sew: stuffed animal jammies {free pattern!}

After I made a sleeping bag for my son’s monkey, Jim, I decided he needed some new jammies to go with his new sleeping bag, so I drafted a quick pattern and whipped up a pair. They fit all the various Build-a-Bears at our house, and since I made them from scraps, they were a fraction of the cost of pajamas at the Build-a-Bear store.

Want a tutorial? Want to download my pattern for free? Read on!

Start by clicking here to download the shorts and tank pattern, then print it out. It will look like this:

Measure the test squares – they should be exactly 1 inch x 1 inch. Also, notice that the shirt pattern tells you to continue side lines to the edge of the page.

A quarter of a yard of fabric is plenty for the shorts. (If you want to make a sleeping bag and matching shorts, buy 2/3 of a yard. Cut a 15 inch wide piece the length of the fabric for the sleeping as described in that tutorial, then use the 9 inches of width left to cut out shorts pieces.) I used scraps of knit in two different colors for the shirt – you’ll need about 10×16 inches for both of the main shirt pieces, and 16×3 inches for the ribbing.

Let’s start with the shorts. You’ll need to cut two front pieces and two back pieces (from the same pattern piece, just be sure to cut the front along the dotted lines at the top). Mark the dots from the pattern on the back pieces only (I just use pins for this). Lay each back piece down on a flat surface right sides up, then lay one front piece on top of each back piece, right sides down. Sew along the inseam (shortest edge):

Then open up your pieces and place them right sides together as shown below (the pins on the back pieces should meet up at this point). Starting on the side of the curve that isn’t marked with pins, sew along the curve, stopping at dot 1 and backstitching. Then sew from dot 2 to dot 3, backstitching at the beginning and end. Finally, sew from dot 4 to the edge of the fabric, again backstitching to reinforce the seam. Now you have sewn the curve, but left two openings. One opening is for the stuffed animal’s tail, and the other is for threading elastic.

Open up the shorts and flip them so the front pieces are lined up on top of the back pieces, right sides together, and sew down the side seams, as shown here:

Now you can turn the shorts right side out and hem them by turning them up half an inch and sewing. If you’re using fabric that frays, you would want to finish the raw edges first, but fleece doesn’t fray, so a quick turn-up and sew works great.

Now you just need to turn down the top edge about an inch and sew all the way around, creating a casing you can slide elastic through. At the center back seam, the raw edge should meet the top of the the tail opening when you’ve turned it down. Measure your animal’s waist and then cut a piece of elastic about an inch shorter:

Then thread the elastic through the opening in the center back seam:

(Now, you certainly could have done this the more traditional way, which is not to leave a second opening in the back seam, but rather to leave an opening when you’re sewing around the waist after you’ve turned it down. However, that way requires you to go back and close up the opening after you’ve threaded the elastic. The way I’ve used saves a step, and is how my mom taught me to make elastic waist stretch pants when I was a kid. Hi Mom!)

Once your elastic is all the way through the casing, sew it together and clip any excess. The jammie shorts are now ready for your animal:

Complete with tail opening (which really must make these so comfortable, right?):

On to the shirt. Cut one front piece and one back piece from the same pattern piece, making sure to cut the neck lower on the front piece along the dotted lines on the pattern. Also cut 2 pieces of stretchy knit at 8 inches long by 1.5 inches wide and one piece of stretchy knit at 16 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Make sure the stretch runs the length of these strips. We’ll use these strips as ribbing to finish the arm holes and neckline. (For a little more detailed description of adding ribbing, check out this post.)

Sew the front to the back at the shoulder seams, right sides together. Open up the shirt and place it down on a flat surface, right side up. Fold one of the shorter strips in half lengthwise and find the middle of it. Pin the middle of the strip to the shirt at a shoulder seam, all raw edges meeting. Then, gently stretching the strip to fit, pin the strip to the armhole, as shown:

Sew with a fairly narrow seam allowance and repeat on the other side. Then line up the side seams, right sides together, and sew down them as shown here:

Now, take your long ribbing strip and fold it in half lengthwise. Pin the middle of this strip to the center front of the neckline. Continue to pin the strip to the neckline, stretching it gently as you go around. When you get to the back, overlap and curve the ribbing up and off the neckline, like this:

Sew all the way around to attach the ribbing to the neckline. Now, stuffed animals’ heads are big, which means you want this seam to be able to stretch. Either use a narrow zig zag, or give the fabric a pretty good stretch as you sew a straight seam all the way around. I stretched the fabric as I sewed and it worked great. (A serged seam would probably also give you enough stretch – just be very careful anytime you serge!)

Once the ribbing is attached, turn the seam allowance down. Sew a quick line across the back to secure the ribbing down, then trim rest of the seam allowance close to the seam (do the same on the arms).

Depending on the fabric you used, you may want to hem the bottom of the shirt. I used t-shirt knit, which rolls at the edges and doesn’t fray, so I left the bottom raw (Jim doesn’t seem to mind).

