Making pyjama trousers: a birthday present for my brother

Recently, I realised that I had made at least one thing for all my immediate family members – except my brother. I felt incredibly guilty for leaving him out and decided I would rectify this oversight by making him a birthday present this year. I asked him what he would like and he asked for a pair of pyjama bottoms – no problem at all!

Although pyjama bottoms are really easy to make, I’d never actually made a pair before. I knew I had a pattern in one of the Great British Sewing Bee books I own so I used this as a starting point – though I didn’t follow the instructions at all. This book is also a challenge because it doesn’t give you measurements for the sizes of it’s men’s patterns so you have to figure it out. I know how to make trousers, so I went my own way, adding pockets and trying a method of attaching a waistband that I haven’t tried before. Making elasticated pyjama trousers is also great because the instructions can be used for anyone, all you have to do is make sure the legs are the right length (I had to add extra length because my brother is quite tall!).

I knew I wanted a checked brushed cotton for these trousers, and Fabrics Galore has a really fantastic collection. My brother had given me total creative freedom with these trousers so, after having a browse, I chose the Clackmannanshire brushed cotton tartan – I really loved the autumnal feel of the pattern.

The fabric.

Like previous projects I’ve done this year, I really wanted to put extra effort into pattern-matching. I didn’t quite achieve this perfectly on the leg seams, but I did get a pretty spot-on match across the front and back which I was really pleased with. When I cut out the fabric, I cut out each piece one at a time so I could lie a front and back piece back over the fabric to match them before cutting out second front and back pieces.

My first step in assembly was to sew the inner leg seams and the crotch. I finished the edges of the inner legs on the overlocker first, then sewed them together and pressed the seams open. Then I sewed the crotch and finished it on my overlocker.

Finishing the edges on the overlocker.

It was also important to me to go an extra step with these trousers and add pockets. I used the pattern piece from McCalls M6891. I finished the edges of each pocket bag and the outer leg seams on my overlocker before assembly as I’ve found this method worked well in other projects. I’d already sewn the pocket bags to the legs before sewing the inner legs seams. Once I’d sewn the inner leg seams and crotch, I sewed the pocket bags together before sewing the front and backs of the outer legs together. I sewed in beyond the top and bottom of the pocket bags by about an inch or so.

Next, I worked on the waistband. I cut out the waistband piece from the Great British Sewing Bee book, sewed it in a loop, then finished the seams on my overlocker and pressed them out. Then I pressed the loop in half width ways. I worked out the centre front then used pins to mark two 2cm buttonholes which I would use for the waist-tie channel. I used interfacing to reinforce the cotton just around the buttonholes and sewed them using my machine.

To make the elasticated waistband, I sewed 3cm width elastic in a loop (using the unstretched waist measurement from another pair of my brother’s pyjama trousers), sandwiched it in the waistband, then sewed the waistband right sides together to the trousers. I finished the seam with my overlocker then pressed it down.

Attaching the waistband to the trousers.

Next, I hemmed the trousers by pressing up the bottom edges 1/2″ then 1″ and then sewing the seams on my machine.


I finished off the trousers by threading through the waist tie and finishing the ends by hand.


And there you have it, super easy elasticated waist pyjama trousers! I made these over the course of two days but they could absolutely be a one day make. My brother is really happy with them and I’m sure I’ll be using this method and pattern again!

The finished trousers.

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