How to: Make cute Knickerbockers

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

Extend the life of your kid’s pants by turning them into cute Knickerbockers. You only need a few minutes, some knitted rib fabric and this step by step tutorial.

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

Now that Emma is (sort of) toilet trained and not wearing nappies through the day, lots of her old pants fit her around the waist perfectly, but look ridiculously short!

These old flared cords were a hand me downs, not my favorite, but great for knocking about at creche. Because I can’t get rid of anything till it’s fully worn out, shortening, not lengthening, was the obvious solution.

You will need:

  • Too short pants
  • Ribbed knit fabric (slightly elastic)
  • Scissors
  • Overlocker (serger) is ideal, but a normal sewing machine is ok too.
  • General sewing supplies

How to:

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

1. Here are the too short pants, make sure you are happy with the fit around the waist and rise or you are wasting your time. Try them on your child and mark length just under the knee.

2. Cut at desired length remember to leave a small seam allowance.

3. Measure around child’s calf just below the knee, this should be approximate length to cut your ribbing. Decide on your width and double as the ribbing is folded in half.  I cut mine 3″ x  8″

4. Fold each piece of ribbing in half lengthways and sew a seam to make a cuff.

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

5. Fold cuff in half with seam on the inside.

6. Place cuff around bottom of pants leg, position the seam to correspond with the inseam of pants. You may want to pin but careful with the cutting blade if you are using an overlocker (serger).

7. Sew the ribbing cuff onto the pants, you will need to stretch the ribbing gently whilst doing this and maybe even gather the pants fabric slightly. If you are using a normal sewing machine, use a straight stitch then zig zag the exposes edges.

8. All done, repeat on other leg.

This is the technique I use to add cuffs to sleeves when sewing sweatshirts.

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

Knickerbockers are a great option for spring or autumn, add some tights or stripey socks to complete the look.

Refashion pants into Knickerbockers -

Looking for another way to get more life out of those worn out jeans?  See the add Knee Patches to Jeans tutorial.


How to Refashion too short pants into Knickerbockers -


  • the textured leaf says:

    I love this idea. Clever you!

  • Pamela says:

    great idea!!!

  • Feutrella says:

    Love this! Do you think it's working for boys too? I'm not sure that is looking good too…

    • Miss Cinti - my poppet says:

      I think it would look cute for a boy depending on the colours you use. Maybe wear with boots
      x cinti

    • Steph says:

      Old fashioned look! My brother wore knickers as everyday school dress. I'd love to see that look again for boys too!

  • Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    this is absolutely adorable! So happy Craft Gossip featured it so I could find you! I love this 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this idea. The knickerbockers look sooo cute (so does your daughter!). I have a question though: any tips how to sew on cuffs on really tiny shirts/pants? I have really no idea how to go about this. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you

    • Miss Cinti - my poppet says:

      I'd suggest opening up a seam on the pants/shirt then sewing the cuff on flat. finally close the seam up all the way down to the cuff.
      I'd try to do a tute on it if i get a chance
      x cinti

  • Kim says:

    These are so cute!! What a great idea 🙂 Pinned them and now I am off to like you on FB!

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