How To Put Side Panels in Pants

Side panels give jeans a quick and easy makeover.  Using cheap material from the fabric store or even old sheets, a truly personalized pair of pants can be made in 1 night.

You'll need:

  • Fabric for side panels
  • Jeans or pants
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • An iron and ironing board

Choose your pants wisely.
The best pants are too small; the side panels will make them bigger. If the pants fit or are too big, make sure to buy a belt. The side panels will make the pants huge. The best pants to put side panels in are denim. The stretchier fabrics are harder to work with than denim or cotton. The style of the pants doesn't matter.

The first step is to take out the side seams.
This can be accomplished 2 different ways. The first is to take the seam ripper and remove the stitching along the side seam of the pants. This is easier on non-denim pants. The second way is to cut along the thick seam of the pants on both sides. It's important to do this carefully so as not to get a crooked cut. This works for all pants.

Next, take out the hem. Use the seam ripper or scissors for this. Make sure not to cut the actual fabric.

Now it's time to measure the side panel fabric. When measuring the width, make sure to add 1/2 inch on either side. The best width for a side panel is about 3 inches. The panel can be wider or more slim. Now measure the length of your pants from the the bottom to just before the waistband. Measure the waistband and add the 2 together. This is how long the panel fabric should be.

It's time to get sewing!
Lay out the panel fabric to match up with the hem. Fold the top to match the length of the waistband. Use the iron to set a crease in the fabric. Lay the fabric so the right side of the side panel matches the right side of the pants.

Now you can sew the panel in place making sure the seam is 1/4 inch away from the edge. Do this on both sides.

Now sew up the hem and you're done!

Keep in mind that this can all be done using a sewing machine or hand sewing. The only difference is that with a sewing machine you can reinforce the stitching so your pants won't come unraveled later.


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