How To Make Cargo Pants From Scratch

How To Make Cargo Pants From Scratch

When it comes to creating cargo pants from scratch, it's fascinating to realize that these versatile bottoms were originally designed for military use in the 1930s. With their spacious pockets and sturdy construction, cargo pants are not only functional but also a stylish addition to any wardrobe. Whether you're looking to showcase your DIY skills or simply enjoy the satisfaction of wearing pants you made yourself, learning how to create cargo pants from scratch is a rewarding endeavor.

To make cargo pants from scratch, you will need a durable fabric like cotton twill for the outer shell, as well as matching thread, a sewing machine, and basic sewing tools. Begin by cutting out the pattern pieces for the front and back panels, waistband, pockets, and any additional cargo pockets you desire. Next, sew the panels together, ensuring the proper fit and leaving openings for the waistband and zipper. Complete the pants by attaching the waistband, inserting the zipper, and adding the pockets. The result will be a pair of custom-made cargo pants that reflect your personal style and craftsmanship.



How To Make Cargo Pants From Scratch

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Cargo Pants

If you want to make cargo pants from scratch, the first step is to choose the right fabric. Cargo pants are known for their durability and functionality, so it's important to select a fabric that can withstand wear and tear.

One of the best fabric options for cargo pants is cotton twill. Cotton twill is a sturdy and breathable fabric that can handle heavy-duty use. It's also comfortable to wear, making it ideal for everyday wear. Another popular fabric choice is canvas, which is even more durable than cotton twill. Canvas fabric is thick and resistant to abrasion, making it perfect for outdoor activities.

When selecting the fabric, consider the weight as well. Lighter weight fabrics are suitable for warmer climates, while heavier weight fabrics provide extra warmth and durability. Additionally, look for fabrics with a bit of stretch for added comfort and flexibility.

Ultimately, the choice of fabric depends on your personal preferences and the function of the cargo pants. Whether you prioritize durability, breathability, or weather resistance, selecting the right fabric is crucial for the success of your project.

Taking Accurate Measurements for Your Cargo Pants

Before you start cutting your fabric, it's essential to take accurate measurements. Taking precise measurements ensures that your cargo pants will fit well and be comfortable to wear.

You will need measurements for your waist, hips, inseam, and the desired length of the pants. Use a flexible measuring tape to get the most accurate measurements. For the waist measurement, wrap the tape around the narrowest part of your waist, usually above your belly button. For the hip measurement, measure the fullest part of your hips. The inseam measurement is taken from the crotch to the desired length of your pants.

Once you have the measurements, add in a few extra inches for seam allowance, ease, and any adjustments you may need to make during the sewing process. Getting the measurements right from the beginning will save you time and effort later on.

Remember, it's always better to have slightly more fabric than you need. You can always trim the excess, but it's challenging to add fabric once it's cut.

Cutting and Sewing the Cargo Pants

Once you have your measurements and fabric ready, it's time to start cutting and sewing your cargo pants. Follow these steps for a successful DIY project:

  • Lay the fabric flat on a large, clean workspace.
  • Using fabric chalk or a fabric marker, mark the pattern pieces onto the fabric according to your measurements.
  • Carefully cut out the pattern pieces, ensuring clean and precise edges.
  • Pin the fabric pieces together, right sides facing each other, following the instructions provided with your pattern.
  • Using a sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew along the pinned edges, creating the seams.
  • Try on the pants as you go to make any necessary adjustments.
  • Add any extra design features such as cargo pockets, drawstrings, or belt loops, as desired.
  • Finish the garment by hemming the bottom of the pant legs and waistband.
  • Press the finished pants to give them a professional look.

Remember to take your time and double-check your work at each step. It's also helpful to consult sewing tutorials or patterns for specific guidance on sewing techniques and finishes.

Adding Functionality and Style to Your Cargo Pants

One of the distinguishing features of cargo pants is the abundance of pockets. Adding functional pockets to your cargo pants not only enhances their utility but also adds to their style.

Consider the number and placement of the pockets based on your preference and the intended use of the pants. Cargo pockets are typically located on the sides of the legs and can vary in size. Additionally, you can add smaller pockets on the front and back of the pants.

When sewing the pockets, reinforce them with double stitching to ensure they can hold heavier items without tearing. You can also add flaps, buttons, or Velcro closures to keep the contents secure. This not only provides functionality but also adds a stylish element to your cargo pants.

Adding Details and Embellishments

If you want to personalize your cargo pants and make them unique, consider adding details and embellishments. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Contrasting topstitching: Use a different color thread to create decorative stitching along the seams.
  • Embroidery: Add embroidery designs to the pockets or pant legs for a customized touch.
  • Patches: Attach patches or badges to the pockets for a military-inspired look.
  • Trim: Use contrasting fabric or ribbon as trim along the pockets, waistband, or pant legs.

These details can elevate your cargo pants and make them stand out from store-bought options. Get creative and experiment with different techniques to achieve the desired look.

Finishing Touches and Care Instructions

After completing your cargo pants, don't forget to give them a final touch and care for them properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Trim any loose threads and give the pants a final press to ensure a polished appearance.
  • Follow the recommended care instructions for the fabric you used to ensure longevity.
  • Consider treating the fabric with a water-resistant spray if you plan to use the pants for outdoor activities.

With proper care, your handmade cargo pants can last for many years, becoming a staple in your wardrobe.

Adding Style and Utility to Your Homemade Cargo Pants

If you're looking to add style and utility to your handmade cargo pants, there are a few additional steps you can take to elevate your DIY project.

