double-tie wrap pants

Simplest, comfiest pants ever.

Your basic pattern shape:

The crotch notch is 12" x 3" (with the curvy bit). This should fit almost any body, unless very large or small.

For the rest of the dimensions, you want to figure out how long you want them (full length, capri, etc) and then add an inch or two for the bottom hem.

To figure out how wide, measure you waist and divide that by 4. Then add 3-6 inches to that number to get how wide your pattern piece should be.

(You want to add enough length to wrap it around yourself enough to be discreet plus a hem allowance. Since everyone's waist size is different, it is prudent for me not to give a absolute number. However, I will say that I use my waist measurement/4, and then add 2/3 of that number. If you want to go ahead and figure yours out that way, please do. If you have math aversion, just wing it).

The pattern piece above is only half of one leg. Place pattern piece on folded fabric, the fold being the side with the crotch notch (the top edge in the picture). Cut 2.

Open up both cut piece and place right sides together. Sew along crotch notch.

Open up pants and find the waist because it's all hemming from here on out. I highly recommend marking the two waist pieces and bringing them together often while hemming because it is frighteningly easy to get confused and hem the wrong piece or attach a tie to the leg bottom. Or at least I've done it, so it happens anyway. Use some chalk or do a quick baste on the waist to keep it all in order.

First, hem the side of the legs. Good time for funky embellishments or decorative stitches.

Then the bottom cuffs.

Last fold over and hem the waist. For the ties, I usually use bias tape, mostly because I have a goofy amount of it and I'm a little lazy. But you can use anything - make your own, ribbons, whatever will be strong enough. I suggest it be at least a half inch wide, however, to give the ties a firm hold which won't distort the hang of the pants. Reinforce the seams holding the ties.

Oh, and I know you know, but make sure they are long enough! My husband likes to wrap both ties around to his front (he thinks someone may try to untie him from the back - maybe a repressed childhood trauma?).

I'm fine with the back tie, but there are occasions when you may want to double knot. Too long is better than too short (general life rule).

And that's it! All that's left to do is figure out how to get them on :)

This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.

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  1. This is so cool. Do they not flop open? I am going to have to give them a try.

  2. Did you make your daughter a pair? What were the dimensions?

  3. Lucy - they are surprisingly discreet when standing, but when sitting they could potencially exposed some thigh. But all the really important bits are very much hidden.

    anon - I did not, mostly because it would be a total nightmare to have a kid trying to learn the potty but not be able to put her pants back on. However, when she's older I'll have a go. I could see some sort of elasticized version for the summer months for the wee ones. Unfortunately, summer months are very far away right now... shall revisit the project in the spring.

  4. First I wanted to say all your tutes are so easy to follow and creative! I have some of these pants that were my moms. She bought them at the Ren. Festival over 14 years ago.

    I've been the proud ower of them for as long as they would fit me (which is a long time) although they have a minor tear toward the bottoms. I wore them when I was prego and recently I was thinking of making myself another pair...I was just trying to figure out how to do it. Thank you for your awesome tutes!

  5. Just to make sure I know what I'm sewing, here-- these are open down the outside edges, right? Like Thai fisherman pants? Sounds comfy, though I dunno that a Wisconsin winter would be too friendly toward them.

  6. yes, they are open on the sides. And, no, not friendly in winter. Though my husband, aka nutter, disagrees (and we live in Canada). He even had me make him up a special christmas day pair. For us normal people, though, summer is better :)

  7. I suppose they could be made from polar fleece. Or fur. Or that stuff that they insulate the space shuttle with.

    Seriously, though-- I would think these could be altered slightly to include some sort of lower-leg ties.... I'm thinking of the joy that wearing open-side pants near a 7 month old would bring. :) Very nice tut, though-- I'll be making some of these for summer.

  8. My husband has some sort of toggle plan he's been hatching for discretion... I think he's going to try to wear them to work :0

  9. My husband has some sort of toggle plan he's been hatching for discretion... I think he's going to try to wear them to work :0

  10. I was really intrigued by these when I ran across your tute. I haven't sewn anything for almost two years, so it took me about an hour to knock these out. I must have done something wrong following your formula to figure the waist line dimension before cutting the pieces. My finished product barely overlaps at the hips; but that's okay because now I can make adjustments when I do it with the good material. I'm thinking about eliminating the ties all together and going with a bit of elastic in the waist and either a 2 or 4 button closure. Either way, they are going to be great for lounging around the house.

    1. Agreed. I wish I'd read all the way through the comment thread before starting. I followed the formula for my sweetie's pants, and they didn't meet on the sides, let alone overlap. (36" waist / 4 = 9" + 4 = 13"... I should have used 6", and I should have really used even more than that. The bottom of the pants did overlap ok, and we also liked the button idea.

      We bought another yard of fabric & I'm going to finish his, which will look awesome, then attempt a pair for myself. I'm going to sew the side seams closed & incorporate the directions from this pattern on how to tie around the waist...

