A friend of mine was wearing a pair of these pants at a Pagan festival we attended several years ago. He had purchased his at a Ren Faire and went on and on about how comfortable they were and the various ways to wear them. When he finally changed out of them and I got to take a look at just how simple they are to make, I HAD to try sewing up a pair for myself, and have made several over the years since. I don't remember what he called them, but I refer to them as my "Pagan Pants".
If you have any experience whatsoever with a sewing machine, these pants can be produced, start to finish, in about 20 minutes. Materials required are 3 yards of 45" wide fabric and about 10' of cord for the drawstrings. I always select a cotton weave from my local discount store's remnant section and have yet to invest more than about $6.00 in the fabric for a pair of these.
First, lay out the pattern: This doesn't look like any other pattern you've ever seen. All it consists of is a cardboard template for cutting the only curve in the pattern and takes only a few minutes to make. Take a piece of cardboard from an old carton, cereal box, or whatever, and cut a 4" radius half-circle at one end so the end product looks like this:
Lay out your fabric on a smooth surface. (I usually appropriate the kitchen table for this.) In this example, I'm making brown pants:
Fold your fabric lengthwise, with the good sides together:
Place the flat end of your template at the fold, aligning the mark with the centerline of the fabric. Trace the outline onto the fabric, remove the template and cut the fabric into two halves at the fold. Cut out the saddle of the pants, hustle over to the sewing machine, and stitch around the saddle as shown:
Now just open the pants at the top corners and stitch down wide hems (approximately 3/4") for the drawstrings. Add a narrow hem to the bottom of each leg (not shown in illustration), thread a 5' length of cord through each channel at the top, and your new pants are ready to wear! Note that these pants are completely open down the legs and the selvage is used as a finished edge on the sides; this is part of the beauty and function of these things, so don't argue with me, no matter what they told you in Home Ec!
To put these ridiculously huge looking things on, here's
what you do:
Find the wide part created from the offset of the template: This is the back. Wrap this around your waist and tie the drawstring in front. Reach between your legs and pull the front up, tying the drawstring cord in back. Now wrap the corners of the legs of the pants around your ankles and tie them together. For a full, baggy harem-pant look, once around will do it. To make the legs a little more fitted, go around twice, or three times for a tight fit. Experiment!
Here I am wearing a pair at our handfasting. You can't see the top because of the long tunic, but you should be able to get the general idea:
I hope you have as much fun making and wearing these as