Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pants Tutorial

While making some pants for my oldest child just like the ones I made for the youngest, I documented the process to make a handy little tutorial. And well, I told Mel I would. And because I will eventually forget how I did it and have to look back at my own tutorial. So here ya go:

First, find a pair of pants that fit your child to use to trace a pattern. I traced onto some cardboard that I had, but you could use just large paper or newspaper. Here are the pants I used:


Fold them perfectly in half and align the inside seam along the right side of whatever you are tracing on and trace. Also mark where the left side of the pants ends. Then refold the pants with the opposite crotch seam sticking out and align the right side of the pants with the middle line you marked a second ago and trace the other side. I did it this way (instead of just flipping the pants over) because depending on the pants, sometimes the front crotch seam is a little shorter than the back crotch seam. This all may make more sense in pictures...



After you cut out your traced pattern it should look something like this. If you have your actual kid handy now is an excellent time to grab them and measure them, and write their measurements on the pattern piece (waist size, length from waist to where you would want various pant lengths to reach like capris or full length). Then you don't have to go and try to measure them in their sleep when you are putting elastic on their pants at 11:00 at night.

So now you can lay your customized pattern on your fabric to trace around it. If you want your pants to turn out exactly like the ones you traced, be sure to add a seam allowance and some extra at the bottom for hemming (if you want full length pants). You can see that I once again used an old shirt of mine, but you can also buy knit fabric, it just isn't as fun. Other fabrics would work too if you were making pants that aren't as tight fitting, I just haven't tried it yet. You can also see that my pattern does not fit on the shirt I am using. That's fine because I am going to add a spiffy ruffle to these to make them the right length. Oh, you also want to have two layers of fabric stacked up, and if you fabric has a wrong side and a right side make sure your wrong sides are together (unless you turned your original pants inside out when you traced them, then you want right sides together). Anyway, here is tracing and the cut out fabric...


Now, if you had enough fabric to start with for your pants to be the right length, then you could just hem them at this point and then skip ahead to sewing the seams. But I am going to add a ruffle. I cut out some cute fabric the length I want the ruffle plus extra for hemming and a seam allowance. I just cut a strip the full width of the fabric off the bolt ( I wasn't sure if this was going to be wide enough for a ruffle for both legs at first, but I ended up making the ruffle a little "looser" to fit).


First I hemmed it. I ironed a half inch fold...

and then folded it over another half inch and ironed and pinned...



then sewed near the edge to secure it.


Now comes the ruffle magic! Set your machine on a long stitch length (my Bernina has an actual basting stitch, see, there it is! Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Bernina?)


Then just sew along the unhemmed edge (make sure you do not back stitch at beginning and end). Now you grab the back thread (the bobbin thread) and hold it tight while you gently slide the fabric along the thread. You have to gently work it towards the middle and then start on the other side and work it towards the middle. Lay it along the bottom edge of your pants from time to time to see if you have it the right length. When it is just right pin it and sew it on.


I used a walking foot, you have to just smush it all under there. Also, put the knit fabric on top and try not to stretch it out, just gently push it through.


Then it looks like this...



Repeat for the other leg and then lay your two pieces on top of each other, right sides together.

You then sew along the back crotch seam...



Then the front crotch seam...



Ta Da!


Now, here is the magic part... grab the middle of the top layer at the waist and pull up, this becomes one side of the pants, reflatten so that the pants look like, well, pants!






Now your crotch seams are in the middle and you just have to sew from the bottom of one leg, to the middle, and back down the other leg...

and you will have pants!


Finally, decide how you want to finish the top of the pants. The last pair I put a strip of fabric folded over the top and inserted elastic, this pair doesn't actually have elastic in them yet because I can't get them off of my child, but I think I am just going to fold the top over, sew it and put in elastic. Really, I want to try Fold Over Elastic like Angry Chicken uses on her five minute skirt, but I haven't made it to Joann's yet to get some. So now you know how to go forth and make pants! Please leave me a link in the comments if you make any!

5 comments:

Shannon said...

I am SO making some of these for my Sarah!

Randi said...

Thank you for putting this together!

MoJoMama said...

This was a great tutorial! I whipped some pants up for my daughter last night and she loves them! Thanks for posting this!

Kate said...

So glad you guys have been able to use this. I would love to see pictures, if anyone posts some let me know!

MoJoMama said...

I just posted some on my blog today, thanks again for the tutorial :D