just look at this kid. i’m trying to figure out whether it’s possible to go head over heels from him *just* from pictures, without witnessing the little magical elf trounce around in person. i don’t know, what do you think? at least you must be gaining an appreciation for his keen eye for fashion. i digress.
whether you’re a total beginner or seasoned seamstress, kid pants have got to be one of the greatest things to sew. they are so simple to draft and assemble, the customizing options are endless, and they’re a totally functional wardrobe piece. i make plenty of pants for my kids in order to maintain a reasonable return on investment average for my sewing projects.
my preference is to make pants fully reversible (one day i promise i will make a tutorial for that…i’ve had the fabric cut since november to do so), because it hides all the seams, makes for cute cuffs, and doubles the wardrobe potential. however, it gets hot here in the summer. really, really hot. too hot even for a double layer of voile. so, at a recent trip to the fabric store, i picked up the three most summery materials i could find: seersucker, shirting, and linen, and set off to create a spring/summer pants collection for my boy. rest assured, stripes are well represented!
a few problems of course come along with light, breathable materials. linen majorly wrinkles (though i realized after buying that this is a stretch linen, and i wonder if that will make it less wrinkly?), seersucker implodes slightly after washing and looks like a shriveled raisin, none of them are particularly durable for toddler play, and the light colors, well…that’s just asking for trouble.
but, toddlers will be toddlers no matter what you dress them in, so it might as well be comfortable and something they like, and i think i did okay on that front.
i use two main tutorials as a reference for all my pants making. my absolute favorite tutorial on drafting your own pants pattern can be found here, and i know you believe me now that it must be fool proof since i’m clearly challenged in the pattern making department. i just used it again this week to draft a new pattern with plenty of space to grow length and widthwise, so these are intentionally a little baggy (my hope is they fit through the spring and then again for indian summer). i used a 1.5-2″ cuff on the pants, and probably could have basted the hems to easily let them out later…but, i’ve basted cuffs before, and by the time they’re ready for added length, the whole piece is looking a little ragged. not to mention, i’ve undone *plenty* of non basted seams in my life…i can probably handle a few cuffs if his legs have a disproportionate growth spurt.
i love this outfit he put together for himself. it looks like he’s skipping off to hebrew school. that was the fourth necklace he tried on before settling; the hat i made him when he was six months old. and that purpuric rash in his left armpit? oatmeal. how? why? i’ll never know.
i also prefer the appearance of flat-front pants; read a great tutorial on those here. it can be a little tricky getting the waistline to stay put since it won’t be straight all the way around as the pants branch out into two legs. for a severe non-pinner like myself, i find it really helps to just put one pin each on the front and back of the pants where the seam line folds onto itself when making the elastic casing. otherwise, that part in particular tends to narrow as you sew around the waistband and makes it difficult for the elastic to lay flat. two pins aren’t so bad!
i put some pockets on the striped pants, because pockets are full of entertainment for toddlers. by turning the stripes 90 degrees, i didn’t have to worry about lining up the stripes (i do love them, but sewing with them can be challenging) and it creates a neat visual effect. would you believe me if i told you i really did hold up at least 5 fabrics for the pocket lining, and while we can never know how large of a role my subconscious played in the decision, lions it was. again. without ruining the pants. vindication. to place the pockets, i sewed my two pants fabric pieces together waist to crotch, but left the leg seams open while i sewed the pockets in place so i would have more wiggle room moving them on my machine. remember to fold down your waist band to get an accurate visual of where the pockets will be when you’re pinning them to the pants front.
it’s all tied up now between shirts and pants, which means that i’m about ready to go back to shirts and try my hand at knits again (don’t worry, using someone else’s pattern!) but, if you’re looking for some major bang for your buck, you should go make your kid some pants! and then put them on him, and watch him attempt to take flight.