Flat Front Pants Tutorial

This one is so exciting!  I can barely contain myself.  I made these pants in, wait for it… an hour!!  Can you believe it?  I found this basic tutorial and decided to try it and came up with my own improvements.  It is easy to convert this tutorial into a fully elastic waist pant.  See the comments in steps 9 and 10. 


What you'll need:
  • A pair of pants that fits well (to make the pattern)
  • Pattern paper, large tissue paper or a roll of wrapping paper 
  • A pen
  • Fabric scissors (and scissors to cut the paper as well)
  • 3/4" elastic for waistband.  I prefer the no roll kind.
  • Fabric & thread to match.  Feel free to reuse fabric from old garments, just make sure you have enough.

Making the pattern:
1.  Roll out your wrapping paper and turn your pants inside out.  Put your pants on it like so…
Notice this is the front of the pant sticking out.  See how I expose the crotch and leg seems on the left side?  Trace along the pants on the left.  Mark the top and bottom but remember you'll have to add to the pattern later to accommodate seems.

2.  Now pick the pants up and adjust the pants so that the backside of the pant is exposed, like so… Make sure the bottom of the legs are even with where the bottom of the legs were on the previous markings.  The waist will most likely be uneven, that is fine.  Most pants have a lower rise in front than in back to accommodate for the booty.
Trace along the right side of the pant and then pick the pants up.  

3.  Add an inch and a half to the top of the pattern and about an inch to the bottom.  Cut the pattern out.  It will look something like this.
Great!  You have the hardest part done.  Don't worry if it looks a little off.  It won't be symmetrical.

4.  Lay out your fabric.  It is important to make sure it has been washed and preferably ironed.  Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut it out.  Make two pieces. (one for each leg)

5.  Put pieces right sides together (that means the "pretty side" or the "finished side" together).  Pin around the edges of the crotch portion.  Sew both sides of the crotch together.  Do not sew down the legs yet!  You can finish the seems by using pinking sheers.

6.  Turn the pants like so…
Then pin the inside seems of the legs and sew them up!  Finish the seem with the pinking sheers.

7.  Make the elastic casing at the top of the pants by folding down the top 1/4", iron, then fold down another 7/8" and iron.  I usually don't measure I just eyeball it. 

8. This is not a necessary step but I find it to be very helpful!  Make a tag so you know which is the back and which is the front.  This helps kids figure it out on their own as well.  I cut a 1" piece of ribbon, fold it in half and pin it like so… (make sure it is in the back!)  You'll know the back because there should be more fabric in the back.

9.  Now figure out how wide the wearer of the new pants is.  These pants were for my daughter and her waist is 20".  I didn't have her here to measure so I guessed she was 8" wide, good guess.  Lay the pants out so you can see the front.  In this case, I put my tape measure at the waist so I could evenly measure 4" on each side of the middle seam.  Then I put a pin in each end.  **If you want an all elastic waistband, skip this step.

10.  Now, sew 1/8" from the bottom of the fold to make the elastic casing.  Leave the entire 8" opening in front open.  Measure your elastic and cut it.  I figured that my daughter's waist is 20", subtracted the 8" in front and came up with 12" of elastic.  In order to make the waistband snug, I subtracted a half inch and cut 11.5" of elastic. Using a safety pin, thread the elastic around the pant. Sew the elastic on one end where one of your safety pins was, making sure to secure the elastic in place well.  Then sew the other end of the elastic in place where the other safety pin was, securing it well. **For an all elastic waistband, leave only a 2" opening in the casing, thread elastic through, sew ends of the elastic together and then sew the casing closed.

11.  Finish sewing the casing closed.  There will be no elastic in the front of the pants.  The waist should look like this when you turn the pants right side out.

12.  Hem the bottom of the pants the desired length.  To hem, fold and iron the bottom 1/4" then fold and iron another 1/4" or whatever size desired to make the correct length of pant.  Sew the seem.  You are done!


Please give me feedback! 

UPDATE: I'll keep this tutorial on this blog but from now on all my tutorials will be on my creative blog, hatch.


  1. says

    I love making clothes this way, and it’s a lifesaver if you have an exceptionally thin child who most store-bought pants fall off of. I usually cut straight out of the fabric, but I like your idea of making a pattern first, especially since I’ve made a pair I really liked more than once and then haven’t been able to replicate the pattern exactly a second time…
    I also like the idea of just the one pattern piece – I’ve always used two and it’s a bit more fabric and an extra seam to stitch up.

  2. says

    Wow, this is really cool Andrea. I have a similar pattern for pants for my daughter, but nothing for my size. This should be great to make some comfy cropped pants for summer. I’m definitely going to try it. I’ll let you know how they come out :)

  3. rita says

    Hi! Good tutorial! A lot of tutorials are trivial (ie showing how to do something too simple) and most of the rest don’t show enough detail or skip stuff or don’t eplain in a clear way. Yours doesn’t do any of those things. I have a bit of a suggestion however. I have taken one of your images and used it to show what I’m talking about. I’m not sure how to get that to you. I’ll try with words. When making the pattern, one should keep in mind that you’re going to want the leg seams on both sides of the one piece pattern to be the same length. The other thing is that in order to make folding over the elastic casing as easy as possible, the top edge of the pattern should be a bit ‘s’ shaped. This last one is especially hard to explain without a diagram. Just send me a quick email and I’ll send you the picture (85K)…rita

  4. says

    What a fabulous tutorial. I was here earlier this week, thought I bookmarked it, and then went off fabric shopping. Now, with fabric in hand, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how I stumbled upon you… and here I am again. I have definitely bookmarked you this time!
    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to get started!

  5. says

    I meant to ask (but am tired and therefore forgetful) if you think the flat front is adaptable to your a-line skirt pattern? I’d like to make an a-line skirt for myself and I’d prefer it not be a fully elasticated waist. This seems like the right idea… and I’m guessing the answer is yes… but I’m a beginner and like confirmation before I pull out my scissors!
    Thanks again!

  6. says

    Kim, I haven’t tried it with a skirt. I think it would work fine but I can’t promise anything! Let me know how it comes out!
    Rita, I’m not sure what you mean by “s” shaped at the top. My pattern definitely isn’t “s” shaped and works just fine. I’d love to see that picture.

  7. says

    super smart and easy to follow tutorial! My curvy 20-month-old isn’t in pants very much. . . maybe I can make some for her that will work:)

  8. says

    Thanks for this, I used the idea in a twirly skirt and it turned out really well. I’ll have pictures posted on my blog by Sunday
    under label crafts

  9. says

    :)) this looks so fun! I will try to make some pants like this..since the cold winter days will be here soon and the snow will keep me in the house, I will call my girlfriends and we will have a lot of fun making pants thanks to your tutorial.. :) 10x!

  10. Ronnie says

    I was looking for a way to make a skirt with a flat front but with elastic back…I think your tutorial is very helpful to adapt my idea. I think I might have to make 2 darts in the front but thats easy to do. I’m using a skirt I own, and will make a homemade pattern just as you have. Store bought patterns are way overpriced and rip easily.

  11. says

    Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they’ll love you but Never say good-bye when you still want to try, never give up when you still feel you can take it, never say you don’t love that person anymore when you can’t let go.

  12. CHRISTINE says

    Hi. I just found your great tutorial and wanted to double check on something as I am new to sewing. In step 4, you pin the pattern to the right side of the fabric and cut it out…… then for the second piece, do you FLIP THE PATTERN PIECE OVER, then pin it to the right side of the fabric and cut it out?

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