The long-awaited basic pants pattern tutorial is finally here! It’ll be in good company with my other basic pattern tutorials. You can find them here.

This pattern will work as a starting point for all kinds of different women’s pants designs. My personal favorite is the palazzo pants.

The Measurements

As usual, let’s start from the measurements you’ll need to draft the basic pants pattern.

  • Waist Circumference
  • Hip Circumference
  • Waist to Hip Length
  • Crotch Depth
  • Waist to Knee Length
  • Waist to Ankle Length

Of these, the crotch depth is probably the most difficult one. If you get it wrong, your pants won’t fit right. Take the measurement sitting down on a chair. Keep your back straight. You should have an elastic tied around your waist so that you get the correct starting point for the measurement. Then measure between the waist and the chair seat.

Here are the measurements we’re going to be using in this example. They are for a CA 170cm tall person. The two horizontal measurements have already been divided in half.

The Basic Pants Pattern

Now that you have the measurements, let’s start drafting!

Drafting basic pants block

1. Draw a right-angle using your ½ hip measurement + 2cm of ease for the width, and waist to ankle measurement for the height.

In this example, the width is 50cm and the height 104cm.

Then add the other 3 measurements: waist to hip, crotch depth + 1.5cm of ease, and waist to knee.

Going in order: 20cm, 27.5cm, and 60cm.

2. Separate the front and the back pieces by dividing the total width in two as shown in the picture. Square down also at the upper left corner, going all the way to the crotch line.

3. To find out where the crotch points will be, starting from the front, calculate ½ hip measurement divided by 8 and extend the front crotch line to the left.

For example: 48cm /8 = 6cm.

Then use the same measurement and add 3cm. Extend the back crotch line to the right.

In this example: 6cm + 3cm = 9cm.

For more fitted pants, you can leave the back crotch line slightly shorter.

4. Measure 0.5cm inward at the upper left corner and square down 1cm. Unite this point to the hipline to create the c.front line of the pants.

Measure 4cm inward at the upper right corner. Draw a line from the hipline to this point, and continue 2.5cm upwards, as shown in the picture. This is the c.back line.

5. Continue the c.front and c.back lines down by adding the crotch curve. The front should be only slightly curved, whereas the back crotch curve should be deeper.

6. Now you can draw the waistline: calculate ½ waist measurement/2 + 1.5cm for the front, and ½ waist measurement/2 + 0.5cm for the back.

For example: 37cm/2 = 18.5cm +1.5cm = 20cm (front) and 37cm/2 = 18.5cm + 0.5cm = 19cm (back).

These measurements take into account a 2cm wide dart that will be placed at the back. The front waistline is slightly wider than the back.

Both waistlines end along the horizontal line you draw in the beginning. The waistline is higher at c.back as you need some extra length for sitting down.

7. Unite the waistline to the hipline with a straight line, both front and back. We’ll draw the hip curve later.

8. You know how classic pants have a crease in the middle of the leg? Well, that is called the crease line. It’s also the grainline of the pants.

To find out where it is, measure the distance between points A and B along the crotchline of the front piece, and divide it in half. Square up and down to complete the crease line/grainline.

Then measure the distance between the side seam and the crease line of the front piece, and use the same measurement for the back piece.

9. Next, let’s draw the hemline of the pants. The front side is slightly smaller than the back, because the calf needs more space. So decide on the hemline circumference and divide it in two.

In this example, for size M pants, the total circumference is 46cm (for reference). So, divided in two, it’s 23cm.

For the front, detract 1cm. For the back, add 1cm. Mark the hemline width evenly on both sides of the grainline.

Here, the front hemline is 22cm, 11cm on both sides of the grainline. The back hemline is 24cm, 12cm on both sides of the grainline.

10. Starting from the inseam of the front piece, first unite the hemline to the crotch point with a straight line. Then enter 1cm at the knee level and mark the point. Measure the distance between this point and the grainline along the kneeline to get a guide mark for the side seam, too. (The pant leg sides are identical between the ankle and the knee.)

