Happy Monster ‘Harem’ Pants

I’ve never liked the name ‘harem pants’, so much so that when the fabric shop lady asked me what I was making I said “I’m not sure … probably sort of … big skirt trousers…” at which they must have thought I’d never heard of a pair of culottes and feared for my naiscent seamstress’ ineptitude.

So leaving anti-feminist orientalism aside, I do like loose ‘hippy’ clothing designed for rollicking about on grass, sitting upside down on the sofa waggling my legs about, and generally rolling about on the floor – as my put upon housemates will inform you is my wont after a few ales.

This is the fabric they have in at SewArty in Kenilworth:

fat quarters of batik fabric for my fabric stash
fat quarters of batik fabric for the stash!

I’ve been eyeing it for weeks and bought these fat quarters of the spots just so as to have some in the stash.  I said to the assistant the previous time I’d been in “I just want to make all my clothes out of this and wear nothing else – how could you ever been miserable with these colours about you all day?!”

So it hasn’t quite got to that stage but I went back for 3 metres of one of the frondy green fabrics fully intending to make a pair of harem style balloon trousers with ‘skirt’ piece formed with a low drop crotch.

This has saved me no money at all! Harem trousers are ubiquitous in a range of exciting prints at less money than I spent on the fabric and they use a ridiculous yardage to garment ratio.  BUT I wanted this fabric.  And I wanted to learn a few things.  And even when buying oversized baggy clothes it is impossible to get them to fit me the way they are supposed to because they are sized for people smaller than me.  It’s no good buying a baggy elasticated one size fits all garment when all the ease disappears once it’s stretched over my frame.  Anyway, enough body shaming … on to the crafting…


practising button holes
so much planning!


I looked at A LOT of trousers and did a lot of drawing shapes inside a 1.12 by 3 metre rectangle.  Two ladies deserve shout outs for their patterns and inspiration Amina Creations and Jarka.  I didn’t follow their patterns exactly so the mistakes I made are purely my own!



measure once
measure once


measure twice
measure twice



  • fold over waist band and cuffs with tube drawstrings – the circumference is fixed by your maximum measurement at the hip and calf (so you can get them on!)
  • 2 rectangular leg pieces seamed on the inseam – the minimum drop is fixed by the measurement over your bum when bending over (maximum drop is much longer!)
  • one square folded on the bias to form the triangular drop crotch skirt – don’t listen to me on this the join at the waist was a disaster fudged with creative gathering and weird angular pleats!  I was trying to aim for the space to raise my legs at least at a right angle (hence the bias folded square panel idea)
  • The join at the waist is gathered at nearly a 1:2 ratio over the leg pieces and seamed flat across the top of the triangular skirt pieces.


cuffs and drawstrings take two and three
making cuffs and drawstrings was really quite satisfying…



And here’s the finished product:

finished harem pants

my drawstrings were beautiful when they were first pressed I promise!  but this is a more realistic document of the finished product I guess...
my drawstrings were beautiful when they were first pressed I promise! but this is a more realistic document of the finished product I guess…
sorry about all the creases but I've been rollicking in them all weekend
sorry about all the creases but I’ve been rollicking in them all weekend


Regrets the morning after:

post-project debriefing and self castigation
post-project debriefing and self castigation


The biggest error I suppose was in the calculation I made for the leg diameter.  I for some reason thought that it would need to be at least as wide as my largest thigh measurement and a bit more for ease.  This didn’t take into account the fact that the skirt/crotch piece starts in the front and fans out.  So there is A LOT of ease.  We’re talking monster hammer pants!  This is why you should always make a mock up first – but screw it they’re great!


front view of hand made harem trousers
now that’s a lot of ease!


Happy monster harem pants!


The golden barley rather upstages the brightness of my happy batik trousers
The golden barley upstages even THESE colours!

3 thoughts on “Happy Monster ‘Harem’ Pants

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

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