Could you imagine that all you need to make a pair of trousers of your dreams is a pair you already have and… some creativity? 🙂
I’m so excited to show you this tutorial for DIY Vintage High-Waisted Pants!
I’ve been swing vintage-inspired blouses lately and my wardrobe was in serious need of high-waisted pants to pair them with!
There is nothing more feminine, comfortable or flattering to your curves than well-tailored high-waist pants. You can wear them on any occasion, pair them with an elegant blouse, casual cardigan or a smart jacket.
Play around with different materials to convey different styles. I’ve used light-weight twill for my (first) trousers. I’m absolutely in love with this material. It’s warm, irons easily, doesn’t crease and falls over the body in a lovely manner.
Here are some pictures that have inspired me to make this tutorial.
STEP 1 – Drafting your pattern.
All you need for this step is a pair of your favorite trousers. The better the fit of the trousers you pick at this stage, the easier it will be to make the new pair.
Fold your trousers and lay them out on a pattern making paper.
First, trace the front of your trousers and then the back. You have a basic tousers pattern now.
In order to achieve the high-waisted look, you need to put on your pants and then measure the distance between the top of your trousers and your natural waist.
My pants come with a 2 cm wide waistband, so this 2 cm (or more if you want a wider waistband) need to be subtracted from the measurement you’ve just taken.
I also added darts both on the front and the back of my trousers. I’ve put them right in the middle (1 cm wide) and extended them till around the middle point between the waist and crotch.
The pant I used for drafting were slim-fit, so I extended the legs by adding 5 cm on each side and then connecting it to the top of the trousers.
The waistband is the easiest piece to draft.
Take your waist measurement + 1 cm for ease + 3 cm of seam allowance (length). The width of my waistband is 2 cm, so I have to take 2 cm x 2+3 cm for seam allowance.
Once you’re done drafting you should have these 3 pattern pieces.
STEP 2 – Preparing your pieces
Once you cut out all pattern pieces, overlock or zigzag the side seams, inner seams, and crotch seams. I personally don’t have an overlock machine, but an overlock foot works pretty well too. 🙂
STEP 3 – Sewing darts
Pin your darts by folding the material right sides together and matching dart markings. Stitch in place.
Iron the darts on the back pieces towards the crotch seam and darts on the front pieces towards side seams.
STEP 4 – Sewing pant legs
Put front and back legs right sides together and match the inner seam. Stitch together.
Then match side seams together. Stitch the right leg from the bottom all the way to the top.
Then, mark on your left leg the point where sie zip will start. Stitch from the bottom all the way to the marked zipper point.
STEP 5 – Crotch Seam
Turn one leg right side out and slip it inside the other leg. They must be right sides together.
Match the crotch seam carefully, pin and stitch in place.
STEP 6 – Fitting
This is a good point to stop, put on your trousers and see how they fit.
I have found this awesome “Pants Fitting Cheatsheet” that lists all possible fitting problems and how to fix them. Do check it out in case you run into any issues. 🙂
STEP 7 – The Waistband and Zipper
Once you are happy with the fit, you can proceed to attach the lovely waistband.
I could describe the process for you, but while making my trousers I came across a video by Sew it Over that shows the process in easy, understandable steps.
The video covers how to attach the waistband and an invisible zipper.
The only thing to watch out for is sewing too close to the zipper teeth while attaching the waistband. You might have problems with zipping up if you get too close! (yes, I found out the hard way… 😛 )
You should definitely check out their blog and YouTube channel for more awesome videos and tutorials. I am a big fan of theirs!
STEP 8 – Hem
Make a simple double – fold hem and ta-da! Your pants are ready!!!
I’m wearing my new pants with a vintage-inspired blouse with a bow. You can learn how to make it in this post!
Would you like to make your own high-waisted vintage pants?
Please let me know in the comments and save this tutorial for later!
17 thoughts on “DIY Vintage High-Waisted Pants”
I had 2 pairs of these in the 70s. They were so elegant that I only wore them for dress up. Wear the pretty clothes, girls.
Yes I would love to make a pair.
Hi Grace! I would love to see your version! 🙂
Beautiful pants! I’ve been wanting to make a pair of high waisted trousers for ages and recently tried and failed – this tutorial should be a huge help!! Thank you so much!
Hi Emily! I am quite eager to see the pair you make! The first pair I made was a total fail too! I don’t even know how did I do it, but I somehow managed to make two left legs 😀 I had to rip the seams apart twice!
I’m so curvy in the hips and high-waisted pants are one of the most beautiful fits for my figure I’m definitely going to be scouring the perfect fabric and making these soon ❤️ I love the blouse too. You look fabulous.
Hey! Awesome tutorial for a great pair of pants. I’m getting ready to make these, but I’m wondering; did you add extra allowances on one leg. For the zipper? I
Hi Ally! I would be very happy to see the pair made by you! No, I didn’t add an extra allowance for the zipper. The invisible zipper fits in the standard 1,5 cm seam allowance that I had on both sides of the pant legs. You would have to add a little larger allowance on one side of the pant leg if you were doing a lapped zipper. To be honest, I hate zippers with passion, so I am not the biggest expert on them! 🙂
Wow, thank you soo much for this. I have never made a pair of trousers before but I think I will give it a try.. 😀
I would love to see what you make! Drop me a message here or on Instagram if you finish your trousers 🙂
how many centremeters should you add for the dart?
How do you know when to add darts if copying from an existing pair of pants?
Hello Aly and thank you for your comment! 🙂
Usually, darts are put in to nicely tuck in fullness in certain areas, quite often at the waist. When I made my diy pattern, I had to copy trousers that were lower than my intended vintage trousers. I had to take the existing waistline and extend it upwards, darts are there to take the fullness from the hips and make a nice transition toward the slimmer part of our body, the waist.
If you are unsure of how much you need to take in or if you need it at all (I would advise to go for it! Darts are a lovely design element, beyond being practical 🙂 ), make a muslin and check the fit of your trousers. 🙂
Hope that helped a little! Let me know if you have any more questions.
The pants are absolutely amazing! Do you remember what kind of nuance/color the fabric is (beige, olive brown, khaki?) I absolutely love the color but can’t seem to get it right when searching for suitable fabric… 🙂
I wouldn’t worry so much about getting the exact same colour as the pants pictured above….make sure the hand and drape of the fabric will work for the design and buy a basic colour (neutral tone according to fashion era) that “speaks” to you in the store (Often it will be one of your “wow” colours.). Everyone has a particular tone in a “hue-family” that will work for them in terms of their colouring and and their current wardrobe. There are certain reds (claret) and purples (plum, aubergine) that scream “Buy me!!!!” when I am in a fabric store.
Hope this advice helps you and others.
I have been looking for a perfect trouser and blouse to sew & this is it! Thank you!! You made the follow along so easy.
This is amazing! I’ve been meaning to make myself some and this helps a lot! I need to order fabric (current state of the world means I have time to make some but no fabric to do so) – how would I go about figuring out much fabric I should get?