Monday, October 20, 2014

Men to Boys Pants Refashion & Zipper Tutorial

Check out this refashion I made for my son's new pants!  I used our favorite pattern
Ottobre 4/2008 #33 Hi-Hat Pants, Size 140 with added length

You'll see some pics below how I cut out the pattern using a men's size pant.  I was able to keep all the outside leg cargo pockets intact.

I turned up the bottom hem 1 inch and then again another inch, so I can let the length out for growing room.

The only place I had to get resourceful was where the front pocket joined the back yoke (you'll see below how this created an usual angle cutting the pant leg out as one piece).  I couldn't sew a side seam here, so I overlapped the edge and then created a strap to cover the rough edges.  With so much going on in the fabric and pockets, it is barely noticeable.

Pockets all the way down the leg--how cool is that?  My son loves these!

I started with a pair of camo pants, as well as a jacket (not pictured).  A military surplus store is a great place to find a pair unless you know someone willing to part with theirs.  Ebay might be another good source for a used pair.

Cut along both inseam pant legs and lie flat.

I laid my pattern along the outer leg seam, making sure to disregard the seam allowance on my pattern since the front and back pattern pieces are joined together (see below).

You can see how the "seam allowance" is overlapped where the pattern is joined as if one.

Now I have a complete leg piece.  It looks kind of strange how the top portion is cut, but at the moment it does not include the back yoke or the fabric that will be added to create the pocket.  For this pant, I left off the pocket flap since I have plenty of pockets all ready. 

Order of assembly:

Sew the back yokes on.
 Attach the pocket and pocket facings to the front leg sections.
 Make my strip to cover the side seam that was overlapped.
 Sew the leg inseams.  
Put one pant leg inside the other and sew the crotch seam, leaving the fly facing open.  
Insert the zipper.
 Make the belt loops.
 Attach the waistband.

I'm not sure why I haven't thought of doing this before; it was pretty easy and not to mention very time saving!  I had these pants done in just a couple of hours.  I cut out the back yoke, waistband, and belt loop strips from the jacket.  If you don't have a jacket, you could also use a coordinating fabric.  I used tan micro twill for the waistband facing.  


Here is a fly-front zipper installation picture tutorial--I followed the instructions included in the Ottobre magazine for this.  Their illustration is very good, but I know sometimes it helps to see an actual project in progress.  By the time I took these pictures, the crotch seam had been sewn and fly shield constructed.

Sew the zipper to the fly shield

Press a narrow edge on the right front opening of the zipper facing 

Place zipper that is attached to fly shield underneath narrow edge and sew

Fold the left front zipper facing under and give it a good press

Now line up your zipper tape with the edge of the fly facing that you just pressed under.  Don't sew through all layers--only the folded under edge.

Like this...

Now prepare for top stitching, keeping fly shield out of the way

I give it another good press with the iron

Draw with chalk a top stitching line--I just free hand this

Finished with the zipper!  Do NOT cut off the top part of the zipper until after your waistband is sewn on.  I have done this...a couple of times.

That's it!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley


  1. Awesome upcycle Shirley! I am amazed that you got them out of that pair of pants and jacket. They look super cool and I am going to try to remember to try your hemming trick with the fold up 1" and again so that I can let them out when T grows :)

    1. Thanks Kristin! With my son liking these so much, I didn't dare cut off the pant leg and hem like I first was going to do. Plus, I probably won't have another pair of pants to do this with again, so I want to maximize the time he is able to wear them!

  2. Awesome refashioning, Shirley!!! And a very clever idea to add the strap to hide the front pocket to back yoke join. It looks part of the design.

    1. Thank you Pam! Even my husband was excited about these...seeing all the future thrifted pants that I can turn into wearable clothing LOL.

  3. What great pants! I think refashioning is even harder than sewing from scratch.

    1. Thanks! When I was doing them, I wasn't sure if they would turn out or not and thought I had failed when I couldn't get the side seam to work in the pocket area. Then I realized, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work!

  4. Very cool! I like all the pockets, too.

    1. Thanks Liza Jane! It was a huge success with my son. It always makes me feel so good when I come up with something new for him. It is hard to find things that work for boys, especially once they are a teenager!

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