When they get holes or stains, use patches made from fabric swatches or iron-ons to extend their life. I have a pair of old khakis that I "customized" this way that are my "farmers' market" pants, and I get compliments on them all the time. I sewed old-fashioned ribbon-style seam tape onto the well worn pocket edges and used an iron-on butterfly over an ink stain.
My cleaning/cooking/gardening pants are either from tag sales, thrift stores or are old pants that have served out their useful purpose.
Kids: I buy pants at garage sales and second hand stores, always stocking up on larger sizes. I buy nothing unless I am positive my teenager will wear. Let your friends know you are ok with "hand me ups "as I call them.
Good luck and have fun saving.
I simply fold the pants flat (top up and back of pants down) then fold them again and place them on top of the folded fabric with the crotch facing the selvage edge. Make sure the side-fold of the pants is ON (and lined up with) the fold of the fabric and put the crotch area on the opposite side of the fabrics fold then flatten pants with your hand. Be sure to add 1/2 inch seam allowance when cutting.
After cutting out 2 (mirror-pieces), I'll cut the front waistband area about 1-1/2 inches shorter than the back-waist. You can either cut an additional strip of waistband fabric or you can just cut the waist a little higher then fold it over and add elastic. If you do this right, you'll not have to sew a side-seam (because it was cut "on-the-fold") and you'll only have to sew the inside-inseam, then down the front and back-crotch area and add or fold down a waistband. (that's only three quick seams!). Lastly, thread the elastic in the waistband.
I've "cloned" many of my favorite summer slacks, along with (perfect fitting) stretch jeans, shorts and also stretch-pant tights. If you can find inexpensive fabric you can make a great pair of pants for under $5 and they'll be made to exactly fit you!
IMPORTANT: For pants with an elastic waistband as a pattern, be sure to STRETCH the waistband out so the fabric sits flat. Your center seam (down the front and down the center-back of pants) should be nearly vertical. If you don't pull on (and stretch) the elastic waistband, you won't get the right cut and you'll never fit into your new pants because the elastic will pull the fabric in and make it look smaller.
The first time you do this it helps to start out with a pair of stretch pants or shorts. I learned to sew from another pair of pants when sewing for my kids when they were growing up. It saves money buying patterns & once you do it you'll be able to duplicate your favorite pants, jeans or slacks over & over. I always make my own patterns using the back of Christmas wrapping paper & mark it with a number and a letter and "front" or "back". This way, I'll always have the pattern, no matter what happens to the pants!
A tip for those without a serger: When you sew with a stretch fabric and do a "fold-over" elastic-encased waistband, Use a 3.5 ziz-zag stitch and Zig on one side of the fabric and Zag on the other. This way the waistband will give & stretch with the fabric and elastic. Also use this technique with the bottom of stretch-knits (unless you have a serger, then by all means - serge away!)
If all else fails, buy a simple pattern. But I really love being able to "clone" my favorite and most comfortable pants and shorts and even a beginner can cut & sew a new pair in less than an hour!
For more details and directions, write me here on ThriftyFun.
Do you have any ideas to share? Feel free to share them below.