Tutorial: Refashioned Slim Slack for Boys

If you are stopping by via MADE “Celebrate the Boy“, welcome!

If you’re interested, you can find more “Boy” posts & projects here.

Refashioned from men’s slacks & using the existing button, zipper & back pockets (all the icky parts of making “real” slacks), these slim slacks are a fun alternative for a little boy’s dressy wardrobe.

Intermediate Level Sewing

Let me know if you have any questions or problems with the tutorial so we can work it out!

I would love it if you shared your “Slim Slack” creations in my Flickr group, “Reduce, Reuse, ReFASHION for Kids”

You are welcome to use my pattern which fits average 2T and a slim 3T with added length. Slim 2T might want to take in leg even more.

Waist: 19″ (stretches to 22″) , Hip: 23″  Inseam: 11″

Use 1/2″ seam allowance unless noted (crotch seam).

Download pdf pattern HERE. (make sure print settings are NOT set to scale).

If your boy is larger than the pattern, find your favorite pants pattern and “slim it down”. Then use the tutorial for the pants refashioning technique!

Step 1: Find your sacrificial trousers.

These are from the thrift store. Before purchasing, take a look at the waistband and make sure the construction allows it to be taken off in one piece. I’ve refashioned a couple pairs of pants with buttons at the waist, but this one happens to have an inside metal hook.

You might want to pick up two pairs. One to practice on so you can tweak the pattern, making it perfect for your little guy (I don’t claim to be an expert pattern maker), and one pair to knock out with your new “perfect” pattern and mad pant refashioning skills.

Step 2: Deconstruct the pant.

Unpick belt loops and detach the waistband.  The great thing about men’s dress pants is that they are usually made to be easily taken apart and altered.

P.S. Make sure you keep the zipper down throughout the entire process.

Step 3: Slice up the pants

Once the waistband is removed, cut the pant up through the side seams and the inseams.  Leave the pant front crotch seam intact.

Cut through the back pant crotch seam

Step 5: Cut out Slim Slacks

Layout the pant front piece and the pant front pattern. Using existing zipper placement, cut pant matching crotch curve and trying your best to match grain line on pant.

Flip pattern over and cut other front pant leg, still matching crotch seam.

The front pants should look like this, using the existing zipper:

Layout back pant panels. Using existing pocket placement (optional), cut back pants.  Cut one piece out of each back pant panel flipping to cut right & left pant legs.

Take pant waistband and cut at side seams.  Using the front and back waist guides, cut new front and back waistband.

Step 6: Start Sewing. You should have all these pieces ready:

Edge finish inseams and outseams of your pant panels using either a serger or a zig-zag stitch.  Sew crotch seam together on back leg pieces (use 1/4″ seam allowance here – usually matches front crotch seam better).

Sew front and back pant together at inseams and outseams, pressing seams flat.

If you decide to use existing pockets on your pant, you might need to tack down the seams at the side because the bulk sometimes won’t want to lay flat.  Just a few stitches in the ditch at the side seam will make all the difference.

Use a basting stitch to reattach beltloops at waist (optional).

Sew new waistband together at side seams.

Pin a 9″ piece of 1″-1 1/4″ elastic (depends on width of waistband) to the inside side seam of waistband.  Attach a safety pin to the other end.

Fold up waistband and stitch in the ditch to hold elastic in place at side seam (on one end only).

Pin waistband to pant, enclosing elastic along back waist (although it is not stretched and secured yet).

If you have an edgestitch foot, now’s the time to pull it out!  Edgestitch around waistband, stopping and starting 1″ before and 1″ after sideseam closest to the end of the elastic that has the safety pin in it.

Now it’s time to thread the elastic the rest of the way through the back waistband. Using the safety pin, guide it towards the waistband side seam.  Pin and sew in place. Then, edge stitch the hole closed.

Take a second to tack down the tops of your belt loops.

Edge finish the leg openings, press in hem.

Hand or machine blind-stitch hem.

YOU’RE FINISHED!

Now your boy is ready to be crazy-cool in his slim slacks!

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

ChickyC February 25, 2010 at 2:13 am

I love it!!! Bookmarking this one for when my little man gets a little older.

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naomi February 25, 2010 at 2:14 am

these are so funky! Will have to keep them in mind for when my little man gets a bit older.

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Cin February 25, 2010 at 5:30 am

Love this! My little guy is 4 1/2, so I will have to do some reconfiguring, but gonna give it a go. Thanks so much for sharing!

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
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You can definitely use a favorite pants pattern or use a pair of his pants to make your own pattern. Just takes some fitting time to get the legs to the desired “slimness”, Good luck!

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Antoinette February 25, 2010 at 5:57 am

Thank you for mastering this and posting a tutorial! I have always wondered about the “functionality” of refashioning pants and now I see it doesn’t have to be so tough!