Customizing the Fit of Your Cargo Pants

One advantage of making your own cargo pants is the ability to customize the fit to your body shape and personal style. Here are some ways to achieve a personalized fit:

1. Adjusting the waistband: If you prefer a higher or lower rise, modify the waistband accordingly. You can also add elastic inserts to provide a more comfortable fit.

2. Tapering the leg: If you prefer a slimmer or more tailored look, you can taper the legs of your cargo pants. Carefully measure and mark the desired width at the ankle, and gradually taper the leg from the knee down to the ankle.

3. Lengthening or shortening the pants: Depending on your height and personal preference, you may want to adjust the length of the pants. Always check the fit by trying on the pants and making any necessary alterations before hemming.

By customizing the fit, you can create cargo pants that flatter your body shape and reflect your personal style.

Experimenting with Different Fabrics and Patterns

While cotton twill and canvas are popular choices for cargo pants, don't be afraid to experiment with different fabrics and patterns. Here are a few options to consider:

1. Denim: Denim fabric can add a rugged and casual look to your cargo pants. Opt for darker washes for a more polished appearance.

2. Ripstop nylon: For outdoor enthusiasts, ripstop nylon offers durability and water-resistance, making it suitable for rugged adventures.

3. Printed fabrics: Adding unique prints and patterns to your cargo pants can create a bold and eye-catching look. Look for prints that suit your personal style, such as camouflage, florals, or geometric patterns.

Remember to consider the fabric characteristics and weight when choosing alternative options. Each fabric will have its own unique drape and feel, which may result in a different fit and overall appearance of the garment.


How to Make Cargo Pants from Scratch

Creating your own cargo pants from scratch can be a rewarding and fulfilling project. By following these steps, you can make your very own custom-designed cargo pants:

  • Measurements: Accurately measure your waist, hips, inseam, and desired length for the pants.
  • Purchasing fabric: Choose a durable fabric such as cotton twill or canvas in the color and pattern of your preference.
  • Cutting the fabric: Use your measurements to cut out the pant pieces, including front and back panels, pocket pieces, and waistband.
  • Sewing the pockets: Attach the cargo pockets to the front panels, ensuring precise measurements and secure stitching.
  • Assembling the pant pieces: Sew the front and back panels together, adding the waistband and any necessary adjustments.
  • Adding details: Include features such as belt loops, zippers, and buttons according to your personal style.
  • Finishing touches: Hem the bottoms, press the pants to ensure a polished look, and thoroughly check for any loose threads or imperfections.

By following these steps and exercising patience and attention to detail, you can create your own unique cargo pants that fit perfectly and showcase your personal style. Happy sewing!


Key Takeaways

  • Choose a durable fabric for your cargo pants.
  • Take accurate body measurements before cutting the fabric.
  • Use a sewing machine for faster and neater stitches.
  • Add functional cargo pockets for a practical touch.
  • Finish the pants with waistband and cuffs for a polished look.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about making cargo pants from scratch.

1. What materials do I need to make cargo pants?

To make cargo pants from scratch, you will need the following materials:

  • Pattern or template for cargo pants
  • Fabric (preferably cotton or a durable fabric)
  • Thread (matching color to your fabric)
  • Zippers or buttons for pockets and closures
  • Elastic for the waistband (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle

With these materials, you are ready to start making your cargo pants!

2. How do I choose the right fabric for my cargo pants?

When choosing fabric for your cargo pants, consider durability and comfort. Look for a fabric that is sturdy and can withstand regular use. Cotton or a cotton-blend fabric is a popular choice for cargo pants as it is breathable and comfortable to wear.

You can also consider other durable fabrics such as canvas or twill. These fabrics are often used for workwear or outdoor clothing and can add an additional layer of durability to your cargo pants.

3. How do I create the pockets for my cargo pants?

Creating the pockets for your cargo pants is an essential step. Here's how you can do it:

- Cut out pocket pieces according to the pattern or template. The number and size of pockets will depend on your design and preference.

- Pin the pocket pieces onto the front and back panels of the pants, ensuring they are evenly placed and aligned.

- Sew around the edges of the pocket pieces, leaving the top open for access.

- You can add button or zipper closures to secure the pockets if desired.

4. How do I add a waistband to my cargo pants?

To add a waistband to your cargo pants, follow these steps:

- Cut out a waistband piece according to the pattern or template. The width and length of the waistband will depend on your waist measurement and the desired fit.

- Fold the waistband in half lengthwise and press to create a crease.

- Pin the folded waistband to the top edge of the pants, aligning the raw edges.

- Sew along the pinned edge, leaving a small opening for inserting elastic if desired.

5. Are there any additional tips for making cargo pants from scratch?

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when making cargo pants from scratch:

  • Take accurate measurements before cutting out the fabric.
  • Test your sewing machine's stitches and tension on a scrap fabric before starting on the actual pants.
  • Follow the pattern or template instructions carefully.
  • Take your time and sew slowly for a neat and professional finish.
  • Experiment with different pocket designs and placements to customize your cargo pants.
  • Iron your finished pants to give them a polished look.

How to Sew Cargo Pants for Beginners | GA023



In conclusion, making cargo pants from scratch can be a fun and rewarding project. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create your own stylish and functional pair of cargo pants tailored to your preferences.

Remember to choose durable and quality materials, take accurate measurements, and follow a detailed sewing pattern. Take your time, be patient, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. With practice, you'll soon be able to master the art of making cargo pants from scratch.


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