11. Draw the final inseam of the front piece: draw a straight line from ankle to knee level and then a slightly inward curved line to complete the inseam at the crotch point.

12. As for the side seam, draw again a straight line from ankle to knee level, and then continue with a slightly curved line as shown in the picture; first an inward curve, then outward. You should get a smooth line that continues all the way to the crotch level, and then you can complete the side seam by adding a slight hip curve.

13. Now, use the kneeline measurement of the front piece again. Just add 1cm and sign guide marks on both sides of the grainline at the knee level of the back piece.

Complete the inseam and the side seam of the back piece the same way as you did with the front piece. The inseam can now be more curved.

14. Add a 10cm long, 2cm wide dart in the middle of the back waist.

basic pants pattern

15. Finally, draft the waistline curves. The waistline should start in a right-angle both at the c.front and c.back.

Checking the Basic Pants Pattern

Copy the two pattern pieces and check that the side seams and the inseams are the same length both front and back:

Place the pattern pieces one on top of the other, right sides together and first ”walk” the inseams from the kneeline to the hemline and then from the kneeline to the crotch point and equalize the lines so that the hemline and crotchline run smoothly between the front and back pieces. It’s OK if doing so causes you to lower the back crotch curve slightly. The back inseam is more curved, so it’s likely that it’s also longer than the front inseam.

Then ”walk” the side seams, first from the kneeline to the hemline and then from the kneeline to the waistline and equalize the lines so that the hemline and waistline run smoothly between the front and back pieces.

You can make a straight waistband for your pants. The pattern piece is a rectangle where the width is twice the waistband height (max. 3 + 3cm) and the length is ½ waist circumference. Mark the side seam position with a notch.

Make a toile to check the fit and then correct your pants block accordingly. After this, it’s ready to be used!

I have a Patternmaking Guide on Women’s Pants, when you feel ready to test your pants block in action.

What’s your favorite pants style?

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  1. pranjal kumari Reply

    Thanks for this drafting pant pattern. Your calculation method is easy for understanding.

      • Thank you for sharing…. trying to go back to sewing and teach my daughters. Thia was very helpful.

        • You mentioned industrial size M. I take it that that is a medium size. Can you tell me what the other sizes are in terms of measurements ie. My waist is 89.5cm and hip 106.5. What size does that fall into?

          • shapesoffabric

            The industrial measurements aren’t directly comparable to the RTW garment measurements, as each brand has their own typical customer measurement chart and they tend to make the sizes bigger to make them fit more people. You can find industrial measurement charts in patternmaking books. Usually you need to modify them to fit a person. That’s why you get the best results using your own measurements to start with. If you don’t have any books, I can take a picture of a measurement chart from one of mine and email that to you. 🙂

        • Thanks. The explanation is more simple than other one that I read in books and in You tube.

      • Thank you so much for this…I tried this and it perfectly fits for me..again thankyou so much for your guidance

  2. Thank you, I am looking forward to trying this out. Best wishes. Penny 🙂

  3. Barbara Arnold Reply

    Thank you. I have been struggling with some pants issues and this really helped.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m planning on a sequel to this article: how to fit the pants pattern. Hope to get it done soon.

    • Thank you for this tutorial. I’ll definitely be trying it out and hopefully this will give me a perfect fit, as I have had issues with trousers fitting properly in the past. At what point do I take the waist measurement (low waist)? How do I go about the band to sit properly and also avoid the waist gapping at the back(major issue in most draft I’ve done)?

      • shapesoffabric Reply

        You’re welcome. 🙂 I hope you’ll get a good fit. The basic trouser block should arrive all the way up to the natural waist. Then you can alter the waist level afterwards, when you’re using the basic block to draft your actual trouser patterns. Take the low waist measurement at the level you prefer, remembering to measure the distance from the natural waist, too. To avoid gaping at the back, you can take the waistband in a little bit at the upper part of the waistband at c-back, if you don’t mind having a seam there. Otherwise you can only resort to taking in at the side seams. Personally I like making a shaped waistband, separating it from the top section of the pants block. This pants block is constructed in a way that it’s already narrower at the c-back, so you might not have much gaping. 🙂

