Tutorial ~ Simple Summer Pajamas

by Destri on August 18, 2011

Summer Pajamas Tutorial

I love these jammies!  So much so, I am considering making myself some.  My little one hates nightgowns (can’t blame her), they just twist around her at night, and she hates shirts and shorts because the shirt ends up around her chest.  I decided she needed something like a onsie.  A soft knit, one piece, form fitting number, that’s comfortable enough she can wear it around the house all day morning.  I settled on a romper style, and she has loved them.  They have been perfect for this summer of off the charts heat index we have been so enjoying – but hey…it’s only 98° today. :)

Summer Jammies Tutorial

I know, we’ve seen cuter, but I’m telling you, these have been a favorite.  The best part is that you can sew one up in less than thirty minutes.  You only need two measurements, half a yard of knit fabric, and you’re set!   Oh, and don’t be afraid of the knit part, it’s super simple to work with, promise.

Romper Pajamas Tutorial

Update** Here is a new version I’ve made for this year with wider lace and a simple lettuce edge you make with just a zigzag stitch.  The pajamas are still very much a favorite!

Summer Romper Pajamas Tutorial

If you are new to sewing and have questions with any of these terms I have a Sewing Tips Directory that might help.  It has an entire section on sewing with knit fabric (like we use in this tutorial). Feel free to leave any questions in the comments too.


  • ½ yard of a knit cotton – soft and stretchy.  Make sure to wash it!
  • 2 yards of soft stretch lace or less if you are zigzag stitching the legs – I used ½ inch wide on the white pair, and 1¼ for the flowered pair.  Lace Haven has a great selection.
  • ball point needle for your sewing machine
  • all your sewing stuff


You will need the waist measurement, and the torso.  For the torso, measure from the top of the shoulder (or under the neck) down to the crotch.

Fabric cuts:

To make the first cut you will take the waist measurement and divide it by four, then add an inch.  My little girls waist came in at 21, divided by four = 5.25+ 1 inch = 6¼.  Once you have found your number, lay your half yard of fabric folded in half on a flat cutting surface.

Now fold the ends over like shown to allow for the first cut.  This will give you four layers with two folds.

From the fold measure over the length of the measurement and cut.  So I cut 6¼ inches from the fold.  Leave the pieces folded for the next cuts.

Now take the torso measurement and cut the pieces to that length.  My little girls torso came in at 16.  I cleaned up the edges on one end and then measured from there, and cut at 16 inches.  Leave them folded.

Okay, now don’t let this part scare you, super easy!  You are going to be making a cut just like shown in the picture.  You will notice that I took off about an inch, starting about 2 inches from the bottom, on the cut edges (not to folds).

I left two inches at the bottom, then just arched my cut to 1 inch and cut straight up from there.  This doesn’t need to be perfect, just get the basic shape as shown in the picture.

You should have two pieces looking like this when unfolded.  Now it’s time to sew!

If you have a stretch stitch on your machine, now’s the time to use it.  It kind of looks like a slanted stitch.  My machine doesn’t so I use a slightly longer stitch length.  I normally sew on the “B” setting, so for this I set it on the “C” setting.  Not as long as a basting or gathering stitch.  This way the stitch will have a enough give to allow the knit to stretch, and the thread will not feel tight and break. I have used this technique a lot and have had great success.

Make sure you have a ball point needle in as well.

If you want the lettuce edge finish, just zigzag stitch along the bottom edge of the legs, pulling the fabric to stretch it as you sew.  The more you stretch the fabric while sewing the more of a ruffle effect you get.

To finish the legs with lace: Cut two pieces of the stretch lace to match the length of the leg as shown.

Sew the lace onto the bottom of the leg by overlapping half the lace onto the right side of the fabric.  Then sew right along the edge of the lace like shown.  You can do two rows of stitches if you have a wider lace.

Repeat on the other pieces, and they should both look like this.

Here is a shot of the backside just to give you an idea of how much I overlapped the lace.

Take one piece and fold in half with right sides together like shown.  Sew up the little two inch section where the dots in the image indicate with a 1/4 inch seam allowance (edge of fabric lined up with edge of presser foot).  Repeat on the second piece.

