How to Make a Pair of Pants, Step by Step

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Pants: a How to

How-to Pajama Pants
Pajama pants: wear them in or out of the house. Digital Vision/Getty Images

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.

What You'll Need

  • A pair of pajama pants or jeans that fit you just right.
  • Two pieces of fabric. They need to be 5" taller than your pants and 2" wider than your pants. Try, where they now cut and deliver fabric right to your door.
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing Chalk 
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or sewing kit

  • A drawstring or strip of elastic

Once you have gathered all your materials, we can get started

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Fold Pants to Make the Pattern

How-To Pants
Fold pants in half to make your pattern. Rain Blanken

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.


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Trace Your Pattern

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

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" below the ankle and above the waist to allow for hemming. Stay 1/2" 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.


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Stitch Up the Legs

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

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.


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Stitch the Crotch Seam

How-To Pants
Start at the crotch and sew up to waist. Repeat with the back side. Rain Blanken

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.


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Add Buttonholes or Measure Elastic

How-To Pants
Elastic or Drawstring? For a drawstring, you'll need to add button holes. Rain Blanken

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 a 1 1/2" out from this point to the right and left. Mark a 1" vertical line on each side, as shown. There should be 3" 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.


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Fold and Stitch the Waist.

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

Zigzag stitch all along the raw waistline.

Fold down the waist 2" 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 2" 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.


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Hem the Bottom and Finish

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

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 1/2" 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.