Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bottoms Up - A new series

While I was busy sewing up gifts and writing tutorials my little munchkin was growing up like a weed. When I found a moment to take stock of her wardrobe, I found that every pair of pants came a few inches too short.Whoa! when did that happen? Probably its because she still fits in those pants at the waist. Its the same size as it was one year ago. Anyhow, I revised my go to pants pattern to accommodate her growth spurt ( I still can't believe that it is the template for my itty bitty baby), and went to town,cutting, sewing, ironing...and a couple days later her stock of pants was replenished.

While doing all this sweat shop sewing, I realized that I can't be alone in I thought of doing this new  weekly series, where we will focus on just the bottoms, like pants, leggings...maybe one or two skirts for little ones.
I'll be starting out with the most basic pants pattern, you must have seen it bazillion times around the blogosphere, I still decided to keep it here for the sake of completeness. Along the way, I'll give you some of embellishment ideas ( and how to do them ) for these basics. I hope you will find it useful, as well as enjoyable.

So lets get started with the basic pants for a skinny mini butt. You can find a lot of patterns for these basic pants all over the blogosphere. For the sake of completeness, I'll also upload the one I have been using for my skinny toddler. These work for us but you may need to alter the pattern a bit to suit your baby's length and
waist. Or you can take up any basic pants pattern and start. I'll start with the basic pattern and show how to
go about creating a bunch of variations of it.

So download/get a pants pattern you feel comfortable with and lets start.


Basic pants for a 2 yr old

1 yd fabric - For pants use fabrics that are a little heavy like - quilting weight cottons, baby corduroy, denim of course.

Elastic - I used 17 inches of  5/8 inch wide elastic. But the best way to measure is to place it around your child's waist and see what length of elastic is most comfortable for him/her.

Optional - A narrow ribbon for embellishing 1.5 yds.

Basic sewing supplies - scissor, thread in matching color, pen for tracing out the pattern.


cutting out basic pants

Lay your fabric straight, then fold it lengthwise, then fold it one more time.

basic pants sewing tutorial

 Now place your pattern on the fold such that the straight line aligns with the fold.


Trace the pattern and cut out.
Sew Easy tip: Try to place your pattern about an inch above the raw edge of the fabric. This will give you some margin, in case the fabric is not cut straight.

sewing basic pants

 Now sew the inseams of both legs of the pant separately. Right sides together.


Now turn out one of the legs.


Insert one leg inside the other, such that the crotch areas align.


Sew along the edges of crotch area, go over the lowest part a couple times, as this is the most stressed area of the pants and you don't want seams to unravel. Also serge if you can.

8. Turn the pants inside out.

9. Now lets make the waistband.


Fold the waist quarter inch inside and sew.


. Fold it one more time about an inch this time. Sew, but make sure you leave about an inch of opening.


Using a safety pin, insert the elastic piece inside this opening.


 When the elastic comes out, Join both ends of elastic by sewing together. I use stitch num 1.14 as recommended by my machine manual. If you don't have this stitch , use zig zag stitch instead. Just make sure you go over the elastic at least 3-4 times.

14. Sew the opening shut.

At this point I highly recommend trying the pants on the child, to get a sense of the fit. The elastic at the waist should be snug but comfortable. Similarly, mark the length where you want the pants to end, and fold the remaining length of pants inside out. That will give us exactly the length we can use to hem the pants.

15. Iron the lengths you have just marked while trying on the pants.


Ideally you should fold quarter inch first and then fold again about half an inch, but thats just a guideline.
     Use the length you have marked to fold the hems twice.

hemming the pants

The basic pants are done. Once you have the template and elastic width and other measurements down, you can easily make one of these in half an hour. (I'm guessing here, I still have to time a basic pant)

Embellishment idea.

For these pants I thought of embellishing these only at the end. so you can skip it if you want.
The idea is very simple though, take a narrow ribbon, and sew it in criss-crossing lines near hem of the pants. I went with a free-style simply because it felt stylish and also because its difficult to sew even rows near the narrow pants opening.
basic pants free pattern

I just cut two equal pieces of ribbon (~25 inches each ) and went around the legs sewing it on criss-crossing lines.

free pants pattern

Pattern pieces are here(page 1) and here (page 2).