      They were fun to make and pretty simple - I just wish I had planned for more overlap!

  11. ooh, I'm still waiting to try the elastic too. I'm going to experiment with my wee monkey and then make one for me too (because though my husband likes the ties, I find re-tying everytime I use the potty to be completely annoying. But maybe that's just me.)

  12. Well, I couldn't wait to get the final version done. It is all about experimentation, so I'll try to explain what I did different and hope it makes sense. First, to get a better overlap at the sides for myself, I divided my waist measurement by 3 (instead of 4) and then added 2/3 of that number to itself to figure out my pattern layout. I left hemming the cuffs until the end. I totally eliminated the ties by adding a waist band piece to both. One flap was flush from crotch to crotch opening. The other was extended from the crotch opening long enough to go all the way around the waist where I put a button and corresponding button hole. On the other flap (without the tabs) I used two more buttons and button holes where it met the first waistband flap. I fit it so it was comfortable around the waist but wouldn't slip down over my hips. It can be put on either way, but I button the tabs in front and then pull it up between my legs and button the other flap in place towards the back of the hips. Being a male, this configuration works for most of my potty purposes because I only have to undo one button. I may still add velcro closures somewhere around the knees to keep them semi-closed when I sit down. I used the pieces I cut from the crotch to make patch pockets. They looked good enough, I wore them to run to the store this evening!!

  13. Thanks for sharing your method! It sounds awesome, much more convienent than ties, and I'm glad you felt good enough to go out in public (and if you're like my husband - who values comfort much more than conventional - it won't be long before you're wearing them to formal family holiday celebrations). If you get a picture of them, please share!

  14. I tried it using a really elastic fabric and a really stiff fabric. The flimsier fabric was really nice feeling and comfortable but it made my sewing machine explode (thread kept getting caught in the shuttle without a million layers of interface) so I couldn't play with it much. The stiffer fabric was so much more fun, I put elastic around the back of the waist. I don't recommend elastic in the front, it is very uncomfortable (I am preggo I thought I needed it but it just makes the front poof out, think pleated khakis on guys) One button was all I needed to fasten it and a bit of velcro to get the under layer to stay up! If you can get the under layer to stay even with the waistline there are no modesty issues whatsoever and not too many buttons. My husband thinks they are the coolest, he calls them "crazy samurai pants"
    One complaint- even though the crotch measures right on paper, for some reason it ends up waaaaaaay too long. I will have to keep working on it.
    Anyways thanks for your great pattern, very fun to play with :D

  15. thanks faith roberts! Good ideas!

    It's been a long time since I've had to adjust this pattern. When I start making our summer clothes it looks like I'm going to have to revisit some of my measurements in this tutorial (because I don't remember how to make them offhand :0 ) and see if I can make them a bit more useful.

  16. It took me a while to get some pics, and then try to figure out how to make them available for viewing. They are stored here, if anybody is interested.

    I don't have a dress makers dummy, so I also had to figure out how to show some of the construction details without showing off any private bits that nobody would really want to see anyways. Some of the pics are a little blurry; but it was the best I could come up with. I added a separate waistband all around. As you can see (I hope!?!), on the inner flap I extend the tabs completely around my waist and added a button hole and button. Where the outer flap meets the inner flap I added two more buttons and button holes. I didn't get a good enough pic, so I couldn't show the alteration I made for keeping the legs a little more discreet. But basically I used a small velcro where the outer flap meets the inner flap hem about 6 - 8 inches above the knee. I have enough material left that I am just going to put cargo pockets over the thread that shows through the flap where the velcro is attached. It is just enough to keep the wind from showing off more than I had intended.

    It may only be February, but down here in Mississippi I've been able to wear them out and about. I've gotten some positive comments.

    The last two pics (the beige pair) were my first attempt before modifying the dimensions and eliminating the ties. They look fine from the front, but the overlap on the sides left something to be desired.

  17. thanks for sharing tinksdad, they look great! I'm am definitely using this idea for the next pair I make my husband.

  18. There are two pairs of pants screaming at me to use this pattern. One would be a big, billowy linen pair to wear to the Ren Festival in a few weeks. It's down in Phoenix where it's in the 70's, but I'm a mountain girl and it's still very much snowy and cold here. I know I'll be hot.

    The other pair is a rib knit capri length for summer 'jamas. I love having huge wide open thigh jammies in summer, but long ones just cause me to stumble and lurch about like a drunkard.

    I'll post pics in my blog when/if I ever get these made. Oh, and yeah I'm going to do an elastic casing for the pajamas, and a single drawstring in front for the linen.

  19. These are absolutely fantastic. I've made two pairs using your tutorial, and have the material to make a third.
    Also, I modified another pair a bit to have closed sides, just as a very wide-legged pair of pants with a drawstring, and they're amazing.
    Thanks so much!

