DIY: Drawstring Dress out of PANTS!

I'm showing you guys how to take an old pair of pants, and turn them into a killer, drawstring dress... perfect for SUMMER!

This is a super simple pattern and super simple construction, making it ideal for beginner sewers.

This is actually one of the first dresses I made when I was learning. The dress is easy breezy and slouchy, also super comfortable.

The most ideal pants to work with are wide or straight leg.

Skinny jeans will not be great of this because you have really limited fabric. Stretch fabric is also ideal.

It will make the pattern even more forgiving!


1 Pair of pants

Fabric Scissors


Sewing Machine

Drawstring of some sort (ribbon, chain, shoelace, whatever!)


Cut off the waistband of your pants

This is the first thing to do. I might be using this waistband fabric for something later on so I am going to find the existing seem and cut the seam open there. This will allow us to use as much of usable fabric as possible.

Same way, you have to cut the waist band as close tot he edge as possible to maintain the most of the usable fabric.

Cut open the crotch seam

Now cut open the crotch seam all the way to the front to the back. You should now have two separate pant panels that are no longer attached.

Open up the inseam

You can use a seam opener to split open the fabric but because my fabric is really stretchy and wide, I don't need the extra eighth of an inch that it would give me. This saves me a lot of time.

I am going to cut open all the seams until I am left with panels of fabric that is ready to be turned into a dress.

When we lay down the fabric, we get two cuts on the sides for the arm holes, which are basically the crotch seam and the back.

Straighten off the hem

It is very important to straighten off the hem at the bottom of my dress. Make sure the bottom is perfectly even.

Lay the two pieces face to face and pin.

Creating a trapezoid shape

Fold your pant leg in half, perfectly symmetrical and then cut it.

Use a ruler to square off the top. If you have a rotary and cutting mat, this will be easier.

If not, Use your ruler and draw a chalk line, then cut with your scissors.

When we create the neckline, we need to create. 1-2" wide casing for our drawstring.

So, when you create an armhole, make sure to incorporate that loss of fabric in the measurement . For example, if the drawstring casing will be 2" total, add 2" to the armhole measurement.

Next create the armhole.

Measure from your collar bone to your underarm. I realized about a 9.5 inch measurement from the under arm to the collar bone.

Now use your ruler to cut it into a nice crisp angle. This gives the underarm a V shape instead of a U shape. I like it like that, you can choose whatever shape you want according to your liking.

It should create a trapezoid shape on the top.

Mae sure to pin the sides so that it doesn't flip and slide all over. Be sure to line up any prints or hems so that it will line up when you sew.

Align the two pant legs and line up the patterns which is the most important part because that's going to get sewn together.

Cut both the leg pants identically. When you gather the fabric, this is the kind of shape it's going to make.

Fold over the drawstring casing, pin and sew.

The measurement of your casing is based off whatever drawstring you're using.

I made all of mine inch wide.

Compare the edges. Hold up each edge and compare it to make sure it's even. Then make a simple straight stitch all the way across.

The only thing that gets in the way are the ends because of the angle. The last inch doesn't have fabric but you still have to sew it because from the front side, the stitch line is going to be visible.

Pin your side seams and sew

Take your time in pinning the side seams because if that's uneven, everyone is going to notice it. Line them up perfectly and pin up with as many pins required.

Next, pin up the underarm the same way to get a very crisp V shape and then evenly distribute the pins throughout the rest of the fabric.

Over lock it

I would prefer the seams to be over locked now but if you don't have an over lock machine then you can just straight stitch it or zigzag depending on your fabric. Always double back, especially if you want a clean look.

Slide your drawstring through

Now slide the drawstring using a safety pin through the front and the back. Once that's done, you can tie a knot or a bow, whatever you like and you're done!

The fabric I used cuts clean so I didn't need to hem any of my edges!! it was a total score!