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jackie February 25, 2010 at 6:40 am

those are so stinking cute! and brillant too. thanks for the tutorial.

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Diane February 25, 2010 at 6:54 am

Oh, how cool! I have a pile of men’s slacks I was just pondering. Thanks!

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Syl February 25, 2010 at 7:06 am

These are awesome! My little guy is well over the pattern size you have available, but I think with a little tweaking we can make our favorite pants pattern work for these. Thanks so much for sharing!

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emmylou February 25, 2010 at 8:22 am

I was planning on doing this exact thing for Easter for my boys. Now the only thing I need to figure out is the sizing (my boys are older). Well that and how to slim down a blazer. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

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This is Carrie
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Wow! That is quite an undertaking. But, like suit pants, men’s blazers are also made to be taken apart and altered. Good luck!

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Sarah H. February 25, 2010 at 8:37 am

Wow! This is great! My little boy is turning 1 next month- I never thought that I’d like sewing for a boy (I have 4-year-old twin girls) but lately (thanks to ideas like yours) I’ve been getting into it. Thanks for a great idea/tutorial/pattern.

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Nicole @ Ruffles and Fringe February 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

These are so adorable! Going on my to-look for list at the thrift store are some men’s pants! I have 3 girls and then my youngest is a boy, it is a lot harder to come up with things to make for him. Thank you so much for the tutorial!

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Jess February 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Wow! Fantastic tutorial, i am going to be doing these tonight for my 3 little boys!
My husband has just given me a huge sack of clothes he no longer wears and it is my goal to refashion everyone of them!

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
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Let me know how it goes!

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Kristin Stout February 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wonderful! I love this idea!

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Jillbert February 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

What a genius idea!!! I’m scared of doing a zipper fly but this seems an easy way to get one done!

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
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I’m terrified of zipper flys too!

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McKenzie February 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

These are rad! Boys are the best – thanks for this GREAT tutorial. I’m not the best sewer, but you make it look easy!

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Jan February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Thank you so much for posting this!! My little baby is 2 months old but needs a pair of slacks for his first church visit :) While I think the , etc, would drown him, I am really excited that you posted how to do a flat front with an elastic bum :) That seems like such a simple part of the post but for people who haven’t sewn in a while, it’s very helpful!

Thanks again!

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Janice February 26, 2010 at 9:53 am

Ok my son is 10 and he would love these for church so I’m going to have to figure this one out and my teenage girls want a pair in their size also. skinny slacks

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mommymita February 26, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Brilliant use of an already set in zipper!

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Iva February 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

So cute! Can’t wait to try these out for my little guy!

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Jacove February 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

This tutorial is GREAT!!! I am in the process of making these for my two year old son for church. I have only been really “sewing” for about 6 months now but the instructions are wonderful and I am having a blast making these. Thank you.

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
February 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I would LOVE it if you shared your “Slim Slack” creations in my Flickr group, “Reduce, Reuse, ReFASHION for Kids”:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kidsrefashion/

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erin March 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Is it right that I have less than 3″ of the zipper within the pattern piece. I guess? My little guy is pretty little… I’m in process of these & I’m nervous.

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This is Carrie
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I think my pants were about the same. The reality is that you probably won’t need to even use the zipper with the elastic back. I do – even the little bit helps get the pants over my guys big behind.

Don’t get nervous. If it doesn’t turn out, at least you learn for the next time around.

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erin March 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I’ve ruined it! The zipper head slipped off & I can’t get it back on!

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This is Carrie
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Erin! I know what you are going through. Did the same thing – on two different pairs of pants. On one, I was able to get the zipper head back on, on the second, I ended up ripping the whole zipper out and replacing it with a new one – not a fun or quick task. I meant to add a comment in the tutorial, warning people about the zipper, but I forgot. Sorry.

But like I said, you live and learn. Make it work or start over. Either way, you’ll most likely never make that mistake again (or you’ll make it one more time) :)

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Jen Reply:

The same thing happened to me with the zipper! I’m new and I thought…why can’t I zip this? Pop there it went! I’m sad :-(

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Ruth April 24, 2010 at 11:27 am

I made a pair and am so happy with them. Thanks so much for the great tutorial. It gave me the confidence I needed to try making pants and took out the hard part (zipper and waistband) that was holding me back from trying. I love them and will definitely be making more.

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Gail August 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

What a great idea, I love re-use ideas!! Please keep them coming!!

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Martina August 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I love these! I don’t have a boy (or any kids yet) but I’m definitely putting this on file for later. So smart! I’m wondering … could this same technique be applied for pants for a man? My husband is not a big guy … 29″ waist and about 5’8″. It’s hard to find cool vintage pants in his size. Also, dress pants tend to be baggy in the thighs rather than slim or skinny. I’ve experimented with taking in the inner leg seams but I’ve never tried taking apart the waist band. Hmm… this gives me confidence to try on a thrift store pair. Maybe if they’re really large, the same principles would apply as making the boys pants. Except no elastic waist band needed. Would that change the tutorial much? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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louise October 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Great idea! I’ve made a few pants for my little guy, but I like the skinny version. I’m adding it to my To Do List! Thanks.

