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Modify skirt pattern into pants pattern

terid1999 | Posted in Fitting on

I vaguely remember an issue of Threads that featured an article on how to convert a skirt pattern into a pants pattern.

Does anyone else remember this article or did I dream it?


Marietta, GA


  1. woodruff | | #1

    Every now and then this subject pops up, and you do occasionally see articles on how to achieve the transformation. One of the most-discussed subjects on any sewing forum is the immense difficulty most people have with fitting pants. I've been sewing since dirt was invented, I know how to fit and I know and what alterations I need to make--and even I would never attempt to convert a skirt into pants. Ye gods, the trouble it would take, with only a small likelihood of a good fit after all that effort!

    1. starzoe | | #2

      Exactly. I am with you on this. Could it be that the poster got it reversed? - turning pants into a skirt? That's more like it and quite doable.

      1. woodruff | | #3

        I bet you're right! There are a LOT of instructions on how to do that.

    2. sewingkmulkey | | #8

      You are exactly correct - making a pair of pants from a skirt pattern is crazy!  Taking your best fitting pants pattern and redesigning it using details from the skirt is a much easier route to go.


  2. cafms | | #4

    Actually there is an article on changing a skirt to pants.  If the waist, abdomen, and hip area fit well on a straight skirt pattern that can all be transferred to the pants pattern and then fitting the crotch curve and pant length are what is left to fit.  A book I have called The Perfect Fit suggests starting with a well fitting skirt pattern and transferring the info.

    The article is:                                                                                                          Draft Your Own Pants PatternBy Peggy SagersStart with a straight skirt that fits, and you're halfway to great-fitting pants.May 1997 (Issue # 70)

    1. terid1999 | | #5

      Thank you so much for the magazine reference.  I was searching the index, but in my mind, the article was much more recent.

  3. Tatsy | | #6

    Terri, good luck on this. I've heard people rave about this technique, but I can't imagine making it work. A lot depends on your figure type. Pants have to adjust to diagonal stresses that just aren't present in skirts.

  4. rekha | | #7

    If you want more details have a look at this site

    In order to fit a pair of pants, you have to SEE what changes need to be made. If you don't know what to look for, how can you even alter the pant?

    Step #1

    Good fit and style is comfortable at the waist. If your waist is 30", the pant band when finished is 32". Allow yourself at least 2" of ease. Wear a belt to finish your look and secure the pant band.

    Step #2

    Create a skirted-front on a trouser, full-legged pant and even a slim-legged pant. What is a skirted-front? You add enough onto the front inseam of the pant so the pant hangs straight down over the thigh, almost (but not quite) like a skirt. When I finally figured this out, my pants started looking comfortable and sophisticated. See illustration #22 and photo 4 & 5 from Pants Can Fit book.

    Step #3

    Crotch Depth and Length

    Most instructors tell you to get the crotch depth high in the front and then you spend the rest of you life "reworking" the back of the pant. The higher the crotch in the front, the more problems you create in the back of the pant. Drop the pant down lower in the front, give the pant a skirted front, and you have just eliminated about 80% of your fit problems in the back of the pant.

    Step #4

    Allow enough front thigh width room. Thighs can take up so much room they will pull the pleats apart on the front of the pant. Add onto the side seam at the thigh and the front inseam at the same time for thigh width.

    Step #5

    Do you have a pant that fits great in the scat, yet when you sit down they pull down at the center back? The problem is not in the back, it is now in the front. You need to add more skirted front (add onto the inseam again) on the front of the pant so you have enough room for the thigh when you sit down. See illustrations in book and above under Step #2.

    Step # 6

    Waistline Slant

    For a woman with a full tummy and a full bust, even for slimmer bodies, if the waistline of the pant fits high in the back and down below the waist in the front, you will have comfort.

    Step #7

    Great Fabrics. Silk matka, wool crepe, superfine wool gabardine, rayon, silk faille, polyester file, micro-fiber, tencel, 4,6,8, ply silk, real linen and blends of all of the above will create a pant worth sewing. However, make several pair of pants, perfect the seven points, before you sew with your precious pieces.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #9

      Thanks for sharing that! 

    2. organdy | | #10

      thanks for this helpful approach -- and the link to the dress well ideas!

  5. SabrinaStyle | | #11

    Skirt to Trousers Pattern Instructions


    Vintage Sewing Info (now offline but still on Google's WayBack Machine) has instructions for making a slacks pattern from a skirt pattern. Here is the link:


    I hope that helps!


  6. HelgaPataki | | #12

    adding a gussett

    I believe that piece to add is called a gussett, but if not, you add something shaped like a triangle.  this is the same type of piece you add to the underarms if your bodice front and back are 2dimensional.  It works for both pants and tops but I think the altering part is difficult, lots of detailed precision work.  I tried it on soft fabrics and it works, however on a leather skirt to turn it into pants, it was difficult because the fabric wasn't as supple.

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