Often sewing teachers think elastic waist pants are the easiest first garment to make, so there are many videos. These are just some of them.

Some videos are aimed at making pyjamas, some pants.  Usually the only difference is that pyjamas have looser fit.  Just change fabric to change between making pants and pjs.
SOI pjs Sew Over It Ultimate pyjamas
Some videos are aimed at beginners and claim to have fuller instructions. Pyjamas may be easier for beginners, as it doesn’t matter how well they’re made  😀

Basic sewing skills needed :

If you need to start your sewing with learning how to use a sewing machine, here’s the first of two posts.  
For guidance on the basic sewing skills used, see this post.

Then perhaps make an elastic waist skirt. You need to be able to : sew and finish a straight seam, add a hem and a waist casing.

More sewing skills used in making elastic waist pants :
– sew round a curve,

join together two leg tubes
There are a couple of methods for doing this :
1. Sew leg (optional side seams then) in-seams first, then put one leg inside the other to sew the crotch seam. This is the best method, used in most patterns beyond beginners.
Turn one leg right side out, then slide that into the other leg so they are right sides together. It’s then easy to sew the crotch seam.

Here are a couple of YouTube videos from Jacqueline Doctor Johnson, teaching machinists.
Leg seams, from 0.45.
Combining legs.
If you prefer a photo sew along, here’s one from Sew Over It patterns.

pj crotch
(image from Sew Over It Pomegranate pyjamas)

2. In the other method the side seams are sewn last. May give a lumpy result at the crotch. Two versions :
2.1 : sew the crotch seams first, and then the inseams. Easier to understand – though beware sewing the inseams instead of the crotch seams. Unless you’re making mini- or kid’s shorts, the in-seams are longer than the crotch seams.
2.2 : sew the inseams first, then the crotch seams.

Here’s a video from Lori Griffiths showing both methods.
The F/B labels appear on both sides of the fabric – note that the letters read correctly on the wrong side of the fabric, and are reversed on the right side. It would be easier if she had used fabric with right and wrong sides !
0-4.45 – method mentioned second above,
4.45-end – first method.

Topics covered in this post :

The main section here is on making elastic waist pants/pyjamas from woven fabrics. As they are a classic basic, there are many patterns.  These are some of the ones with support videos.  (I haven’t included images for these patterns as the basics all look much the same.)

As people in shutdown have been discovering the pleasures of wearing comfy pants, I’ve also included some elastic-waist pant patterns with classier or more interesting style but no video  😀

Plus a couple of ‘patterns’ from companies with a radically different approach 😀

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Woven fabric

Free class :
Craftsy – free video – make your own pj pattern with side seams by copying an existing pair, then sew.

Classes with video and pdf pattern bought together :
no side seams :
Thrifty Stitcher – pyjama pants for all ages and both sexes, part of a good sewing course for complete beginners. Includes using a sewing machine. The other courses mentioned here assume you know how to use one !

with side seams :
Sew Over It – Ultimate pyjamas, part of sewing course for beginners, optional in-seam pockets.

Sonya Philip’s 100 Acts of Sewing pants pattern comes in paper and pdf versions. The pattern has optional in-seam pockets and hem ruffle.
Her sew-along video class at Creative Bug includes a pdf pattern but not printable instructions. The same extra styles. Largest hip body size 64″/165cm.

Elastic-waist pants are the first garment made in Sew Liberated patterns’ Learn To Sew course. Class is expensive but very detailed, there are 6 hours of video (53 lessons), with both pdf download and paper pattern included.
Or go small : For infants and toddlers, from Rae Hoekstra at Creative Bug.

DVD/ on-line course and paper pattern bought separately :
Palmer-Pletsch, part of sewing course for beginners : pattern for pyjamas with side seams, instructional DVD (assumes you have worked through the previous two DVDs).

Louise Cutting at Taunton Workshops online video course goes with Cutting Line One-seam pants pattern.

Pattern with free video

Patterns for Pirates – pjs, video link in instructions.

More advanced pant styles with videos and pdf patterns – add a pocket :
Closet Core Pietra
Closet Core patterns Pietra pants, part of learn to sew course.