Now take one piece and turn it right side out.

Tuck that piece into the piece that is right side in.  This will make it so the right sides are together on the inside.  Line up all the edges, and make sure the fabric is nice and smooth.

Pull the two inch section over to the center and form a U shape like shown.  You will sew the two pieces together like shown, right along the u shape, still using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Make sure that when you get to the crotch seams, they are laying flat on both sides when you stitch over them.

Now turn right side out and lay flat with the seams running down the center of the front and back like shown.  We are cutting out the armholes now.  You can use a shirt for a guide if you like, but I just measured down two inches on the side and two inches in from the center on top and cut out at a curve connecting the two points.  On the white one I made, I only went in 1 1/2 inches and you can see in the pictures, the romper is a little broad across the chest.  Going in two inches was just right.  You can adjust this depending on how old you are making for based on mine.

Now cut two pieces of lace, matching the top.

Sew the lace onto the top of the front and back in the same manner that you did the pant leg.

Now for the arms.  I cut a 13 inch piece of lace for each arm hole, and just used a shirt as my guide.  If you are worried about getting it too small, just cut it extra long and then after you have sewn it on the arm, you can try it on and make sure before you sew up the last bit.

I had my romper laying on the side with the arms spread out semi flat.  I then just centered the lace on the arm hole like shown on the picture.  You can pin if you like, or just wing it like I did ;).  Sew the lace onto the arm holes just as you did on the legs and tops.

Now just sew the top of the straps up, right sides together, and you’re finished!

This picture cracks me up…”no wait!  Let me pose!”

“Behold, the Summer Romper Pajamas!”

Romper style pajamas

She wears these pajamas non-stop!  I have to beg her to get out of them in the morning.  And like I said, I might just make some for me, but you won’t be getting any pictures of that…nope :).

If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments and I will answer them there.

If you make some, let me know!  I love feedback, you guys are like my pattern testers :).  Let me know what you think!

Hope you like this one,


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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Fionna August 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Super cute, I am off to make some right now. Thank you so much. I may make a pair for myself. lol (I won’t be posing for pictures though).


Destri August 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

Oh, come on! I will if you will…okay, maybe not ;)

Let me know how it goes! Pictures!


Fionna August 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Made one today for my two year old granddaughter and now her mom and my daughter both want me to make adult size ones for them. Maybe they will be game enough to model… probably not. I’ll let you know how it goes. The PJ’s were super quick and easy to make. Thanks again for the tutorial.


auntie bliss August 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm

She is precious :)


Destri August 19, 2011 at 6:27 am

Thank you :)


Jessica at Me Sew Crazy August 19, 2011 at 4:47 am

I love these pajamas! I cannot believe how easy they are too make! And your photos absolutely cracked me up!!! Lol


Destri August 19, 2011 at 6:27 am

Thanks Jessica, and yes I know, she has turned into quite the ham! I need to see more photos of your little guy! Feed all of our baby cravings!


Nikki Best August 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I have a daughter named Destri. I have never heard it before.
Thank you for this post. I will be trying this.


Lindsay August 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Fantastic tutorial! Too cute! I especially love the pictures of your little one, I have a “poser”, too. :) I’m definitely pinning this to try soon! Love your blog.


Debbie August 21, 2011 at 6:08 am

This is so cute and your little girl is adorable. I have 3 grandchildren, two girls and a roly-poly little grandson (he’s the true apple of my eye). For the girls, I love to sew for them and they love for me to sew for them. This little onesie would be great for these two because they love wearing skirts, but they love to play like they’re wearing pants. They’re a bit older, 5 & 6, and I know they will love these.

We can pair them up with a cute little skirt and a bolero type jacket. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!



Katrina August 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Love it!! I am making these for my little one. Just a little FYI…if you don’t have a stretch stitch on your machine, but have a zigzag, put your machine on zigzag and reduce the width of the zigzag to a barely there wobble. This will provide the stretch you need with knits and you will not have to use an extra long stitch. It really works great. Thanks for the tutorials. They are very inspirational.


Destri April 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Katrina, I am just seeing your comment. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks so much for sharing :)


amy gilman August 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

awesome tutorial. i will be making some of these for my girls!! LOVE IT. Please stop by and link them up at our link party going on now. I would love to feature these on Saturday.


