Posted on 2 Comments

New pattern: Fancypants!

2015 178/365

I’ve written three tutorials to help people sew skirts without patterns. The process is fairly straightforward: measure your body, make a custom pattern from those measurements, cut your fabric according to the pattern, and sew. Easy peasy.

So, when I decided to do the same kind of thing for pajama bottoms instead of skirts, I figured, “how hard can it be?” Ha!

As it turns out, that part where you take your measurements and you make a custom pattern out of those measurements can be pretty darn tricky! Especially if you are trying to generalize the process so that it works for many different body types.


When all was said and done, Fancypants ended up being a 15-page PDF with a worksheet included, and an online calculator for those who get major headaches from mathy things.

To put this in perspective, my skirt-making tutorials are about half as many pages, and nobody needs a calculator.

Why so complicated? It’s all in the rise. Or, that area from the seat of your pants to the waist of your pants. Figuring out how to take that measurement into account so that it worked for all shapes and sizes of women caused me no end of headaches. The breakthrough moment was geometry-related and required my high school student to refresh my memory as to the formula for the circumference of a circle.

I simplified the formula for this, so don’t worry if you don’t know any of the digits of Pi. You can still make these pants 😉


I used my own body as a test subject, making long pants, cropped pants, and shorts, and when I was sure that those all worked, I found someone with a totally different body type than me (the aforementioned high-schooler, who is a little bit taller and a whole lot narrower than me), and the process worked on him, too. Whew!

There is a lot of meat in this tutorial. You are told how to measure your body. You are given a worksheet with formulas to help you translate your body measurements into pattern measurements. You are shown how to draw the pattern, cut out the fabric, and sew it all together.


If that’s not enough, you are shown how to transform the shape of the pattern. These pants are designed with a luxurious, feminine fit: close-fitting in the hip area with wide straight legs. If, however, you prefer some room in the seat, or you like to have a tapered leg (or a narrower straight leg), you are told how to do that as well.

This is a tutorial aimed at beginners, with every step spelled-out in great detail. There are lots of photos, and very little sewing terminology to know (and what terminology I do use, I explain). Of course, experienced sewists are more than welcome to use this pattern, too.

Here is the link to buy your own copy of Fancypants.

During the month of July, I’d like to have a Fancypants sew-along. We’ll take one week where we’ll talk about taking your measurements, choosing fabric, etc, all the way through to sewing the pants. And you will be able to ask questions throughout the process, if anything seems confusing.

I would love to get started on this right now, but I think that with the July 4th holiday coming up (already!) people might be otherwise occupied. I’m going to save it for one of the later weeks in July. I’ll let you know when, once I have decided!

If you’d like to be notified via email when the sew-along begins (and whenever there is a new post in the series), you can sign up for a special mailing list here:

The sew-along has begun! Click here to catch up on what you’ve missed, and sign up below to receive email notification every time there is a new sew-along post.

[wysija_form id=”6″]

I put a lot of work into Fancypants, so I hope you love it! Thanks, as always, for your support 🙂




Sign up for occasional Polka Dot Cottage news and get a coupon for 10% off your next order!

Don't worry, we won't bother you more than once or twice a month!

Posted on 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “New pattern: Fancypants!

  1. Oh I love these….My question is I dont have a serger how are the seams made? Thanks so much, I actually just have a straight sewing machine.

    1. No serger required (I don’t have one either). Just a plain old sewing machine. I made mine with a bottom-of-the-line Kenmore. Hope this helps!

Leave a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.