Sew Pajama Shorts – Easy Project with Free Pattern

Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Hey y’all – today we’re starting Self Sewing Month, aka Sewing for Women Month, with a free pattern to sew Pajama Shorts, Boxer style. I’ve partnered up with Joann Fabric and Craft Stores for the #SewYourStyle blogger campaign and contest sponsored by Joann and Pellon (Disclaimer – I received compensation for this post. But all opinions are my own, cause I’ve got plenty) to bring you this tutorial. 

Truth: ever since I got married, my favorite thing to sleep in for most of the year is a tank top and boxer shorts. Once I had the excuse of pretending I was buying underwear for my husband, I started buying boxers for myself, tee-hee! Something about the front seams that are typically shifted forward and the easy fit of boxer shorts just makes them soooooo comfy.

Super cute! They look easy to make too - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

BUT – my old boxer shorts had elastic that was shot. So it was time for some new sleepwear. So I drafted up a pattern with the same measurements as my favorite pair, leaving off the fly opening (cause why do I need that?) and made these for #SewYourStyle. (Want to enter the contest yourself? Click over to Joann Fabric and Craft Stores to get all the details)

The challenge is to use quilting cotton for something other than quilting. So I went to Joann to choose some quilting cotton to use, and this wild and retro feeling print caught my eye. Even better when I pulled out the bolt and realized that it was Made in America- which is not always easy to find. Quilting Cotton Made in America

An Instagram follower asked if this fabric was scratchy, and I will say that on the bolt it does not have as soft a hand as, say, a premium designer quilting cotton. But since I had this project in mind already, I decided to buy a yard anyway and see what it felt like after washing. It is a teensy bit on the thick side for quilting cotton, but it’s not scratchy after washing. But I wouldn’t make a shirt out of it; not enough drape.

However, it’s perfect for these shorts. (Want to make the tank top? Check this post.)

Want to make your own? You’ll need:

  • 1 yard of fabric – this is perfect for quilting cotton
  • About 1 yard of 1″ wide elastic – you’ll need enough to go around where you want the shorts to sit, which will probably be around 1″ below your belly button
  • To download the pattern, subscribe to the Melly Sews Weekly Newsletter. AFTER you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email – and you have to confirm or my email service can’t send you the free pattern. But once you do confirm, you’ll get access to not just this but several other free patterns. Woot!

(PS – if you have trouble finding either your confirmation email or the email with the pattern link, try checking your spam, trash, junk, bulk, social and/or promotional email tabs or folders. Free pattern links are also included in every weekly newsletter; these go out on Friday afternoons. Due to the number of subscribers I can’t email pattern links to individuals.)

Please note that all my patterns are licensed for personal use only (no selling items made from this without a limited production license) and by downloading you are agreeing to this license.

The pattern will fit hip sizes 34″-38″ – which is about a women’s XS-Women’s Medium. Just customize the elastic to your waist measurement. 1/2″ seam allowances are included. If you need to make the pattern bigger or smaller, check out this post.

Cut out two front and 2 back pieces of the shorts, making sure to cut with the fabric folded so that they are mirror images.

Lay the two back pieces (left in the picture below) and the two front pieces (right in the picture below) right sides together, then sew along the crotch seams. Finish this seam. (Don’t know how to finish seams? Check this post).

Step 1 - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Open the front and back pieces and lay them right sides together. You can see in the picture above how the front side is not as wide as the back. Match the side edges of the front and back to each other and stitch, then finish these seams. Your shorts will look like the picture below.

Step 2 - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Spread the shorts so that you can match the inseams to each other as shown above. Pin and stitch as shown by the white line below. Make sure one seam allowance goes one way and the other goes the other way (arrows in the second picture below); this will be important when inserting the elastic later.

Step 3 -Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Fold the top edge of the shorts 1/4″ to the wrong side and press. Then fold down again, 1 1/8″ to the wrong side and press again to form a casing for the elastic.

Step 4 - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

If you want to add a tag to the back of the shorts, stitch it on now. Next, sew the casing close to the bottom folded edge, leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Measure the elastic so it fits about 1″ below your belly button without stretching. Using a safety pin, insert the elastic in the casing.

Step 5 - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Overlap the two ends of the elastic and zig-zag stitch them together as shown above. Pull the elastic all the way into the casing and stitch the opening closed.

Step 6 - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Finally, create a narrow hem as shown above by folding the bottom edge of each leg 1/4″ to the wrong side twice, pressing and stitching.

And you’re done – check out what the shorts look like below.

So cute, and so easy - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Now wear them for lounging on a lazy morning. Oh, and the tank top I’m wearing? You can find that one here. 

Perfect for a lazy weekend morning - Boxer Pajama Shorts (with free pattern) - MellySews

Happy sewing! (Want to make the tank top? Check this post.)