Shan@FamilyBringsJoy August 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

Excellent tutorial and photos, Destri! I’m very impressed and they look so comfortable! Thank you for the blog love and look forward to reading yours! Have a great day! :D


Shannon August 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Thank you so much! I have been looking for pyjamas like these for my one year old! it’s too warm for sleepers, and all I’d need to do is figure out how to get some snaps in at the crotch so I can still handle diaper changes!


lindaloo June 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

Just a hint. Leave the crotch seam open and buy some snap tape. (They sell it at Joanns) and add that to both sides where the crotch is usually sewn up. You will be able to easily change diapers this way. Good luck!


Destri June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Oh, I am intrigued! You know I have to try this now!


Evelyn August 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I guess the stretchy fabric would be an important feature for the night time ‘pee-er’…does YOUR daughter find them easy enough to manage on her own? That would be my only hesitation. Otherwise they look SOOO cozy and cute.


Tracy K. April 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for these pajamas they are great. Love that they are easy and practical!!


Destri April 19, 2012 at 8:28 am

Thanks Tracy! I just made a few more pairs for this year, love ‘em :)


Maeghaen-Kaytlyn April 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Next weekend I am so going to make me this adorable romper. Maybe even two! One to sleep in and one to wear outside! Thank you for the tutorial it is much appreciated!


Destri April 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I am going to break down and make me some too, I think I might even add some lace :) You’re welcome!


Jackie April 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Hey I made this one too! :D I love it! My daughter is now running all over the house and says, “it’s soooo soft!” I used an old t-shirt that had a cute puppy painting on it… I’ll post pix. I have to figure out where to do that if possible here on this site or load it up on mine. The other dress (pillowcase dress) came out awesome! However… way too big since my daughter is 3 but still wears 2 or 3T. I made a 4T hoping it wouldn’t be TOO big… oh well, her friend who’s in the 90′th %-ile is enjoying it now. I just HAVE to make another!


Jeanne April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

My grandson livesinTucson-it was 102 yesterday. I would love to make some of these for him. Any suggestions in place of using lace?


Destri April 25, 2012 at 6:28 am

Hi Jeanne,

My Grandmother lives in Sun City and was just telling me how hot it is, I can’t believe it! I tried to think of an alternative but just can’t think of one for the romper. How about some sleep shorts? I have a tutorial on how to use an exposed elastic waistband that is a favorite of boys.

Hope this helps!


Pat May 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm

could you send me that tutorial? I would love to have it as I have an awful time applying elastic to anything!


Destri May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am
Kay May 1, 2012 at 10:50 am

I think they make Stretch Ric Rac. I’m not sure if it’s more or less manly, but it’s certainly another option :)


Destri May 3, 2012 at 4:42 am

Oh that is a great idea, thanks Kay.


Lois May 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

I would use ribbed knit. Its the stuff on your t-shirt collars. It would work great to make a chunkier more boyish strap.


Paulaj May 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

What about making them out of one of those ribbed mens tank tops that they call beaters? If you used a small you could possibly use the the shoulder straps as the top and then just turn the bottom of the tank into the shortie bottoms and just hem finish.


Jeanne J. May 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

Thank you for all the suggestions for making these more “manly”. I plan to try some of them and will let you know the outcome.


Nizel June 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Hey Jeanne,
I just barely tried out this project, and I didnt have any stretch lace handy so I used FOE. I worked like a charm and comes in every color imaginable (even manly ones). :-)


Destri June 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Oh I can’t believe I didn’t think of that – genius! Will have to give that a go myself! I am working on making this into an income generation project for a group in Ethiopia and this may be a great alternative. Thanks so much for sharing!

Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan April 25, 2012 at 7:53 am

My kids would rather sleep in undies than anything else… I bet these PJs would make my Little M very happy!!!


Kandice April 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! My kids will love this! They look very comfortable, and your directions are so nice to follow. I just know these will be a hit at our place this summer!


Destri April 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

You’re welcome! I made up a fresh batch for this year, and they are already the favorite :) Thanks so much!


