Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tutorial: Easy-as Kiddy Pants

Sewing for your child doesn't have to be hard... infact picking material can be as easy as saving your old tshirt or in this case an old nightshirt (aka upcycling)! With the weather cooling down and with my son suddenly no longer fitting his last season winter PJ's (I know, wishful thinking!!) I thought I'd whip up some quick pants.

NOTE: I used an overlocker to stitch the side and inner leg seams for my pants but you could just as easy use a zigzag or straight stitch on your sewing machine.

Easy-as Kiddy Pants

1. Create your pattern
You could use a pair of pants that you know your child currently fits or a pair that are no longer big enough. I used a pair that I made last autumn that no longer fits and tried them on my son to see what needed to be adjusted (extra length needed in the leg and also in the crotch to waistband or "seat").

Fold your pants in half and place on the edge of your paper. Using a pen or marker trace the shape of the pants. Add approx 2cm to your outline for the seam allowance (don't add any to the folded edge), and about 5cm at the top for waistband and at the bottom for the leg hem (indicate the waistband and hem line with dotted lines, this may help later).

As my pants needed to be made bigger I added extra length to the pants as well as width. Don't be afraid to over compensate if you are increasing the size, if it's too big you can always adjust and trim it down - it's more difficult to add fabric back ;-)

2. Cutting your fabric

Lay your upcycled item on your floor or cutting surface. For my pants I am using an old nightshirt.

Cut out your pattern and place it on the fold (or in my case the side seam) of your fabric - pin in place.

TIP: I decided to cheat a little bit and use the hem of the nightshirt for my pants - I folded up the hem allowance on my pattern (this is where your dotted line comes in handy!) and placed it on the edge of the nightshirt.

Cut, un-pin and admire the front of your pants :-)

Pin your pattern to the fold again, this time when you cut you will need to add extra shape to allow for that big nappy bum... cut along the top, and then cut up from the bottom at an angle (my red line in the pic below indicates this).

3. Preparing to sew!

Place the two pieces right-sides together and pin along the sides and inner legs. It doesn't matter if your cutting is a little off!! If you have used the old hem like I did ensure you match the front and back leg hems and pin from there. If you are going to sew your own hems, match from the crotch out - any extra fabric can be hidden within your hems and waistband.

4. Head to your machine!
... or as happened to me, child wakes early from his nap and rudely interrupts!! ;-)

Overlock, zig-zag or straight stitch your sides and inner leg seams.

You need to create a waistband casing for the elastic. With your pants still inside out, fold your waistband down twice to create a casing for your elastic (refer to your pattern to see how far down you need to turn). Pin in place.

NOTE: Remember that you will need to leave a small area (approx 3cm) unstitched so you can thread your elastic, I suggest adding a horizontal pin as a marker to remind you when you are running the pants through the machine. You can see my horizontal pin in the picture below, start and end your stitching at this pin - use your machine reverse to secure your stitching.

Stitch around your waistband with a normal or "straight" stitch.

Cut a piece of elastic (measure or test the length needed on your child). At one end attach a safety pin and thread the elastic all the way through your waistband - watch the tail end of the elastic doesn't slip through too!

Overlap the ends and pin them together. Zig-zag stitch forward and back over the two pieces a few times to secure.

Pull the waistband and allow the elastic to slip through into the casing. Flatten the area that you left open, and finish this by straight stitching it closed. Be careful not to catch the elastic.

Create the hem as you did the waistband. Fold your hem twice as you did for the waistband (refer to your pattern to see how far you need to fold) and stitch down with a straight stitch.
If you have an overlocker you could overlock the raw edge, fold up once and stitch down.

TIP: Folding your hem over twice means that you will have a nice finish and also means that your fabric is caught under and less likely to fray.

5. Try on!
Try the pants on your kiddy!! Make any adjustments :-)

TIP: My old nightshirt had a pocket on it, which I trimmed off and added to the rear of the pants. You could do this or maybe add cute knee cuffs - add these extras before you sew the front and rear together.
You could also place your pattern cleverly on your upcycled item so that you get a pocket or appliqued item within your fabric piece.

I would really love to hear what you think and see your finished pants!! Enjoy!!

P.S. I credit Made By Rae for giving me the courage to make my own patterns. Thanks Rae :-)

All pictures and wording were created by me, and are therefore copyrighted. Please don't save these photos and use them on your website - instead link directly to this post on my blog.

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