How to Make & Sew an Easy Sweatpants Pattern With Pockets

by Recreateful
9 Materials
2 Hours

Today, I'm going to show you how to make a DIY sweatpants pattern, as well as how to sew the sweatpants.

I’ve made sweatpants before, but I’ve learned so much more about sewing since then. I wanted to give updated instructions on how to make sweatpants so you can create the best possible version of these super-comfortable and super-cute DIY sweatpants.

Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Paper (to draw pattern)
  • Pair of loose-fitting shorts
  • One yard of fleece-lined jersey fabric
  • Wide elastic
  • Eyelet kit
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine
Measuring from waist to ankle

1. Take measurements

Before creating the sweatpants pattern, I took my measurements. First, I measured the length from my waist to my ankle.

Measuring the ankle circumference

Then, I measured the circumference of my ankle. 

Folding shorts with the back facing out

2. Trace around shorts

To draft the sweatpants pattern, I folded a pair of shorts in half with the back side of the shorts facing outwards. I pulled the seam of the crotch outwards so I could trace around the curve. 

Drawing the pattern for the sweatpants waistband

3. Draw a waistband

From the top edge of the pattern, I added 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) for the waistband. 

Mark the length of the sweatpants pattern

4. Draw the length

Using the measurement I took from my waist to my ankle, I measured out the length of my sweatpants and made a mark at the bottom.

Drawing the bottom hem of the sweatpants

5. Draw the width of the bottom hem

I took my ankle measurement, divided it by two, and then multiplied that number by 1.5 to determine the measurement for the bottom edge of the pattern.

Connect the top and bottom measurements

Then, I just connected the bottom line to the top part of the pattern with straight lines.

How to make a DIY sweatpants pattern

Drawing the cuff pattern for the sweatpants

6. Draw a cuff

At the bottom of the pattern, I added 10 centimeters (4 inches) to ensure I had enough space for an elasticized cuff.

Fold the shorts front side facing out

7. Draw the front pattern

To draw the front pattern of the sweatpants, I simply folded the shorts in the opposite direction, with the front facing out, and repeated the same steps as I followed for the back pattern.

Drawing the pocket pattern

8. Draw a pattern for the pockets

To draw the pattern for the pockets, I drew a 25-centimeter (10-inch) line and then measured 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) from the bottom of the line. From that point, drew a 13-centimeter (5 inch) line perpendicular to the first line. 

Freehand drawing the curved lines of the pockets

I freehanded the curved lines connecting the three points. 

Cutting out the sweatpants pattern pieces

9. Cut out all the pattern pieces

I cut out all the pattern pieces: one front piece, one back piece, and one pocket piece.

Testing the stretch of the fabric

10. Lay out the fabric

With this kind of fabric, it’s important to know which way it stretches. Lay the fabric so the width of the pattern lays in the direction in which the fabric stretches.

Lay the sweatpants pattern on the fabric

For me, this meant that my pattern was too long to fit on the fabric, so I had to cut the waistband and the cuffs separately from the rest of the pattern. If you have the option to cut it all together, that is preferable.

Cutting out the pattern pieces in stretchy fabric

11. Cut out the pieces of your pattern

I cut around my pattern pieces, leaving a one-inch seam allowance around the pattern. 

Use one pattern piece to cut the second

I cut two front pieces and two back pieces, flipping the first front piece over and using that as a guide to cut the second front piece, and repeating the process for the two back pieces. 

Cut the cuffs and waistband pieces

Then I cut out four waistband pieces, and four cuff pieces, leaving a one-inch seam allowance around the pattern as I cut.

Cut out the pocket pieces

Finally, I cut out four pockets.

Four pocket pieces

The front, back, cuffs, and waistbands

Use a ballpoint needle

12. Use the right needle

To help retain the stretch of the fabric, I used a ballpoint needle in my sewing machine. 

How to sew sweatpants

13. Sew the waistband and cuffs onto the leg pieces

As I mentioned before, my fabric was not long enough, so I had to cut the waistband pieces and cuff pieces separately. The first thing I did was sew a waistband piece and cuff piece onto the top and bottom of each leg piece.

Zigzag stitch to retain the stretch

I used a tight zigzag stitch to help retain the stretch of the fabric. 

Sewing the curved edges

14. Sew the pieces together along the curve

Next, I sewed the two front pieces together and two back pieces together, right sides facing, just along the curved edges. 

How to make sweatpants

15. Pin and sew the pocket pieces

I measured 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) down from the waistband and pinned each pocket piece along the side edges of each leg piece, right sides facing each other.

Sew the pocket pieces to the legs

16. Sew down the pocket pieces

Then I sewed the pocket pieces in place.

