How to Make Knickerbocker Pants

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Knickerbockers have seen a resurgence in men's fashion. Sometimes called "3/4 pants," "messenger shorts" or "long shorts," knickerbockers are pants that reach the mid shin level and stop. They can be hemmed at the ends or sewn into pleats for a baggy look. Because they can be easily made from a pair of old pants, there is no need to purchase new pants just to cut them up. Consider using brightly colored or houndstooth patterned pants to make knickerbockers.

Cut and Measure

Select a pair of dress pants that you would like to transform into knickerbockers. Pin-striped or regularly striped are appropriate pants styles for knickerbockers.

Measure the pant legs to your desired length with a tape measure. Mark 1 inch below your desired length with a fabric marker and cut the excess pant leg off with shears. Save the extra length to make leg bands later.

Put your pants on and measure the circumference of your leg where the pants end with a tape measure. Measure the circumference of the pant leg at the end by flattening it and then doubling the measurement. Write down and label both numbers "A" and "B," respectively. Take the pants back off.


Divide the circumference of the pant leg (B) by the circumference your lower leg (A). Round the solution down to the nearest whole number and divide that number in half to get the length of the folds making up your pleats -- when folded the length of each fold equals your final result (X). (B/A)/2=(avg length of each fold) =(X).

Fold and measure each pleat all the way around the end of each pant leg, pinning them together as your go. Close each fold with a stitch along the bottom of your pants.

Trim the ends of your pants saved from Step 2 so that they measure 3 inches wide. Cut them in half and hem them on the long sides by folding the top and bottom edges 1/2-inch portions inwardly, pinning them in place and then stitching them together so that your strips are two inches thick.

Trim your hemmed strips so that they are two inches longer than the circumference of your lower leg. Hem the short ends by folding 1/2-inch inwardly on both short sides and stitching up.

Fold your hemmed strips around the pleats on the bottom of each pant leg and pin them in place with each pin running through the center of the fold in each pleat -- this will maintain the integrity of each pleat so that they do not bunch up. The hemmed strip will overlap by 1 inch, so overlap the ends and pin in place.

Stitch the hemmed strips to the end of each pant leg by sewing around the top of each strip. Stitch a rectangle into the portions that overlap for extra security. Take out the safety pins and put on your "new" knickerbockers.