Curtains to Wide Leg Pants Refashion

This project is all about conquering my sewing fears. In all my years of sewing, I never made a pair of trousers because the complexity intimidated me.  The fly front, the waistband and side pockets freaked me out, so I avoided making pants altogether.  I had a fear of failure.

So what made me change my mind?   I came across some old curtains at a garage sale for $4 and immediately thought of making wide leg trousers. If I messed up the pants, I’m only out $4, so the risk was low.  Also, I have a thing for obnoxiously patterned pants.  My signature look is to pair loud pants with a simple top.  I’ve been eye-balling Collette’s Juniper Trousers pattern for the longest time and finally bought it for this project. 

Another reason I avoided trousers is the fit issue.  I’ve had so many bad experiences with ill-fitting patterns that I stopped using them and started winging it on my own with my refashions.  Luckily, these pants fit me PERFECTLY.  People, this is a big deal for me because I’m ALWAYS tweaking and adjusting patterns.  Never in my entire life has a pattern fit me so well.  

These pants fit snugly at the hips and gently flare out to the hem.  The contour waistband molds naturally to the waist and is key to the great fit.  As a short, petite gal, I depend on wide leg trousers to make me look longer and leaner.

Front view of my wide leg trousers upcycled from garage sale curtains.

Look at my first fly front!  It was a little tricky, but Colette has a wonderful tutorial that walks you through step by step.  I’m a tad OCD with my sewing, and the topstitching isn’t as perfect as I’d like it to be, but it’s not too shabby for a first-timer.

Side view of my wide leg trousers upcycled from garage sale curtains.

How about the slash pockets? The pockets are well constructed and roomy, perfect for carrying the crap my 6-year-old son collects when we’re out and about.

Back view of wide leg trousers refashioned from curtains.

I spent the better part of my Saturday making these pants, which is surprisingly fast considering all the new things I was trying out.  I finished these wide leg trousers around midnight and went to bed with a smug feeling of satisfaction.  My only gripe about this pattern is the zipper.  There’s no inner zipper flap, and the zipper often catches on my underwear at the end of a bathroom break.

You never know what you’re capable of if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  When trying something new, go slow, break it down into smaller chunks, and don’t be afraid to use the seam ripper.

Update:  After wearing these pants for a few months, there are a few things that really irritate me about this pattern.

  • The zipper makes these pants unwearable.  I have to gingerly pull up the zipper every time I put on the pants so it doesn’t get caught in my underwear.  For someone with a small bladder who takes frequent bathroom breaks, this is quite annoying.
  • I can’t get the front waist tab to lie flat.  Pressing the heck out of the tab doesn’t do a thing, and I don’t want to add any topstitching.  Maybe buttons and buttonholes will do the trick.

I’m not giving up on this pattern because of the fabulous fit.  Next time, instead of the front zipper, I’ll put an invisible zipper on the side and make the front waist one continuous panel of fabric.



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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Ann at 5:01 pm

    Those pants look fabulous. I have a pattern for shorts I drafted myself with the same contour waistband & slash pockets. I absolutely love it. Reminds me of when I made a pantsuit out of old curtains when I was in high school.

    • melissa1lin at 6:10 pm

      Thanks Ann! I’m a big fan of the contour waistband too. I think it was the key to the great fit of the trousers. I’d love to take a look at your curtain pantsuit if you still have it.

  2. Mary in Thailand at 5:54 am

    That is a great fit! They look amazing!
    May I suggest, to simplify making them, and wearing them worry-free… that you move the zipper to center back? Makes installing the zip very, very easy, and the curve that is naturally there will hold them shut reliably. Not sure if this would resolve the catching on undies issue… but it is easy to sew.

  3. Sagree Lessmann at 2:58 am

    Hello Melissa. Wow, you are such an inspiration. I love what you have done to Upcycles 🙂 All those thriftstore finds are such a wonderful way to make new outfits. Like you, I am a petite woman, I used to be 5 ft 😀 But I refuse to measure myself again 😀 So one thing about pants and myself being on the short side, It is so difficult to get that perfect fit. So I found that a back zipper works well, I tailored a few pants in the past with this in mind, and pants always fit better for me. Even side zips, as you mentioned in your update. Thank you for the great patterns and inspirations.

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