This tutorial is seventh in the series focusing on sewing pants for children. Here’s the story behind the series, the second part of the series is reversible pants, the third part of the series is rumble-tumble coveralls, part 4 is two color pieced pants part 5 is silly frilly ruffle pants and part 6 is skirt leggings.
Here’s how you make one for your bug.
I made these with:
1. 1/2 yd of main fabric
2. Quarter yard each of two coordinating fabrics.
But I recommend using:
3/4 yd of main fabric
a quarter yard of a coordinating fabric for waist ties and leg cuffs
Elastic – 15 inches 1 inch wide elastic for waist
Elastic – 20 inches 1/4 inch wide elastic for legs
I recommend using slightly heavier fabrics like baby corduroy, linen or heavier cotton for these pants, but not something too heavy like denim. For the coordinating fabric also its better to use a fabric on the heavier side. I didn’t have any coordinating fabric of the right weight so I had to interface the pink fabric to use it as a waistband.
Cut pants using your favorite pattern along with the following modifications: Here’s the one I used.( page 1 and page 2 )
Cut them 1.5 inches wider on each side of each leg. This would add 1.5X4 = 6 inches to their width. We need this because this pattern is for pants that are roomier than regular pants.
If your pattern has fabric for the waistband built into it, cut the pant 1.5 to 2 inches lower than what the pattern calls for. This is because we will make the waistband separately here.
You don’t need the length for hemming either, If your pattern has the hemming margins built into it, cut it up half an inch because we will sew in a single sided bias tape at the hems.
Ok so you have cut the pants, now sew them like you would sew a PJ. First the inseams on both legs, then turn one leg right side out, insert into the other leg, line up the crotch part and sew the seam along the crotch area. Don not hem or make a waistband. ( If you want a detailed tutorial to see this basic pants pattern)
Now two inches from the center seam, mark three gradual marks of 1.5 inches in both directions. Use these marks to sew three pleats. Make sure that pleats on both sides are facing each other.
Now sew a seam along the rest of the waistline with the longest stitch on your machine, pull the bobbin thread gently to slightly gather the rest of the waistline. Don’t fill in too many gathers, though, the pants have to climb up your little one’s bottom, so make sure you leave enough room at the waistline for that, we will anyway use elastic in the waistband to get a snug fit.
Now let’s work on the waistband, cut a fabric 6 inches wide and 6.5 inches long. Now measure the waist of the pants and subtract 5 inches, let’s call this length W. Cut another fabric 6.5 inches long and W inches wide. This is where I ran out of main fabric and had to use the pink peace fabric…moreover since this fabric wasn’t right weight, I had to use interfacing to make it stiffer. But since you’re smarter than me…you would start with more fabric and cut the longer waistband piece from the main fabric.
Make the waist ties by cutting two strips of 2.5 inches ( length) X 42 inches ( width). Fold each strip in half ( right sides together) and sew along the longer sides. Snip the corners and turn out.
Sew the waist ties on both sides of the 6×6.5 inches piece that we had cut in step
Sew these ties about 1 inch from the bottom of 6.5 inches long sides. Now sew together the other W inches wide fabric and 6 inches wide fabric with right sides together, such that the waist ties get sandwiched between the two fabrics. The pic shows how it will look once you are done. I have just folded the waistband fabrics in half.
Now place the smaller waistband piece ( the 6 inches wide one) over the right pleats of the pants ( right sides together) leave about 1 inch from the starting point and sew along the waistline. Stop about an inch before you complete the circle.
Estimate how much waistband fabric you will need to finish the waist. Sew a seam to join the smaller piece of waistband to the bigger waistband piece. Make sure the waist tie gets sandwiched between the two. Snip off any excess fabric. Now finish the seam along the waistline. Turn out.
Here’s how the waistband will look after you turn it out.
Now turn the waistband down again. Fold the raw edge quarter inch inside and sew a basting stitch along the edge.
Fold the waistband inside such that it falls right over the seam joining waistband to the pants. Sew a seam along the waistband from the outside leaving a gap of 1 inch near the small waistband piece. Make sure you’re catching the other edge of the waistband on the inside. Use pins or hand baste if needed.
The above pic shows a gap on the right side of smaller waistband piece. You have to do the same on the other side of this 6-inch piece.
Insert elastic in the longer waistband piece using these gaps. Sew zigzag stitch on both sides to secure the elastic.
For the hems, cut 2 inch long and strips with a width equal to the hemline of both legs + 2 inches.
Fold these strips in half along the length and iron. Fold both edges in half again ( turned towards the inside) and iron. The strips should look like a bias tape now.
Sew the strip right side to the wrong side of the hem. Try to sew on the first quarter mark of this tape.
Turn out. Fold the quarter mark along the top edge and sew on the top edge, as close to the edge as possible. Leave a gap of half an inch to insert elastic.
Insert an elastic using the opening. Pull it such that the leg opening becomes snug but doesn’t dig into your little one’s ankles. Sew both ends of elastic by overlapping on each other and slip them back into the leg cuff. Sew the opening shut.
Repeat step 15 -18 for both legs
Though you could always tie the waist ties into a bow. I highly recommend trying the pants on your child and tying the bow and sewing it permanently ( or semi-permanently). With an energetic toddler, the waist ties may come undone very quickly and a child running around with long ties is no fun.
You could always pick out the sewing and adjust them back when the child’s waist grows.
Here’s the view from the back