One of my all time favorite skills of all time is the ability to make my own pants. I think we can all agree that It can be tough to find a pair of sassy pants that are 100% dreamy. Too long, too short, not a perfect fit, not a good fit for your specific body type… etc. Especially in the high waisted realm- it can be hard to find the right fit for your body type. Creating your own pants- from a pair that you already own and love- can be the gateway to all of your pant dreams. Seriously tho.
I think this is a pretty simple project that anyone with a beginning or intermediate skill level could pull off. A really inexpensive way to give this a shot is to thrift an awesome vintage sheet from Goodwill (which I’m probably going to do pretty soon) – this way- if you fail- no big deal- you only spend money on a sheet, zipper and thread, and if you succeed you’ve got some super vibey vintage pants. As I am no maven of sewing- I’m including links I found from some other blogs- to give you some expert assistance and the tougher parts such as adding a waistband and putting in a zipper. Although the way I did this project perhaps takes a bit longer than straight from a pattern- I think it allows to create a fit that is exactly what you want.
If you are familiar with pants patterns- you will know that the front seam is shorter than the back seam. When you are creating a pattern from existing pants you want to do your best to really smooth them out so as to get as close to the exact layout and shape.
I used white chalk to trace around the pants, you can buy fancy chalk at the fabric store but you can also just spend $1 and get a box of chalk at the kids section of the grocery store. You want to trace about 1/2-1 inch larger than your “pattern” so that you have room for a seam allowance.
Next I cut out the front pattern and then placed it on top of the fabric to cut the back sections.
In most patterns- the back piece is a bit larger so I traced out more (although- truth be told- my original pattern was a bit too big and had to be taken in quite a bit- but better too big than not enough)
It’s important to really lay out the inside seam of the back portion of the pants so you can get an accurate cut (you really don’t want to mess up this part- because it can cause the lay of the pants to be kinda weird in an area you definitely do not want to be awkward.)
Once everything is cut out you will want to sew some darts into the back pant panels. I did this by folding each panel in half and then drawing out the darts as I wanted them.
Once the darts are done- you will want to line up and pin each leg together (front sides to back sides.)
Sew each seam together and then finish the edges with a zig zag stitch.
Once this is done press the seams and flip the legs so that one is inside out and then the other is right facing out.
Put the ride-side out leg inside of the inside out leg so that the seams line up.
Then pin them together and sew- (leave a portion of the seam open in the back for the zipper)
The next step is really crucial- whether you are using a pattern or not. You need to try the pants on before finalizing everything- this way you can fine tune the fit.
When I did this- I discovered that the wide leg vibes of the “mother pants” really didn’t work well with such a busy fabric pattern. Although I didn’t want the pants to be tight in the hip area- I decided that slimming out the leg and creating more of a classic Bell bottom shape was going to be the best option for both style and comfort. So I drew my modifications with my trusty chalk and took one leg for a “test drive.” After trying them on again to ensure the fit on that leg was what I wanted, I traced the modifications onto the other leg- trimmed and finished the seams and then ironed everything.
The next part is to create the waistband- now this is a bit trickier- so I have attached a tutorial here on just waistbands. I cut mine out with a slight curve- making them the same length (but just a little longer for seam allowance) as the top of the pants. I cut two pieces each of the sunflower and one piece for lining (this will give the band more staying power and strength) I used a scrap from a thrifted sheet for the lining. You can see that the waist band pieces for the back of the pants are just the same as the front- just cut in half.
Then you want to pin everything together and sew the band so you have one piece. Once that’s done you are going to pin it all down- and again, check out the tutorial in the link above for instruction on this- since it is going to tell you better than I would.
After I put the band in- the final step is to add the zipper- I had my zipper come part way up into the band and then sewed in a hook and eye- but you can do whatever you think is best. For a great tutorial on putting in a zipper click here. After I put my zipper in- I finalized and hand stitched down the inner portion of my waist band. Then all I had to do was iron and hem the bottom of the pants and I was ready to wear them to the International Friendship Day Potluck I was attending yesterday! (I decided to make these pants since sunflowers are truly so freaking friendly!)
Here are my outfit Deets: Top: Goodwill $4, Purse: Goodwill $2, Bracelet: Goodwill $3 Necklace: Vanderzee Jewelry $90 (get it here) Ring: UAL $3, Shoes: from a name store that I don’t endorse- but had to buy heels in Chicago at a wedding and was crunched for time. $20 Flowers: Nature $free
I sincerely hope y’all give this a try. In the event you don’t have high waisted pants, just increase the top length while tracing your faves and adjust as needed. I got this fabric a while back at Textile Fabrics in Nashville- but you can find similar patterns here.
Love and thrift,