Everybody Pants Now (pants. pants, pants pants…)

Twenty something posts in and I have not made reference to Parks and Recreation. Shame on me! But this quote was too good to pass up.

So, I made pants! Not the American ‘going outside’ kind, but the comfy, ‘hangin’ on the couch’, ‘practical yet sexy’ kind. Read on for tales of this.

When I was a young, sarcastic, semi-neurotic youth, I spent some time in New Zealand, where I accidentally stumbled upon the most comfortable pair of underwear I HAVE EVER OWNED. Made from the softest black jersey, they in no way emphasised my muffin tops or made me feel overly squished in. And, I am proud to report that after six years of use they are still in the regular rotation. Perhaps you can understand why I have neglected to photograph them…

I had been reading a couple of articles on making Eco Pants – underwear sewn up from unusable or ill-fitting T-Shirts. ‘What an idea!’ I thought, before tweeting about it a bit. Shockingly I even consider myself to have improved on my research, meaning less time spent sewing and more sweet, sweet wear time.

Taking the NZ Wonderpants as a template, I made a paper pattern to work from, consisting of front, back and gusset (cut from free magazine, Now Then. Thanks guys). Here is the clever part: Instead of cutting the pieces from the centre of my T-Shirts, I used the waist hem as the waist hem of my pants, cutting the front and back as one long piece! Genius! The success of this method will vary with the fit of your shirt, but you can always slip some skinny elastic into the hem to tighten things up  bit. Nevertheless, this made the whole progress much quicker than I anticipated – and you cannot say fairer than that.

pattern pieces alongside pair number 2

pattern pieces alongside pair number 2

Side seam hack in all of its glory

Side seam hack in all of its glory

Using this great tutorial on Supernaturale, I sewed in the gusset as directed, giving a neat, professional finish to the inside. Then I pinned the side seams and tried the pants on for fit. after that, it was just a case of finishing the leg holes, which I did by hand after zigzagging. The first pair turned out a bit bulky in the seams, but next time I’ll compensate for that by turning them in twice instead of three times.

I am crazy pleased with the result of this experiment, for recycling, comfort, thriftiness and sewing reasons. With a bit of fine tuning, these pants will be worthy replacements for the original NZ pair. I also have high hopes of getting another, skimpier pair out of each shirt I have cut into. Design suggestions welcome.


Would you make your own Eco Pants? Would you be brave enough to model them? Sadly I am not…


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