Designing pants by modifying the length and width of legs
Design with width
Design with length
Design pants by modifying the waistband
Another way to change the pants design is to modify the waistband. There are many possibilities here. You can lower the waist as shown in figure 3, sketch A. To do that, remove some inches/centimetres from the pattern, starting from the waist down. Have in mind that you must extend the waistband to match the new width of the pants waist.
You can extend the waistband up to a pair of high-waist pants (figure 3, sketch B). Again, after this change, you must adjust the waistband width to match the main details of the pattern.
Another possibility is to add an elastic to the waist (figure 3, sketch C). In that case, replace the waistband details with one straight band that matches the pattern width. It should be as long as two times the elastic width plus seam allowance. Or, you can remove the waistband detail completely and add a couple of inches to the main detail of the pattern. Use those inches to fold over an elastic waist and topstitch (figure 3, sketch D).
Design pants by adding/changing different pattern elements
This type of design can really spark your creative potential. You can add, remove or change different pattern elements to achieve the appearance that corresponds best with your taste. The possibilities are endless. Change the style of pockets, replace them with pocket welts, move a zipper from centre front to the side seam; add zippers to replicate pockets or as a decoration on the hemline, etc (figure 4, B and D). You can cut trough the pattern details to create different shapes with the same or with a contrasting fabric or pieces of leather. Or add decorative seams anywhere you like (figure 4, A and C).
Design pants with fabrics
If you have a pattern that is for wovens, you can achieve a different look by switching from one type of woven fabric to another. For example, you can achieve a different look with rayon challis and denim, using the same pattern. This can be done without modifying the pattern.
if you switch from woven fabrics to knits, you can modify the pattern from a pattern for woven fabric to a pattern for knits. This type of modification would be the topic of the next article on the blog.
Usually, it is a good idea to stick to wovens or to knit fabrics if the pattern says so. This is necessary because the patterns are constructed with different specifics of the fabrics in mind.
Design pants by different finishing/hemming, darts, pleats and gathering
To change the design of pants, you can pick a different type of hemming or finishing. For example, you can make a wider hem or extend the leg so that you add cuffs.
Here is the cuffs extension formula that I use – 2x the desired cuff length +1 inch/ 2.5 cm.
You can make a more narrow hem or add separate cuffs like the ones on figure 5, scheme B.
add a gathering or some pleats to the waist or to the hemline (figure 5, sketch A). You can add or remove darts to the front or the back pattern detail.
If you are designing with some of the elements above, make sure to add some inches to the pattern to achieve the fullness you desire (figure 5).
Design pants by modifying the crotch depth
Another way to create a new design is to change the crotch depth/rise. This is a pattern modification that I like to use when I design new styles. If you are interested in doing it yourself, there is a tutorial I made on how to modify the pattern to a lower crotch/ harem pants. And another one if you want to draft the harem pants from scratch.
Is there something you would add to this article or a question you need ask? Please, don’t hesitate to do so. I would be happy to help any way I can.