor etc.)
Crotch Length: Measure from center back waist, between legs, to center front waist - to be sure your pattern will come up high enough on the waist and allow room for your "seat" and "belly".
Thigh: Measure around the fullest part.
We will allow for a 1" hem on each leg and a 1.25" waistband at the top (to hold our elastic). All seams will be 1/4 inch.
Rotary cutter and cutting mat or scissors to cut fabric
Pattern paper (I use butcher paper bought on a roll at Costco)
2.5 or more yards fabric (see Page 2 to determine how much fabric you will need)
Thread to match fabric background
3/4" elastic (enough to fit around your waist)
Make A Pajama Pant Pattern
1. Measure your waist, hips, inseam, crotch length and thigh.
2. Write down the measurements.
3. Create your pattern. Following the pattern example on the right, draw your pattern. You will need two pattern pieces: front and back. See "Altering" below for directions on making changes to this pattern.
NOTE: The front and back will sewn together at the inseam and outer seam; therefore, these measurements MUST BE EQUAL. In my example, the outer seam of BOTH the front and back measure 40". The inseams measure 28". The back center seam measures 13.5" (vertically) and the front center seam measures 12" (vertically). As stated above, the back center seam rides higher at the waist. The curve of the back center seam is more pronounced than that of the front. It goes from 9.5" at the top point to 13.5" at the crotch point - a difference of 4". The front center seam curve is only 2.25". This allows for the curve around the buttocks. It also makes the pant waist come IN at the small of the back, creating a nice fit.
Altering The Pattern
This pattern fits a size 8-10, or hips: 39"; waist 29"; thigh 21"; inseam 27". Using my drawing as a guide, draw your pattern. Use the same general shape as my pattern pieces; just add or delete from the size as needed.
The person I made this pattern for had a thigh measurement of 21". This pattern will create a pant leg of 25" around the fullest part at the top of the leg. This allows for some extra room in the leg. The front pattern meaures 12.5" across the widest part of the top of the leg and the back pattern measures 13.5" across. 1/2" is used for the two seam allowances (each side's seam allowance is 1/4"), so the finished measurement will be 12+13=25".
Let's say you need a finished inseam of 33" (6" longer than our pattern) and your thigh measures 25" (4" larger than our model). You will need to add 2" to both the front and back pattern at the area of the thigh and 6" to the inseam. Note that the hem width remains the same (10").
The pattern below left shows an altered FRONT pattern. It adds 2" to the outer seam and 6" to the overall length. The same will be done to the BACK pattern. The overall change will be 4" to the thigh circumference (2" front plus 2" back) and 6" to the length of the legs.
If you wish to change the shape of the leg, draw the new shape. For example, if you wish to have flare legs that are 4" wider at the bottom, simple add 2" to the outsides of both the front and back pattern pieces as shown below right. To keep the flare even, I added 2" to both the inseam side and the outer seam side. Doing this to both the front and back piece would add a total of 8" to the bottom circumference of the leg.
Remember that the outside seam and the inseam MUST be equal between the front and back pieces. This is because the front and back pieces are stitched together at the inseam and the outer seam.
What if your crotch measurement is longer than our pattern? Our measurement is 14" along the curve of the front plus 15.5" along the curve of the back. We will turn down 1.25" for the elastic casing (both front and back) and we will lose 1/2" for the crotch seam. Our finished crotch measurement will be 26.5". Let's say your total crotch measurement is 30.5". Simply add 2" to the top edge of both the front and back pieces.