How to Upsize Pants Quickly & Easily By Using Side Panels

7 Materials
30 Minutes

Sooner or later we all have a pair of pants that have gotten too tight. But with this DIY technique for making pants bigger with side panels, you’ll still be able to wear them.

This is a very simple upsize refashion tutorial, and you should be able to make your side panels from leftover fabric from other projects. That way your upsize refashion won’t cost you a penny!

Tools and materials:

  • Too-tight pants
  • Scrap fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Thread
  • Sewing pins and sewing needle
  • Sewing machine

1. Size your side panels

One way to work out how big your side panels will need to be is to place your too-tight pants on top of a pair of pants of similar shape that fit you well.

Then just measure the difference in width, double it (for front and back) and add a seam allowance. That will be the width you need for each side panel.

You could also take the full measure of your too-tight pants and your well-fitting pants and calculate the difference from that, but I think the first way is easier!

Removing the side seam from the pants

2. Remove side seams from pants

Turn your pants inside out and cut out the thick inside side seams from both legs. Cut from the bottom of your pants to the waistband, so you have two pieces.

Cutting pieces for the side panels

3. Add your side panels

I doubled my side panel fabric and sewed them into tubes for my side panels, to prevent fraying and make the side panels sturdier.

Pinning the panels to the pants

With right sides facing, pin your side panels to each side of one piece of your cut pants. Sew the side panels in place.

Sewing the side panels in place

Pin and sew the other side of the side panels to the other piece of your cut pants.

Making matching wrap bracelets

4. Bonus! Upcycle the cut-off side seams

Check out the wrap bracelets I made from the side seams I cut out of my pants. Just trim off excess threads and sew the ends together.

How to upsize pants

How to upsize pants

Now my pants fit and look great! Try it out for yourself and get the same fantastic results. Then leave a comment to let me know how you liked this DIY tutorial to make your pants bigger with side panels.

Suggested materials:
  • Too-tight pants
  • Scrap fabric
  • Scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • Nans Nans on Jun 26, 2023

    I've done this with both pants and tops. Each time I was pleased with results.

  • Mare Mare on Jul 11, 2023

    I would have liked to see how you finish the top of the pants. What do you do to reinforce the top of the pants if it has an elastic waistband or flat finished waistband? Thanks