Frugal-nomics DIY: Tribal Print Trousers

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Okay, I’ve got a confession to make — I’ve never made a pair of trousers before in my life.  To be honest, I was a wee bit intimated by them; so I mostly stuck to dresses, skirts, and a few pairs of shorts here and there because I thought they were easier. But, I’m truly proud to show my first pair off — I just LOVE this print. Over the past year or so I’ve been inspired by the graphic and fun prints worn by folks like Solange Knowles (you gotta admit, she does rock a mean print), and while these are monochromatic, along with the tribal print there’s no shortage in character. Do you remember your first pair of pants you made? I’d love to hear about it below.

SUPPLIES: some tribal print fabric, a straight edge or measuring tape, some straight pins, a rotary cutter, scissors, a zipper (I show green here, but used a black one), a sewing machine, and a pair of pants to copy to create your pattern. 

To create these trousers, I took a pair of cropped pants I got from Old Navy, and used them as a guide to create my own pattern for each side of one leg — much like I did with this dress. You can also take a look at this video I came across, if you need help.
1. Ok, first thing I did was lay out my fabric face down, then I pulled it in so it met in the middle — the fabric you see here is doubled up on both sides. Next, go ahead and pin down your patten to your fabric.
2. Cut out your two fronts and two backs.
3. Go ahead now and pin each of the legs together — one front and a back, and then the other set (Note: the back is a little wider than the front).
4. Now slide your pinned form on your sewing machine, and from waist to ankle on inner and outer thighs for both legs, stitch them together.
5. Ok, now your sides are all done….so now it’s time to pin together the groin area.
6. Here I pulled out the pinned together groin and waist to give me easier access to it, and sewed it together.
7. You’ll need darts for a better fit in the waist, so to figure out exactly where they go, measure out a couple equidistant inches on either side of the back seam, and stick a pin on each side.
8. Sew your two darts into nothing on either side, like pictured here.

9. By copying my previous pair of pants, it created this extra flap of fabric that once doubled up, will serve to give the zipper area a little more girth so it’s not flimsy. Fold back both flaps, open up the zipper, and pin the zipper into place.
10. Now sew in the zipper.
11. Use your straight pins now, and hem your trousers to the length you desire.
12. Now, hem your trousers with your machine.
13. Next, use your rotary cutter to cut a long rectangle for your waist band. Make it the length of your waist, plus 2 inches x 4 inches. (Note: be sure to measure it against the actual waist of your trousers to confirm the length).
14. Fold the rectangle in half (right sides facing), and then use your sewing machine to stitch together the two ends.
15. Turn the waistband to it’s correct side and begin pinning it to the waist of your pants.
16. Sew your waistband in place, and if you’d like the added security, stitch a hook an eye on for an added closure.






  1. Nelly

    December 26, 2015 at

    Thanks for your tutorials they seem so easy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. NancyinSTL

    November 16, 2015 at

    I love your website and found it searching for a fur vest tutorial. Yours is the best on the net, by the way. It doesn’t look like a DIY craft project, like most others on the web.

    Honestly, I don’t remember the very first pair of pants that I sewed, but I’m sure it was a stripe or plaid pair–I can’t remember ever making a solid pair, except for maybe corduroys. I’m very long legged and high waisted with a short trunk. Also, I reached my 5’7″ height at age 11. So, out of necessity, I started sewing my own clothes at about that age. It was impossible for me to find slacks in my size that were long enough while not being too long in the crotch. I was a perfectionist and those stripes or plaids had to match at the seams. Nothing signals “cheap” in clothing more than stripes or plaids that don’t match at the seams. The last pair of pants I made are lined 100% wool camel and black houndstooth. With skyrocketing fabric and notion prices, it cost me about double to make over buying ready made. However, they fit and are made much better than ready made.

  3. Onyxsta

    July 31, 2014 at

    Whoa!! I wish I could sew up pants like that!!


    • frugal-nomics

      August 1, 2014 at

      Awww…thanks a bunch Onyxsta!

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