Katrina April 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hello Destri…I love your Ideas. I am a grandmother with four granddaughters. (1 to 4 years) 3 grandboys and 1 more on the way. I love giving them gifts. (of all sorts; mostly time with grandma, they seem to enjoy that the most) Can’t wait to try your idea for the Romper PJs. I am also new to pinterest, still trying to figure it out! Thanks, and you have an adorable little girl!


Sarah May 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

I want to make these so badly! However, a lot of the pictures aren’t showing up, and I’m ore of a visual learner. Any chance they will be fixed soon?


Destri May 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Sarah,
I’m right there with you, and this is a very visual tutorial. I have all the images showing for me, but am on a fast connection. Could you try hitting the print button at the bottom and seeing if it loads that way for you?
Our developer is working on compressing our photos now, so hopefully it will correct any issues you are having!
Let me know, and if that doesn’t work we’ll figure some way out!


Sarah May 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm

You suggestion worked! Thank you!


Marissa May 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

Just bought some jersey on sale and gave these pajamas a try. Very easy to follow tutorial and took no more than 30 minutes. My 3 year old is in them this very minute! Thank you!


Destri May 19, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yay! Made my day Marissa, thanks so much for letting me know!


Sarah May 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I love this! I think I’ll make a loose version with an elastic waist daytime.


Kim May 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

This is incredibly adorable! I can’t wait to make a few for my 2 year old… she likes nightgowns, but sometimes I find them off and on the floor. These will be perfect! I featured these jammies on my Weekend Find blog for this weekend (http://twotendesigns.blogspot.com/2012/05/weekend-find-jammies-jammies-jammies.html), can’t wait to see my results!

Thanks for sharing!!


Lois May 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

Definitely making my daughter a few sets! I know she’d LOVE them.


shelley May 28, 2012 at 5:12 am

I have been looking for a tomorrow pattern on like for a long time. This is adorable. Thank you for sharing.


creadientje May 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I love the idea, was curious about the tutorial. Most of the pictures are missing…


Destri May 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hey there,

So sorry, we are working on it! It depends on the web browser and internet speed – I can always see them, but I have had a few people tell me they are not showing up for them.
Try clicking on the print button at the end of the post, it will pop up in a different window with the pictures.

Hope this helps!


creadientje May 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Sorry! I asked on twitter and they all could see the pictures, and I finally (after a thousend times refreshing the page) can see them too! Love the tutorial, not for my girl since I love to be able to put her on the toilet very easy… but maybe for a suit for my little baby niece or so!


Denise May 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm

This looks like a real winner! I have some great-nieces who might be seeing these soon…


Becky May 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I just made a pair of these for each of my littlest two granddaughters, they LOVED them! They looked so cute in them, the youngest (18 months) put hers on and rubbed her hand across her chubby belly I think she liked how it felt on her skin ;). Now their mommy wants one! Thanks for sharing this pattern, I love freebies especially when they are super cute and super easy!


Laura June 1, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hello, how do one fit inside the pajamas? are there any zippers or buttons..won’t be tight? can’t help wondering


Destri June 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hey Laura,
The pajamas require that you use knit fabric, not woven, so that allows for it to be stretchy just like a t-shirt. The lace you use has to be stretchy too. I assure you, they are plenty easy to get on and off!


Nizel June 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I have been searching and searching for a summer pj pattern for my 16month old and couldn’t find anything that I loved. Until…. NOW!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!!! I am so excited to make these!


Destri June 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Fabulous! Would love to know how they went!


Kalimah Mariko June 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm

love them! I must admit, I will be making these for myself :). This is a great step by step tutorial, thanks so much. I am just learning to use my machine, so I will be exprimenting with your patterns , thanks <3


Destri June 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I made a pair for me! I used some lace as an inset in the front and they are actually very cute! Can’t wait to hear how your projects turn out, keep in touch.


Kathie June 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

Being an old “Stretch-N-Sew” student from the ’70s, I have a suggestion about the stitch for knits. You can use a slight zig-zag stitch to create a stretchy stitch. That way you can decrease the stitch length. If you can’t zig zag, you can stretch the fabric as you stitch and that adds in some stretch as well.


