Sailor Inspired Pants

For Easter, the little mister was very specific about what he wanted.  Elastic waist pants with a bunny on them. I figured the only elastic bunny pants we would find would be in the pajama section.  And I didn’t want fleece, I wanted something dressy looking.

So how to meet my classy requirement along with his comfort and fashion desires?  Make something myself, of course!

My first stop was, my absolute favorite online source for all things sewing.  I found a lovely khaki check seersucker (Kauffman) that is even better in person than online.  It is so sturdy, I probably could have done without the lining, but I used a cream Pongee lining anyway.  And of course, a rabbit was necessary- so I ordered a Disney Thumper iron-on applique.

Step One: Draft your pattern.  Making kids pants is SO insanely easy! I, being the ever careful and meticulous planner that I am, held down a pair of his pants on the lining material and chopped around them with my pinking shears.

In retrospect, I ought to have then held it up to him and checked the fit.  It was much too wide in the waist, although all other pieces worked great once the seam allowance was factored in.  I almost always use a half inch.  I intentionally left the bottom of the leg really wide, because I was going for a sailor style, not quite a bell bottom, but wide with plenty of room.

I then took the lining piece and it became my pattern.  I used it to cut out another identical piece from the lining, as well as a third piece cut on the fold so that the finished pants would not have a seam down the front.  I learned from past mistakes and made sure to subtract the seam allowance by hanging the pattern piece over the edge of the fold by a half an inch.

You should now have three pieces cut from the lining- two back of the legs and one front piece.  On my pieces, I added extra wiggle room in the seat because my littlest mister has an ample tooshie.  Most kids don’t, so you can probably use the same shape for the front and back pieces.  I then used my lining pieces as pattern pieces to cut the seersucker.  I actually used a few pins to hold them together before cutting to make sure they were exactly the same.

I then cut an extra piece to become the pockets.  This is a bit complicated to explain, so bear with me.  It’s actually really easy once you get the hang of it.

I cut a second front piece from the seersucker, cut on the fold as before, except I didn’t cut the V out between the legs.

I unfolded it, and then laid it flat.  I then folded it the other direction, bringing what would be the ankles up to the waistband.  I then cut the bottom (what would have been the ankles) to match the top, creating a giant pocket shaped like the top of the pants.

I then unfolded it again, laying it out wrong side up.  Your piece should look something like this.  (I forgot to mention that the front of my pants has a bit of a shallow V because the littlest mister likes wearing them below his navel.)

Now here is where it gets even more difficult to explain.  You’ll take your uncut front piece and pin it to the pocket piece, right side up.  So wrong sides together.  Then, you’ll take the whole double layer piece and fold it down the center (like the original fold from when it was cut.)

It should look like this after you cut a scooped pocket shape from the corner of both layers.  You could trace something, or use a curved item, but I just totally winged it.  I wanted big, giant, seamless pockets.  So I went with big.  Just make sure you don’t go past the crotch line.

I recommend you measure your kids’ waist and leg length one more time.  Because I didn’t.  And you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle if you do.

I always work with the lining first when I’m creating self drafted clothes, so I don’t mess up the good fabric.  First, we’ll sew the back together (remember, right sides together).  I always use the triple stretch stitch with a half inch seam allowance when creating children’s clothes.  In case you forgot which seam is the rear end, it’s the one that is pinned.Once you’ve done that, you should have two pieces, front and back.  We’re going to sew in between the legs first, starting with the crotch.  Pin it like this. (Right sides together) Now, you will start at the seam and stitch down the leg.  Pin it first so the fabric doesn’t slip.  Go down one leg, and then start at the crotch again and go down the other leg.  Then, sew the outside edges.  You’ll have a pant shaped lining.  This one will stay inside out.Now we have to create the finished front panel of the seersucker.  You will start with your pocket piece, right side up, uncut waist edge at the top.  Then you will fold up the bottom.  Now, I was very unwise and did all these steps without adding the trim or hemming the pocket edge.  You ought to do that before you start this process.  Trust me, it is much easier! Now layer the full legged piece on top, lining up the waistband and pockets.  Pin and baste, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance so the finished seam will hide the basting.  Don’t forget, trim or hem the pocket edges first! When you have it pinned like this, fold down the pocket backing piece and hem or trim the curved pocket line.  If you’d like, you could also hide any stitching by pinning the right sides together and stitching the pocket curves and then flipping it back into this position.  Also, if you add your buttons to the long front piece before assembling, the stitched back will be hidden.  Again, a little advice based on my mistake.

If your pocket is a tad too long (mine was) you can clip the V to match the crotch line after it is pinned.Now repeat the steps for assembling the pants exactly as you did for the lining.  If you plan to add an applique, I’d recommend doing it now before you assemble.  It was much harder on the assembled pair of pants.  Sew the rear pieces together down the middle (right sides together).  Pin and sew between the legs next, right sides together, starting at the crotch and working out.  Pin down the sides.  And now you have a pant shaped project.

Now that you have two pants shaped pieces, slide the lining piece inside the outer shell and pin in place.  This is another point in the project where I made a mistake.  I cut the hem before finishing the waist.  So I’ll explain the waist first so you can do it in the correct order.

At this point in the project, little mister was playing a game with me while I sewed, so I forgot to photograph.  I will do my best to explain, but you may want to find a tutorial on adding elastic to a waist.  I’d also recommend practicing on some scrap fabric to get the feel of stretching the elastic just right.  Wrap your elastic around your child’s waist, pulling it to a comfortable fit and mark.  Cut the elastic with enough seam allowance to overlap the ends.  Stitch into a loop.

Take your loop of elastic and pin it to the outside of your pants, lining up the elastic seam with the seam in the back of the pants, finding the middle of your loop and pinning it to the front center, find the two sides and pin to the side seams, and ease the rest of the elastic onto the pants.  I chose to leave more of the elastic in the back of the pants, pinning the side seams slightly forward to give a flatter fit across the front.  Either way will work.

Now to stitch it on.  Use a stretch stitch, and carefully pull the elastic to fit as you sew.  This will take some finesse and practice, but really, it isn’t that hard.

Once the elastic is sewn on, flip it up.  If you want to leave the elastic exposed, iron your seam and call the waist done.  I decided I wanted to hide the elastic, so I flipped it all the way to the inside and pinned, repeating the sewing process.  This leaves a visible stitch around the waistband, but it blends in fairly well.  Which is good if you are trying to sew a straight stitch while little mister plays whack-a-mole with your feet.Now would be a great time to try on the pants and mark the hem length.  Once I determined desired length, I pinned the lining at the side seams of each ankle.  To do this, hang the pants or do it while the child is wearing them.  I didn’t, and I pinned it incorrectly, resulting in a slightly bunching lining.  Oops.

Now, fold the leg so the side seams align.  I chose to do a high-low hem so the pants touch the ground in the back and the top of his foot in the front.  I used my pinking shears to cut the hem on one leg.This was before I trimmed.  For some reason the after photo won’t load correctly.  I then carefully matched the inseam and lined up the seams between the two legs and matched the hem.At this point, you should add your trim to the bottom of the pants.  I also added a higher band of bias tape because my lining didn’t actually reach the hem anymore due to multiple errors on my part.  But I really like how it looks, so you could do that too.  And there is your finished pair of sailor inspired pants.  These would work for a boy or a girl.


One last tip for the buttons- measure and mark first.  Because it will save you a lot of hassle.  Trust me.



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