Pants are one of my favorite low-effort, high-reward sewing projects. If you choose a loose or semi-fitted silhouette, and an elastic waist, you can whip up a great pair of pants in no time. To sew pants that are really on-trend this season, choose a wide-leg style and pair it with a bold print fabric that’s lightweight—but not sheer—with a decent drape.
Here’s my number one tip for sewing pants:
Clearly mark each pant piece as FRONT or BACK. Doesn’t matter how you do it, whether you notch them or write a big F or B on these pieces in disappearing fabric marker. This will make your life easier, trust me.
Sometimes new sewers can get confused by the order of construction for a pair of pants, so here it is in a nutshell:
Stitch the crotch seams. Pair the front pieces together and stitch the crotch seam; pair the back pieces together and stitch the crotch seam.
Stitch the side seams. These are the seams that go along the outer side of your pants.
Stitch the inseams. These are the seams that go along the inside of your pants.
Stitch the casing for the elastic at the waist.
Stitch the hems.
Pretty easy, right? If you are making wide-leg or loose-fitting pants you can knock out a pair in a couple of hours, since you don’t need to worry so much about fit. Here are two of our favorite beginner pants patterns:
You can see more of our patterns for beginning sewers by clicking on the Pinterest widget below. We chose these easy patterns for new sewers who have some sewing under their belts, like a tote bag or an elastic-waist skirt, and are ready to move on to sewing their own clothes.
Make a pair of summer pants out of cotton voile or silk crepe in a cool print. Check out Alabama Chanin’s take on a Marcy Tilton for Vogue Patterns design for inspiration. Once you sew your first pair of pants you’ll be hooked. If you’ve made pants before, do you agree with how easy-to-sew and wearable they can be? Tell me about the pants you’ve sewn in the comments section. Thanks!
What’s a great thing to sew when you want to add to your wardrobe, and fast? A simple little top. Keep the design lines to a minimum, make it on the loose-fitting, boxy side, and you can have a chic top in just a few hours. Right now I’m sewing three different versions of Butterick B6175, which fits this bill. One version uses up some Oscar de la Renta brocade I had in my stash, another version will be out of lightweight denim, and the third is planned for a designer silk in a bold orange print.
Fact: Even the newest of beginning sewers can sew really cute tops as a first garment project. Seriously! Here are three top patterns we think an unassisted newbie could successfully tackle on her own:
For fabrics I’d recommend lightweight wovens: cotton shirting, cotton voile, chambray, silk or poly crepe, or medium-weight georgette. Always choose a fabric you love, not just because the price per yard is right. No matter how perfect a sewing job you do on your garment, you won’t want to wear it unless you love, or at least really like, the fabric you made it from.
Topic for discussion: Should brand-new sewers sew their first garment(s) using or NOT using a pattern? The reason I pose this to you is that if you search “beginning sewing” or “beginning sewing patterns” on Pinterest you see a lot of pins that tell you how to make a garment without using a pattern. Sure, you can definitely sew something like an elastic-waist skirt without using a pattern, but do you really want to make a dress, say, by using one of your RTW dresses as a pattern? If you’re a BEGINNER?! There are pins that encourage you to do this. I haven’t been a beginner since forever, and I can make my own patterns if I have to, but…WHY would you do this? It’s so much easier and faster to sew with a pattern. And cheaper too if you’re factoring in your time.
Your thoughts on this topic? Please leave a comment and let us know what you think about beginning sewers starting off sewing garments by making their own patterns. (This is assuming they’re hobbyists and not fashion designer hopefuls.) Thanks!