How to make western chaps for a costume

Written by melissa j. bell | 13/05/2017

Cowboy costumes are always a favourite for Halloween and other costumed events, and no cowboy costume is complete without chaps. Originally worn by Spanish cattle herders, chaps came into the public eye through a long tradition of Western films and television shows that glorify the cowboy lifestyle. Chaps are usually worn over jeans or other heavy-duty trousers, depending on the style of costume.

Determine the type of chaps you would like to make for the costume. There are three common types of chaps. Batwings are wide, flared chaps with three snaps or straps per leg. Another type of chaps look similar to batwings but have a smaller flare. Chinks are shorter, with two snaps per leg, and often have fringe.

Take waist, thigh, calf and inseam measurements of the person the chaps are for. Also measure the length you want the chaps to be. Take into account the style of chaps you are making, as some styles are longer or shorter than others.

Find a chaps pattern in the style you like (see Resources) and material for your chaps. Faux-leather or faux-suede works best. Choose the pattern size that is closest to the measurements you took. Pin the pattern pieces to your selected fabric, following the directions for pattern placement. Cut two pieces for the front and back and one for the belt and straps. Also cut any pocket pieces. Some chaps patterns come with one piece for the front and back, so plan accordingly for fabric size.

Stitch the chaps together at the sides, right sides together. Finish the seam allowances by either serging or zigzag stitching, and press them flat with an iron. Fold the straps and belt together as directed and press, then stitch them closed. Attach the belt and straps to the chaps, then hem the chaps.

Attach any buckles or snaps to the belt and straps, as directed by your particular pattern. If desired, add fringe or other decorative touches to the edges.

Things you need

  • Chaps pattern
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Heavy thread
  • Heavyweight needles
  • Faux-leather or suede fabric
  • Iron
  • Fringe trim (optional)
  • Buckles and snaps

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