Fitting the Joe Pyjama Bottoms and Shorts

Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you’re making the Joe pyjama bottoms and shorts and want to get a great fit, then this is the post for you!
The Joe pyjamas are mega easy to fit, thanks to their straight cut and waistline cinched in with elastic or a drawstring. Hooray! As they’ll be worn mostly round the house (hey, we won’t judge you if you pop to the corner shop in your PJs to get some emergency sewing snacks), don’t worry about making them perfect as hardly anyone will see them. The most important thing is that they’re me-made, whether they’re for yourself or a very lucky partner, friend or loved one. 
If you’re looking for some hints and tips to fit our sister pyjama pattern, Jaimie, check out our dedicated fitting Jaimie blog post. There’s a lot of crossover with the fitting tips between the two patterns, although the Jaimie pyjamas are drafted with more curve at the hips and bum, so do check out the post if you’re making Jaimie.   
For more involved projects we often recommend you make a toile or wearable toile (a practice version made in cheap fabric to test the fit) but it’s not necessary here. Sure, if you have your eye on some expensive and stunningly beautiful, one-of-a-kind fabric, you might want to make a practice pair in cheaper fabric so you’re not devastated if they need a bit of tweaking. Otherwise, just go for it!

In this post we’re going to cover:

  • Choosing your size
  • Lengthening or shortening the pattern pieces

Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Choosing your size

Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of the low waist. This is below the belly button, and where menswear jeans and trousers tend to sit (under the stomach). Check the tape measure is sitting level with the floor all the way round. 

Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Compare your low waist measurement to the body measurements chart. If it falls between sizes (for example, if it’s 41in rather than 40in or 42in), it’s better to choose the larger size as you can take the pyjamas in more easily than you can let them out. 

If you’re making these as a gift and don’t want to spoil the surprise, see if you can sneakily find out the waist size of the recipients jeans. The Joe pyjamas come in sizes 28-46, which correspond to low waist measurements. If the recipient usually wears size 44 jeans, cut a size 44 for their PJs. Easy peasy!

If you or the person you’re making them for often feels like they need a bit more room in the thigh area – our model Dan is a very keen cyclist, and therefore has quite prominent thighs – you can always go up a size from your waist size, or sew with a smaller seam allowance at the side seams to give yourself a bit more room in this area. 

Lenghtening or shortening the pattern pieces

If you, or the person you’re making the pyjamas for, usually find(s) that trousers come up a bit short or a bit long in the rise or legs, then you can lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces so they fit perfectly. Hooray! 

Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

(1) To lengthen or shorten the full-length pyjama bottom legs

If you have particularly long or short legs, you can lengthen or shorten the pattern along the set of lines marked “lengthen or shorten here” on the lower part of the front and back leg. Here’s how to lengthen or shorten pattern pieces. 

The inside leg measurement for the pyjama bottoms is 81.5cm (32in) – compare this to your own inside leg measurement before you decide whether to lengthen or shorten the legs. If you’re not sure if you need to shorten them, leave them as they are and shorten them at the hemming stage if you need to. The bottom of the legs are straight, so you can chop off any unwanted length once you’ve tried them on. 

Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
(2) To lengthen or shorten the shorts legs

The inside leg seam measurement for the shorts is 25cm (9 3/4in)  If you think you want these a little longer or shorter, you can draw in a new hem line to your desired length. 
Work out how much you want to extend or shorten the shorts by, and measure up or down from the shorts hemline and mark this point. 
Draw a new line, roughly following the curve of the original shorts hemline, and squaring off the corners into right angles. If you’re lengthening the shorts, bring out the inside leg and side seams just a smidge to retain the shape of the shorts – use the pink and green lines above as a guide.
Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


(3) To lengthen or shorten the crotch or hips (both versions) 
The Joe pyjamas are designed to sit at the low waist, under the belly button. If you’re tall or short overall and usually find trousers and pyjamas come up a bit too high rise or low rise for you, you can lengthen or shorten the crotch using the set of lines marked “lengthen or shorten here” on the upper part of the front and back leg. To learn how to do this, take a look at our post on how to lengthen or shorten pattern pieces.
Joe pyjama bottoms, trousers, pants and shorts sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

And that’s it! We hope you love the Joe pyjama bottoms or shorts 🙂
Don’t forget we loooove seeing your progress shots and finished makes. Tag us on Instagram @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingJoe.
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Author: Nikki Hoar
Photography: Jane Looker
Model: Dan Wyatt

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