TUTORIAL - Sarouel Trousers

This is a tutorial on how to make a pair of sarouel trousers ( as seen here) for little boys and girls... Please let me know if you use it. I would love to see any photos of finished trousers or hear you remarks for improving these instructions.

You will need:

- Half a metre (or more or less, you'll see) of a lightweight fabric (I have made these in linen, poplin and jersey and I know someone (hello there!) who has made them in soft courdroy).

- Elastic for a waistband. I like wide, firm, elastic.

- Needle and thread (they can be hand or machine sewed)

- A measuring tape
- A pencil or tailor's chalk
Half an hour or so of free time (the most precious item on the list).

Measure your child from his/her waist to the length you want the trousers to be. My length was 40cm. Add 2cm for the bottom hem and add 2.5cm for the top waistband (or add the width of your elastic plus 1cm). My total was 44.5cm.


Cut your material to that length. Your piece of material needs to be at least 110cm wide for a baby or toddler and probably more for a larger child. The wider your fabric, the baggier the sarouel trousers will be. I cut my fabric to 120cm wide. Someone, who is quickly becoming more of an expert at making these than myself, has suggested using a width equivalent to twice the waist measurement.

Fold your fabric carefully in half widthways (selvedge to selvedge) right sides together and then fold it in half once again in the same direction. Place your fabric as shown below: double fold on left, single fold and two edges on right (making sure the top is furthest from you).

4) Measure how low you want the baggy bit of the trousers to fall by measuring from the hem point (just below the ankles) up to a point somewhere around the knees or wherever you like. (Read note below if you want advice on this length when making a pair for a baby that will last into toddlerhood).

My measurement was 12 cm.
Add the 2cm hem allowance to this figure and take off 1cm for seam allowance. For me 12 + 2 - 1 = 13cm.

With your pencil or tailor's chalk, mark a point A this far up the left hand side of your rectangle of fabric.

Decide how wide you want the trouser leg to be at the hem (either measure your child or a pair of trousers he/she likes) and add 1cm seam allowance. My figures were 11 + 1 = 12 cm.

Mark a point B on the bottom of your fabric, this far from the right-hand edge. You should now have two points marked, as on the photo below.

6) Take your pencil and draw a line in a curve from point A to Point B. You are not aiming for a quarter circle. More like half of an upside-down U.

When you are happy with your line, cut along it.
Unfold your material once to obtain the shape seen in the photo below. With a 1cm seam allowance, sew along the curve. Next sew along the side with the two edges to create a side-seam. Finish your edges. If you are a perfectionnist, sew also along the other side (the one with the fold) to ensure that both trouser legs have the same circumference. (I have to admit I never bother doing that).

Hem your trousers. Fold over the top twice and stitch, leaving a couple of centimetres open for the elastic to go through. Thread the elastic, using a safety pin or bodkin and close the opening.

Voilà! One pair of sarouel trousers!

Note for sizing:
One of the things I like best about these trousers is the fact that they can be made to fit a baby from say six-months right up until 18months or more. (My five and a half year old daughter fits into a pair that my son wears now and wore when he was a wee babe. Admittedly they are very cropped on her and the baggy bit is quite high, but still).

To make a pair that will evolve like this, I suggest...
- making them so that the baggy bit falls practically at the ankles of the baby. This is cute and because a baby doesn't walk, the baggy bit doesn't get in the way. By the time the baby is walking the baggy bit will be at the right height.
- lengthening the leg from the baggy bit quite a bit and doing a French seam on the leg stopping at the curve of the baggy bit so that when you roll it up on the baby and growing child, it looks nice and the seams don't get too frayed.
- on one of my son's pairs I have allowed extra material at the top so that when (very soon actually) the baggy bit is too high and near his bottom I can undo the waistband seam and move the waist up (just like letting down a hem).


  1. this weekend has a pair of these written all over it! i can't wait to make them up. thank you for doing the tutorial!

  2. Hi Julie,
    I really hope you like making them and your kid likes wearing them! Please let me know how you find them.

  3. Kate Davis10:27 PM

    I came across your blog (very nice, by the way) and this tutorial completely by accident but was really intrigued. I'd like to make these for friends' children, but I don't have anyone on hand to measure. What age child were your 44.5 height, 120 width and 12 cm from ankle to baggy bottom measurements intended for? Could you give a suggestion for say a 6-9 month old?
    Thanks so much and happy stitching!

  4. Hi Kate. I hope you check back here! Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. The trousers I made in the tutorial (so the measurements you mention) were for my son at 18 months. I reckon this size could be used from much younger with just the legs rolled up. I will measure the ones I made for him when he was about 6 months old and get back to you shortly.


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