With a sewing machine, some fabric, and this DIY video tutorial and free pattern, you can make your own sweatpants
Hey y’all, today I’m going to show you how to sew sweatpants, and then I’m sharing a free pattern and DIY video instructions too! These jogger pants have pockets, use only 3 pattern pieces, and sew up fairly quickly in sweatshirt fleece. Also, they’re a nice change of pace from my cold weather leggings + hoodie uniform, ha!
If you’re new to sewing with stretch fabric, these comfy sweatpants might be a perfect starter project. This is because sweatshirt fleece is one of the easier knit fabrics to work with, as it doesn’t tend to curl on the edges or get sucked into your throat plate on your sewing machine, two of the biggest issues beginners face with other knit fabrics like rayon jersey or double brushed polyester. Because these sweatpants have an elastic waist and ankles, they’re also forgiving in fit and easy to sew. If you want to make them even faster, you can skip the pockets and just sew down the side seams. That method might get you clean pants more quickly than washing laundry if everything is dirty.
To make your own sweatpants, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 to 2 yards of 58/60 inch wide fabric (depending on size, see size discussion with pattern in next section)
- Approximately 1 yard of 1 inch wide elastic for waist
- 2/3 yard of 3/4 inch elastic for ankles
- Sewing machine, thread, pins, scissors, etc
Notes on materials
I sewed my sweatpants in a polyester/cotton blend sweatshirt fleece. Other suggested fabrics that could work are ponte knit, medium to heavy interlock knit, and medium to heavy French terry. For more on different types of knit fabrics, see this post. The pattern does require a stretch fabric. And remember, fiber and fabric are not the same thing, see this post for more.
If you’re a beginner and wondering about type of thread to use, see this post. For questions about which needle to use, see this post. If you’re wondering about stretch stitches, see this post. You do not need a serger to sew these pants! If your machine will do a zigzag stitch you can make them. And if you’re not sure which elastic to get, check out this post.
How to Get the Pattern
To get this pattern, you must either be a free newsletter subscriber or have purchased a gallery access pass. Then click your preferred option from the buttons below. Existing newsletter subscribers should look at the bottom of the most recent Friday newsletter for the current free pattern gallery password. If you purchased the all access pass you’ll log in to your shop account to download the pattern. Note that the free version of the pattern does not have printable instructions so you’ll need to refer to this post for instructions.
The free pattern is a women’s size small, for hip circumference up to 38 inches and waist up to 29 inches. Since these have an elastic waistband, you can adjust the elastic to fit your waist if your waist is smaller than 29 inches. However, if you need a bigger or smaller size, you can use this post to adjust the pattern to your measurements. If you’re looking for a pattern with multiple sizes, the Skye Joggers pattern is similar, available in my shop and goes up to hip circumference of 55 inches. That pair of joggers has more pieces and the fit is slimmer, but there is also a full sewalong here.
How to Sew Sweatpants
To make your own lounge pants, watch the video below or on YouTube here. Or read after the video and you’ll find written instructions.
Tools I used in the video (commissions earned on these links)
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes
How to make sweatpants
- Cut the pattern out of fabric
First cut out 2 fronts (mirrored), 2 backs (mirrored) and 4 pockets (2 mirrored sets)
- Sew the pockets
Match a pocket piece right sides together with each pants front and pants back, aligning at the notches. Next, stitch between the notches.
- Sew the crotch seams
Place pants fronts right sides together and sew curved crotch seam, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance and a stretch stitch. Repeat with back pieces.
- Sew the pockets together
Open the front and place right sides together with the back and align the pockets. Stitch the top edges and down the curved side edges of each pocket together.
- Sew the side seams
Align the front and back right sides together at the side seams. Press the pockets toward the fronts. Sew above and below the notches and down the side seams, catching the lower pocket edges in the side seams.
- Optional: Sew bar tacks to reinforce the pocket openings
On the right sides of the pants, sew bar tacks at the top and bottom of each pocket opening using a short length narrow width zig zag stitch or a bar tack stitch.
- Sew the inseams
Match the front and back crotch seams and then sew the inseams
- Sew the waistband and ankle casings
Using the elastic width as a guide, fold down the waistband and ankle casings to the wrong side. Stitch close to raw edges, leaving a gap to insert elastic.
- Insert elastic
Using a safety pin or bodkin, insert elastic into casings being careful not to twist it. Sew elastic ends together with a zig zag stitch and then lastly sew the casing gaps closed.
You might want to refine the fit for your own shape even though sweatpants are loose and sewn from stretch fabric. For example, if your pants are giving you weird and bothersome lines around your crotch, then check this post on pants fitting. That post will help you get the fit just right for your body. And then you too can jump for joy in your sweatpants, ha!