Hooray - you read the whole post! Wanna hang out more? Check out the best sewing pins with me on Pinterest, join our Facebook discussions, get your daily sewing fix and behind the scenes scoops on Instagram, and your weekly updates/free pattern access through the newsletter


  1. Tara says

    These are great! Love the fabric! If you’re not a skinny Minnie as you :-) how hard would it be to make this pattern bigger, say using your hip measurements?? Because you don’t have a good fit pair to replicate? Lol! Thanks!

  2. yvonne says

    Melly, these are just soooooooooo cute. I love them! I am going to start on these TODAY! And I love the tank top with the binded neck, and sleeves. You are just too creative. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  3. Danita says

    They look sooooo comfy! I hardly sew anything for me any more, but I might just give it a try. Now to hunt through my stash for the perfect feel and color. LOL! Or maybe a few practice piece since my shape has changed.???

    Thanks again Melissa! Beautiful and simple! Just the way this seamstress needs!

  4. Kelly says

    It so funny that just last week I needed something like this and altered your bias shorts to make them – and now here they are!!! And this method of construction is way simpler! And for others who want a larger pattern, the slash and spread works perfectly. Hers were for a 32 ish waist in knit. Mine were in cotton quilting fabric so I needed an extra inch. I made mine for a 34″ waist by adding 3″ width and 3/4″ length. Maybe that might help you all. Thanks Melissa for the post. Love love love it!!!

  5. Neusa Moraes says

    Estou tão longe de vc, mas nossa paixão pela costura nos aproxima, muito obrigada por tudo o que vc compartilha, tenho aprendido bastante! bjs

  6. Auroraeva says

    these shorts are adorable! I also love the tank top, Do you used ribbed cotton and bias tape made with the same fabric?

  7. Kristie says

    Can’t wait to make some. I love what you did, and was just gifted a bunch of crazy floral fabrics. Perfect for some pj shorts that aren’t yucky gym shorts. Thank you so much for the pattern! And I can’t wait for the tank top. I need a good pattern for a tank, I usually wear tanks under everything! And thanks for doing this self care sewing month. I need to spend a little time improving my wardrobe, and this is great motivation!

  8. Amanda Harvey says

    Hi Melly thanks so much for the pattern, they’re just right for the hot summer. Can you help with making them bigger please?
    Thanks again and take care

  9. Samina says

    Those are adorable shorts! I’ve been looking @ my old boxers that I sleep in & thinking that I’d love to churn out another couple of them, so your pattern & tutorial couldn’t be more timely. Thank you so much!

  10. Zaman says

    Hey Melly,

    This looks lovely and what a great idea to use quilters cotton for garments!
    Though for some reason I’ve not received the pattern in my inbox :/
    Could you look into that kindly…seems to be the case with Diana too.

  11. says

    Hi Melly! Thank you so much for the awesome pattern! I’d love to make a couple pairs in some knit fabric because I really need to destash and I just love sleeping in knits much more than wovens. I am going to attempt to make a pair today and see how it goes. I’ll probably have to take them in a bit since I’ll want them to be a bit more fitted. Wish me luck.

  12. Marie Martinez says

    Hi Melly,
    Thank you so much for the many fine patterns ( I have most of them and working on the tank dress using ITY knit)…always looking forward to your blog posts….Can you give us a link to the store so that I can order labels. many thanks

  13. says

    “…leaving off the fly opening…” hahaha that made me laugh. I love how you write. So funny. Thanks for the free pattern. Buying fabric today for this! :)

  14. Susan says

    I made a pair of pajama shorts using your pattern. They turned out great. I had to take them in a 1/2 inch to get the fit I like. I’m going to make some more as soon as I get time. Thank you so much for the free pattern.

  15. Fiona says

    Thanks very much for this tutorial and the free pattern, Melly. I made a pair last night while watching the votes come in for the Scottish independence referendum. Actually, the count took so long, I could have whipped up another pair if there had been enough elastic!

    These sleeping shorts are very comfortable to sleep in.

    Thanks again.

  16. says

    Would these be suitable for men. I want to make my 4 adult sons and husband a matching pair for Christmas morning?
    By the way thank you for being so generous and sharing free pattern.! :)

  17. Tara C says

    Thanks so much for the pattern and clear instructions! My daughter and I made these together this afternoon and she loves them:)

  18. Mary Jo says

    I didn’t realize that you would actually send out the patterns for my use. I am tickled to death. After I run out for printer paper I am going to give this a shot.. Thank you so much.
    I have been sewing for 50 yrs. for myself and family. There is always something new to try. And someone else has something interesting to read about and try. It goes on and on. What a great hobby.
    Thank you for your site and your hard work.
    Mary Jo

  19. Jools says

    Thank you so much for a great tutorial! I’ve always been scared and confused when I’ve looked at patterns and instructions, but today I made these shorts…two pairs in fact and am now excited to try something else! Thank you x

  20. Debbie KW says

    Thank you very much for the free pattern/tutorial. I made myself a pair last night from owl print flannel. They are SO comfortable! I am definitely going to make more. :)

  21. Maureen OConnor says

    I recently discovered elastic thread!! I am going to try making the waist band with that rather than feeding elastic through the waist. Wish me luck!!

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