How to sew a pair of pants: A step-by-step guide

Posted by Christina Albeck on

When you’re just starting your sewing journey, learning how to make a pair of pants may seem like a daunting task. But sewing pants doesn’t have to be complicated—in fact, making a pair of pants can be a great beginner’s project.


In this entry, we’ll walk you through how to sew a pair of pants in just 8 simple steps. You’ll be working with the Easy Shorts PDF pattern from Wardrobe by Me. This pattern is free to download, and with it you’ll be able to make your own pattern pieces for a pair of comfortable pants with an elastic waistband.


The guide below will walk you through the process of making your first pair of pants. You’ll start with drafting a pattern before cutting out the pattern pieces. Finally, we’ll guide you through the 8 simple steps to sewing the pieces together and making a finished pair of pants.


Once you’ve learned how to work with the Easy Shorts pattern, you’ll be able to use it to sew many different kinds of pants: pajama pants, lounge pants—even dress pants.


So let’s get started! Follow the steps below and learn how to sew a pair of pants.

You may also enjoy our guide to sewing for beginners


Fabric and notions: everything you need for sewing your first pair of pants


  • A sewing machine
  • Fabric
  • Elastic (see the measurement chart)
  • Sewing thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors and fabric shears
  • Measuring tape
  • A long ruler
  • Paper for creating your pattern

Tip: choose the right fabric for sewing your pants

When choosing fabric for this project, you’ll want to choose fabric that’s woven, soft, and lightweight. These pants are meant to be comfortable, so we recommend using cotton, silk, viscose, or other soft and comfortable fabrics.


Before you cut into your favorite fabric, however, we recommend that you try and see if you have some old fabric lying around to practice on. You can use an old sheet, a curtain, or a similar piece of recycled fabric. This way, you can practice without worrying about ruining the fabric you’re going to use for the final project.


When you’re ready to use your favorite fabric, we recommend that you wash it first. This ensures that if the fabric shrinks, it won’t affect the fit of the pants you’re making.


How to sew pants: drafting the sewing pattern

For this project, the first thing you want to do is download the Easy Shorts PDF pattern—the pattern we’ll be drafting from and using for this project.


For a walkthrough of how to download and read the pattern, you can check out our video guide to sewing the Easy Shorts on YouTube. This video also shows you how each step in the sewing process should look—but we’ll get back to that later. For now, let’s focus on drafting the pattern for making your pants.


How to draft your Pants Sewing pattern

When you’re drafting your pattern, the first thing you need to do is to measure your waist and hip circumference. Based on your measurements, choose the pattern size that fits you. Then, print out the Easy Shorts in your chosen size and tape all the pages together. 

Find your size and fabric requirements here.

IMPERIAL BODY measurements  2XS XS S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL
Natural Waist 24.5 26.75 29 31.5 33.75 36 38.25 40.5 42.75
Hip 30.75 33 35.25 37.5 39.75 42 44.25 46.5 48.75
REQUIREMENTS Fabric width 55”
Fabric 2 2 2 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Elastic width 1.5”-1.75" 25.25 27.5 29.75 32 34.25 36.5 38.75 41 43.25
METRIC body measurements
Natural waist 62 68 74 80 86 92 98 104 110
Hip 78 84 90 96 102 108 114 120 126
REQUIREMENTS Fabric width 140 CM 
Fabric 2 2 2 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Elastic width 3-4cm 64 70 76 92 88 94 100 106 112

 

Now, you need to measure how long your legs are. That will give you an idea of how much you need to lengthen the shorts to create a sewing pattern for a pair of pants. Measure yourself at the side from the waistline to the floor.

For this walkthrough, we’ll be basing the pants on the Easy Shorts in size L. That means we’ll draft the pattern with a side length of 42.5" / 108 cm, including seam allowance.

Start with a piece of paper (or several pieces taped together). As the sheet of paper must be able to hold the entire pants leg, it should be at least 47" / 120 cm long and 31" / 80 cm wide.

