How to Sew Summer-wrap-around-pants





Introduction: How to Sew Summer-wrap-around-pants

About: I like to explore new things and try out stuff. At the moment I'm in to electronics, BLE and LEDs.

This is how to sew a summer wrap-around pant! It's really easy to sew, only straight stitching lines and an easy pattern.

You may know this wrap around skirts that girls wear in summer?
If you live somewhere in southern asia it's no problem to wear them as a man, but here in central europe the people are not used to it and may give you strange looks.

But this wrap around technique is really good and so I made me a manly wrap around pants. If you use the right fabric it's even better than shorts! But you can of course make the the pants as long as you want, also short. ;-)

I used blue linen for mine. It's cool and looks good and you don't have to bother about orientation of the fabric.

Step 1: Start With the Pattern

Because I sewed my pants years ago, I couldn't make a detailed photo-documentation of all steps, but it's so easy, even beginners can do it. I provide sketches and pictures of the finished pants.

In the first picture you can see what the pattern looks like.
 Because it is a rather free design you don't need to worry too much about the size. Start with a fabric that is 10cm bigger and trim it in the end. If it gets too big, just make a new hem and trim the rest.

You need two size values: Your waits and the length of your legs, or the length that you want your pants to be.

Step 2: Adjust Sizes

The first picture is the flat pattern that you need when you lay the fabric flat on the ground, its two layers face to face. The second picture shows the pants at step 5 after joining the parts at the main seam.
Make the front and back side as long as 2/3 of your waist circumference. On each side you only need 2cm for sewing a hem. The front and back are made half from the upper piece of cloth and half from the lower, look at the second picture to see what I mean.
The length should be 5-10cm longer than finally desired length, because of the large hem at the top.

In the picture you can see how these values make up the pattern.

To make an example: Say your waist circumference is 100cm, then the front and back part should be 66cm wide. That means each side gets 33cm + 2cm for the hem (Value A on picture).
Now assume that you yourself need a circular space inside the pants, that means the distance between the front point and the back point of the main joint is: circumference / pi ≈ 32 cm. (wide: 2xA + space = 98cm)

The length of the final pants should be 80cm, that would give us a length of the fabric of 90cm, value B. (length: 90cm)

Start with two identical pieces of fabric (size 98cm x 90cm) and lay them face to face on a big table or the ground. Obey the orientation of the fabric, or just use one that looks the same in all directions, it's easier.

 Now, start to draw the cut-away for your waist to the fabric. Even though you are now looking to the left side of the final pants you should take some kind of washable chalk or some pencil. Don't use Edding markers! ;-)

Step 3: Fix the Seam With Fixing Pins and Sew

Cut out the gap from the two pieces. The exact way doesn't matter. Just make it a nice looking curve just as on the picture. If you make it too large, then the gusset will be hanging between your knees. Is that still modern?

Now start to fix the seam between the two legs with fixing pins. Just put one side on top of the other and fix it with a pin.
 Then sew over two times with a small distance between. This way you get a broad seam that's really tough and flat. Look at the sketch to see what I mean it. I guess there must be some word for it, but I don't know, may be flat seam? Any better jeans has this kind of seam.

Step 4: Make the Ribbon to Close the Pants

From some scrap fabric we now make two ribbons to fix the pants while wearing.

For some light weight fabric like silk or similar, you could also think about fixing 4 ribbons on each end and then make small knots while wearing.

For heavier fabric like linen, I used a piece of Velcro fastener. Add the rough part to the pants and the soft to the ribbon. In my case, I added an additional belt loop at the edge of the fabric to act as a support for the ribbon.

The ribbons must be at least as long as the gap of 1/3 of your waist circumference plus some 10 centimeters more to fix them in the hem and on the other side.
My hint: Make them much longer and later adjust the length that is sewn in the hem. Make one good looking end that is outside and trim the end that goes inside the upper hem of the pants.

