Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dress Up Clothes - a short tutorial

I have been using a kids costume pattern to make "leisure pants" for Tyler for about a year. He has like 20 pairs to play or sleep in. Dinosaurs, aliens, Veggie Tales, elephants, outer space, you name it, I have probably made him a pair of pants from the novelty fabric du jour. I make these pants in under half an hour. You can too, after one pair, you'll whiz through any others.

So today when I happened across the pattern, Tyler was there looking over my shoulder and "Wow!" was what I heard as the envelope was ripped from my hands. Simplicity 3650. How could I have not noticed these kids are dressed in ALL of Tyler's favorite play themes??? He could not believe it. And I, of course, promised I could make him one of each. Soon.

Our errands for the day took us across the street from a large charity thrift store I had never been in, so we went exploring. I have a mental list of things I'd like to not pay retail for. Don't you?

I do not have a wild, bold stripe fabric in my stash, which pirate pants need. We searched for and found a men's XL button down shirt that would do nicely for pirate pants.

The first step is to cut off the button plackets, collar, yoke, and sleeves. This pattern for pull on (elastic waist) pants has only 2 pieces. My favorite kind. What kid needs side seams in pajama/ play time pants? Cut one side of the pants from the back of the shirt. I am making a size 4T, so that is all I could manage from the back of the XL shirt. No worries, we still have 2 fronts to work with.

I took the 2 fronts and sewed a seam where the buttons used to be. Voila! Another good sized piece to cut the second leg from! Picking the pocket off was the most tedious part of this project.

Here you see the leg cut from the back of the shirt laid on top of (and right side down) on the pieced-from-the-front section. Just cut around the first leg to get the mirror image of it as you would with regular fabric cutting.  See those indents on each side of the top of the leg piece? That is the part that goes over the lower torso. below that is the leg. You are going to sew those long straight edges together, right sides touching. Patterns typically call for a 5/8 inch seam, and I zigzag afterwards between the stitching and the edge. Then I trim that down to the zigzag stitching to keep the unraveling of fabric to a minimum.

Once each leg has that seam done, it is time to turn one leg right side out and insert it into the wrong side out leg, and match those seams so they are touching. Sew around this curve from one end to the other, and turn it all right side out. You can zigzag that seam before turning or sew a second seam for strength. Your little one's booty will put some stress on that seam. Believe me.

Now all you need to do is hem the legs and make a casing for elastic. I used 3/4" elastic. Measure around your little one's middle and add 2 inches. You will overlap an inch at each end after you feed it through the casing.

For the casing, fold down the top of the pants about 2 inches. Turn under a 1/4" of that and press it, then stitch all the way around except for about 1 1/2 inches. Put a large safety pin through one end of your measured elastic, insert the closed safety pin into the opening in the casing and start feeding it through, bunching the fabric as you go. When it comes out the opening from the other side, overlap those inches, pin it, and sew through both layers. Adjust by pulling so the elastic goes inside the casing completely and then sew that little opening shut.

You are done! You made a pair of pull on pants, perfect for play, and really great for potty training! 

Someone had given me this gold jacket lining fabric and it was a perfect match for a pirate sash / sword holder.

Next up for me, a thrifted black vest that will get scaled down to fit the little man and complete the pirate look.

Happy Sewing!

Fun Stuff Fridays


quiltzyx said...

Ahh, garment sewing is all Greek to me! But the pirate pants & sword holder look terrific - even better, they're "upcycled"!
Nice job Wendy!

Angela W said...

Oh my goodness! Those pirate pants are awesome! And how clever that you used a shirt....very cool!