  1. Place the Easy Shorts sewing pattern at the top of the paper and trace around the edge of the shorts. Transfer the grainline onto the paper. Mark the center point on the shorts' waistline and draw a line parallel with the grainline. Extend this line all the way to the bottom of the paper. At this point, decide how wide you want the legs of your pants to be. A quick guide is 13.5" / 34 cm for a narrow leg opening, 18" / 46 cm for a straight leg, and 22.75" / 58 cm for a wide leg opening. How to make pants
  2. Measure and draw a line from the waist to the hem, and mark the hem of the pants. Draw a perpendicular line that extends on both sides of the center line.
  3. From the center line, mark half the opening on both sides at the hem. We’re marking 9" / 23 cm on either side of the center line for the straight leg.
  4. Connect the lines at the hem of the shorts with the marks at the hem of the pants.How to make your own pants
  5. Create the hem on the pants. Fold the paper at the hem and trace the inseam's angle to make sure the hem will stay flat. you need 2" / 5 cm for the hem.How to make your own pants

And that’s it—you now have a pattern for a pair of pants. You must also use the waistband from the Easy shorts pattern. Now, let’s move on to the part you’ve been waiting for: how to sew your first pair of paints.


How to make a pair of pants in twelve simple steps

You can sew along on 

Sew along on Youtube

This way, you can see exactly what each step should look like—and that’ll make it much easier for you to learn how to sew your own pants. Let’s get into it!

  • 1. Place your pattern on the fabric with the grainline parallel with the fabric's edge, and cut out the pattern pieces. Zigzag around the edges of all the pattern pieces

  • 2. Fold the front / back piece RSF (right side facing) and sew the inseam together. Repeat this step on the other leg.
    Sew the leg
  • 3. Turn one leg RSO (right side out). Place it inside the other leg RSF. Sew the legs together at the rise seam from the front, around the fly, and to the back. Add an extra row of stitches to the back crotch for reinforcement.
    Step 2 leg
  • 4. With the wrong side facing you, align the notches at the front waistline and fold the fly towards the right. Pin the fly to the right front and topstitch it as illustrated. Next, add bartacks at the bottom of the fly and where the curve ends.Fly
  •  5.Flip the piece with the right side facing you and topstitch the crotch seam from the mark at the fly to the crotch 1/8” / 3 mm from the ditch.
  • 6.Sew the short ends of the waistband together RSF. Then, fold the waistband in half, wrong sides facing and press it.

  • 7.Place the waistband against the waistline RSF. The seam on the waistband should be aligned with the center back seam of the shorts. Sew the waistband to the waist center front 2”/ 5 cm. 
  • 8.Next, fold the waistband in half and sew it to the waistline through all layers. Leave an opening at the front where one side is attached to the waistline only. 
  • 9.Measure the correct elastic length (see the charts on page 4 in the pattern). Then, thread the elastic through the hole in the waistband seam. 


    10.Next, overlap one end of the elastic on top of the other with 3/4” / 2 cm. Make sure that the elastic isn’t twisted. Sew the elastic together. Finally, close the hole in the waistband. 


  • 11. Hem the pants, turning the hem to the wrong side 2" / 5 cm and hem.

  • 12. Press the pants, and voila—you’re done!

  • Now you know how to sew a pair of pants!

    Congratulations on finishing your first pair of pants! We hope you’ve enjoyed the process. And now that you have your Easy Shorts pattern, you can use it to make many different kinds of pants.


    So what’s next? Well, if you’ve caught the sewing bug like us, you won’t want to stop at learning how to sew pants. If you’d like to try your hand at more sewing projects, you can find plenty of PDF patterns on our website.


    If you want to see our patterns in action, you can subscribe to the Wardrobe by Me YouTube channel. We upload new videos every month, so you’ll have plenty of tutorials to learn from. And finally, you can visit our blog for more tips, tricks, and news from the world of sewing. Happy crafting!

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