How to Make Trousers

Trousers were once a staple of men's work clothing; now both women and men wear formal and informal trousers. Trousers can be made in a number of different fabrics, including wool, tweed, linen, crepe, jersey and denim. They can be slightly hard to create because they require many accurate measurements and some dedicated time to properly craft them. In order to make trouser pants, you need to be familiar with fundamental stitches and sewing machine use. This article will tell you how to make trousers.


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    Find a pattern for the trousers you'd like to make. There are many variations, based on women's, men's and children's styles, as well as pleats, wide legs, slim legs and waist heights. You can find patterns in fabric stores or online. Make sure you buy the pattern in the size of the person who will be wearing the trousers.
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    Choose your trouser fabric at a fabric store. You can order fabric online, but it is recommended that you have a chance to see and feel the fabric before you make the trouser pants. Make sure you have at least 10 feet (3 m) of fabric. It is better to have more fabric than find out you have less than you need. Your pattern should give you the exact amount of fabric that you will need to accomplish the project.
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    Buy 1.5 feet (1/2 m) of washable lining material, and buy a top stitch color that will either camouflage into the trousers or compliment their color.
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    Practice top stitching with extra material before you start. You want to make sure you are using the right color and that you are able to create the look you want. For denim trousers, you will want to do 2 top stitches to create the double stitched look on most jeans.
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    Take 6 body measurements either for yourself or the person who will be wearing the trousers, if your pattern requires it. Some patterns are perfectly sized and others require you to measure and adjust before beginning. Once you get the hang of making trousers, you may want to move away from patterns and experiment by following these measurements. You may need to take the following measurements:
    • The outside leg measurement. Using a fabric measuring tape, stretch it from the start of the waist over outside of the hip to the ankle. Add 2 inches to your measurement to account for the waist band.
    • The inside leg measurement. Measure the inside of the leg. Stretch your tape from the groin to the ankle.
    • The hip measurement. Measure the circumference of your hips from the widest point. Decide whether your widest point is around your hips or your buttocks; you want to take the widest measurement so that the pants fit properly. Now, measure with the tape. Divide the measurement in quarters since you will be using 4 different fabric pieces.
    • The thigh measurement. Measure the circumference at the widest point of your thigh. Divide the measurement in half and add 1 inch (2.54 cm). The thigh area must have more room for comfort and movement.
    • The ankle measurement. Measure the circumference of your ankle, making sure you can get your feet through that measurement. Divide the number in half. On wide-leg trousers, you will adjust this measurement to be much wider. The pattern should give you instructions on how many inches (cm) to add.
    • The groin measurement. Measure the distance from the waist band in front (around your navel) to the waist band in back, following the line of your groin. This is sometimes called the "underside" measurement. Divide the number in half and then add 2 inches (5 cm) to it. You also want room for movement with this measurement.
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    Cut out the pattern along the dotted guidelines, then put the pattern pieces together to make sure they match before starting to cut your fabric. Correcting any cutting mistakes is essential so that the seam lines will match up.
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    Place the pattern pieces on top of the underside of the fabric. Cut along the lines of the pattern, leaving 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) space for seams around every part of the pattern pieces. Mark the pattern pieces with a number or letter if you feel you will lose track of which pieces will be sewn together.
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    Align the 2 pieces of fabric that will constitute the back of your pants. Pin them in place so that they stay flush at all points during the sewing process. Pin every inch (2.5 cm) to ensure they will not move, and place the pin points with the end pointing toward the seam so that you can remove them on the other side as they go through the sewing machine.
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    Stitch the trousers where the fabric meets with a simple stitch along the outer edge of the fabric.
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    Use an iron to press the seam to 1 side, then do either a double or single top stitch on the outside seams of the pants.
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    Align the 2 pieces of fabric that will be the front of your pants. Pin them in place. Stitch the trousers where the fabric meets on the outer edge. Use the iron to press the seam and do a single or double top stitch on the outside seams.
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    Align your pants where the zipper fly will be. Do a basting stitch around where your zipper will be. This will keep the pants together and you will remove it later. Iron the 2 seams open on either side of your basting stitch.
    • Place the actual zipper above the fabric that is ironed down so that it won't get in the way of your sewing machine. Line up the edge of the zipper with the temporarily basted seam. Pin the left side of the zipper fabric to the left seam fabric. Sew the left side with your sewing machine, being sure to do a back stitch to secure the zipper.
    • Fold back the fabric so that the zipper is laying partially on the table and the fabric is on the opposite side. Sew the outer edge of the same side of the zipper.
    • On the outside of the fabric, pin down the right side of the zipper to the trouser fabric and mark the line in a curve. This will be your fly. Observe the curve of another fly and zipper on a pair of pants you own in order to see how the stitch will curve. Make sure you go wide around the zipper so that you are not sewing over the zipper. Sew in a curved top stitch. Iron it and take out the temporary basting stitch.
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    Match your back portion of your pants with the front portion with the underside of the fabric facing out. Pin the outside leg seams. Do not pin where the zipper will be located.
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    Stitch the outside leg seams with a single stitch. Turn the pants so that the fabric is right side out.
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    Cut some waist band interfacing to the length of your waist measurement. Cut fabric around the waist band interfacing and make sure there is a 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) seam allowance. Iron on the waist band interface.
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    Pin the waist band to the trousers. It should extend further on the right side.
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    Stitch the ends together and trim any excess fabric. Turn the pants inside out again and fold the waist band over so that it runs along the first few inches of the waist band fabric. Turn the pants right side out again and do a single or double top stitch to secure the waist band.
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    Try the pants on to see how far they need to be hemmed. Hem the bottoms of the trousers by turning the fabric inside twice, stitching once from the inside and then doing a single or double top stitch.
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    Attach a button and cut a button hole at the waist band and above the zipper. Try on and wear your pants.


  • For your first trousers you may want to avoid doing a pattern with pockets, as they are slightly more complicated. However, if you plan to do pockets, sew a "stay" band, a small white band, to the top of your pocket to stop them from folding out while you are wearing them.
  • If you plan to pre-wash your fabric before making your trousers, do a zig-zag stitch with your sewing machine around the edges to avoid fraying.
  • If there are darts or pleats, be sure to use the pattern to transfer the markings onto the underside of your fabric with a fabric marking pen or pencil. Do this just after you have cut the fabric, while the pattern is still on top.
  • If you have doubts about how the trousers may fit, baste stitch the front and back of your trousers together at the outside seams and try them on. Adjust, if you need to, and then stitch them permanently together.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper
  • Marking pen or pencil
  • Waistband material
  • Sewing machine thread
  • Button

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Pants