Thrifty Upcycle Tutorial: How to Sew Pants From Old Curtains

9 Materials
4 Hours

For this project I flipped some thrifted curtains into a pair of straight leg pants. They have a high waist, a side zipper and optional pockets.

I'm going to show you how to make a pants sewing pattern suitable even for a beginner to use, and exactly how to sew pants that fit you perfectly.

The curtains I used are a self-lined mixed fabric, not too thick but firm enough to work with easily.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • 8 inch (20 cm) zipper
  • Large sheet of paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
Taking measurements

1. Take your measurements

For the front pants, measure the length you want from waistline to ankle and add 1.6 inches (4 cm) for the hem. 

Draw a straight line of this length along the longest side of your paper.

Take your waist measurement at your natural waistline, divide by 4 and add 2.25 inches (5.5 cm).

Draw a line perpendicular to the first line starting at the left edge and going straight up.

My pattern piece is 28.3 inches (72 cm) in length and 8.9 inches (22.5 cm) wide.

Making straight leg pants sewing pattern

2. Make the pattern

See the video from 0:50 for how to make the pattern. Transfer all markings to the fabric.

Cut out the pattern pieces, adding a seam allowance on all sides of 0.4 inches (1 cm). 

Pin the pattern pieces to the fabric and cut 2 each of the front and back.

Sewing darts

3. Sew darts

Pin the waist darts along their length and stitch. Press them flat towards the center of the pants.

Pocket pattern

4. Make the pocket pattern

See the video at 6:58 for how to make the pattern for the optional side pockets.

Cutting out pockets

5. Cut out pockets

Cut two pocket pieces for each side and mark the position of the opening on each and on the front pants pieces.

Attaching pockets

6. Attach pockets

Iron a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the extension on one of the pocket pieces and pin in place on the front pants, matching the position of the opening.

Stitch round the marked opening and carefully cut open through all layers.

Attaching pockets

Turn the pocket to the inside through the opening and press.

Attaching pockets

Turn under the flap and stitch along the short edges.

Finishing pockets

7. Finish pockets

Pin the second pocket piece over the first, right sides facing. Sew the pieces together around all edges.

Inserting zipper

8. Insert zipper

Open the zipper and pin to the side seam of the back pants piece, on the right side. 

Line up the top of the teeth with the marked waistband line. 

Inserting zipper

Lay the front piece over the back, right sides together, and pin the zipper to the front pants.

Sew in place, close to the teeth on both sides.

Side seams

9. Side seams

Pin the side seams together from below the zipper to the hem, leaving the ends of the zipper tape free, and sew.

Pinned seams

10. Sew crotch and leg seams

Lay the front piece over the back, right sides facing, and pin and stitch the crotch seams.

Pinned seams

Matching the crotch seams at the center, pin and sew the long leg seam.


11. Waistband

Overlock the top edge of the pants. Iron interfacing to the top of the pants on the inside.

Fold to the right side and pin and sew in place, leaving the ends of the zipper tape free. 


Trim off the excess tape and turn the waistband to the inside.

Top stitch along the top edge of the waistband, matching the side and center seams.


12. Hem

Turn up a double hem on each leg and sew in place.

How to sew pants: Completed straight leg pants

How to sew pants: Completed straight leg pants

How to sew pants

I'm so pleased with how these came out!

The curtain fabric has a slightly brushed surface that gives a suede-like effect. And even better, straight leg pants are very flattering, making you look taller and slimmer. 

If you like my DIY pants and you'd like to see more patterns like this, let me know in the comments and check out my post on How to Turn a Men's Shirt Into a Cute Dress.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • 8 inch (20 cm) zipper
See all materials

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