And there you have it! New stuffed animal jammies to match your new stuffed animal sleeping bag. It’ll make your little one’s day. I promise 🙂


  1. 1

    Michele Ciola says

    WOW . . you had me at the shorts! ha! My daughter is doing her room in animal print and I’m thinking some of those stuffed animals need to be sporting some cheetah or zebra print with bling of course. Thanks for the inspiration. LOVE IT!

  2. 2

    Catherine says

    Thanks for this pattern we made the pants today using a ‘Cath Kidston’ fabric they turned out great – brilliant please post a simple dress pattern x

  3. 4

    Susan says

    Thanks so much for the tutorial and free pattern! My daughter just got the bunny Build A Bear for Christmas and she really “needed” pajamas. I made the shorts and top from knit and it worked up perfectly!

  4. 6

    Jen says

    THANK you so much for this tutorial, I made my son’s bear the sleeping bag and matching pants in Monsters University fleece for the opening of the new movie this week and he couldn’t be more excited! He wants one to match now!

  5. 7

    Paloma says

    Great tutorial! 🙂 I have the EXACT same sewing machine! =D Lol! I might make this! 🙂 I pinned the sleeping bag on pinterest.

  6. 8

    Karen says

    Didn’t understand instructions for attaching neck band. perhaps. “v” neck would work better. Appreciated the pattern!

  7. 9

    Shelley says

    I’m loving this! I want to do this for my daughters build-a-bear party as favors for the other little girls that will be there but the pattern PDF doesn’t seem to come up. Any chance you’d be willing to download it on your site again so we can print the pattern? It really came out great. You’ve given me inspiration!! 🙂

  8. 10

    Deana says

    Nice job on the pattern and instructions. The fit was perfect for both teddy bear styles. I easily added sleeves and a collar. The boys are going to love the pj’s and sleeping bag you inspired me to make.

    • 11

      autumn says

      Awesome! I’m happy to hear it. I’d LOVE to see what you made – send me a pic or upload one to the reader projects flickr group (linked from the main menu bar).

  9. 12

    Cathy says

    Thank you! Your pattern is a perfect fit, instructions clear, photos excellent visual aids. I was able to use your pattern & instructions to make 8 outfits for my daughter’s bear, using a whole selection of knits. For a couple I converted the shorts into skirts, too.

    • 13

      autumn says

      How wonderful! I bet your daughter’s excited – or will be when she gets all the clothes! Thanks so much for letting me know it worked out for you.

  10. 14

    Val says


    I am tearing my hair out with your downloadable pattern for the animal jammies.

    When I print it out I cannot get the watermark or the one inch square to print. The pattern lines are fine but until I know the size of the one inch square on my printer I can’t proceed.

    I’ve tried every setting in the color section of my printer properties and still no joy. All I have to show is a stack of patterns that I have no idea if they are the right size or not.

    Can you tell me another measurement please? Say, the chest width under the arms, then I can scale it to get that measurement right. I assume the shorts would need scaling to the same degree.

    We have two teddies anxiously waiting for these clothes! Thanks a lot.

    • 15

      autumn says

      I’m so sorry about that! The widest part of the shirt (right under the arms) is 10 and 1/8 inches, measured at the outside of the pattern lines. Good luck with the jammies and I’d love to know how they turn out – thanks!

      • 16

        Val says

        Thank you so much for that. Now I can raid my stash to see what Rainbow Bear and Sparkle Bunny would like to wear.

        I’ll let you know what they turn out like.

  11. 18

    Glynis says

    Thanks so much for the free pattern! I can make clothes but I always need a pattern. My teddies are smaller, so I reduced the size of the patterns before printing it. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face!

  12. 19

    STephanie says

    OK SO IM NEW TO USING patterns what is the 1’x 1′ square for?also it looks alittle short for the monkey????my boyfriend has one of the build abead monkeys you showed and he always says he nneeds cloths so when i saw this i thought it would be perfect but i’m new to using patterns usualing i sew by sight.please help

    thank you

    • 20

      autumn says

      Hi Stephanie! The 1×1 square is just so you can verify that it’s printed out correctly – if it measure 1×1 you’re good to go. If it measures smaller, that means your printer is scaling it down and you need to adjust the setting so it’s at “full size” or “100%”. And the jammies are supposed to be shorts – but if you want them longer you can just add length to the pattern. Good luck!

  13. 22

    Judy B says

    Thanks so much for this! I found the link on Pinterest, added it to my Build-a-Bear board, and felt very grateful that the link went directly to your site without any long click-through searches! This is great! Much appreciation!

  14. 26

    Lynne says

    Thank you so much for the pattern. Took my grandaughter and 43 cousins to build a bear on the weekend and we did purchase clothes, but no jammies. I think I will make matching jammies for them and their bear for Christmas.


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