Sew pajama pants from vintage sheets

Sew Pajama Pants from Vintage Sheets

Sew Pajama Pants in just 15 Minutes

Pajama sets can get a bit pricey, some of them don’t have the best quality even. Why not make your own PJ pants? This is one of the easiest sewing projects out there especially if you’re a newbie. Keep on reading to find out how to make PJs!

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love all things vintage. Lately, I’ve been especially fond of vintage sheets, afghans and, quilts. I’m always brimming with ideas for repurposing these treasures, and I even sell my finds in my small Etsy Shop

I shared an article with genius ways to repurpose vintage sheets, and I fell in love with the idea of sewing pajama pants from vintage sheets.

Vintage sheets are really easy to sew and aside from that, they’re very cheap and effortless to find. Those are the top reasons why I gravitate towards this kind of fabric every time I want to create some pajama pants. I highly advise you to try sourcing out age-old linens because they remain super soft even after several washes.

Even if you wanted to buy a cheap set of pajamas from a store, you can obviously see the quality not being at its greatest. They sometimes can get too thin, flimsy, or even worse – very itchy. Why not try using vintage sheets instead? For its affordable price, you get your money’s worth, and even more!

What could be better? The soft feel of summer sheets is paired with gorgeous vintage patterns and didn’t even break your wallet! Read on to learn how to make this.

Sew pajama pants from vintage sheets

How Much Fabric to Make PJ Pants?

The proportion of the yards of fabric will change depending on the size of the person that you’re making it for. So about ½ yards for tiny kids, 1 yard for older kiddos, then up to 2 yards for adults.

You can take an old pair of pants from the person you’ll be making for and use that as a basis for the amount of fabric you’ll be needing. If you’re not comfortable with it, you can buy a pre-made pattern from the store.

I’ve had this pretty flat sheet for nearly a year. I picked it up for a steal – I believe less than a dollar – but part of me hated to cut them up. 

However, It just wouldn’t sell on my Etsy shop. I took it as a sign. It was time to cut.

vintage fabric for pajama pants sitting on a chair

I realized I could sew a pair of pajama pants for me and both of my girls from the same sheet,  and fell in love with the idea of matching mother-daughter pj’s.

The best part of these pants is the way they look and feel.

It’s just icing on the cake that they are SO easy. You can make these pajama pants by sewing just three seams in less than 15 minutes.

How to Sew a Pair of Pants

First, fold your fabric over and lay your favorite pair of pajama pants on top. Be sure to place the bottom hem about 1″ above the finished hem of your sheet. You want to take advantage of all of the existing hems on your sheet to make this project extra easy!

You’re going to cut about 1″-1.5″ around your finished pajama pants – with another extra inch or two at the waist. Then, fold your sheet again and cut one more time.

Pajama Pants from Vintage Sheets

Sew pajama pants from vintage sheets tutorial

Turn your cut pieces wrong side out and sew the interior side of each leg, up until about 0.5″ from the crotch.

Sew pajama pants from vintage sheets tutorial

Now, turn your legs right side out. You’re going to sew the two legs together by sewing seams 1 and 2, as shown in the below photo.

Sew pajama pants from vintage sheets tutorial

Finally, try the pants on and determine where you’d like the waist to hit. Fold it over, pin, and sew the waist closed, leaving about 1″ left un-sewn. You will fish your elastic through this band and sew the two ends together. Lastly, stitch the waistband closed.

That’s it! Your pajama pants are done! Keep in mind though that not everything will fit perfectly the first time. It’s okay to go through a little bit of trial and error and to not get frustrated immediately if the first pairs aren’t perfect.

mother and daughters wearing pajama pants made from vintage fabric

The girls and I are obsessed with these. We’ve already decided we’re going to need more pairs. At about $0.33 per pair, I think I can swing that.

What do you think of our pajama pants from vintage sheets? Would you make these for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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20 thoughts on “Sew Pajama Pants from Vintage Sheets

  1. Hedy says:

    I love your pants and I think I have that sheet too. I originally bought vintage sheets to be backs for my quilts but my long arm quilter doesn’t do well with them. I probably have about 25 sheets now. I think I’d like to make some simple nightgowns for myself as I don’t wear PJ pants. Thanks for the idea.

    • fivemarigolds says:

      That is good to know, Hedy! I always thought I’d like to make a quilt with my various linens but it’s helpful to know they are tricky for quilting. You could do so many wonderful things with your linens, and I can’t wait to see what you do!