SOI Carrie
Sew Over It – Carrie pants, in pants making course.

wbm easy
Wardrobe By Me Easy pants with free video

Muna & Broad make patterns for hip 41″ – 71″, and say they will grade up for larger. These patterns are good for anyone with a deep torso, as they have extra long crotch extensions. These two patterns are for beginners, and include pockets :

MB birchgrove
Muna & Broad Birchgrove pants with tapered legs, with free 45min. video.

Muna & Broad Glebe with straight legs, one option has back elastic only, with free 40min. video.

Patterns with photo sew-alongs
If you prefer the gentle self-pacing of a photo tutorial, here are a couple of detailed ones with extra design features.
pattern : Pio pants from Ready To Sew.
photo tutorial
hack to overalls

pattern : Sew Girl Elsie culottes.
photo tutorial

I haven’t gone on a general search for patterns with photo sew-alongs !

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Elastic-waist patterns without video
The videos and photo sew-alongs support beginners looking for help with the easiest patterns.

Nearly every pattern line has at least one elastic-waist pant pattern, so this is just a very small selection. If your favourite pattern line has some which I haven’t mentioned, of course celebrate them.

Deer Doe Acajou Deer & Doe Acajou pants

Megan Nielsen Opal Megan Nielsen Opal pants

Merchant Mills 101       Merchant & Mills 101 trouser

PaperTheory Miller        Paper Theory Miller trouser

pattern fant cove Pattern Fantastique Cove pants

sew lib arenite       Sew Liberated Arenite pants

elizabeth suzann clyde Elizabeth Suzann Clyde work pants

If you find a pattern you like, except the legs are too wide, here’s a photo tutorial on tapering them from Jalie.

Some more unusual approaches to a pattern

Zero-waste, mark out the pattern on the fabric :
A very different elastic waist pant and skirt pattern, the wide-legged Zero-Waste pant from Birgitta Helmersson.
ZW pants
There is no pattern, just a Cutting Plan booklet for marking cutting lines direct on the fabric. Separate cutting plans for 10 sizes (body hips 34″-58″). You need to be comfortable with making some calculations to mark out the cutting lines.
Here’s a blog post from them with more chat about the pattern.

Pattern generator uses personal measurements, with many style options :
Another interesting pattern is from Apostrophe patterns. They claim to supply patterns to your personal measurements. Their joggers pattern is for woven or knit fabric (as well as your measurements, you tell them the stretch of the fabric you are using). Multiple options for waistline treatments, back yokes, pockets, leg lengths and shapes, hem cuffs.
apostrophe joggers
You buy access to a Pattern Generator, not a final pattern. So you can use it as often as you like, to get a pdf pattern for every style and fabric you are interested in, and using the measurements of all your family members and friends.

More variations

Here’s a post from Fit for Art on changing elastic waistbands – applies to any pattern, not just theirs.

The elastic-waist pants in the Saf-T pockets Two for the Road pattern include several pockets which aim to make things more difficult for pick-pockets.

Or if you’re looking for inspiration for using fabric scraps, here’s some examples (no pattern for sale).
There is a pattern from Pavelka.

If you would like to try drafting your own pattern, Cal Patch has a video class at Creative Bug, which includes both drafting and sewing elastic-waist pants with optional slant pockets.

Or you could make your pants a different way instead, learn to hand sew as a form of meditation. Fibr&Cloth has instructions for hand-sewing your favourite e-w pants. Her most suggested pants pattern is the 100 Acts of Sewing one.

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What about elastic-waist pants made from knit fabrics ?
Elastic-waist pants make a good first garment in woven fabrics, though you can make them in knit fabrics too. Stable knits such as ponte or fleece could be a good first choice, as they do not change shape much while being cut or sewn. But they do still need different technique, as they need stretch not straight stitches.

Leggings can make a good first garment for learning to sew knit fabric. They do raise rather different issues of fit and sewing technique, so here’s a separate post on leggings.

There are many more elastic waist patterns. But with the ones listed here, you can develop sewing confidence. After some first timid steps while making your first ever pyjama pants, you can perhaps repeat the same pattern until you feel confident. Then move on to another pattern with more challenging techniques, such as a more complex waist casing, or a variety of pockets.
😀 😀 😀

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Links and patterns available January 2023

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