One-piece pants two ways tutorial

These are probably close to the easiest pants to sew ever–either way you cut them.

Fisherman Pants
One-piece pants - front

(Caution: doll nudity below. It is inoffensive but may not be appropriate in all environments.)

Both pairs were made with the same process, but different starting dimensions, and are very easy and quick, even for someone without much sewing experience.


These dimensions are for a 1/6 Asian Ball-Jointed Doll (BJD), specifically for Fairyland Littlefees.  It should be pretty easy to modify the dimensions for a doll of a different size, or even potentially a person, though I can’t made any guarantees on comfort or durability with normal wear.

The wide-leg version are Thai Fisherman Pants, also called Yoga Pants or (inaccurately) Samurai Pants.  The slim version are just lounge pants with a wrap at the waist.  I don’t take any credit for either garment being an original design, these are just my interpretations.

I have very little seam allowance when I sew by hand. If machine sewing or using different stitches than recommended, you may want to increase your starting dimensions to compensate for this.


  • Fabric: it helps if you use a material with stretch, but is not necessary.  Thin fabric is recommended, as the folding at the waist adds a lot of bulk with a material of even moderate thickness.  The amount of material varies, but will be less than a 12″x12″ square (unless you are sewing for a larger doll). I used some recycled fabric of unknown fiber content, but which is very soft with a good stretch.
  • Matching thread
  • 12″ matching ribbon
  • Sewing needle or machine
  • Ruler or measuring tape and something to mark your fabric
  • Iron (optional)
  • Pins (optional)
  • Having the doll you are sewing for on-hand is not strictly necessary but helps with sizing


As the name implies, these pants are sewn from a single piece of fabric.  The size of that piece is determined by the size of your doll and the fit you want.  For the slim pants, I started with a 7″x7″ square.

One-piece doll pants - starting square

For the wide pants, my fabric was still 7″ tall but was 10″ wide.


It should be pretty easy to figure out measurements for shorts or other styles of pants.

While it’s not necessary, I ironed the hems at the waist and legs before cutting between the legs. If you do not want the pants to fold over at the waist (as in my slim pants), fold both hems towards the back/wrong side of the fabric. If you do want them to fold over (as in my wide pants), fold the bottom hems towards the wrong side and the top hem towards the right side. Only do this if your material looks good from both sides.

Each hem is about 1/2 cm wide.

I then cut the slit directly up the center to form the legs.  I did it visually to get the length I wanted, but they’re about 4 1/2″ long.


I also pinned the hems to keep them straight while I worked.


I started by hemming using prickstitch. When the front stitches are kept small, it is very invisible, giving the finished piece a sleek, soft look as well as masking the inconsistency of an inexperienced hand sewer. I like to do the waist hem first, then the two leg hems, but this makes absolutely no difference in the finished product.

As above, if you are not going to have a fold at the waist, all hems are done with the top stitches (in this case, the tiny ones) on the outside of the pants. If you want the waist to fold over the belt, put the top stitched on the inside (so they will be on the outside when it is folded. I recommend finishing the hems if you use a material that frays at all easily.

Once the hems were done, I folded the fabric, wrong-side-out, so that the outside edges were in the middle and lined up with the slit for the legs. I pinned each leg, overlapping them just slightly at the crotch.

I used blanket stitch on all my seams, because it is a strong, clean-looking stitch that will prevent fraying.

I seamed both legs together, from one ankle, to the crotch, to the other ankle, then sewed the back seam from the crotch up. I folded the 12″ of ribbon in half and inserted into the seam so that only a millimeter or so of the fold sticks out the wrong side (currently the outside). Make sure at least two or three stitches are in the ribbon before moving up.

If your edges are all finished and your stray thread cut, you should now be done with your pants! Turn them right-side out and put them on your doll. I do it with the seam in the back, but depending on how you tie them and the look you want, the seam could also be in the front.


There’s really no wrong way to tie pants like these, as long as they are staying on the doll, but here’s how I did them for these photos.

For the slim pants, I just folded the fabric over in the front, giving it a faux fly, then tied a knot to hold the material in place.  Because of my hemming, I did not fold the waist over the belt.


I tied the wide pants by taking the material from each side and bringing it towards the center, tying the belt, then folding the material over the belt.


You can also fold the material from one side over the other (this is what most online videos of “how to wear fisherman pants” depict).


So there it is, a quick sew that has quite a bit of attitude and endless room for variation.  Feel free to post any questions or suggestions you may have, and if you make a pair I’d love you see your results.


About Marika

Writer, knitter, composer, artist, DIYer and a half-dozen flavors of geek. View all posts by Marika

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