MN2213 Opal / Sewalongs / Tips & Tutorials

Hacks for the Opal Shorts & Pants!

Hacks and variations for the Opal pants and shorts

With all of its modular elements, there are already so many variations of the Opal pattern you can create yourself by simply swapping between the pocket, waistband, and length options. Don’t forget, there’s still plenty of room for your own creativity and ideas! We love a good hack, and Opal is the perfect base to experiment with and let your imagination go wild! We’ve got some amazing ideas for you to get even more inspiration from!

Be sure to tag your hacks with #MNopal and @megannielsenpatterns so we can see what hacks you come up with yourself!

How to make your Opal pants with a drawstring waistone // two // three // four // five // six


You will need: some rope, cording or self fabric for your tie!

We just loved Holly’s drawstring hacks, both the real and faux versions! The opportunities for different looks are endless.

  • Make your drawstring ties out of your main fabric or in a contrast colour for more of a feature. Simply sew a long strip of fabric into a small tube and turn it the right way out using a safety pin or rouleau turner.
  • How about a sporty pair of Opals using a braided cord drawstring with knotted ends?
  • Another great option is to use silky ties finished with metallic toggles!

If you missed Holly’s tutorial on how to make your own pair of drawstring Opals, check it out here.

Adding an overlay layer to your Opal shorts or pants

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You’ll need to keep in mind: Make sure you’ve got enough fabric for both the underlayer and the top flowy layer!

Opal is such a wonderfully simple garment, it’s just perfect for adding interesting details like an overlay, without too much structural stress and pain!

  • Make your overlay and opaque lining as if they were individual pants or shorts, with separate seams and hems to preserve their flowy-ness, and simply combine them when you attach the waistband.
  • Inseam pockets will involve some snipping and manipulating in the side seam with this hack, so a patch pocket might be the way to go if you can’t go without a pocket.
  • One of the most important elements of a sewing project is the fabric choice! Why not try a gorgeous lace, dobby chiffon, or flowy pleated silk for your overlay? Suddenly your comfy pair of Opal pants can also be elegant and evening-ready, transformed simply by choosing a special fabric!

Adding elastic to the hem of your Opal pants to make them joggersone // two // three // four // five


You’ll need: Some elastic for the hem as well as the waistband.

The elastic hem was such an awesome hack that we took you through during the Opal Sewalong, we just couldn’t resist gathering a bit more inspo on it for you! Just like the drawstring, you can create so many different looks with the elastic hem. A casual sporty version, a contemporary cargo version like we showed you, or even a chic dressy version using a drapey or shiny fabric. Why not also play with the width of your elastic? Go chunky with a nice wide elastic or reduce the hem casing for a more delicate narrow elastic version.

Patch or cargo pockets look great on the Opal pants!one // two // three // four // five // six


Ideal for: anyone who’s after deep pockets!

The great thing about patch pockets (apart from the fact that they are pockets and pockets are always wonderful), is that you can move them around! Where they land is up to you! You’ve got so many options:

  • Front patch pockets
  • Side cargo pockets like Holly’s
  • A different style of pocket like one with a gusset and buttoned flap. The possibilities and opportunities for added storage are endless!

Using your Opal pattern to make loungewear!one // two // three // four // five // six


Perfect for: everyone!

What’s could be better than a great pair of comfy elasticated pants? A pair of comfy elasticated pants in snuggly fleece or soft stretchy rib knit, that’s what!

Even though Opal is designed for woven fabrics, because of the elasticated waistband that holds them up, you can easily make them in stretch fabrics too! If you’ve been living in your iso loungewear like us, a pair of jersey opals has to be next up on your list of makes. If you’re an iso-exerciser, Opal would also make a great pair of running shorts or tracksuit bottoms!

You can size down slightly if you want a little less volume and your fabric can stretch to accommodate, or just cut your normal size and enjoy the relaxed fit of Opal with the added comfort of stretchiness.

Adding a fly front to your Opal shorts or pants!

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Make sure you have: some buttons for your ‘faux’ button fly.

A really cool way to add some extra detail to your next pair of Opals is a fly front! One of the great parts of elasticated pants is not having to sew closures, but you can still get the look of a front closure by simply sewing a couple of rows of topstitching to create the illusion of a fly.

  • If you like, you could also a button at the waistband to create a zipper fly look.
  • Multiple buttons all the way down the fly will make a button fly version.
  • Adding a seam into the centre front of your waistband will make it even more real looking, or, if you were keen enough, you could always add in a real opening!

Ruffles make a special addition to your Opal pants

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Whether you’re looking for a little added detail to the hem of your Opal shorts or your heart’s yearning for even more flowy volume in your Opal wide-leg pants – ruffles, flounces, and gathering may be for you!

  • To make a gathered ruffle or gathered tier in your Opals, simply cut out a rectangle of fabric double the width of the leg opening you going to attach it to, and the length you want it to be (remembering to add seam allowances and hem allowances).
  • Then all you need to do is sew it into a tube, stitch a couple of rows of gathering stitches along the top edge, and pull the threads to gather it up until it match the size your leg opening.
  • Then just join it to the opening and finish the edges!
  • A flounce is a little different, made from a curved piece like a donut shape or spiral instead of a rectangle, which when straightened out forms gorgeous waves! Both gorgeous options, and both fun ways to create a whole different look for your next pair of Opals!

I hope you enjoyed all of these fun Opal hack ideas! If you’ve some hack ideas of your own let us know in the comments we’re always looking for more inspo!


We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNopal  and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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About Author

Anita is the Operations Manager here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and happily works on multiple areas of the business in any one day! Anita is the first port of call for any of your customer service enquiries, manages daily operations and oversees all pattern production, graphic design, website maintenance, inventory management & drinking all the coffee/eating all the cookies in the cupboard.

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