Tutorial: Pajama Pant Re Purpose

Do you ever hold on to an article of clothing just hoping you will be able to find a way to re purpose it? That's kind of what this project was. I have had these Hello Kitty Capri pajama pants probably since I was a teenager... ok, maybe a young adult {you caught me!} But since they are several years old the waistband has started to give out and they don't stay up any longer. It may look like a drawstring in the picture, but it's actually elastic.

So, last night my cute daughter realized she had gone through all of her pajamas {since mom has been too lazy to do laundry} so I figured it was the perfect time to re purpose my old pajama pants to this:

The entire project from start to finish took about 20 minutes. It's a great, simple project if you want a little but of craftiness, but don't have too much time. PLUS, since it's an easy one, it is a great project for any beginner sewers out there!

To start you will need:
• old pajama pants {larger than what you want your finished product to be}
• 2" knit elastic {to fit the waist of the intended wearer}
• scissors
• iron and ironing board
• sewing machine and thread

Here's how to do it.
Start by having the new wearer try the pants on so you know where to cut. Once you figure out where you want the waist to end up, mark it with a pin on both sides of the waist. Then you are going to cut 2-1/2 inches ABOVE the pin all the way across! This leaves you enough room to create the casing for your elastic waistband.

Make sure your iron is nice and warm. You want to fold over the waist of your pants so that your elastic will fit making sure to leave room for your stitching. I chose to FIRST fold my edge over 1/4" so that the bottom edge was more finished looking. If you choose to do this, you may want to add an additional 1/4" to your original cut {cutting off the old waistband}.

There are 2 great options for how to get your folded edge the right size.
Option 1: Use your elastic as you iron making sure {double checking} that is will fit.

Option 2: Use one of these nifty fabric rulers to get your initial measurement then double check with the ruler as you fold to make sure the width of your fold is the same all the way around.

Once your waistband fold is ironed in place, pin it all the way around. Then take it to your sewing machine and sew a straight stitch about 1/8-1/4" from the inside {bottom} edge of your waistband.

If you chose to make the 1/4" fold before creating your waistband {like I did} make sure that as you sew you keep that hem tucked under. It has a tendency to sneak out - at least when using knit fabric.

In order to be able to put your elastic inside your casing, you want to make sure to leave an opening in your stitching. My hint is to double pin both sides of the opening so I know where to stop sewing. You only need to leave about a 2.5" gap. Just wide enough to sneak that elastic in.

Now it's time to add your elastic. Make sure you have your elastic precut to fit the waist of the new wearer. It will make it easier. Then grab a safety pin and attach it to one end of your elastic. Next, slide the safety pin inside the gap in your stitching and start threading it through the waistband.

My safety pin is inside that circle. The elastic is still sticking out the opening in the waistband. MAKE SURE THE END OF YOUR ELASTIC DOESN'T GET PULLED INTO THE CASING OF YOUR WAISTBAND! It makes it really hard to find it and pull it back out. As you move your safety pin along the inside of your casing just keep the rest of it scrunched up behind it. You can see in my picture that I end up with a big pile of *scrunch*.

Once you reach the end you should have both ends of your elastic sticking out of the opening in your casing.

Next, finish our elastic waistband by sewing the ends together. Here's how I did it.

1. Line up your edges {make sure that you elastic is laying flat!} and sew a straight line - back stitch both ends - about 1/2 inch from the end of the elastic.

2. It should look like this.

(I goofed and got my pictures out of order here... sorry!!!!)

4. Fold over the edge portion to one side.

3. Stitch the folded part down, holding it in place.

{click the picture to enlarge it}

Then tuck your elastic in the waistband, refold your casing over your elastic and sew it in place - make sure not to sew on your elastic.

Now they are ready for wearing! I lucked out that my super tall 4 year old was the right height for the already hemmed bottom on these Capri's. If you need to hem yours, simply cut them 1/2" longer than you need them. Fold over the bottom 1/4" and iron. Then fold it 1/4" again and iron. This created a beautifully finished hem edge. Run it through your sewing machine to keep the hem in place and there you have it!

Happy sewing!!!


  1. Well done! I love when old things are given new purpose. I bet they'll be extra special for her because they used to be yours!

  2. Wow! Too smart.. too cool!
    I can't wait to get my sewing machine out of storage, and make some of my old pj pants into new ones for my niece!
    Thanks for the great idea!



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