Step 5: Finish All the Other Hems

Before finishing the pants by sewing the upper hems and inserting the ribbons it is best to sew all the side hems. (blue ones in the picture)
It depends on your style if you want to fix all the other hems with pins before sewing. Or even iron the hems before fixing it. A lot of work can be done here.
I made them quite easy by just flapping the edge over and stitching along the edge. This way the open rim of the fabric is still visible, but it's much less work than a more complex hem.

Step 6: Adjust the Ribbon in the Upper Hems

The only really important hems are the upper ones. Even though, when wearing a T-Shirt or something similar, it's not visible any more...

I suggest to make a 5cm broad hem on the upper part. It gives you a good feeling when wearing it and makes the pants look really good. If you want, you can apply additional stickers or other objects on the front hem.

Start fixing the hem in the middle of the pants, where the two pieces of fabric are sewn together.  First bend over only 1cm, then 5cm, look at the picture. This way the end of the fabric is finally inside the hem.

Now is the time to adjust the final length of the ribbon. When getting to the side of the front part, put the ribbon inside the hem and fix it with some additional stitches  But make sure that you have at least 10cm inside the hem! 

Now the last step is to adjust the length of the pants and finally sew the lower hems.

Step 7: Wear It!

Well now it is time to wear it! 

I dress it on this way. I grab the back part and fix it with the ribbon, then I grab the front part between my feet and fix it too. 
I also saw people wear it the other way around, with the opening to the front, but I don't like that.

If you like it: Please vote for me at the summer sewing contest! Thanks!



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    Was trying to figure out how this pants thing was done for a while now. It all looked so confusing until i saw your 3D diagram. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    yesterday tried out makin thai wrap pants, basically the same way. I took double size of my waist, closed the sides and added more material to the top. So in the end you can use it like this:

    I do mine from Bassetti curtain fabrics (italian printed light cotton fabric)

    Had a hard time "wrapping" my head around these at first, but they came out great!

    I had looked at a bunch of wrap pants tutorials and was still confused, but your instructable (especially the diagram!) made it clear. I love my wrap pants. Thanks so much for your awesome instructable. ^_^


    I've been working on a pair of these. Birch Street patterns makes a pattern for it called "island pants'. I lost the instructions while working on it, but it's hard to go wrong with a little thought. What I'm wondering about is crating some way of keeping the pants closed at the lower end so that they can also serve as warm pants. I love the changeableness of the size and the non-restrictiveness of the design!

    I looked at several different guides online for making these, and they were all confusing, but yours made perfect sense! I am wearing my new pair of wrap pants right now, and they're great. So easy! Thanks for making such a great instructable.

    1 reply

    Thanks for your comment! And have fun this summer with your new pants!

    These are terrific pants, no doubt, and certainly don't require a commercially-produced pattern. However, for those who just have to have a ready-made pattern, several versions of this have been published over the last 30-40 years! I made my first pair in the early 70's - a red-and-white, Italian tablecloth-type check - hehehe. I think that a nice solid linen would suit me much better today. As for those commercial patterns, Burda may have one, and either Simplicity, Butterick or McCalls, can't remember which right now, but as AndyK75 has shown, they really are simple, even without a pattern. One other thing, the layer that wraps 'underneath' can have an elastic casing across the top and be hooked at center back, instead of tied. This reduces the tie bulk under the outer layer and is still very, very comfortable. If you do this, then the outer layer gets a casing with a drawstring run through. Darn, now I need to go cut a few pairs of these!

    I would love to make these pants, but the tutorial is really confusing. I'm not sure how the legs work, because it doesn't look like the pattern has any legs. Maybe you can help me? I love the look of these and would love to try to make a pair or two. I get from the top comment that the round part is where you put it around your middle. Can you explain the legs?