Pin the side seams, including pockets

17. Pin and sew the side seams of the pants together

I pinned the side seams of the front and back pieces together, including the pockets. I made sure the seams of the waistbands and cuffs were lined up as I pinned, as well as the pockets.

I measured 15 centimeters (6 inches) down from the top of the pockets, and left that unpinned, but pinned the two sides of the sweatpants together along the rest of the pocket seam.

Then, I sewed the side seams together, making sure to sew the pocket seam, as well.


Topstitch the pockets

18. Topstitch around the pocket

To make sure the pocket laid flat, I topstitched around the opening of the pocket on the front side of the sweatpants.

Pinning the inner seams

19. Pin and sew the inner seams

Once the outer seams and pockets were sewn together, I pinned the inner seams together, starting by matching up the crotch seams. 

Pinned inner seams, ready to sew

I pinned along the entire inner seam on both sides and sewed everything down. 

All the sweatpants pattern pieces sewn together

Cut two pieces of elastic

20. Cut the elastic

I cut two pieces of elastic the length of the circumference of my ankle, plus a one-inch seam allowance. I started with this thin elastic, but I recommend using a wider elastic.

Sew the elastic in a circle

21. Sew the ends of the elastic together

I made a circle with the elastic and sewed the ends together with a zigzag stitch.

Place the elastic around the cuffs

22. Sew the cuffs over the elastic

I placed the elastic around the cuff of my sweatpants.

Flip the cuff up

Then. I flipped the cuff up to cover the elastic.

Sew the cuff down around the elastic

Next, I sewed the cuff in place over the elastic. I folded the raw edge inward and stretched the fabric as I sewed.

Topstitch the cuff

23. Topstitch the cuff 

Though this was not necessary for the construction of the sweatpants, I thought it looked better to topstitch around the cuff seams.

Mark the points for the eyelets

24. Place the eyelets

I made a mark 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) from the center front seam, on either side of the seam to mark where the eyelets would go.

Cut holes

Then I made holes at the points I marked.

Cut two small pieces of fabric

I took two small pieces of fabric, and made holes in them, as well, 5 centimeters (2 inches) apart.

How to make drawstring sweatpants

I followed the instructions of my eyelet kit to insert the eyelets correctly.

How to sew drawstring sweatpants

25. Fold and sew the waistband

Next, I folded the waistband inwards and sewed it down along the top edge of the pants.

Cut elastic for the waistband

26. Cut and place the elastic

I cut a piece of elastic that fit comfortably around my waist, sewed the ends together, and placed it around the top of my sweatpants, underneath the waistband.

Pin down the waistband

27. Pin and sew down the waistband

With the elastic inside, I matched up the seams and pinned the waistband down. Then I sewed the waistband down, folding the raw edge inward, and stretching the fabric as I went. 


Topstitch the waistband

28. Topstitch the waistband

Once again, I topstitched around the seam of the waistband because I thought it looked better that way. 

Cut strips of fabric for the drawstring

29. Make a drawstring

I cut two long pieces of fabric for the drawstring.

Connect the strips

I connected the strips along an angled edge. 

Sew the long edge of the strip

Then I folded the strip in half lengthwise and stitched it closed with a zigzag stitch, leaving the ends open. 

Turn the drawstring right side out

30. Turn the drawstring right side out

I attached a safety pin to one end of the drawstring and inserted it into one open end.

I worked the pin through the tunnel of fabric until it came out the other side, and I was able to pull it out, pulling the fabric through with it, so the seam was hidden inside. 

Tie a knot

31. Tie a knot

I tied a knot on one end of the drawstring.

Pull the drawstring through the waistband

32. Pull the drawstring through the waistband

I attached a safety pin to the unknotted side of the drawstring and inserted it into one of the eyelets. Then I worked the pin through the waistband until it came out through the second eyelet. Then I knotted the second end of the drawstring. 

DIY sweatpants

DIY drawstring sweatpants

Back of the DIY sweatpants

How to make & sew a DIY sweatpants pattern

I absolutely love these DIY sweatpants because they were super-easy to make but they do not look like DIY at all. They are super comfortable, and I’m sure I will get a ton of wear out of them. 

If you use this tutorial to make your own DIY sweatpants, I would love to see your results.

Suggested materials:
  • Paper
  • Loose-fitting shorts
  • Fleece-lined jersey fabric
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
3 of 9 comments
  • Leslie Leslie on Sep 30, 2021

    Very nice tutorial and thank you for sharing how you accomplished making the pattern. I also am giving you kudos on knowing that the front and back of pants are different and that the front has a different curve. I have seen that most tutorials on making pants only copy the back of the pants and the fit is awful.

  • Mega Loki Mega Loki on May 08, 2022

    You're very welcome!