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Jennie November 9, 2010 at 2:53 am

Hi.
I would love to share your tutorial on Inhabitots. Is that alright with you? Do you have any hi-res photos I could use?
Thanks,
Jennie

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Jane November 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Hi, I only just came across this via Rae’s announcement of Celebrate the Boy 2011. What a fantastic tutorial, thanks so much! I have 3 boys (zero girls) and they all suit slim pants. (They did NOT get this from my genetics!) I just made a pair of these for my 8 year old using a cut-up pair of old jeans as pattern (and slimming down the leg). They turned out beautifully! Better still, I think I can use my new-found skills to alter some lovely suit pants for my husband, which the tailor thought would be impossible to take in properly. Yay, I can ‘make’ proper pants without having to tackle making a fly! Maybe one day, but this is brilliant for now. And the things you learn about garment construction when you de-construct. Thanks a million!

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
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Fantastic! So glad you found it useful. I love hearing success stories.

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Jane November 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Oh – and may I just add something I discovered yesterday… double-stitching of the centre back seam may be advisable, since my single-stitched seam did not prove 8-year-old-on-trampoline-proof! All fixed now though ;-)

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jaimie March 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I can’t get the pattern to download….has the link expired?

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This is Carrie
Twitter:
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Looks like the site where i’ve hosted some of my previous pdf’s has gone defunct! Thanks for letting me know. I’ve transferred the files over to Scribd so the link in the post should work now.

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Becky March 9, 2011 at 9:02 am

Hey there I just posted about your Slim Slacks mine turned out AWESOME, thand you so much for this tutorial!!
http://beckyscraftcloset.blogspot.com/2011/03/cutest-little-boy-pants-ever.html

[Reply]

Tanya
Twitter:
March 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

I love this pattern.. I can’t wait to try this from my guy when he get big enough! Fantastic! Love your blog and look forward to reposting on covetblue!

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Covetblue
Twitter:
March 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

Great photo layout and easy to follow as well. Brilliant!

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Erica April 15, 2011 at 6:03 am

Good Morning! I am featuring these as part of a boys dress up for Easter clothes post which you can find here: http://bisforboycreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/fabulous-finds-for-boys-all-dressed-up.html

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Sarah April 30, 2011 at 6:08 am

I am not good at sewing but I loved loved these pants. I had been looking for church pants that I actually like and could afford and stumbled across your blog. It was a challenge for me but I did it! I like the first pair better but they were super tight! :) But I posted a picture on my blog and thank you so much for going through all the trouble so I could make these cute pants. I love them!

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Shantel May 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

Really cute! I’m featuring it on my blog today!
seemesew.blogspot.com

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Hope Brooks September 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

Very cute! I may have to try this for my skinny little girl as well! (with ladies pants, of course!)

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Nicole December 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

This was so easy to do! I made it bigger but ended up cutting it back down since my 4 year old is so skinny. All I really had to do was lengthen it. I also used a pair of ladies pants, which I noticed tend to have a shorter zipper and crotch so I didn’t have to cut it down! Thanks for making boys pants easy and cute!

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DM April 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

I am really impressed !!!!!

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Myong Dewater August 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I came upon your post on google and check out a few of your early articles. Stay with the very good posts. Ill likely be by again to read more, thanks for the information!.

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laura September 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I love these! I just got a pair of slacks from the thrift store and cant wait to make them!

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Agu October 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

I was going to ask what if you want to make the crotch area smaller? I know how to do the legs but not that area is their any way I can make that modification?

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Jacquie Snell January 27, 2013 at 7:10 am

What type of rotary cutter do you use?

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Anshu February 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

Great tutorial, for a boys wardrobe essential. Your little one looks adorable in his slacks. I featured this tutorial here:
http://sewprettysewfree.blogspot.com/2013/02/sewing-slim-slacks-from-adult-trousers.html

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Amanda March 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Just what I was looking for! I already started a pair of pants for my son last night just using my imagination and knowledge. All I was curious about was how to finish the waist, thought it would be more tricky but doesn’t seem to be. guess I had better get back to work now that I have some insight! thanks!

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Eleya March 20, 2013 at 11:02 am

I made these yesterday (from a pair of ladies pants as it was the fabric I liked best at the thrift store). I am hoping to do a spin on a vintage theme for family photos and was very happy with how the pants turned out. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial!!

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Sara P June 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I love these! I found a pair for $1 at the local thrift store! Whoop! My little guy looks super cute in them. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

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[Reply]

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[Reply]

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[Reply]

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