Top Menu

shirred voile pajama pants: DIY tutorial

Firstly, I do want to mention how deeply saddened I am for the Sandy Hook shooting victims and their families.  Like many, I think I feel really helpless, but I’m hoping that it’s bringing to light some important conversations.

If you remember, I made a lovely pair of pajama pants in October.  So today I’m sharing the tutorial on how to make them!  The pattern  pieces are based off of your body measurements, so if you have kids you can make them some too!  Thank you to Art Gallery Fabrics for letting me use their lovely voile, in Impressions in Beige & Millefiori in Cream.

What you need:

  • 2.5 yards fabric, if you have 54″ wide voile, you can possibly get away with just get one yard (I did)
  • 1/2 yard contrast fabric, for waistband and binding on hem
  • elastic thread
  • thread
  • 1.5″ wide elastic
  • small scrap of fusible interfacing
  • ribbon for faux tie
  • pair of well fitting pajama pants to make your pattern

Make pattern and cut:
{1/2″ seam allowance used throughout, unless otherwise noted}
First we’ll take some measurements and make the waistband pieces.  Measure hip to hip and add 1″.  Measure around the back side of the fullest part of your body (your hips and butt usually) and add 1″.

Make two pattern pieces.
Front waistband will be 6″ tall by your hip to hip measurement.

Back waistband will be 6″ tall by your fullest body measurement around your butt/hips (measured from hip to hip around the back).

Cut one front waistband (fuse interfacing to wrong side of front waistband) and one back waistband.

Cut two front leg pieces and two back leg pieces by tracing a pair of existing pajama pants or using your favorite commercial pattern.  ** You’ll want to make sure that the front waistband piece will fit your front pant pieces, just hold the front waistband piece up to the front pant pieces and make sure they’re about the same width.

Cut two hem binding pieces 2.5″ tall by circumference of pant leg + 1″.

Cut elastic 1-2″ shorter than your back waist measurement.


1. Place one front leg and one back leg piece right sides facing.  Sew along outer leg and inseam.  Finish raw edges (I serged mine, but you could also do a french seam, zig-zag, etc.).  Repeat for other pant leg.

2. Turn one pant leg right side out and slip it into the other pant leg, aligning the inseam seams.  Sew along that ‘U’ shape.  Finish raw edges.  Turn pants right side out.

Next, take the back waistband piece, using the elastic thread in the bobbin, shirr the entire back waistband piece stitching rows approximately 3/8″ apart across the piece.  Using a spritz of water and and iron, shrink up the elastic thread, pressing gently on the elastic thread side.  Press in half lengthwise wrong sides facing.  Set aside.

Take the front waistband piece and fold in half lengthwise wrong sides facing.  Mark the half way point and on either side make two buttonholes for the tie/ribbon.

Open up both waist pieces.  Right sides facing align raw edges of each short side of waistband.  Pin.  Sew.  Now you’ll have a waistband loop:

Insert the 1.5″ elastic in between the folded back waistband piece.  Pulling elastic ends just past the side seam of either side of the waistband, sew “in the ditch” along side seam on either side to hold elastic in place.

Your waistband will now look like this:

Take pants and slip waistband with buttonholes facing the right side, aligning raw edge of waistband with top of pants, and aligning side seams of pants with the side seams of the waistband.   Pin. Sew. You’ll need to stretch the back waistband as you’re sewing. Finish edges.

Finish pant bottoms by attaching bias tape binding as you would a quilt or other project.  Insert ribbon or fabric tie into buttonholes.  That’s it!  Hope that this tutorial can be helpful for someone.

Enjoy!  ♥


53 Responses to shirred voile pajama pants: DIY tutorial

  1. mycreationandinspiration 12.19.2012 at 7:21 am #

    thanks for sharing this tutorial.İt’s very helpful for new starters(like me :) )…

  2. Rachel Booth 12.19.2012 at 7:46 am #

    Yay!! I’m so excited! I’ve been hoping that you’d make a tutorial! Quick question…do you think that this would work with flannel for the pants, and using cotton for the waistband? I’m thinking I’m going to make some for myself and my daughter this weekend!!

