Pyjama Pattern Piece & Cutting Out

I’m so pleased to see how many people have signed up to join the Pyjama Party. There are well over 100 of us taking part! That’s gonna be one big bed we’ll be sharing. Does anyone have a spare lilo?

I thought that today we’d take a look at our pattern piece. The beauty of making pyjama bottoms is that often it’s only ONE pattern piece that you need to work with. Result!

The sizing is very relaxed – XXS to XL. So choose whichever your measurements fit into and cut out or trace. No toiles needed – hurrah!

The one adjustment you may need to make is leg length. My pattern piece made a perfect length for me – and I’m 5’5″. When I say perfect, I mean that I like my pyjamas to err on the long side. As several readers have commented, no one wants drafts around their ankles!

If you need to shorten or lengthen your pattern piece, there should be a place marked with double lines on the pattern piece for the right place to make this adjustment:

To measure your leg, I would take your inside leg measurement and check that against the centre line of the pattern piece, measuring down from where the crotch line is marked. To get your inside leg measurement, you could measure the inside seam on a favourite pair of trousers, or, you know, get someone to help you. The inside leg measurement should be from under your groin to your ankle, though if you want a longer pyjama leg for warmth – you know what to do! There’s a rather lovely video here about taking your own measurements. (Let that lyrical voice lull you!) At about 6:17 they cover the inside leg measurement.

Once you’ve done all this, you’re ready to cut out your fabric! I’ve decided to make my second pair using some pretty floral cotton that Marie of A Sewing Odyssey kindly gave me at last weekend’s swap. Free fabric, yay!

There isn’t quite enough for my pattern pieces to be cut out on the grain, so I’m going to cut them out cross grain ie lying the pattern pieces horizontal to the selvedge rather than vertical with the selvedge.

THE HORROR! Some people would say you should never do this. Apparently, the weave of the fabric isn’t as stable or strong on the cross grain than it is on the grain. For me, making a pair of pyjama bottoms? Whatever, I’ll take the risk.

I have a few important things to say about cutting out:

Remember that you aren’t working with fabric on the fold. It’s laid flat in one piece to accommodate that large pattern piece.

Because of the huge size of these pattern pieces, it is important that your pieces are accurately placed on your grainline. For a tutorial on how to do this, go here.

If your pattern is like mine, please, please, please remember that it should be placed face up for cutting out one leg and face down for the second leg piece to be cut out. Face up, face down. Got it? I have been bitten on the nose by this more than once, cutting out two identical pieces. You don’t want two identical pieces, you want two mirror images.

Cutting out the second leg piece, my pattern is pinned face down. Important!

Make your notches. This is important because when sewing together the two leg pieces, you’ll really want to be able to figure out which is your centre back seam and which is your centre front seam, for accommodation of (respectively) your bottom and your front bottom. (That’s a medical term.) They’re shaped differently. The pattern sections, I mean. As well as, you know… Moving on!

All of the above took about half an hour, max. Your pattern pieces are cut out! Next up, sewing.

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27 Responses to Pyjama Pattern Piece & Cutting Out

  1. Felicity from Down Under says:

    what lovely fabric. And I can’t see why pyjamas cut at the “wrong” (ie, horizontal to selvedge) angle would be problematic. If it provides a little more give in the fit, that sounds like a positive thing. You don’t want PJs strangling you anywhere. I’m still trying to clear my table so that I can cut out my trousers. I’ll get there.

  2. ooobop! says:

    Just when I thought my pj pattern was an easy one! I’m liking the idea of a one piece pattern and I love that fabric. 🙂

  3. Vicki Kate says:

    I love your fabric! My PJ pattern has two pieces, so I have an in seam and out(?) seam which is no biggie. V1 needs hemming and V2 will need to be a few inches longer (I’m making 3/4 length) and the waist lowered to make them ‘perfect’ for me,
    I’m loving this stress-free sewing!

  4. Is there anything to say against cutting both pieces at the same time? When you fold your fabric in half (assuming it’s wide enough to do this).

    • Aha! Julia, good thought. Clearly, I am a bear of very little brain.

      • LinB says:

        When you are cutting a very wide pattern piece, on a single layer, you can indeed double the fabric and cut both pieces at the same time. BE AWARE that, if there is a directional pattern — bouquets of flowers, for instance — you should not simply fold the fabric in half. You have to find the midpoint, cut the fabric apart, and turn one piece of
        fabric so that all the patterns run in the same direction. Then put the pieces together either wrong sides together or right sides together, and proceed. Otherwise, you’ll have roses facing up one side of your body and facing down on the other.