Julie W June 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

Thank you for the awesome tutorial! My 4 year old loves her new summer pjs!!! My 9 year old now wants a pair too! Thanks so much!


Destri June 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

You’re welcome! Thanks so much for the feedback!


Anshu June 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Wow! These are so cute and comfortable. I’ll try this tutorial to make them for my niece in India. She definitely needs some of those. I’m a big fan of all your projects. I made those pinwheel clippies for my daughter from last year…and I love that idea so much that I have used them at so many places as an embellishment later on. I have also made those Knot so hard slippers by following your tutorial! Thanks for sharing these useful tutorials with us.


Andie June 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Absolutely love this pattern! Just got thru making the 2nd one for my granddaughter. This time though I made it from the sleeves of one of my knit tops I was throwing out. So glad I saved it. From the rest of the shirt I’ll be making her big brother (4 yrs old) a pair of shorts. Thanks so much.


Karen June 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I made four of these for my granddaughters, 4, 6, 7 and 8 years old. The length of the body was too long. They don’t live near me so I could not measure them myself. I had their Moms measure from the back of the base of the neck to the middle of the crotch. The PJ’s hung down to their knees. There is enough length that when I see them next time, I will just cut the extra length off the top and redo the armholes and lace straps. Really cute. I made them out of pink leopard print knit.


Lucia July 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

Wow! I’ve been searching all day for something that would work for my friends daughter. She is a 5 year old special needs child and will wear diapers for the rest of her life. My friend have been struggling to get onesies to fit her daughter and she needs to wear something to keep her from taking off her diaper. I’m going to try these and alter it a bit so that it can open at the crotch area for diaper changes. Thank you so much for this! I’ll definitely make some for my daughter too :)


Kristin September 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

I give, what is FOE? Love the pattern BTW! Can’t wait until I can make some for my little Laynie.


Destri September 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm

You know I had to think about it for a minute! It’s fold over elastic – it is really soft and stretchy. Would be perfect for these. And I love that name :)


Elsie February 4, 2013 at 6:54 am

I just made these pjs for my girl. She is asleep in bed and I can’t wait for her to wake up and try them on! Super easy tutorial thanks so much for the cutest easiest pjs EVER!


Destri February 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

Yay! Did she love them?


Ronja May 29, 2013 at 2:28 am

I want to make a pair of these for myself so bad! I think I may have to pick up a nice stretchy knit tomorrow. I think I may need to modify it by adjusting my curves though. And I wonder if I’ll look silly. I also wonder if I should care.


Lindsay June 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

Any way to make it so the main seam is on the outside? Can you use any other kind of fabric?


Katie July 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm

This tutorial is a lifesaver! My 15-month-old just recently started pulling her diaper off during nap time and at bedtime. I’ve been changing and washing sheets every single day! She easily pulls her sleep shorts off, and bodysuits get unsnapped in no time. I was despirate to find a cool and comfortable one-piece pajama that would be a little more difficult to remove. I whipped up a pair of these with slightly longer legs so she can’t easily reach her diaper. It’s a miracle! My poor washing machine is finally getting a break :) At least, until she gets a little older and is ready to potty train ;) Thank you so much!!!


Destri August 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

LOL, I LOVE that!!! I wished I would have thought about it when I was going through the exact same thing with my girl :) So glad you liked the pattern!


Little Blue Dress August 9, 2013 at 3:31 am

:/ This looks like an easy project for a beginner, but even with all of the pictures I still don’t “get it.” Hmm. I can’t be this dumb…


Destri August 9, 2013 at 5:56 am

I’m sure once you get going it will make more sense. I usually don’t understand very well until I just start doing it, I am horrible with directions! Let me know where you’re most stumped and I’ll help you out :)


Gwen September 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

I made this with an old shirt and lace elastic from my shop! Here is the link to my post… https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=577050562353932&set=a.165339876858338.36731.148247321900927&type=1&theater . Thanks for the tutorial!!!


Destri September 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

Love the idea of using an old tshirt! They are always the softest :). It turned out great!


Tharon January 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I love this for my 3 yr old tomboy daughter. She will love this. When I get my sewing machine soon I will be making her a few of these and her bff.


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