  4. This is very helpful indeed 👊👊👊 do u have a t video tht u meant share a link to or ur YouTube channel link

  5. Would this tutorial work for men’s trousers or just womens? Also If one wanted to make a pleated pair of trousers where would that extra material come from? I have been looking around online a while for a good pattern or tutorial on making a pattern. I’ve never made trousers so it is all quite new and I appreciate all the information and knowledge that you have given out here.
    -Thanks, Asher

    • Hi Asher. 🙂 Unfortunately I only write about women’s patterns, as that’s what I’m specialized in. So also this pants block is not for menswear. If you want to add a pleat, you can use the original pants block and pivot it from the knee line up to add extra width on both sides of the front piece waistline: the side seam and the c-front. That way you get the extra volume needed for the pleat.

  6. Hello! I clicked on this from the “You Made It!” email dated 1/15/2110 (One week later today).

    My question is- (please forgive my ignorance) how does one measure. around their waist with elastic? Can this be done if you don’t have anyone measuring you? (by yourself)?

    • Hi! The elastic is placed on the waist just so it’s easier to see where the most narrow point is, so it’s not being used to taking the measurement. You’ll need the measuring tape, too. 🙂 You’ll probably be able to take most of the measurements yourself, but you’ll need help with the back width, back waist level, and armscye depth, as they are measured from the back side.

  7. This all looks so helpful. I am looking forward to trying it out. Just wondered if the basic pattern includes seam allowances, or is that measurement up to the sewer?

    • Awesome. 🙂 Basic patterns are usually without seam allowance, as they are only the patterns used for drafting the actual patterns. It’s easier without seam allowance. So you need to add the desired amount of seam allowance when you’re cutting your toile fabric.

  8. Ran across this blog while watching WithWendy on Youtube. Thank you for making this easy. My toile was a perfect fit for my niece! I feel accomplished as a beginner.

  9. Anngela Manlapaz Reply

    Hi, I’m having an issue with regards the back waistline of the pattern. I’m making one for my cousin who is in the plus side of sizes and the back waistline extends past the line that separates the front from the back pattern. What do I do now? Thank you!

    • You could eliminate the dart, or make it smaller, and maybe incline the c-back seam a bit less. This way the back side seam moves inwards.

      • Olalekan mary oluwafunke Reply

        Why the back cut always bigger and higher than the Front cut

        • The back side needs more fabric because it’s bigger. And it also needs to be higher because when you sit down, the back waistline gets pulled downwards due to the crotch seam.

  10. Am I the only one that thinks the measurements provided for the extension at the crotch line for the front and back are possibly switched? My front looks larger than my back.

    • The front is on the left side. It should automatically become larger than the back, because the back side measurement is “front crotch extension measurement+3cm”

    • THANK. YOU. Listen, I have tried on a million pants and i have a curvy figure and a very high waist. So no industry pants or pant patterns have ever fit me, and i couldn’t seem to do anything to make them fit, even if i bought them a size up and tried to tailor them. I always got the dreaded camel toe or crotch wrinkles. Your tutorial was so easy to follow for what is actually a very complicated, somewhat intimidating thing to do. I followed this to a T and got a very well fitting muslin, just a little too tight. I took out the seams a quarter of an inch and voila, perfect fit. I can’t tell you how excited i am- i can finally wear pants now! Brb while i make ten pairs of my new pattern.

      • You’re welcome! 🙂 Wonderful! Yes, it can be tricky to find well-fitting RTW pants. I’m happy to hear that this pattern worked for you without struggles. Happy sewing! 🙂

  11. Gail M Claverie Reply

    Whoops. Forgot to mention the confusing part where you show your sample measurements and indicate the circumference of your hip is 48cm (I believe that’s half the circumference). Later you mention take 1/2 the hip measurement and you use the 48cm as an example… which would be correct. So 48 cm can’t be full circumference while at the same time 1/2 hip measurement. Glad to see all the success, but I feel like mine is just a little off.

