Sew your own basic soft pants (similar to Zara Basic Soft Pants) with sweater knit fabric and a super easy sewing pattern. You can learn to sew quiet luxury knit pants that you’ll wear and love at the same time! Even if you’re a beginner.
You’ll need: a basic no-side-seam knit pant sewing pattern for wide leg pants (I like the Christine Jonson Wide / Taper leg pants but any basic pant without a sideseam, designed for knit fabrics, will do.) And you’ll also need about two to three yards of knit fabric depending on your size. Sweater knit fabric like sweatshirting, or baby rib, or sweater knit with any kind of texture that’s mid to heavyweight is ideal for these pants. I have a gray/gray plaid that I am going to make into these pants.
The sweater rib knits from I See Fabric are luxe and perfect for this. Mood also carries sweater knit, and so does Nature’s Fabric. See below for links. They’re not affiliate links so have at it.
Easy Pants from Zara (photo from Zara):
The pattern you choose matters. The Zara ones are made with no pockets, but we can talk about a really sleek, hidden pocket. If you use a regular side seam pant with regular pockets, it will be more bulky and less sleek in the heavyweight knits you want for these pants.
The Christine Jonson Taper/Wide Leg pant is perfect, and there’s a hidden sideseam pocket version that’s virtually invisible (see the video below), with a free downloadable pocket and instruction template. It’s just ONE pocket facing, stitched almost invisibly on the right side, so it doesn’t add bulk and the pocket won’t move around inside the pants, which is key for this look.
You’ll need to make a few modifications to this pattern if you use it, here they are:
- When tracing your pattern off, from the knee to the hem, straighten out the inner leg seam – there’s a slight taper here to the ankle, while which is super on trend right now, the Zara pants go straight to the hem so make this modification so they look the same. If you want the taper, keep that.
- The Zara pants have a smooth elastic waistband that’s separate – we’ll create the same thing here with a trick for sewing a faux separate band waistband.
Cut the pattern as directed, with the knee-to-hem straightening as listed above.
No serger? no problem! Use a narrow width zigzag on the inner leg seam line and then a wider one next to it in the seam allowance. I like to use 1.5mm and 3.0mm when I do this on the inner leg seams (only).
The instructions in the pattern include serging or zig zagging the elastic to the wrong side at the waistband. Leave 1/4″ here at the top of the waistband, scoot the elastic down, and use a zigzag only to secure the elastic to the pants. You’ll make a loop with the elastic, secure the ends together, then, quarter the band (see the pattern instructions), apply this to the WRONG side of your pants 1/4″ down from the top and stretch the elastic flat as you zig zag one edge on. This creates a little “flap” of fabric at the top that you’ll use in the next step. Once your elastic is zig zagged to the near top of the pants wrong side, you’re ready to go to the next step.
Fold the elastic waistband combo BACK to the right side of the pant, leaving the 1/4 flap sticking out, Then, fold it down AGAIN, creating a fold next to the 1/4″ flap. The elastic should be facing you (not inside the pants). You’ll have the flap sticking up AND you’ll have a folded edge next to it. Align the raw edge 1/4 flap you left with the folded edge. THIS is what you’ll zigzag next, (you won’t be stitching on TOP of the elastic as per the instructions.) Pin this carefully. Using a very narrow zigzag, OR serging (I strongly recommend you zigzag this FIRST), sew on top of the 1/4″ flap to secure it to the folded edge. Then flip up the waistband – voila! Looks like a separate band from the right side, but it’s not! And you didn’t have to sew through the elastic again, yay! If it’s your first time or you want to be sure you got it right, baste this before sewing or serging. Once you flip it to the right side you’ll see how it looks like a separate waistband has been added. If you prefer, you may fold it back down and serge over your zigzag or zigzag over it again to secure it.
This is similar to sewing a faux band hem here.
Hem the pants to the length you prefer. I like a soft flowy break (shown above) but still 1/2 above the ground.
Styling your soft basic pants:
Of course you can wear your soft wide leg pants with shearling boots, but you can also wear them with sneakers and ballet flats. These are a heavyweight wintry pant but if you want you can make them in a lighter weight brushed rib and wear them with sandals in the spring and fall. They are cozy “quiet luxury” chic enough to be worn with a ballet flat as well.
On top: choose a soft sweater – Zara shows these with a sleeveless sweater and that’s a good choice, try an up-sized version of the Nikko turtleneck (go up one size if you’re using sweater knit but cut your usual size under the armhole so it’s not too deep) for a matching set that you can wear under a cardigan. For a winter version, make the cropped Toaster Two sweater with open funnel neck and cropped banded hem, for a long sleeve sweater that’s cropped and cozy with your soft wide leg pants. The Mile End sweatshirts from Closet Core would also be a great choice too. For an upscale sweatshirt, try the Beatnik Sweatshirt from HotPatterns.
Top this with a long coat, my favorite Easy Coat Sewing patterns are here.
If you want a cropped coat, try the Megan Nielsen Hovea in lined wool or quilted fabric in view E, the shortest version. There are two of these, a quilted one or using quilts, and a regular one that doesn’t use quilted fabric (or prequilted fabric is great for this.) I have made the short version in wool, and the mid version in prequilted fabric. There are instructions for using an actual quilt too.
Add your favorite crossbody bag on top and go! If it’s cold out and you’re wearing (faux) shearling boots, add a slouchy hat and warm gloves to your outfit. I like the slouchy beanie if you want to sew it, and it’s free. You can use the same sweaterknit as your pants!