    • Anna 12.19.2012 at 10:25 am #

      yes! it’ll work great with flannel and any quilting cottons as well. :) Just be sure to pre-wash your fabrics!

  3. Sarah Watson 12.19.2012 at 8:00 am #

    OoooOOh thank you so much for this tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make some jammie pants!!!

  4. {Leila}Where the Orchids Grow 12.19.2012 at 8:23 am #

    oooh these are so cute!! I want some – now!

  5. czeremcha 12.19.2012 at 9:00 am #

    Is there any particular type of elastic thread, shrinkable one, or does it work with any type of it?


    • Anna 12.19.2012 at 10:21 am #

      As far as I know there’s only one type of elastic thread (different brands of course). If you need more info on shirring there are lots of great tutorials out there just for that. :)

  6. Amy Friend 12.19.2012 at 9:20 am #

    Beautiful Anna! I’d love some just like it! I’ll have to add them to the to do list.

  7. Jeni 12.19.2012 at 10:01 am #

    Love these! So luxurious!!

  8. Rachel at Stitched in Color 12.19.2012 at 10:11 am #

    Wow, these look really, really nice! I’d love to make myself a pair. The fabric you’re using is just lovely too.

  9. Jo H. 12.19.2012 at 10:59 am #

    Oh yes!! I was just thinking of your pj pants yesterday and wishing there was a tutorial for them! The perfect pyjamas are so difficult to find! Thank you – I’ll be sewing some of these up very soon!

  10. Rae 12.19.2012 at 11:01 am #

    CUTE!! Love these, Anna. I’m always a big fan of the shirring, to be sure.


  11. Mary on Lake Pulaski 12.19.2012 at 11:16 am #

    Awesome tutorial Anna! Thank you and I’m going to make some for ME after Christmas!

  12. Maureen Cracknell Handmade 12.19.2012 at 11:26 am #

    Beautiful!! I have those same voiles — a yard of each, hmn? :) You always make it look so easy, Anna!!

  13. MaterialGirlQuilts 12.19.2012 at 11:46 am #

    Lovely pajama pants! Thank you so much for the tutorial! I hope to make a pair very soon.

  14. Carolyn 12.19.2012 at 11:49 am #

    I love the idea of a shirred back panel. It sounds so incredibly comfy!

  15. Krista 12.19.2012 at 11:51 am #

    Oh man, I am so excited that you did this. Of course I’m desperate to try it. Hopefully after Christmas.

    p.s. You are a sewing genius.

  16. Christie 12.19.2012 at 12:33 pm #

    These are great, Anna! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Katy Cameron 12.19.2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I have some fabulous fabrics winging their way to me right now with the idea of doing some clothes making from them, I may have to try these!

  18. marysza 12.19.2012 at 5:09 pm #

    ohhh they look amazingly beautiful!

  19. amy 12.19.2012 at 6:26 pm #

    You are the best!!!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. Anita 12.20.2012 at 3:58 am #

    Great tutorial, thanks so much for sharing :)

  21. kristin 12.20.2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Oh man, I bet these are just divine to wear. Thanks for the tutorial! :)

  22. Jessica 12.20.2012 at 5:13 pm #

    they look so comfy and I can’t imagine having them made from voile!
    I could use some cute pajama pants! Thanks for the tutorial

  23. DKB 12.22.2012 at 10:48 pm #

    I looove that you showed sewing the inseam/out seams first and then the front/back rises as a continuous seam;)

  24. **nicke... 12.26.2012 at 12:49 am #

    These are beautiful Anna! Just beautiful! I wish I would have read this post before last night because I couldn’t find a single pair of Christmas pj’s I liked for myself! Great tutorial! You are a sewing wiz!

