I wanted S. to have some cute Halloween pants, but I didn’t want to go out and spend money on pants that she would only wear once, or maybe twice at the most. Instead, I decided I would try to make S. some Halloween pants since I had jack-o-lantern fabric from last year’s weekly photo shoot (you can see my post on that project here); a year ago she was a cute little 35-week old pumpkin with only a few teeth:
Let me first state that I have never made pants before, just like I had never made a skirt before when I made S. a simple toddler skirt. I like to make things, I like to sew, I like to save money, and I like S. to have cute things to wear, so I decided I would give sewing pants a try. I started with a pattern that I found on the internet, there are a lot of different ones out there for different styles and different sizes. Here is a link to a website I used to help find different toddler pant patterns, I realize that it says the patterns are for boys pants, but I think most of them work just fine for girls as well. After I printed out a pattern for pants that were a size 2T I laid out a pair of S.’s pants on top of the pattern to see if it looked like it might work. I used a pair of her jeans that I knew were a little loose on her since my jack-o-lantern fabric didn’t have a lot of stretch in it and I didn’t want the pants to be tight or uncomfortable for S. The photo below on the left is S.’s pants laid out on the original pattern. It looked like the width and cut of the pattern would probably work, but the length looked way too long. I took a couple inches off the pattern length (photo below on the right) and figured I would just hem the pants once I had them put together.
Once I had what I thought would be an acceptable pattern, I pinned it to my fabric. Note here that there are two pieces to the pattern; a front and a back, each of which you need to use to cut out two pieces of fabric. I folded my fabric right-side together so that I could cut two front pieces at the same time and then two back pieces at the same time, it saved me a little bit of time as opposed to cutting each piece separately.
I apologize for the poor lighting. A lot of my projects are completed once S. goes to bed so there is no natural light available and no, I don’t have a photography studio set up just to take pictures of pants that I am sewing.
After the pieces were cut out I decided it would be easiest to pin and sew the front and back crotch seams together first since the pieces were already together (a good reason to turn the fabric right-side out when you cut it). I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance, which is what I generally use when I am sewing because it is easy for me (i.e. I can run the fabric right along the outside of the sewing machine foot) and I like easy since I am always limited on time and I am not a professional seamstress.
My fabric was already fraying a little and I don’t have a serger so I just ran a zigzag stitch along the edge of the seam to make sure that the material wouldn’t fray too much and the pants wouldn’t fall apart.Next, I pinned the front and back pieces right-side together and finally got a glimpse of what the pants were going to look like (well, at least what they were going to look like in-side-out).
Then, I proceeded to sew the outer seams of the pants together (is it called an out-seam as opposed to the in-seam?) as well as the in-seam. For all of the seams I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance and then followed it with a zigzag stitch along the edge of the fabric the same way I did for the crotch seam.
Once I had the outer seams and the in-seams sewn I started working on the waistband. I actually found that the pattern I used had a dip in the front of the pant waistband, I guess to give the pants a little more style (I’m not quite sure). This was frustrating for me because it made it difficult to get the waistband folded down and ironed straight. Luckily, all the extra time and frustration working on the waistband actually made me take long enough that I gave up sewing for a little while and tried the pants on S. I found out that the waistband was really low on her and that it wasn’t going to make it over her big cloth diaper butt very well. I had intended on sewing a thick waistband like I did on the skirt I made her (you can see a picture of the skirt here), but I realized that I was going to have to sew a thin waistband to make the pants fit S.
For the waistband, first I folded and ironed the top edge down 1/2 an inch so that I would have a clean inner edge.
I had found some 3/8″ wide elastic in my sewing bin so I decided to use that for my waistband. As I stated above, I really would have liked a thick waistband, but that just wasn’t going to work. Next, I folded the waistband down again to create the casing for the elastic. I folded the waist down 3/4 of an inch, leaving just enough room for a 1/4 inch seam allowance and the elastic. Ideally I would have made the elastic casing part of the waistband a little wider just to give my elastic a little more room, but I was trying to make the waistband as small as possible so that the pants would fit S.Prior to sewing the waistband, I used pins to mark a two inch opening on the back of the waistband to make sure that when I sewed the waistband down I would leave a big enough opening to get the elastic in. With the two inch opening marked, I went ahead and sewed the waistband down using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Next, it was time to cut the elastic and thread it through the casing. I measured the waistband on a few pairs of pants that fit S. well and decided that with the thin stretchy elastic I was using, about 19 inches of elastic would be good for S. At 19 inches, I had one extra inch to overlap and sew the ends of the elastic together. I used a large safety pin to help me thread the elastic through the waistband.
With the elastic threaded through the waistband casing, I pulled the two ends out, overlapped them, and sewed them together. I tried to sew a nice rectangle with a cross in the middle, but I have learned that my sewing machine hates sewing elastic. Either that or I just don’t know how to sew elastic. Luckily, the elastic is inside the pants where it will never be seen so it doesn’t matter that my stitching didn’t come out very pretty.
With the elastic threaded, I sewed the two inch opening on the waistband closed and moved on to the bottom hem on the pants. First I made S. try on the pants (if you get her in the right mood she can actually be quite cooperative trying clothes on, you just have to hope she doesn’t get too attached and not let you take them off). As I had assumed they would be, the pants were way too long, about 3 inches too long to be precise. I could have cut the bottom of the pant legs off, but I decided to leave all 3 extra inches on and just sew a thick hem. My reason for leaving all three inches was that if S. continues to grow up instead of out like she has been, and if she gets rid of her big diaper butt (i.e. learns how to use the toilet), maybe, just maybe, I will be able to let the hem out next year and she can wear them again.
Since I decided to have a thick hem, first I folded and ironed the bottom of each pant leg up 1.5 inches.
And then I folded and ironed each pant leg up another 1.5 inches:
Finally, I sewed the hem using a 1/2 seam allowance (measured from the top of the hem).
You may notice that I started sewing the pants with white thread and then switched to black. When I was just sewing the inner seams white thread seemed like an OK choice. As soon as I started sewing seams that were visible on the outside of the pants I realized that I should have been using black, so I switched to black thread for those seams.
Once the hem was sewed the pants were almost done. I finished up by ironing down all the seams and ironing all the wrinkles out. When I finally tried the pants on S. I was relieved to find that the pants actually fit and that my adjustments to my original waistband worked, allowing just enough room that the pants fit over her diaper. Not only did they fit, but they were actually pretty cute on her (at least in my opinion) and she was able to wear them to her first Halloween party.
I would like to make S. some more pants with all the fabric I have, but I think I will have to revamp the pattern just a little. I would like future pants to not require such a large bottom hem and I think I would like to get rid of the dip in the front of the waist because I find it unnecessary and frustrating to work with. I would also like to be able to have a thick waistband while still being able to cover her big cloth diaper butt. However, for my first pair of pants I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out, especially considering S. was able to wear cute Halloween pants that were free for me to make since I already had all the materials. Oh yes, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!