How to Sew Pants Tutorial
Want to learn how to sew pants?
When you are first learning how to sew, it helps to have a few projects in your arsenal that are super easy and build your confidence.
These easy wide leg pants are perfect for that!
All you need to complete this “How To Sew Pants” tutorial is basic sewing skills.
If you know how to:
- Sew in a straight line
- Fold and stitch a hem
- Use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or own a serger (this is optional, but will keep your seams from unraveling)
you can totally manage this basic sewing “How To Make Pants” Tutorial!
How to Sew Pants Tutorial: Supplies Needed
First off, here are the supplies you’ll need on hand to learn how to sew pants (please keep in mind this is a sewing machine based tutorial. So you’ll need: a sewing machine, bobbin, sewing machine needle, etc):
- Fabric of your choice (yardage will vary). I used leftover fabric that worked well as comfy pajama pant fabric
- A pair of comfy pants that currently fit your model (I recommend making kids pants first!)
- Thread to match
- Several pieces of cardstock or plain paper (cardstock will work better…poster board, if you have it, will work best) and tape
- Pen or pencil
- Elastic (I used 3/4 inch elastic…look for NO ROLL elastic!)
- Safety Pin
That’s it! You can totally learn how to sew pants!
I can whip a pair of these pants from start to finish in about 15-20 minutes. Don’t feel bad if it takes you a few hours the first time through though. I think I took about 3 hours when I first learned how to make pants. Sadly, I’m not joking at all.
Okay…now let’s learn how to sew pants!
Tutorial: How To Sew Pants – Making the Pattern
Step 1 – First and foremost, make sure you WASH, DRY & IRON your fabric. Follow the directions on your fabric for proper care instructions.
Step 2 – Lay out your paper, cardstock or poster board. Tape together several sheets so you have enough room to lay your pants (folded in half) out and trace around them.
Trace your pants. One side should be a straight line (if it’s not, it’s probably because of the elastic waistline…you’ll want yours to be straight though) and the other should come out into a bit of a peak in the crotch area and than taper down the leg.
NOTE: The smaller the child you are making pants for…the more likely your top (stomach/butt/waist area) and your bottom (legs) will look similar in size. So you don’t get confused, I recommend writing on your pattern where the waist is and where the hem at the bottom of the leg is. If your child is taller, it will be very obvious where the top and bottom are (hint: the legs will be MUCH longer).
Step 3 – Now we want to draw a half inch border out from both SIDES of the traced pants pattern. Only the sides. Just measure half an inch and make a new line. This is going to be our seam allowance. If you want less or more seam allowance, measure out that amount. When I learned how to make pants, I did so with a 1/2 inch seam allowance though, so that’s my go to number.
Step 4 – Now we’re going to draw our seam allowance for our waist and for the bottom of the leg. The seam allowance on the top is going to need to make room for our elastic. Since I’m using 3/4 inch elastic, I decided on a 1 inch seam allowance. I measured out 1 inch and made my line (connecting it to either side). Remember, the elastic waistband is at the TOP of your pattern.
For the leg hem, I wanted a big hem. I chose a 1 1/2 inch hem, so I just measured out 1 1/2 inch and drew my line. Remember, the leg hem is at the BOTTOM of your pattern.
Step 5 - Cut out your pattern along the OUTER line (the seam line). Flip it over to the “clean” side and go ahead and mark up your how to make pants pattern!
A. This is what my marked up pattern looks like. Now let’s make yours.
B. Label your seam allowances. If you decide to use this pattern again, you’ll be thankful you have this info writ on the pattern!
C. On the straight side of the pattern, draw a long line with arrows pointing to the edge. Label this “Along Fold”, because this is the part of the pattern that will be placed along the fold.
D. Be sure to write what size elastic you used for the waistline. This is kind of a given based on how big your seam allowance is, but I still like to write it out to be safe!
E. Finally, write down the size and the name of the pattern.
Now you have your pattern! That’s the most important part of this How To Make Pants Tutorial…so pat yourself on the back!
Tutorial: How To Sew Pants – Cutting Your Fabric!
When I first learned how to make pants, the widest flat surface I had to work on was the kitchen table. It was low and a bit rickety (we have since replaced that table thank goodness!) and a pain in the butt. I now have a neat-o drafting table that was my husband’s when he was younger. I am in fabric cutting HEAVEN.
Let’s put our pattern to good use. The next step in our “How to Make Pants” tutorial is cutting our fabric!
First you’ll want to fold your fabric. Be sure to pay attention if your fabric has a directional pattern. Sounds like a silly thing to point out?