  20. Just had to come back since my original post and say how much I love these, I made the original pair (after a test run) with buttons and button holes instead of ties. I've been on a diet since then, and lost almost 6" of waist line. It was very easy to just move the buttons to accommodate. I've made a couple more pairs since (no pics) and absolutely love them.

  21. yay, I'm glad these are working for people! It's good to hear! Very good.

    Tinksdad, congrats on the weight loss!

  22. Hi Vegbee, I'm here for the first time and wanted to say thank you for this tutorial!
    I sewed them today (I found the width of the front part was a bit too small to wrap around far enough but I sewed them closed at the knees instead) and they are soo comfortable!
    The tutorial is perfect and was really easy to follow.
    So Thanks!
    I took a pic of them here:

  23. My sister and I found a pair at a local mall and got for her to complete her gypsy ren costume and I have fallen in love with the idea of wrap pants! I found this tutoral helpful and I made a good pair of double tie for my boss (I work with an awsome boss) and she absolutely loves them. My problem is it gets so cold here in the winter I went to go make a lined pair and I failed.

    Also tip for bigger pants. Haven't tried it yet but instead of using two pieces of fabric and cutting on the fold use four and sew extra at the inseam. (where the fold is on smaller pants) --will work on this and post pictures when done!

  24. AWESOME tute, can't wait to try them out. These were very popular when I was a teen in South Africa at Greenmarket Square. Very hip(pie)/funky little part of Cape Town.

    And I think your disclaimer is lovely. :)

  25. I have owned 3 pairs of these for years. I love them. However age and a spreading midriff have lead to me wearing them less as they don't wrap over as much as they used to.

    I used your tutorial and one of the pairs as a pattern and now am sat in a pair I made last night without flashing most of my thighs to the world!

    The best thing is that the material came from an old sheet so I feel like an uber Kermit :o)

  26. Years ago after graduating high school, I got the chance to visit Hawaii. While there I bought two pairs of wrap shorts absolutely lived in them.

    I've been thinking about them lately, did a google search and found your blog. I'm far from an accomplished sewer, but I may have to try to make some.

  27. Just last night I was thinking about making some pants...but I don't want an elastic waist. So I thought of leaving a few inches of the side seams open, and using ties...just like a pair of scrubs a surgeon was wearing during an appointment with me, but I kept getting distracted cause they didn't overlap so you could see his black underwear in the gap. I was wondering how to eliminate the gap. Never thought to leave the entire leg open, LOL.

  28. A friend of mine pointed me out to your site about a week ago and I've been looking around. I LOVE the stuff you have here and am ready and willing to try some of it but...I get confused super easy. On these wrap pants, for example, you say to find the width you should divide your waist size by four? Shouldn't you be multiplying it, since these are supposed to wrap all the way around? I'm confused.

  29. Thanks for the kind words Teri!

    The instructions are for creating a pattern piece that represents 1/2 of one leg (position on the fabric fold to cut a whole leg piece). To figure out this pattern piece you should divide your waist by 4 (and then add 3-5 inches, as followed up with in the tutorial for the overlap). The pants do not actually wrap all the way around, but wear like a regular pair of trousers that happen to have open sides that overlap.

  30. Hi Love your tutes.
    I think you should start with the HIP measurement instead of the waist. Just me. I learned from experience!

  31. These pants are fantastic, thank you so much for the tute! I'm pretty new to sewing but these are so easy.

    I linked to this tute on my blog

    Thanks again!

  32. I loooove this tutorial! Being that I wanted to wear these immediately, I found a beach coverup that I never use in my closet and got to cutting. The ties are magnificent, but I did modify a bit....I made a waistband out of an old knit tank top. These are my new fav pants, thanks to you!

  33. Haha...I commented two years ago, clearly confused. Just wanted you to know that since then, I've made myself two pairs of these pants, my husband two pairs, and my step daughter a pair. What I used were...brace yourself...old tablecloths! And I must say, they are THE most comfortable pants I own, especially since my weight fluxuates from month to month. I always sew up the sides though, I don't leave open flaps.

  34. It's been awhile since the original post, but I saw a pair of these while in Europe this summer. I knew they would be pretty easy to make, so I started looking for a pattern. This pattern is a good starting point.

    However, just one comment - if you take your waist measurement, divide by 4 and then add 3 - 5 inches, you will end up with pants that barely close on the sides. This is because you are cutting out the crotch area which is 3 inches wide - which removes the potential overlap from the sides. So just make sure to add a couple more inches to have the correct amount of overlap.

    Hope this helps...

  35. I absolutely love these pants and have modified them for my toddler/preschooler in a different way than your fully elastic waist. Here's the post I made:
    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome tutorial and I hope I do you proud :)

  36. I have been looking for this pattern for a while (i found it and it gone straight to my pins :) ). It was real fun project, except when i could not made up where the waist was and i looked like MC Hammer in all his glory lol. But once I get my head around it, it was easy peasy. Thanks so much x