    2 replies

    Did the answer of oldhamedia help you?
    Well I try short:
    The orange thing is the crotch. Just sew the two parts together here.
    Now look at the picture in step 5.
    Put the crotch, where it should be and flap around the 4 ends. 
    With the 'ribbons' or 'ties' the two ends of the back gets connected in the front. While the two front ends get connected in the back. 
    The legs are open to the side and are just overlapped depending on how long the value 'A' is.

    oh yes, i totally get it now!!!! I'm going to make these this weekend!!!!! Thanks for explaining!

    Andy, thanks for replying! I think it's getting clearer now. Is the circular space the same as that orange semi-circular cut-out shown in the diagram with step 2? I assume that is the crotch seam? I was a little confused about the ribbons at the hems..Are these the ties at the waist? I usually think of the hem as being at the bottom. I'm being too literal, I guess. I'd be glad to help you make up a pattern or template once I've figured it out entirely for myself and made a pair of pants. Wish me luck, and thanks for your instructable!

    1 reply

    Yes, indeed the orange thing is the crotch seam! Beside my missing sewing-knowledge I'm also no native english speaker... I was looking for this word 'crotch'.
    And I think the 'ribbons at the hems' are really what you called ties at the waist. I only knew 'tie' as a piece of cloth that men wear around their neck.
    I guess you're on the right track! Do you have a pattern of how normal pants are made? I might have a look at it 

    Wonderful Instructable! I'm going to try these as soon as I get a chance!

    These are some of the easiest and most comfortable pants ever! I've made several pairs over the years and while it looks confusing, once you see how they go together, it all makes perfect sense. If the center seam is puzzling, imagine a regular pair of pants with the seams on the outside of the legs opened up from hip to the floor. The large U shape cut into the two pieces of fabric are sewn together and are what run from the front, under your crotch, and up the back - like the front and back center seams on regular pants. I've also made 'bloomers' of a fashion from this same pattern. Since I have thighs that touch, shorts crawl up and bunch in the crotch and wearing nothing under summer dresses causes chafing. A lightweight cotton pair of these in short length are the perfect solution for us big-legged gals! (I also add two more ribbons to the bottoms and tie them in a cute bow at knee level!) You have my vote! Good luck!

    I love the CONCEPT, but I honestly cannot figure out the diagrams or directions. I'm a sewer, but I guess it's because I'm used to using a commercial sewing pattern, but this doesn't compute for me. For instance, in step 2 you refer to a "circular space inside the pants". I don't understand what that is. If anyone has used this pattern & instructions to actually construct these pants, it would be helpful to have input. Also, I'm not clear on the diagram or directions for step 6. Have been dying to make a pair of pants like these!

    1 reply

    No problem, I never learned sewing by anyone and just made it up by myself, and I might have a big problem reading pattern... ;-)
    The 'circular space inside the pants' refers to the waist-size (?). In the picture I attached labeled 3. As the pants are flat until you wear it I didn't have no better idea to describe it.
    In step 5 the red seam goes from your belly button to the lower end of your backside. Step 6 is a drawing of the front hem with the ribbon included, viewed from the side. You just fold over the fabric twice and put the ribbon inside before you sew it over.

    I hope this helps you a little bit. Would you like to make a pattern? Maybe we can make a collaboration?


    If I recall, it is in fact actually just called a 'flat felled seam' or a 'jeans seam' XD Ahh, I love this project so much. I have a pair of these I bought years ago, and I keep meaning to make myself another set too... Just the inspiration I needed! <3

    These are similar to "Thai Fisherman Pants" at least in how they look, but those don't wrap around so much as they do fold-around, and they are seamed entirely. But they ARE unbearably comfy, that's for sure. And I would imagine that these are much more cost efficient to make than they are to buy, so WOOHOO! Great 'ible! - Pj

    1 reply

    Thanks for the hint. I searched the web a bit for the Thai fischerman pants and it seems that these are 'normal' pants, just that the waist is not closed by a zipper and a button, but with a ribbon.

    I forgot to mention ONE REAL BIG ADVANTAGE:
    This pants could be pulled on and off without the need to pull the leg through a tube! This is especially important for people with a leg in plaster!