Simple Sleeping Shorts




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These simple shorts are just made out of two rectangles of fabric.  I set out to make shorts that are very basic to make and comfy. 

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Step 1: Supplies


Step 2: Cutting and Sewing

Cut your rectangles.  Measure twice, cut once!

For the size of the fabric, here is what I did.  

For the width, I took the circumfrence of my thigh plus about 2 - 3 inches (probably better to do more than this).  The extra inches will be for the side seams and for the crotch so that is why more is better.  Mine got a little tight since I only did 2 extra inches.
  • For the main measurement here, you will need to go with either the circumference of your thigh or half the circumference of your hips, whichever is biggest.

For the length, I measured a pair of shorts of mine and added a few inches.  The extra inches here is for the bottom seam and for the top where you will have the drawstring.  You will probably need at least 2 inches just for the top.

My pieces were about 24 inches wide by 13 inches tall and after the fact, I wish it was bigger.  Keep that in mind, these are meant to be comfy, so the looser and bigger, the better.

Serge the edges and then sew the two sides together.

*Since I learned more of what not to do while making these, I also drew pictures to try to show what to do.

** Dotted line means sew.

Step 3: Draw String Holes

This is the fun part if you have a sewing machine that makes button holes!

Measure so you are in the center of your piece of fabric.  Offset by just about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch to each side of that and that is where the button holes will be.  Next measure down.

As you can see in the drawing, measure about an inch down from the top and that is where the top of the button hole should start.  My button holes were about 5/8 of an inch.  They only need to be big enough to get the drawstring in and out.

Once you have the buttonholes, (looking at your shorts inside out) fold down the top of the fabric to just below the button holes and sew it down.  This is the area where the drawstring will be.

Step 4: Bottom Hem and Crotch

Time for the bottom of the shorts.  You should be looking at the shorts inside out.

Now I did the crotch like a triangle and that wasn't good.  I do not know for sure if an arch is much better, but it should be at least a little better :)

Find the halfway point like you did with the button holes.  Also decide how far down you want the crotch to start.  You can see I do not have much space below the crotch and that is why I think it should be longer than I did it.  

Once you have your crotch starting point, mark it.  You are going to go off to the side a bit on each side like the button holes.  You can see the drawings for what I think you should do.  Don't sew the crotch arch too wide because you are cutting into your leg room then.  That is why you might want to go wider than I said.

Sew the arch, then cut up the center without cutting into your sewing.  I didn't have a lot of room so I used fray check on it.  If you can serge it, do that.

Once the crotch is done, fold up around the legs and sew the seams.  Nothing special, just fold them up and sew.

Step 5: Draw String

Okay, this is easy.  Get your iron out.

First, decide how long you want your drawstring.  I took the measuring tape and tied it in a bow around my hips to get a rough estimate of the length.  Mine was about 50 to 60 inches.  My pieces weren't long enough, so I took two and sewed them together.  Cut it about 2 inches wide, no wider.
  • Once you have your long piece, fold over and iron the ends.
  • Fold in both long edges to the middle and iron them down.
  • Fold the long edges together and try to iron it.  It wouldn't really stay for me.
  • Pin the drawstring.
  • Sew down the string.  Make sure you get all the layers.
  • Sew the ends, if you are able.
Turn your shorts right side out.

Time to put the drawstring in your shorts.  Attach a safety pin to one end.  Stick it in one buttonhole and string it all the way through the space provided until you reach the other buttonhole. Be careful at the sides, you don't want to pull out your stitches.

Step 6: Wear Them

Okay, okay, they look a little funny, but they work!

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    27 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    These are so cute Penolopy! How I missed it I don't know. I will make for my daughters. Have a great day!



    6 years ago

    The best way to make the crotch comfy and not pull like that is to add what's called a "gusset". It is a triangle or diamond shaped piece that allows a bit of give. It is somewhat more complicated to add this piece, but it will up the comfort level significantly.

    For pants, you almost have to add the gusset. Without it, you will feel the pull of the fabric all the way down your legs and the inseam will bunch up.

    Penolopy BulnickBobey

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Definitely! You can add to the length and width as needed. I just gave the measurements I used as a starting point.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank! Was just thinking to sew some shorts .... Never done it before ... Now I have an instructable!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Really really pretty. (Purp is my fave.)

    I don't know how anyone could do better with a super simple pattern. Sewing crotches is the worst. Everything about tailoring a better fit between the legs increases the complication exponentially.

    I made an arched crotch pattern for boy shorts. You are exactly right that stitching the front and back panels together around an arch will constrict the legs. To make it work, I have to sew a 3 inch wide panel through the arch. It's a 100X more work and the pinning alone is a nightmare.

    1 reply

    Oooh, nice! I didn't even think of something like that! Thanks for sharing the idea and the pictures are great :)

    Sam DeRose

    6 years ago on Step 6

    Great post!
    I'd love to make myself some sleeping pants. If I just extend the fabric and then sew a super long "crotch" do you think that would work?

    1 reply

    Will definitely have to make a pair of these. I can't sleep in pants, they end up all bunched around my knees in the middle of the night!

    1 reply

    I'm so glad they are wearable! I was scared for a bit there, but they turned out pretty nice (except for the fray check, that scratches!).