Ruffle Pants – Free Pattern & Tutorial

Ruffles add instant cuteness to a pair of plain pants and they really are easy to make! Madeline has already outgrown all the pants I made for her and if you’ve been following me on Facebook, you probably have already seen that cute elephant flannel fabric I got from Joann’s a couple months ago so when I got a request recently for a ruffle pants tutorial I was more than happy to say yes! 

For this project, we are using this pants pattern so print it out,  assemble, and cut out the size that you want. Then, let’s begin!


  • Fabric – 1/2 yard ~ 2/3 yard (flannel, quilting cotton, denim, linen, or knit fabrics )
  • 1” knit elastic
  • Print pattern (I used the kids’ pants pattern from this tutorial. These pants include a 3/8” seam all around and a 1” hem)

Before we begin, be sure to prewash your fabrics and press if needed before cutting it out. Also your fabric choice will determine the silhouette of the ruffles – knit fabrics will make soft flowy ruffles while something like denim ruffles will be a bit stiffer.

After cutting out the size that you want, determine how long you want your pants and the ruffles to be, then draw a line across. Don’t forget to add your seam allowances to the new line. The ruffle piece should be about double the measurement of the pants’ new cropped line. 

I overlocked my hem now before starting on the gathers. This is totally up to you – you can do the fold up twice method when the pieces are all put together. Remember there is already a 1” hem included in the pattern.

Creating Gathers

Use a contrasting thread for this next step as it will be easier to remove afterwards. With the widest straight stitch, sew 1/4” from the raw edge. Then sew a second line that’s 1/2” from the raw edge. Tie one end into a bowtie so you can untie them easily later. I double knotted one end, which was a bad idea because when it was time to remove the threads used for gathering, I had to cut them so not much to hold on to. I pinned that tied end of the rectangle to the pants. Now that one end has been secured, pick up the two top threads and gently pull on them sliding the gathered fabric along to the other side. Once the length matches up to the pants, bow tie that end as well and pin that side to the pants. Spread the gathers evenly – you can use something pointy to spread the gathers evenly. If you’re using a seam ripper, take care not to poke a hole in the fabric!

Once you’re satisfied with the gathers, sew them to the pants with a 3/8” seam allowance. Then remove the threads used for gathering by popping a stitch that’s in the middle of the seamline and simply undo the bow tie and pull out one thread at a time.

You can use a serger, a zig zag, or an overcast stitch on your sewing machine to finish the raw edges to keep them from fraying. Then, press the seam allowance up and top stitch.

Putting The Pants Together

Fold the pants and pin, making sure that the ruffle seams match up nicely. Sew with a 3/8” seam allowance and finish the edges.

Turn one side of the pants right side out and then insert that side into the other. Sew along the U shape with a 3/8” seam allowance and finish the raw edges. For the hem, I turned the overlocked edge up and sewed it but you can also fold it over twice and then topstitch.

The Waistband

Cut the elastic 2” shorter than the waist measurement. I’m doing the waistband a little different from the previous flannel pants tutorial – if you like the casing method better, see how it’s done *here.
The waistband is the same length as the pants’ waist plus 1/2” seam allowance to sew the band into a loop.  The width is 3”. Fold the loop in half and iron to make a crease. Optional – I stitched 1/4” from the raw edge on one side so it’ll be easier to turn up later. 

Pin the waistband to the pants right sides together and sew with a 1/4” seam allowance. 
Then sew with a wide zig zag stitch in the center of the elastic band.

Divide the elastic and the waistband into quarters. Place the elastic along the crease and pin it matching the quarter markings.
Now the elastic won’t ever twist in the waistband!
Fold the elastic over, stretch and edge stitch.

I don’t really like sewing in tags in the back so I added a fleece flower made from odd leftovers. A great way to get rid of fabric scraps! If you want to add flowers to your pants, you can get the printable template here.

And that’s it! If you have any questions about the steps above, let me know. Any steps that you did differently? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. I’m trying to download this pattern for the little girls bell pants…I’m having trouble and was wondering if you could email me the directions or something,,,

    1. Hi Chris,

      Are you downloading/printing from a computer or a smart phone/tablet? I highly recommend using a computer as most smart phones and tablets are not optimized for all file types. Please let me know if you are having any more issues.

  2. Hi, just wondering if you could email me the link for the ruffle pants pattern?Every time I click the given “print here” link it just takes me back to the pattern page.

    Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Did you receive a confirmation email? Also, are you printing from a computer as most smart phones and tablets are not optimized for all file types. Please let me know if you have any more issues.

        1. Hi Noelle,

          Thanks for joining my creative journey!

          Did you receive a confirmation email? Please check both your inbox and junk folder. After you have confirmed your email, you can download and print out all the free patterns on the site. The pattern file will be showing on a new tab. If it doesn’t, then you will need to change your browser setting.

          Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. You’re very welcome!

      Please share some pics on the Zune’s Sewing Therapy Facebook or tag me on Instagram @sew_zune. I’d love to see your finished project! 🙂

  3. I downloaded the ruffle pants pattern but where is the rectangle for ruffles to cut that out? I don’t know what size I need to cut for the ruffles.

    1. The pants pattern is basic. The tutorial shows you how to create ruffle pants using that basic pants pattern. The length of the rectangle will depend on where you decide to crop the pants. Just double that measurement and add seam allowance to each end. Hope that helps.

  4. Hello, Im trying to figure out how to download the pattern to print. I’m using a computer but I don’t see any print feature

    1. Did you sign up for the Newsletter and confirm your email? Be sure to turn off the pop up blocker in order for the pattern to open in a new window.

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