Princess Jasmine looking enticing and ethereal in flowing harem pants – this is one of the most popular and enduring images of a harem pant -Today’s fashion-conscious girls also crave these pants for its cool casual and attractive looks.
Harem pants is usually spoken in the same breath as belly dancing, a Middle Eastern dance. The fluid sinuous movements associated with belly dancing is aided by the loose pattern of harem pants. It used to be accompanied by a heavily embellished bra and hip belt. Nowadays It is worn with a variety of tops.
In fact one of the reasons why harem pants is so popular is that it is flattering to most body shapes. This pants have a baggy silhouette with the legs of the pants tight at the calves. This creates a very casual effortless style and hence very popular.
They usually have an elasticized waist or a draw corded one. You can sew them in a multitude of fabrics like light cotton, satin, silk, chiffon, georgette, sheer fabrics, knit, even a medium cotton; Just avoid sewing them with heavy fabrics.
How to sew Harem pants
The pattern I have given below is for a Harem pants which is mostly fitted around the waist, not very baggy around the place where you need the least bulk, though it has an elastic waist. If you like an easy harem pants with shirred waist ( which is free size and easy to make in an hour or so) checkout the tutorial for the belly dance pants here.
How to wear Harem Pants
These pants can be worn with your favorite tank top or a crop top and denim vest or your old distressed tshirt or tunic / short kurta so long as they are fitted. It is best not to choose a boxy or baggy top over harem pants for obvious reasons. A very thin woman would look the best in harem pants for the look of curves this pants would give her. If you have a pear shaped body stick to plain fabrics for your harem pants.
Checkout the way harem pants are worn to up the style quotient.
Checkout the pattern for a Bohemian hippie pants, an alternative to harem pants with its elastic waistband and loose fit.
2 ways to draft a Harem pants pattern
The two methods for sewing a harem pants outlined below differ in the looseness around the crotch line -drop crotch style – The first method makes a very loose Aladdin pants.
Method 1 ALADDIN PANTS
This pattern is better to be sewn with a stretchy fabric / knit fabric. Even if you are using other non stretchy fabric like cotton or polyester, the ankle belt should be in a stretchy fabric.In the instruction below I am using cotton for the waist piece and pant legs but the ankle belt is in knit, otherwise you will have problem getting your feet inside.The above shown pant is sewn in stretchy knit fabric.
The pattern has to be pinned to 2 layers of fabric which is kept on fold. Cut the patterns as per the diagram given below
Refer to the post on cutting fabric if you would like more details.
Refer to the diagram below and make the patterns
You will now have the following pieces with you.
The waist yoke piece is cut as one piece; If you don’t have enough fabric to make it as one piece you can cut it as two pieces and join together.
Ankle belt piece is also kept on fold to give thickness.
How to sew the Harem pants
Join the inseam of each pant . You now have two pant leg pieces
Join the two legs together at the crotch line.
Join the waist yoke edges together. You will get a tube now.
After sewing the edges together, to finish the edges, on the wrong side turn under the edges to either sides and stitch along the edge.
Turn under 1 1/2 inches inside at the top edge of the waist yoke for elastic waist band. Leave 1″ opening to insert elastic.
Gather the leg piece by giving two rows of stitches along the edge. Pull the thread tail to gather. You need to fit the legs to the waist yoke bottom edge
Keep the waist yoke and the leg piece right sides together and Join the edges.
You now have the pant almost ready
Make the ankle piece. Keep the two raw edges of the ankle piece together and stitch.
Fold the 6 inch wide piece lengthwise so that you have 3 inch ankle belt.
Attach the ankle belt to the legs. Keep the ankle belt and pant leg right sides together and join the edges.
Measure around your waist. Reduce 1 inch from this measure. Then add 1/2 inch seam allowance. With a pin insert the elastic to the waistband. Stitch the elastic edges together. Sew up the opening
The pant is ready.
Method 2. Pattern for Harem pants
This version is a slightly more difficult to sew version and can be sewn with any type of cloth. You need to make paper patterns to make these pants ( you can also mark the measurements directly on to the cloth – please read the whole instructions before doing that). This is the best harem pants suitable as a belly dance costume. You can sew a version with side open legs with this pattern as this has inner and outer seam.
Take 2 piece of paper with the following dimensions , as you will be making a front pattern and a back pattern
- length = your pants length plus 7 inches and
- width = about half your hip round measurement.
These pants are marked as any pants except that 3″ is added extra to the length for fullness at the bottom.
How much cloth is needed to sew Harem Pants
The length will be the full length from where you will tie the waistband to the ankles plus 2.5 ” for the waistband elastic casing + 3 inches for additional fullness ( you can add upto 6 as overhang if you prefer that) + 1.5 inch for hem elastic casing. (An additional 1 inch is added to the back pattern). Double this measurement and that is the length you need for the fabric
Use the front pattern to make the back pattern with the following measurements
When pattern is complete, Pin front pattern and back pattern to fabric as in the diagram below and cut out.You will need to cut out 4 such fabric pieces (2 legs) in this way.
Be careful when cutting fabric which has one way sheen or a particular print going in one direction. You donot want the print to face two directions on the same pant.If your fabric has a pattern or border running along one long edge, you may wish to use that pattern as the bottom edge of the pant leg. To do so, turn the pants pattern across the fabric instead of lengthwise.
How to sew Harem Pants
A step by step instructions to sew a similar pants is given in the post – Draft and sew a Belly dance pants – Check it out for detailed tutorial with photos.
Step 1. Use 1/2 inch seam allowance throughout. First sew the outer seams of each legs, one at a time one front pattern to one back leg pattern. Press seams open. Finish fabric edges with overlock or zigzag stitches. If you want to leave a section of the seam open on the outer seam of the legs, you should finish the fabric edges of this open area and then sew the rest of the seam.You may want to add some fabric trim to the open outside seam on the legs
Step 2. Stitch the inseam.Press seams open. Finish fabric edges with overlock or zigzag stitches. You now have two legs of your pattern ready.
Step 3. Join the two legs together by stitching the crotch line together. Align the croth lines with both legs right side out. Stitch twice for added strength. Press seams open. Finish fabric edges with overlock or zigzag stitches. The basic pants is done.
Step 4. Make the casings for legs and waist. – Make casing for elastic at the waist by turning first 1/2 inches then 1 1/2 inches . Edge stitch along the waistband casing Leaving 1″ opening for inserting elastic. Insert the elastic and stitch the opening close.
Make a casing for elastic at the pant hem also the same way. Do the same as before for an elastic casing .
Alternative ways of pant hem finishing for harem pants
A cuff opening :- A placket opening of about 3″ long can be made in the hem. A band/ cuff of 1″ wide overlapping the other side for 1″, has to be attached with button or snap fasteners.
Frilly elastic band at hem – This is an Elastic casing some 2 ” above the hem, making the hem look like frills/ruffles For this make a casing for elastic 2″ above the hem . and insert elastic through the casing.
Note :Some prefer to use cotton cord inserted into the casing instead of elastic as this can be tied more securely and no fear of you stepping on your pants and elastic stretching the pants down – oh the horror