    • I’m sorry you’re finding the instructions confusing. Yes, the 48cm is 1/2 hip measurement, as mentioned above the measurement box. I think it’s easier to divide the horizontal measurements in half right at the start, because the pattern only covers half of the body, so you don’t need the full circumference measurements at all. Also this way you already have the half measurement ready for the subsequent calculations.

  12. Kristina Johnson Reply

    Hello! Just found your sight and I love it! May I ask if you will be creating/putting up for sale a basic pants block like you have done with the basic bodice block? Thank you!

    • Hi there! 🙂 Thank you. To be honest, I’ve been a bit reluctant about the pants block, because it’s more complex and therefore I find it’s always better to draft with one’s own measurements. The industrial measurements are quite restricting for a pant.

  13. Hello,

    I would like to ask about the back crotch calculation. You say divide hip measurement by 8 then add 3cm.
    Your example 48cm/8 = 6cm. Back 6cm + 3cm = 9cm.

    If the measurement was 64cm/8 = 8cm would I still use the calculation of 3cm?
    Example 8cm + 3cm = 11cm or would it be 8cm + 4cm = 12cm.
    I do hope, I have made myself clear.

    Many thanks

    • Hi! The 3cm remains the same for different sizes, because you automatically get a larger number when the hip measurement grows. Then you can adjust the pattern when doing the fitting, if needed. 🙂

  14. Dawn Melling Reply

    Hi, thanks for your great tutorial – could you please tell me on the grain/cresaeline

    “To find out where it is, measure the distance between points A and B along the crotchline of the front piece, and divide it in half. Square up and down to complete the crease line/grainline.”

    Where are points A and B – I’ve looked and looked but cant see them!
    Many thanks

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 The points are at both ends of the front crotchline, so the second point is at the side seam. You should see them where there’s number 8 in the picture.

  15. Hi, thank you for this great reference! I’m a little stuck before cutting out my pattern pieces. In steps 12 and 13, it looks like the hip curves (between the waist and crotch) overlap. How is it possible to cut out two overlapping curves along the straight line drawn in step 2? Thank you!!

    • Hello! You’re welcome. 🙂 You need to trace the pattern pieces onto another paper. You shouldn’t cut the original draft. This way the overlaps won’t matter.

  16. Very clear and concise! Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂

  17. Hello! I tried this tutorial and almost everything went perfectly! I just had a few questions:

    1-I’m assuming the finished pattern needs the seam allowance to be added, correct? I imagined yes, sorry if it’s a dumb ask!
    2- When it comes to the first fit…it’s meant to be pretty body shaping, right? I had to unpick the side seam all the way to my upper hip so that I could pull the toile pants over my hips. (it was a cotton muslin). Since there is no stretch, I should assume I’d add ease somewhere of like, a zipper?

    I’m definitely buying the pants pattern making guide! I want to try and understand pants construction better, then adapt a vintage pattern I own and modify my block pattern to suit it, instead of the other way around if that makes sense…. thank you for the tutorial!!

    • Hey! 🙂 Glad that you managed to draft the pants pattern.
      Here are the answers if you still need help:
      1. The pants block will remain without seam allowance, so you only add it when cutting the fabric. If you prefer, you can add it to the paper pattern you use for the toile to test the fit, but once you have the final version, leave it out. That way the basic block is easier to trace for your actual pant pattern projects, plus it’s easier to make pattern alterations without having to think about the seam allowance. 🙂

      2. Yes, this pants pattern is quite fitted at the top section. Below the hipline it’ll be more loose-fitting. You can add a zipper at the side seam or at the c-back for a simple style. The fit can be then altered based on your project, as you’ll find out in the pants guide.

  18. Hey it was really helpful.
    Just a question .
    there are basic trouser blocks that have darts on both front and back. how do we do that ?
    and the back dart is big lengthwise compared to right dart?
    Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Hi. 🙂 If you want to add a dart to the front, too, just add that extra width to the side seam of the front piece, so that you can then remove it when you close the dart. It could be even just 1cm wide. Yes, the front dart is smaller than the back dart.

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