  2. Linda Bochenek says:

    These are fantastic!!! I’ve been buying up vintage sheets and making surgery drain bag aprons and donating to mastectomy patients. The bags looks adorable and are appreciated by the ladies.

  3. Twala says:

    I LOVE vintage sheets as well. I have a daughter in college that I think would be thrilled with vintage PJ’s! Thanks for the idea!

  4. Jackie Clements says:

    Would the front and back of the pjs be the same? Usually the front area is a little smaller, as with most trousers, would your method have equal front and back, and feel a bit bulky in the front (ie below the waistline)? Or am I reading the instructions wrong? Have some sheets ready to go!

    • fivemarigolds says:

      Hi Jackie – you will find when you use your existing pajama pants as a template (front and back) the front will be less bulky than the back. You can always go in later to sew the seams for the front, but better to start with more fabric than less! Be extra sure to also add plenty of length to the waist as well so you have room to add the elastic!

    • fivemarigolds says:

      Hi AnnaLisa, I wish I’d taken more detailed photos! I started at the “crotch” (technical term) area where the seams from each pant leg meet up in the middle. I then sewed from that area all the way up the backside. Then, I went back to the middle and sewed the remaining pieces all the way up to the front side. I like to start in the middle so I’m extra sure my fabric doesn’t shift and the crotch area is reinforced.

  5. Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

    Ha, these are so amazing! I got it in my head that I wanted to make my own ‘nice’ PJ pants and went looking for diy sewing patterns, and found this post. Super fun surprise to see yours made of beautiful vintage sheets, because I genuinely also collect these same percale pretties! I’ve had a thing for them ever since inheriting the ones I grew up using at my grandparents house, and now I look for other vintage sheets for sewing crafts and sweet bedding for my girls too! Had not considered them for pj pants, I was gonna use flax linen fabric, but yours are so gorgeous!

    Annyway, after gushing, I’m also commenting to ask a question. I don’t suppose there’s really a way for you to help me with this…but I’m really wanting to know how to get the exact style/cut of your pant legs here. My own current pj pants are comfy but not the shape I want, and I love the wider bottom on yours….trying to find a helpful pattern that will show me the exact right shapes to cut out. (I’m a details person and want these to be *just* right!)
    If you have any ideas on how to convey those shapes…or maybe want to add a flatlay pic of yours 😉 that would be so helpful, but I understand if I just need to figure it out some other way.

    Either way, thanks for this encouraging, inspiring, super pretty post. And I’m excited to have found you…gonna check out more of your site now too! : )
    Thanks & Happy Wednesday!

    • fivemarigolds says:

      Aw thank you so much for your kind words and I only wish I’d started collecting earlier so I could have saved some from my grandmother! I do not have a pattern I can recommend but my advice is to cut a straight leg all the way down. And, I was extra generous when cutting based off of my existing pajamas, because of course sheets have no give and I wanted them to be roomy! I hope your pajamas turn out exactly like you want them—I’d love to see them when you are done!

  6. Laurinda Pudlo says:

    I love those- my mother had those sheets, & I can remember exactly how soft they were ???? I particularly like the hem on your pair ????

  7. Mary says:

    I am having trouble with this step as well. I sewed the two edges marked 2 together and the pants are way too narrow. I feel like I am missing a step. Or cut wrong? Holding up the nearly finished pants it’s like the whole front is missing.

    • fivemarigolds says:

      Gosh, I wish I was there to help troubleshoot! When I cut the “back side” pieces (i.e. the back seam and “crotch” area pulled out on the pants you are using as a pattern) I did cut generously so there would be plenty of room on the back side. There will naturally be less fabric when you turn your pattern pants the other direction and cut those pieces.

  8. cat says:

    I love this idea! I’m going to look for vintage (or not so vintage) sheets to use! Just a note that the “long side” of the pants really isn’t the long side (the outside the is the longer side) and the only time the term “hem” is used is in reference to sewing a single edge as in the bottom of a garment so the term would be “seam the side of the leg”. Also, when sewing the waistband, you mentioned “sew the waist closed” which I thought maybe it was a doubled garment, meaning there were two layers of fabric and that’s why you’d want to sew the waist closed, but realized you meant “sew the waistband closed”. Btw, I love the yellow, they’re so cheery!

  9. Jenny Machock says:

    This is a great idea! I have a bottom sheet from my bed that wore through. It has tiny rosebuds on it. It’s not vintage but I’m going to make pj’s out of it for my two granddaughters. I found a pattern at Goodwill for 50 cents. So instead of cutting it up to make rags, it will look so much better made into jammies. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

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