The key to Waralee is the waist band

In a way, Waralee is just a waist band with a long piece of fabric attached. The waist band needs to continue from the fabric into two strings of fabric that are used to tie the pants in the front and two in the back. These strings are not included in the pattern. Traditionally, they are of similar length. You can make longer ones for the front panel (the side that is a little shorter than the other, on the left in the illustrations below), to allow you to tie both sets in the front. I prefer this as it is easier to tie, and you don't have the bulk of the knot in the back.

Step 1: Sew the pockets

Pockets are optional

Traditionally, these types of pants do not have pockets. But I want to put my phone, keys and wallet somewhere. So I've included pockets in the pattern. You can decide for yourself if you would like them on your pants.

The illustrations in the next steps show the Waralee pants without pockets. Only the pocket placements from the pattern are shown, to help you orient yourself.

If you do want pockets, make them first

If you're going to make the pockets, make them before putting one piece of fabric on the other. It's easier to work with the parts still separated.

If desired, sew the pockets.

I included placements for the front pockets that will be hidden by the flaps in the front. But they will still be easily accessible to put your phone or keys in. These are single welt pockets. The ones in the front are at an angle and the ones in the back are horizontally oriented. The pocket templates should allow for enough fabric to attach the pocket to the waistband. If you want particularly deep pockets, please adjust accordingly.

Step 2: Hem the sides and bottom

Hem the sides and bottom
Hem the sides and bottom

Hem the sides and bottom.

You can use whatever method works best for you. In the version I first made I just serged the sides, folded them back and top stitched them, then did the same for the bottom. I did this to keep the bulk of the fabric to a minimum and allow for a better drape. What you do should depend on the type of fabric you're using.

Step 3: Sew the two parts together at the crotch

Lay the two parts on top of one another with good sides together. Sew the crotch seam
Lay the two parts on top of one another with good sides together. Sew the crotch seam

Now you get to sew the two parts together. Lay them with good sides togetherSee Good sides together in the Sewing documentation and sew the seam along the cutout. Finish this seam and press it.

Step 4: Prepare the four strings

The strings are just long tubes of fabric.

Take a quarter of your waist measurement. Add that number to 40cm (17”). Add your seam allowance. That is the length of each string. Cut out four strips of fabric that are that long and 5cm (2”) wide.

For example, if my waist circumference is 84.6cm: 84.6cm divided by 4 is 21.2cm. 21.2cm plus 40cm is 61.2cm. 61.2cm plus my seam allowance of 1cm is 62.2cm. I will cut four strips of fabric that are 62.2cm by 5cm.

You can lengthen the front ties

Optionally, to make the front ties longer, extend them by your quarter waist measurement.

When generating your pattern, one of the style options is called “Waist Band”. The strings, when folded, should have the same width as you specified for that option, 2.5cm (1") by default.

The extra 40cm (17") of length is to make the knot.

If your material is delicate or flimsy, you can add some interfacing to this to give it strength.

Fold them in half along the long side, good sides togetherSee Good sides together in the Sewing documentation. Stitch the long side and one of the short sides, and turn the tie right side out.

Turning tubes of fabric right side out can be difficult

This can be made easier by taking a piece of twine longer than the strips. Lay that between the right sides, along the fold. Make sure you catch this while sewing the short side. You can use this to pull the end through the tube you've created. When you're done, you can cut it off. Having a long, skinny stick or a loop turner can help too with this.

Step 5: Sew the waist band

Lay the two parts on top of one another with good sides together. Sew the crotch seam
Lay the two parts on top of one another with good sides together. Sew the crotch seam

Now it is time to sew the waist band. Think about adding interfacing if your fabric is delicate.

Fold the seam allowance in, and then fold along the waist band line. (red)

Insert one of the strings you made in the previous step on each side. Sew along the waist band line, and add some additional stitching to make sure those strings are attached well. (blue)

Secure the strings well

The strings keep your pants up, so having that stitching fail will result in awkward moments.

Step 6: Wear your pants

Press your pants, and try them on!

Hold the front side against your belly and wrap both strings around you and tie in the back (or, if you have long strings, wrap them all the way around you and tie in the front). Then hand the back side through your legs to yourself and tie the other strings in the front.

Here is an article demonstrating how to tie wrap pants: How to Tie Wrap Pants

If you get stuck, or have additional questions, you can always reach out to other FreeSewers.