Make Pants Bigger & Upcycle to Tuxedo Bow Pants



Introduction: Make Pants Bigger & Upcycle to Tuxedo Bow Pants

About: I've loved textiles since I was a kid. My well-educated grandmother introduced me to the magic of sewing. The redemptive and transformative nature of sewing is like good therapy - only cheaper.

How to get a second life out of a pair of pants? Need to give yourself a bit more room in a great pair of pants you already own? Love upcycling and updating at the same time? These cute tuxedo bow pants are not that difficult!


  • Pair of pants to upcycle
  • Fabric (mine was a 1950's dress that my mother-in-law gave me for the purpose of re-using the fabric. She already had it partially deconstructed). 1 yard fabric (if you are buying new)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Hook & eye (optional)
  • 5" of elastic, width of 1/2" or 1" (also optional)

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Step 1: Cut/Remove Waistband & Seam Rip Outside Leg Seams

Cut off the waistband and use a seam ripper to open up seams on outer legs of pants. This is a great step for in front of your favorite episode because it is somewhat tedious.

Seam rip the front fly zipper out while you are at it and sew closed the front fly along one of the already existing stitching lines.

Step 2: Sew Side Stripes/Seams

Cut two 2" wide strips that are as long as your pants with added length for the hem. (2" width will give you a finished tuxedo stripe of 1" wide.)

Pin these strips to the front side seams, right sides facing together, and sew 1/2" away from the edge. Finish raw edges with a zig-zag stitch. Press seams toward the strip you attached.

Repeat this step to attach front leg to back leg. However, we will also re-use the front fly zipper that you seam-ripped out as the side zipper. Measure the length of the zipper and use the basting stitch (or the longest stitch length your machine has) for this length as you are sewing up the side seam (basting stitch only at the top). We will rip these stitches out once the zipper is in. I used a double pin on this side to remind myself to start the basting stitch at that point. It's just much easier to rip out that way after the zipper goes in.

Unzip zipper and place it facing down along the wrong side of your side seam with the teeth exactly in the middle of the seam. Pin in place. Sew this side with your zipper foot. Zip up zipper to sew the second side. If you need a better visual aid of all this, see my video tutorial. :)

Step 3: Hem

Fold under side seams (twice - double fold) and sew starting along the same stitching line as the original pant hem.

Step 4: Sew Sash

Cut sash the length of the outer side seam x2 plus the measurement of the waistline. You will most likely need to piece together lengths of fabric to get it as long as you would like it. Just make sure these seams don't fall along the waistband part of the sash - I didn't want a seam running down the middle of my front or anything like that. You could actually make your seam exactly halfway along your sash and place that seam on the side opposite of the zipper opening and it won't be conspicuous at all there.

Cut 45 degree angles to your ends if you want your sash to be pointed as I did. Totally a personal preference! Still cute with squared off edges - and maybe less pirate-like. :)

Determine how wide you want your sash and add 1" for seam allowances. You could fold your fabric and not have to sew along the top edge of your sash at all. In this case, you would only need to add a 1/2" seam allowance to the width.

Sew the ends of the sash by pinning right sides together. being sure to leave an opening in the center as wide as the waist of the pants. Sew 1/2" away from the raw edges, leaving machine needle down in your fabric to pivot turn at the corners.

Turn right side out and press. Be sure to turn under your raw edges of opening and press those too.

Pin the sash to the pants, making sure you are catching both the front and back sash in your pinning. Sew sash on pants. I used a zig-zag stitch for this step.

I did fix the gaping in the back of the sash once sewn on with 5" of elastic (see video). You can probably also just make a dart in the center back of the sash if you don't have any elastic on hand.

If you add a hook & eye (or snap or button) just at the top of the sash where they come together to tie, it will keep the bow from sagging too much. But I haven't done this step yet and you can see in the pics that it looks just fine without it too.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Pant's Second Life!

That's it! Easy peasy, brand-new, darling pants!

I can't wait to make a pair for myself!

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