Look at the picture of the pants my daughter is wearing closely. Yep. One leg has castles facing upright, the other has castles facing down. See? Even I make mistakes and I’ve been doing this for several years!
Place your pattern with the straight edge on the fold (Make the most of your fabric. Don’t fold it right down the middle. Fold your fabric just enough so that you can have just enough double thickness to go under your pattern piece). I’ve included this snazzy paint.net visual for you:
Cut around your pattern (or draw a line on the fabric with a washable sewing marker or pencil, take the pattern off, then cut). I use a rotary cutter, but you can just use a good pair of scissors.
NOTE: If you are going to learn how to sew pants, or how to sew in general…you need good scissors! They don’t have to be a very expensive pair, but they need to be used EXCLUSIVELY for fabric. This is very important! And I’m not very good at it! I always screw up my good scissors. Hence the rotary cutter
Tutorial: How To Sew Pants – Making the Pants!
Step 1 – I like to start by serging the top and bottom edges of my pants. You can use the zig zag setting on your sewing machine if you like. This keeps the fabric from unraveling when you wash.
This is not necessary, but it does give your garment a longer lifetime and it just looks like a neater, cleaner finished product. See your sewing machine’s manual for how to do a zig zag stitch, or if your machine has it, an overlock stitch).
Step 2 – Get your iron hot…we’re going to go ahead and press our top and bottom seams!
When I first learned how to make pants, I learned from a pattern I bought on You Can Make This.
The patternmaker gave this nifty tip about folding and pressing seams: Get a piece of cardstock or some other firm paper and draw a line x” from the edge (however large your seam allowance needs to be). Fold the fabric over the cardstock to the predrawn line and press! Perfect folds every time!
We iron these folds so we can get a good crease going, but after they cool…go ahead and unfold them. We’ll do something with these later.
Step 3 – With our top and bottom now creased but unfolded, place both pieces of fabric (right side of fabric together!). Using your 1/2 inch seam allowance, go ahead and stitch up the TOP sides of your pants. The picture shows where you should start and stop (me and a real paintbrush don’t get along much better than me and a computer paintbrush).
Step 4 – After you sew the top sides together, lay your pants down so that the legs are spread out with right sides of fabric facing each other.
Go ahead and pin up one side of the leg and down the other.
You are going to sew up on leg, over the crotch area and down the other leg! NOTE: Depending on how rugged you need these pants to be, you might go back and sew a reinforcing seam in the crotch area. Mine are just pj’s, so I didn’t bother.
Step 5 – Now it’s time to roll up our hems! Fold up your hem using the crease you made with your iron earlier as a guide. Sew just below the serged/zig zagged edge. Repeat for the other leg.
Step 6 – Head up to the waist band of your pants now and fold over along the crease you made earlier. Go ahead and sew the casing for your elastic, be sure to back stitch when you start & stop and leave a 1″ opening where you’ll insert your elastic.
Since I am using 3/4 inch elastic, I’ll sew 1 ” from the waistband edge.
Step 7 – Elastic time. You’ll want to measure the waistline of whoever you are making the pants for and subtract 2-3″ to get the proper length of elastic.
Step 8 – I use a safety pin to insert my elastic. Stick a safety pin on the end of your elastic and insert it into the hole you left open in the waistband. The other end of our elastic needs to stay outside of the casing. I generally just hold it, but some people prefer to safety pin that end physically to the pants themselves.
Use the safety pin to pull the elastic through the casing, being careful to A. Not let it roll or twist and B. Lose the opposite end of the elastic into the casing as well.
Step 9 – When you pull your safety pin out the other side, take both ends of your elastic and hold them together. Make sure the elastic isn’t twisted, because you want your waistband to lay flat. Then sew them together using a zig zag stitch (I find a straight stitch doesn’t work very well for this purpose).
Step 10 – Push the elastic into the hole and use a straight stitch to close up the hole. Be sure to backstitch on both sides.
Step 11 – Take a picture of your awesome, easy to make pants and post it on the Family Friendly Frugality Facebook wall for all to see!
If your kid is like my kid, you might have to bribe her to take her picture.
Me: Can I take your picture for my tutorial on how to make pants!?
Lizzie: No thanks.
Me: Pretty Please?
Lizzie: No pictures.
Me: You can jump on the bed?
See that wasn’t so hard .
You can learn how to make pants!
Now what shall we tackle next? Hmmm….
Be sure to check out these other sewing tutorials here on Family Friendly Frugality (and there will be MANY more to come! As well as a how to sew series coming up very soon!):
Find more Sew Girls Clothes information here!
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