  25. Emily 12.26.2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Great tutorial. I hate the feeling of the shirred elastic against my skin. It never occurred to me to fold in half to get the same effect. Thank you!

  26. Katrine 01.01.2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I want to make these especially since my favorite pair of pajama pants have developed a hole. Thanks!

  27. Gjeometry 01.07.2013 at 2:30 am #

    These are fantastic. I made pajamas and nightgowns for all my friends and family this Christmas. I wish I had seen this tutorial before that as I really like the shirring you added at the waistband. It makes them hug nicely. Here is a link to mine, Some of the pj waists are elastic and some are drawstring, but they are much more “relaxed” looking without the shirring panel. Next pj project for me will be this one! Thanks for sharing.

  28. Anna 03.20.2013 at 10:18 am #

    Wow I love the pants. If you hadn’t proved it with the tutorial that these are selfmade I probably wouldn’t have believed it!

  29. Elizabeth 05.29.2013 at 9:17 am #

    Great tutorial! I have a quick question though. I’m making these pants and I’m on the waistband part. I tried them on and the waistband was too big, so I took it in on each side. Now it fits my waist, but it’s hard to get over my hips. What did I do wrong?

    • Anna 05.29.2013 at 10:40 am #

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Too loose after shirring, etc? I’m going to reply to your email….

  30. Anonymous 10.13.2013 at 6:45 pm #

    I was so excited to make these. Epic fail. Pants did not fit at all. So disappointing.

  31. Amy 09.02.2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Can you shirr the entire waistband (back & front) with no elastic encased? Would I need to change any measurements or would it still be the same as above?

    • Anna Graham 09.03.2014 at 7:48 am #

      Sure Amy! You could. :) You would make the front waistband larger to accommodate the shirring. Just a little bit of caution though, depending on how your shirring is, it might not feel like the pants will stay on as well (I had made some with only shirring on the back band and they slipped down too much for my liking). :)

      • Amy 09.03.2014 at 5:14 pm #

        I’m making the harem pants by pattern emporium, they don’t include a shirred waistband option in the PDF. Just elastic or tab. Making my brain work over time! I want them loose enough to get over my hips but snug on my tummy. But I dislike elastic, feels too tight to me & I want comfort :) I wonder if I cut the waistband by my hip measurement then shir that & see if it’s snug enough on my tummy. I have big hips/butt/thighs but my waist nips in. Makes all pants fittings a drama. Thanks again for your help & fast reply :)

  32. Elizabeth 09.17.2014 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! After I attach the waistband to the pants how do I get a nice clean finish on the raw edges of the pants/waistband before turning the waistband over? I would like to avoid having the raw edge rubbing against my daughters skin. Thanks!

    • Anna Graham 09.17.2014 at 3:35 pm #

      No prob Elizabeth! You could sew the outside of the waistband on first, then press the inside of the waistband to the wrong side by 3/8”, then sew from the front of the waistband ‘in the ditch’ catching the inner waistband in the seam. Make sense? I hope a little! :)

  33. Whitney 01.03.2015 at 2:08 pm #

    I am a beginner sewer, though I have had a little experience in the past. I am going to try and tackle making these pants and am so excited. My only question is…what does it mean to sew “in the ditch” when it comes to the elastic?

    • Anna Graham 01.04.2015 at 6:02 pm #

      Hey Whitney, in the ditch means to sew on a seam, in this case, the side seams of the waistband. Use a matching thread and the stitches won’t even show. Hope that helps!

      • Whitney 01.04.2015 at 11:27 pm #

        Thank you! That helps!

  34. Whitney 01.08.2015 at 3:01 pm #

    Okay, another question! I got the waist band made (yay!) and then after that it’s been a disaster! I won’t even try to explain what I did wrong, just that I know what I did wrong. After investigating I have found that with all of my existing pajama pants the crotch part is shorter in the front than the back, if that makes sense. What I’m understanding is you simply fold your existing pajama pants in half and all four pant legs are the same size/shape? You don’t take into consideration that normally the front crotch area is shorter than the back?

