A few years ago, at a random children’s activity with Alex, I saw a little boy wearing Thai fisherman pants, and got a bit of pants-envy. Thai fisherman pants, for the uninitiated, are a relaxed, one-size-fits-all type of pants, favoured by hippies and Thai fisherman the world over. In any case, they were adorable, so I asked his Mum where she got them, because I HAD to get some for Alex. Unfortunately, she had bought them in Thailand, and I couldn’t find any around Newcastle anywhere. I did some googling and they looked pretty easy to make, so I thought I’d give it a go.
They are actually really easy to make, even for a domestically-challenged sewer such as I. I found some general directions on how to make some for adults, then just had a little play with some material until they turned into pants.
I had heaps of fun making these for a while, and even sold a pair on Etsy to someone in France, but sewing tends to give me a migraine, so it didn’t take long for me to give that hobby up.
My boys wear their Thai fisherman pants quite a lot in Summer, especially to the beach, or just hanging out at home. I always have passers-by telling me how cute they are, and I have to agree.
So I thought I would share my “pattern” and instructions so you can make your own, even if you’re not a great sewer! I apologise if the directions are not clear, I really am not a “sewer”, and I tend to just chuck bits of material together without measuring or planning, so there are a few approximations, and I may have skipped a few steps along the way… If anything is unclear, let me know and I’ll attempt to clarify.
I’m not going to lie, the reason Charlie’s face isn’t really shown in any of these photos is because I bribed him with M&Ms to wear the pants and he had the remnants all over his mouth…
You will need:
– about 1 metre of cotton for the legs (probably less though)
– about 1/4-1/2 metre of cotton for the waistband (I used a different patterned material to the legs, but it can be the same as the legs material, if you prefer)
– enough material to make a long tie with (my ties are usually about 1m long and about 2cm wide)
– sewing machine
– cotton for the machine
These measurements will fit around a 2 year old, but keep in mind that these pants are very flexibly sized, and if they are too long, you can roll up the bottom, and they look fine if they’re 3/4 length as well. The waist and legs will be quite wide, much wider then you’ll think it should be, so you don’t need to worry about accuracy too much. The wider the better.
Step 1 – Cut out 2 x “legs” in the following shape. For length, perhaps just measure how long the legs are in another pair of pants, and add a few centimetres for hemming. The below measurements fit my just-turned 3 year old, but probably better for a 1-2 year old, and include room for a 1-2cm hem on each edge (as appropriate).
Step 2 – Sew together the two (c)s of one leg, then the other. Then sew both legs together at the top (the (a) of one leg to the (a) of the other leg, and same with (b)s). There will be a centre point where the two (c) leg seams meet with the (a) seam and the (b) seam. Finish off each seam with an overlocker or diagonal stitch.
Step 3 – Hem the bottom of each leg (d). Keep the legs inside-out at this point.
Step 4 – Take your material for the waist band, and fold it in half longways. Iron it flat. Once ironed in half, your waistband should be about 12.5cm tall, or more, and at least 100cm long. You might need to sew two pieces of material together to make the waistband long enough. If you are using a patterned material, you need the pattern to be showing on both sides once it’s folded in half. You will have a neat ironed long edge, and a rough, open long edge, which we’ll call (f).
Step 5 – Starting at the back middle seam of the legs (b), start to sew the waistband (f) to the top of the legs (e). The pants should still be inside-out.
Step 6 – Continue attaching the waistband to the top of the legs. When you are back at the start (b), trim off any excess waistband material.
Step 7 – Sew the two ends of the waistband together. This should be directly above the seam at the back of the legs (b). Turn the pants right-side out.
Step 8 – Make a tie. Ensure it is long enough to tie around the waist and make a knot. I’m sure there are easier ways to do this, but I just sew two long thin pieces of material together, pattern-sides together, then turn them back in the right way. It’s very fiddly, and mine were never neat, but they’re to wear to the beach, so you don’t have to be too anal about it.
Step 9 – Sew your tie onto the middle of the back of the waistband seam (above (b)), halfway between the top and bottom of the waistband.
Step 10 – Ready to wear!
Okay, realistically, the most challenging thing is holding your child still to tie them on. Here’s how you tie them up.
1. Put pants onto child. Make sure the middle of the tie is in the middle of the back.
2. Keeping the tie in the middle of the back, pull one side of the pants across the body.
3. Fold the other side back across.
4. Tie the tie around the waist.
5. Fold the top of the waistband over the tie.
Done! Easy! Adorable!