elastic waist wrap pants

Wrap pants are a wonder during hot weather, particularly if they are made from linen. I like the traditional double tie wrap pants, but they can be a pain to re-tie every time you wee. For children, the ties are completely impractical and discretion becomes an issue on the playground when your pants open up all the way to your waistband. So, changing up the waist a little bit, and adding a few extra stitches on the side, I've made these kid (big and small) friendly pants, that have all the cooling benefits of the wrap pants, but are easier to get on and off and a whole lot more discreet.
Start with a favorite pattern for pants (or capris) that normally uses an elastic waist (or alter a pattern to do so). Trace out that pattern on a seperate piece of tissue or with wax paper, leaving some room on the sides of the pattern to make alterations.

An alternative: there are also instructions on how to make your own pattern on the original double tie wrap pants tutorial. With a bit of fandangling, you can increase the waist allowance to ensure it comes up over your hips. Then you can either do an elastic waist as suggested here orIf you use this pattern, you can make a casing to make a single tie for the front or side (like scrub pants). However, I haven't tried this yet so I can not vouch for the fit.

For the capris I've made here, I used a favorite pattern in a children's size 3T or 4T. To the entire length of the outside leg seams (both front and back) I've added 2" to make the overlapping portion of the pants. Big people: add more inches for the overlap.

You'll also want to take a moment to decide how you are going to finish the edges of the pants. Mainly the length of the pants will be affected depending on how you want to finish the hem. You may not need any alteration here if you do a regular hem on the bottom. For these pants, I've cut off the hem allowance since I decided to treat the bottoms as an extention of the sides. I find it's nice to add a bit of curve to the bottom of wrap pants since a square edge tends to curl out, but this is mostly aesthetics.

After you make your pattern alterations, cut out your pieces and sew together to the inside seams and crotch. Hem or otherwise finish the side seams and bottom.
To put in the elastic waist, I decided to sew together the overlap and treat it as a regular waistband with a casing for elastic. I've made notches on the top of the front and back leg pieces that indicate where the original seam would of been (2" from the edge).
Align these notches and pin in place, making the topmost overlapped piece the front of the leg (in otherwords, you want the front of your pants to overlap the back of your pants, unless you enjoy having your pants flap open everytime you take a step. Which you might - I make no judgement.)

Make a mark where the waistline of your pants are and stitch the two edges to each other to the waistline mark. This closes up the overlaps so you can treat the waistband casing as one piece.
Add your casing and elastic band, finishing the waist as usual.

For my daughter's pants, I wanted to close the top few inches of the flaps to avoid underwear peek a boos (reason: obvious). One way to do so is to stitch in the ditch of your topmost flap side seam. Or you could add buttons, snaps, or a pocket. But, since I am beginning to learn embroidery, I decided to do a blanket stitch all along the edges of the sides and bottom with some cotton yarn, stitching the top flap directly onto the bottom flap for the top 3":Anyway you close the top of the sides, you can see it does make a difference in action:

All that's left to do is wait for some warm weather.

Comments/questions welcome, as always :)

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, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or 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. Super-cute. I bet that would work well on shorts for us big folks.

  2. i've seen soooo many things you've made for your little one. you're extremely talented! i'm loving these new pants. hopefully they're not too girlie...i'd love to make a pair for my little boy once he's here. oh, and i absolutely looove the blue stitching down the sides! really makes them complete.

  3. wonderful lovely fabulous and i will make some, thanks for you being you telling me what to do!!!

  4. Love these! I have made a ton of peasant tops with your tute, thank you for sharing.

    ps when is the baby due?

  5. yet another great tutorial! I can't wait to make some of these from the twins :)

  6. I love love love this pattern!

  7. Another fabulous tutorial!! :D

    i've been busy over on my blog too. Just posted a tute on how to make bloomers. :)


  8. thanks all for the lovely comments!

    lala, he arrived safe and sound on the 15th :)

  9. Awesome how you made these thumbs up my friend the kids look wonderful. Can't wait untill next time have fun on the blog what's it all about.

  10. OMG! Thank you for this Tute. About a year ago, I made myself some wrap pants out of some GORGEOUS blue, pink, purple batik twill. I only wore them once because the tie and untie idea got old after the 4th time I needed to use the bathroom (frequent bathroom user here) and put them away. I was about to donate them to the thrift store when I came across this tute. Thank you so much. You just helped me save my batik pants.

  11. I have to add a comment, I saw these a while ago and thought Ahh those are cute. I just found out that my 6 mo old niece broke her leg and is in a cast and I immediately came back here to get the directions to make her a pair of these to fit over her cast. So now I can truely say Thank you, Thank you. These will definately help out Mom and Dad with diaper changes and a broken leg.

  12. hey, never even thought of that... good idea! Of course, bad idea for your niece - poor baby! I hope she heals quick.

  13. I'll have to give this a go. Super-cute.

  14. I love these pants! Did you do your blanket stitch on your machine or by hand? What kind of thread is that? I love the effect!

  15. I just credited you on my blog, and thought you'd like to know. I love this tutorial, in fact ALL of your tutorials! I'm working on a circle skirt as we speak and a peasant dress is on my list. Thanks so much! You inspire me!

    Oh, and if you'd like to see, my blog is

  16. I just found your blog today and LOVE it! I am bound and determined to make these pants. I am however baffled by some of the instructions. After "pin together and match notches", I'm lost...until the end...I get how to finish the sides. I'm assuming the green dotted lines are where I would stitch? Is that after I cross the front 2" over the back 2" ?
    I will be back here often. Repurposing is what I do best!

  17. Jill,
    The 'notch match' is the overlap on the pants, where the notches represent where the original seam would be before you added on a bit of fabric. Don't worry about the green lines, just secure your waistband with the notches aligned and then doing your elastic and casing.

    did that make sense? I think it's my bed time...

  18. I am lovin' all your tutes girl! Keep on keepin on..and congrats on the new lil un (even though I am months late lol). I am expecting in January and am hunting up project sewing ideas for maternity/nursing/ie clothes I can wear while cookin' up baby, then perhaps even convert to nursing post baby arrival. I am loving your ideas and they are spurring me on...Thank you! Now to just get over being sick as a dog so I can accomplish more than sitting about like a sack of taters. *g