Free pattern: pajama pants (or shorts)

free pyjama pants pattern

Hello All, today here’s a simple draft for a pair of pajama pants.  They could also be shorts, three-quarter length, or whatever length you like.

This pattern is very nearly a zero-waste pattern.  If your hip measurement is 39″ or less and your fabric width is 150cm, then you’ll have almost no waste at all.


free pyjama pants pattern front view

The pajama pants have two rounded patch pockets and an elastic waist.  The ribbon bow is there for decoration.


free pyjama pants pattern three quarters view

The leg cut is fairly wide and flow-y.


To draft the pattern you’ll need your hip measurement, pants length measurement, a ruler, pencil, L-square and paper.  Take your hip measurement around the fullest part of your bum/seat, which is about 20cm (8″) down from your natural waistline.

If you want to make baggier pants, add a couple of inches to your hip measurement.  Note, though, that it will make the leg wider too.  If you’re not sure, just give yourself big seam allowances on the side seams when you draft the pattern, then you can fine-tune the bagginess when you sew them.

Fabric requirements:  For 112cm (45″) wide fabric, you’ll need twice your length.  For 150cm (60″) fabric, you’ll also need twice your length unless (as already mentioned) your hip measurement is 39″ or less; in that case only once your length.  The striped fabric I used is a lightweight cotton.

Here’s the summary of the draft and sewing instructions, followed by the step-by-step details:


free pyjama pants pattern draft summary


To draft the pattern:

free pyjama pants pattern draft step 1

Step 1: Begin with a rectangle.  Make the width 3/4 of your hip measurement, but don’t commit to the rectangle’s length yet.  My hip measurement is 38″, so the width of my rectangle is 28.5″.


free pyjama pants pattern draft step 2

Step 2: Calculate 1/4 of your hip measurement (mine is 9.5″).  Add 1.5″ (4cm) and mark in as shown.


free pyjama pants pattern draft step 3

Step 3: Fold the paper in half to draw a symmetrical U shape.  This U shape forms the crotch depth, and can be made lower if you find it’s too high when the pants are finished.  12″ suits me (38″ hips), but if you have (40″, 42″, 44″, 46″) hips, try making it (12.25″, 12.5″, 12.75″, 13″).  Err on the high side because if it’s too low you can’t make it higher.


 pants pattern draft step 4

Step 4: Are you starting to see the shape of the pants pattern yet?  The front and back are joined at the inside leg, so there’s no inside leg seam.  In this step we’re making the centre back waist 1″ higher so it’s more comfortable and we don’t get an eyefull when you bend over!


free pyjama pants pattern draft step 5

Step 5: Draw in the final length, allowing for a hem too.  I made mine 111cm (43.75″) from top cut edge to bottom cut edge.  I took a 1.5″ hem.

To sew:


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 1

Sewing step 1: This seam can be stitched in a lower U if you find the crotch is too high when the pants are finished.


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 2

Sewing step 2:  The top of the pockets has a double folded hem; this can be stitched or left unstitched.  I left mine unstitched.


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 3

Sewing step 3:  I sewed my pockets on 6.25″ down from the top raw edge, and 1″ in from the side raw edge, but of course you can sew yours on wherever you like.


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 3 photo of patch pocket

By some miracle, totally unplanned, the stripes matched on each pocket!


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 3 detail of pocket stitching

I highly recommend reinforcing the top corners of the pockets with rectangular or triangular stitching.


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 4

Sewing step 4:  If the fabric is fine, hold the seams taut under the machine as you sew them.  This will help them sit flat.


free pyjama pants pattern sewing step 5

Sewing step 5: The final bits!  I added a bow at the centre front.  You could also stitch ribbon around the hems, or add some decoration to the pockets.


I hope you enjoy making and wearing these.  This week I’m trying out the draft for a children’s pair.  [Update: take a look at the children’s draft here]

You might also enjoy another zero waste trousers pattern here.




  1. Joellen Hodge on December 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much for simple and excellent pajama pants pattern! I have the fabric ready and know my grandchildren will enjoy wearing their new jammies all winter long. You are a doll for sharing!

    • lizhaywood on December 2, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      You’re welcome Joellen 🙂

  2. Ash on July 14, 2023 at 12:08 am

    Hi Liz! I know this is an older post, but would it be wise to use knit fabric for this? I have some jersey sheets I was gifted (they’re seconds quality, but still tons of yardage available to use!) and all this gorgeous fabric is burning a hole in my fabric box! 😉

    I’m also in desperate need of some summer workout/hiking-style shorts. I know with traditional patterns using knit on a woven pattern is a big no-no. Should I just size down a bit? Thanks so much!

    • lizhaywood on July 14, 2023 at 11:39 am

      Hi Ash, yes, you could use knits for this, and make them a bit smaller width-wise, and cut them with the stretch going around your body. Have you got a pair at home you could measure as a guide? Then you can get an idea of how wide you need them.

      • Ash on July 14, 2023 at 10:46 pm

        Thanks so much, Liz! I will definitely try that. I did dig out an old patched-up pair that I love and actually found the exact material at a fabric store locally called ‘athletic twill’, didn’t know that was a thing, but hopefully, that will sew up nicely this weekend. Although I don’t love working with wovens, hopefully, I can mimic my old beloved pair! Let’s see if my grandmothers’ sewing machine gets a chance this weekend, or maybe sewing by hand in the hammock! 😉

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