  5. I, too, am trying to get the table cleared so I can cut out pattern (busy household with three adults and one child is not a place where the dining table gets cleared off often LOL)

  6. nothy lane says:

    I have the pattern you are using and to tell you the truth, I did’t like it. I would prefer two pieces for the legs. I put an elastic in the last pajama bottoms I made, so I may go with the tie the pattern suggests. I will be making changes to the pattern, so I am excited to give this pattern another go. Also, I found this pattern fit very big. I am going to try a smaller size this time. I’m off to buy some new, fun fabric this morning for the pajama sew-a-long!

  7. Nicky P says:

    I’ve cut mine at 90 degrees too – but for a different reason. I’m a super-shortie (five foot and a hair!) and even at a size 14-6 I can get a pair or comfy PJs from about 1.5 metres of fabric instead of 2 metres by cutting this way.

    I did follow Julia’s suggestion too – I cut with the fabric folded in half, so that I only had to cut once. Wearable test pair made, and my lovely new fabric is waiting at the post office……this is a great sewalong 🙂

    • Clever cutting. I salute you! So glad you’re enjoying the sew along.

      • Felicity from Down Under says:

        interestingly enough, the pattern I’ll be using is designed to be “cut borderways”. (You can have no idea how I struggled, when I first bought the pattern, to understand the language let alone what it meant.) I don’t, as a matter of fact, because if I’m trying to do clever pattern matching I get better results cutting with the grain; and if I’m making long PJ trousers for my tall son, I have no choice. What this says to me is that you need to be flexible.

        Also, and I think I’ve said this before, I was taught by women who would always tinker with the suggested layout to ensure maximum fabric economy. I couldn’t help it, your Honour, they made me do it.

  8. Love that fabric! Just looking at it makes me want to relax with a cup of tea and a good book. I not only have to clear the table but also kick out 44 report cards. Maybe I will work a little more quickly knowing the challenge awaits.

  9. Jacq C says:

    Oh I love that fabric. I actually want short pj bottoms for my holiday so am using an old pattern my daughter had years ago for her school textiles project. I’m not certain of the fit so have figured out I can make my first attempt out of a pair of thrifted pillowcases – an absolute steal at £1 as long as they fit, but the fabric is plain. If it works I’ll make a second pair in something more exciting. Pattern traced and ready, am hoping to cut out tomorrow. 🙂

  10. Hannah Jean says:

    I think the reason we follow grainline most of the time is because wovens usually have a slight stretch on the crossgrain and none on the lengthwise grain. Also, if your project is drapey you need to know how different grains drape. (Info here: But, pyjama pants are are baggy and not drapey at all, so cut ’em however you feel like!

    • MrsC says:

      I was going to say this too – especially craft cottons have a lot of give selvedge to selvedge and none lengthways so this can change comfort and fit. A bit of give would be noice in your jimjams, yeah? Something to be aware of 🙂

  11. Great timing, I found some striped cotton fabric in my stash and gave it a washing last night. Time to get a move on in sorting out my pattern situation!

  12. Heather says:

    When you said horizontal to the selvage did you mean perpendicular to the selvage? And the “right” way is parallel with the selvage? My brain is a bit slow today…

  13. The pattern for you pajama’s is adorable. I love you tip on cutting one pattern piece face up and the other pattern piece face down. I too have made that mistake before many a times!

  14. Pingback: Patriotic Pyjamas « pennylibrarian

  15. LinB says:

    A. The fabric you are using for your pajama pants is quite similar to the wallpaper print of rose bouquets on gray background that adorned my grandparents’ parlor. It was installed sometime in the late 1920s. I loved that wallpaper. B. I’ve successfully cut trousers on the crossgrain of fabric several times in the past year. Both fabrics were tightly woven, midweight cottons — one was a twill. It truly matters not if you cut on the grain or on the crossgrain, unless: there’s a pattern printed on or woven into the fabric that will look odd if railroaded (run sideways), or the fabric has a pronounced stretch on the crossgrain that will drastically affect fit.

  16. symondezyn says:

    A one piece pattern – brilliant!! how cool is that??? ^___^ That sounds so refreshing after rassling with fitted dresses for so long 😀

  17. Alessa says:

    Love the fabric! I’ve also recently learned that cross grain and straight grain are different. The cross grain has actually more give, because the fibres on the straight grain are held tight by the weaving frame and the cross fibres are not. Interesting, huh?

  18. Maggie Bruce says:

    I love the idea of simple, easy and large pjs! But I am frustrated that I don’t see where you mention what the pattern is? Sorry to be so dim!

  19. KCJ says:

    Simplicity 2721

  20. Shelby Oliver says:

    I really want this pattern. How do I get it. Please.

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