    I have sewn and ripped and sewn and ripped and…. SO want to get this right!

    • Anna Graham 01.11.2015 at 6:55 pm #

      Hi Whitney, if you’re tracing from a pair of existing pants, you’ll fold them in half (back of legs touching) and trace that shape. Then you’ll fold them in half again (front of legs touching). Make sure you follow the seams of the pants and add a seam allowance. Most pants do have a dip in the front rise. When tracing you can account for that, or after you can cut away at the center front to make it lower. Hope that helps! :)

  35. fragulina 01.19.2016 at 9:47 am #

    I’ve just found your site and this amazing tutorial. I’m working on a pair of similar pants and your tips are exactly that I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!


  1. Five For Friday // 18 | Quite Bookish - 09.14.2014

    […] DIY pajama pants are really […]

  2. Make a Crochet Rope Basket! DIY Voile Pajama Pants! Vintage Christmas Ball Tutorial! How to Sew a Y-Seam! Amy Butler’s Glow House Quilt! Craft a Droopy Eared Sock Bunny! PLUS. . . Recipes, Jokes, Art, Design & Memories! | Mark Lipinski's Bl - 09.21.2014

    […]  Don’t these look comfy?  With winter on her way, it’s time to stop walking around the house in your birthday suit and maybe time to make several pairs of these shirred voile pajama pants!  Here’s how: […]

  3. Make a Crochet Rope Basket! DIY Voile Pajama Pants! Vintage Christmas Ball Tutorial! How to Sew a Y-Seam! Amy Butler’s Glow House Quilt! Craft a Droopy Eared Sock Bunny! PLUS. . . Recipes, Jokes, Art, Design & Memories! | Mark Lipinski's Bl - 09.21.2014

    […]  Don’t these look comfy?  With winter on her way, it’s time to stop walking around the house in your birthday suit and maybe time to make several pairs of these shirred voile pajama pants!  Here’s how: […]

  4. Make a Crochet Rope Basket! DIY Voile Pajama Pants! Vintage Christmas Ball Tutorial! How to Sew a Y-Seam! Amy Butler’s Glow House Quilt! Craft a Droopy Eared Sock Bunny! PLUS. . . Recipes, Jokes, Art, Design & Memories! | Mark Lipinski's Bl - 09.21.2014

    […]  Don’t these look comfy?  With winter on her way, it’s time to stop walking around the house in your birthday suit and maybe time to make several pairs of these shirred voile pajama pants!  Here’s how: […]

  5. #somedaymaybe craft projects list | carrie actually - 10.12.2014

    […] Shirred Voile Pajama Pants by Noodlehead […]

  6. WIP Wednesday - April 16, 2014 - Let's Eat Grandpa! - 10.16.2014

    […] of SNAP! I ordered some fabulous Beatbox fabric from a shop on Etsy, and I’m going to use Noodlehead’s pajama pants pattern to make them. Add a slouchy sweatshirt with a cutoff shoulder, a side pony, and I’m […]

  7. Free Pattern: Voile Pajama’s | Innes and Swan - 01.18.2015

    […] is a nice DIY for a pair of shirred voile p.j pant bottoms at Noodlehead. I may have to make these, as I am now a little addicted to sewing with […]

  8. For those setting out on their sewing journey… | #creative365 - 04.17.2015

    […] trouser pattern. Fairly straight forward to follow or adapt, look at your own quite closely to see how […]

  9. Doppeltes Lottchen: Pyjamahosen mit Eulen | akhimo - 04.20.2015

    […] habe ich die Pyjamahosen wie meine anderen: die Brigitte Sommerhose kombiniert mit dem Bündchen à la Noodlehead. Der für mich perfekte PJs-Schnitt. Aber irgendwie war es mir zu langweilig zwei wirklich komplett […]

Leave a Reply