How to Make a Pair of Pants, Step by Step

pair of pants

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Pants might seem like a great challenge, but they are actually pretty easy to make from scratch. The measurements are perfect when you use a pair of pants that fit you as a pattern. Below are the steps to making a pair of pants.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing chalk
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or sewing kit


  • A pair of pajama pants or jeans that fit you just right
  • Two pieces of fabric that are 5 inches taller and two inches wider than your pants
  • A drawstring or strip of elastic


  1. Fold Pants to Make the Pattern

    Fold your pants in half, pulling out the crotch seam so that they are completely flat. Make sure that you can see the seam all the way from the ankle to waist on both sides. Jeans are harder to manipulate like this. Try to use a pair that doesn't have cargo pockets.

    How-To Pants
    Fold pants in half to make your pattern. Rain Blanken
  2. Trace Your Pattern

    Fold your fabric in half, wrong side out. Lay your pants on the fabric so that the outer seam is lined up with the fold. It is okay if the pants are curved and don't line up perfectly with the fold.

    Use your chalk to trace around the edge of your pants. Leave 2 inches below the ankle and above the waist to allow for hemming. Stay 1/2-inch away from the edges the rest of the way around.

    Repeat this step to make the other side of your pants. Cut each piece around the chalk line. Do not cut the fold of the fabric.

    How-To Pants
    Don't forget to add a couple inches at the top & bottom. Rain Blanken
  3. Stitch Up the Legs

    Remember, your fabric should be wrong-side-out. Start at the crotch and straight stitch all the way to the ankle. Repeat on the other side.

    Before you continue, it is important that you zigzag stitch the raw edges. This will keep your pants from unraveling in the washer. It might seem trivial now, but you do not want to skip this bit.

    How-To Pants
    Start at the crotch and straight stitch to the hem. Rain Blanken
  4. Stitch the Crotch Seam

    Start at the bottom front of the crotch where the legs meet. Straight stitch from the point up to the waistline. Repeat with the back of the pants, starting at the bottom and stitching to the waist.

    Zigzag stitch the raw edges from front to back.

    How-To Pants
    Start at the crotch and sew up to waist. Repeat with the back side. Rain Blanken
  5. Add Buttonholes or Measure Elastic

    Right now you have a couple of options to keep these pants around your waist.

    Drawstring: On the front of your pants, measure two inches from the top of the waistline to the center seam. Mark this point. Measure one and a half inches out from this point to the right and left. Mark a one-inch vertical line on each side, as shown. There should be three inches between each line, and they should be the same distance from the center seam.

    Use a buttonhole stitch or the buttonhole setting on your sewing machine to stitch along the vertical chalk lines.

    Elastic: For an elastic drawstring, measure around your waist with the measuring tape. Cut a strip of elastic at this length. We will insert it in the next step.

    How-To Pants
    Elastic or Drawstring? For a drawstring, you'll need to add button holes. Rain Blanken
  6. Fold and Stitch the Waist

    Zigzag stitch all along the raw waistline.

    Fold down the waist two inches to hem. If you put on buttonholes, make sure that you are stitching below these. Straight stitch all the way across. Thread your drawstring easily by attaching a safety pin to the end.

    If you are inserting an elastic waistband, straight stitch all the way around until you are two inches from your starting point, leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Use a safety pin to thread your elastic through the opening and all around the waist. Stitch the elastic ends together. Finish stitching the waist closed.

    How-To Pants
    Zigzag and stitch. Be sure not to stitch through the button holes. Rain Blanken
  7. Hem the Bottom and Finish

    Turn your pants inside out and try them on. decide how long you want the pants to be. This is the point where you could chop the legs and make Capri's or shorts at the last minute.

    Zigzag stitch the raw edges of the ankles. Fold in and pin the bottom hem where you want it. Take off the pants and turn them inside out again.

    Straight stitch along the hem, a half inch away from where your raw edge is. You can also stitch along the bottom of the hem for a finished look. Make sure that you are evenly stitching all the way around the leg.

    How-To Pants
    Zig-zag the raw bottoms and stitch your hem. Rain Blanken