How to Make a Pair of Pants

A pair of pants, scissors, measuring tape, pins, and elastic on a table

Stacy Fisher

Overview
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $30

Making pants doesn't have to be difficult. Learn how to make a pair of pants in just a few simple steps. For this project, you'll be making a pants pattern based on pants that you already own and love. This pattern makes a pair of pants with an elastic waistband. The pattern can be used to make pajama pants, dress pants, or lounge pants. You can use the same method on a pair of capris or shorts if you're looking to add to your summer wardrobe.

As long as you know how to measure fabric and operate a sewing machine, you should be able to sew a pair of pants. We'll start off with drafting a pattern, then move on to cutting out the pants, and finally finish by sewing the pieces together. An elastic waistband is the finishing touch to making these great-fitting, comfortable pants.

Looking for a pattern for pajama pants? Here are some free pajama pants patterns so you can make your own.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing chalk/fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Safety pin

Materials

  • 1 pair of pajama pants or jeans that fit you well
  • 3 yard prewashed woven fabric
  • 1 spool of matching thread
  • 1 inch wide elastic

Instructions

  1. Prepare Your Fabric

    Fabric, scissors, pins, thread, and elastic laying on a table

    Stacy Fisher

    You'll want to choose fabric that's woven, like cotton, flannel, or linen. (This example uses linen.) You'll need 3 yards of the fabric. If the fabric isn't pre-washed, wash it and dry it before you start to work with it. A quick pass with the iron will help take out the wrinkles.

    Cut the piece of fabric in half so you have two pieces that are 1 1/2 yards.

  2. Trace Around Your Pants

    Jeans, tape measure, and fabric

    Stacy Fisher

    Take one piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthwise, so the fabric is wrong side out. Lay the pair of pants you'll be tracing on the fabric, with the outer seam of the pants lined up with the fold of the fabric. The pants should lay flat, with the crotch pulled out.

    Use chalk or a fabric marking pen to trace around the edge of the pants. Along the side of the pants, trace 1/2 inch away from the pants. Along the bottom and top of the pants, trace 2 inches below the bottom of the pant leg and 2 inches above the waistband. This leaves enough room for hemming and adding a waistband.

    Repeat with the other piece of fabric to make the other pant leg.

  3. Cut Out Your Pant Pieces

    Jeans, scissors, and fabric being cut

    Stacy Fisher

    Cut carefully around the markings you made to cut out the pant leg. Do NOT cut along the fold of the fabric.

    Repeat for the other pant leg.

  4. Sew the Pant Legs

    A sewn side seam

    Stacy Fisher

    Starting at the crotch and ending at the bottom of the pant leg, pin together the inside of the pant legs. Use your sewing machine to sew a straight stitch with a 1/2-inch seam. Leave 1/2 inch before you start sewing the crotch.

    To reinforce your seam, use a zig-zag stitch along the raw edges that you just sewed.

  5. Sew the Crotch Seam

    A pair of pants pinned on the inside

    Stacy Fisher

    Turn one of your pant legs right side out. Take the other leg (the one that's wrong side out) and put it inside the right side out pant leg.

    Pin together the crotch of the pants and then sew, leaving 1/2-inch seam allowance.

    Zig-zag along the edges to reinforce the seam.

  6. Measure for Elastic

    Scissors, elastic, and a measuring tape on a table

    Stacy Fisher

    Take your measuring tape and put it around your waist. Add 1 inch to that measurement. Cut a piece of elastic that size.

  7. Sew Your Elastic Waistband Casing

    A partially sewn waistband

    Stacy Fisher

    Turn your pants so they are inside out. Fold the top edge of the waist down 1/4 inch and then press. Fold the edge down again, this time 1 1/4 inch. Press well. Sew along the bottom of the folded edge but leave a few inches in the back of the pants unsewn. This forms the casing for your elastic.

  8. Insert the Elastic Waistband

    Elastic with a safety pin inserted into a waistband

    Stacy Fisher

    Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic. Feed the elastic through the unsewn part of the elastic casing. Feed it all the way through until it comes out the other side of the opening. Be sure to hang on to your safety pin so the elastic doesn't get lost in the waistband. You'll now have two pieces of elastic sticking out of your waistband.

  9. Finish the Elastic Waistband

    A sewn up waistband

    Stacy Fisher

    Overlap the elastic by 1/2" and then sew together. Remove your safety pin and let the elastic waistband slip completely within the casing.

    Sew the opening of the waistband closed. Be careful not to sew on the elastic. Hand sew the two openings of the casing tube closed, then use the machine to sew the casing closed at the bottom. The elastic band should be able to slide freely through the casing when you're done.

  10. Hem to the Bottom of the Pants

    The bottom of a pair of pants pinned into a hem

    Stacy Fisher

    Turn the pants inside out if they aren't already. Turn the bottom of the leg up by 1 inch and pin. Sew the hem. Repeat for the other leg.

  11. Finish the Pants

    A pair of pants hanging on a door

    Stacy Fisher

    Turn your pants right side out. Give them a good press with the iron and try them on. You should have a great pair of pants that fit you perfectly.