Tutorial: Making Bell Bottoms From Regular Pants

I meant to post this last week, but got caught up in sewing.  So here’s a quick tutorial from my 60s Flower Child outfit from 2 weeks ago.  I’m going to show you how I made regular pants into bell bottoms.  It’s super easy and you can do this for kids or adult pants to add a little extra flare.  Get it!??  Wah waah.

This could be fun for a hippie costume or if you just like wide leg pants!  Here’s what you need:

Pants (you’ll want to use something that is pretty fitted on top, baggy pants won’t look as good)
Fabric for the inset (either a decorative fabric, denim, or something that will match your pants if you want a less noticeable look)
The usual sewing necessities (sewing machine, scissors, thread, ruler)

First, you want to hem up the bottom of your inset fabric.  To figure out how much fabric you’ll need to hem, just decide how wide you want the bottom of your inset to be (my little toddler pants insets were about 4 inches wide) and then double that (because you’ll need two) and always add a couple inches for good measure.  I skipped this step because I left the bottom of my pants unhemmed, but if I had, I would have hemmed about 10 inches of my inset fabric.

Then, cut the outside seam of your pants up to the point where you want the pants to start flaring out, usually right below the knee.  I just cut as close to the seam as possible on one side, and then cut up the other side of the seam and trim the seam to remove it.

Now we’re going to cut 2 triangles from our inset fabric.  The hemmed side will be the bottom of triangle (again, I didn’t hem, so just pretend :)).  You want your triangle height to be about half an inch taller than the cut you made in your pants’ side seam.  I cut about 8 inches up the pant leg, so the height of my triangles are 8.5 inches.  As for the width of the bottom – that’s up to you.  The wider the triangle base, the wider the flare.  You decide!!

Now it’s time to sew!  Line up one side of the triangle with one cut edge of the pants, right sides together.  You want the bottom seams lined up.  Pin and sew starting from the bottom with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (my inset fabric looked the same on both sides, so there was no “wrong” side, but make sure your fabric is wrong side facing up).

When you open it up, it should look like this on the right side.

Now turn your pants inside out and line the other sides up, right sides together.  Pin and sew.  You want to try and get your seams to meet in the middle at the top of the triangle.

When inside out, your pant leg should look something like this.

Turn the pants right side out and iron.  Repeat with the other pant leg and you’re done!

I hope your little hippie enjoys their pants!!