I am sure there are loads of tutorials like this online. I had finished sewing some pants for little LG from a pattern, and recalled there being easier methods to create your own pattern for pants pretty easily. I searched out a few, some had sites were you had to pay more to view the images larger, or they didn’t get very detailed in details for newbies. I wanted to create my own, from my own perspective. I saw one for just cutting out two peices of fabric, but in that version the pants had to have a straight leg. I love the look of a slightly flared leg on my toddler so I threw together my own pattern based of my experience from sewing LGs little pants, and from glancing at some online photos.
These are some seriously easy pants to make and you get to create your own pattern which I think is a lot of fun! These can be made for babies, toddler PJs (technically Lounge Pants as they are not “tight fitting”), childs pants or even adult pants!
1 yard of wrapping paper (I like the kind with the cutting grid on the back, super helpful)
1 large safety pin (for pulling through the elastic)
1 yard of 1/2 inch elastic
1/2 to 1 yard of cotton fabric (or your desired material)
Existing Pants in the size desired
Step 1 – Creating Your Pattern
You will want to go into your childs closet and find some pants, any pants will do, whats important is it be of the size and sillouete you desire. Lay it out on your paper, I like to use wrapping paper because it has a grid on the back, and I have loads of it handy in the closet. Fold the pants in half as shown in the photo below, pull out the crotch section and smooth the pants down as flat as you can. Trace with a pencil as close to the edge as you can to get a nice template. Remember that your pants have elastic in the top, so you need to stretch them out when you trace them so the fabric is the correct width.
In the above you can see that I have created a 1/2 inch border around the entire drawing for a seam allowance. I like a small hem, so I did 1/2 inch on the bottom as well, you can make the bottom hem larger just add more space to the bottom to accomdate that. If you want a 1″ hem, then add 1 and 1/4th” to the drawing.
For the top band portion you need to accomodate your elastic. I choose to use 1/2 elastic but you could use 1″ or any other width you like. So if your elastic is 1/2 an inch, then you need to make sure you have 1/4th additional onto that so you can easily get the elastic in to the empty casing you create, you also need 1/4th to fold under to make everything nice and tidy. So in total you need 1″ up there extra at the top for all of this to happen.
Step 2 – Cutting out your peices
So after all of this, cut out your paper template. Then place it on your fabric (The fabric should be folded in half so that you get 2 pieces from 1 cut. You will wind up with 4 peices total. You need 4 peices in order to create your flared bottom on the legs. Shorter tutorials allow you to cut out two pieces to create pants, but I think a flared bottom is more stylish and modern.) Trace your pattern onto the fabric, and cut.
You may want to put a mark on the top of each peice of fabric on the wrong side so you remember which is the TOP of the pants (this is really easy to mix up if your new to sewing or just tired).
Step 3 – Pin and Sew your legs together
So now you have two sets of pieces, the first two pieces you cut, and the second two pieces you cut. Take one of those “sets” and switch them from wrong sides facing so that the right sides are facing each other on the inside and you only can see the wrong sides. Pin the long side of the leg for sewing. Do the same with your other set of peices as shown above.All the while you will be working with the WRONG side of the fabric showing, when the pants are 100% complete, then you may pull the pants right side out.
Sew both leg side seams, you will also want to serge or “fake serge” your seams for more stability.
Now you only have 2 pieces of fabric, and if you lay them down on top of one another (right sides facing each other, wrong sides out to you) then it will look like the photo below;
As you can see I have already pinned the crotch area together, ready for your next step.
Step 4 – Sewing the Crotch and Inseam
Once you have pinned the crotch section and then sewn it, it should look like the photo below, notice I did NOT sew down any further then the curved area that was pinned, I stopped at the little “point” or “turn” in the fabric shape.
It is good practice to always backstitch or use a locking stitch each time you begin and end sewing a section, It is also good practice to iron out each seam after you sew it.
You are halfway done, now comes the fun part were the pants really look like pants!
Step 5 – Re-arrange the Pants and Sew the Inseam
It’s like magic, just be re-arranging the way the pants are folded, they become pants! Now all you need to do is spread out the pants a bit as pictured below, and pin so that you can sew in one long, curvy line.
Remember to serge the seams to finish them off.
At this point I like to stop, and make sure I have pressed all of my seams “back”. What this means is you fold back and press/iron the seams in the direction of the back of the pants.It is important to do this before you sew the waist band and bottom hems so that all the seams lay flat when sewn, and makes for less bulk and a better fitting pant.
These pants are very simple and are the same on the back as on the front, so you may choose which side is your “front” side. Once you have pressed the seams towards the wrong side it will be easy to tell which is which.
Step 6 – Creating your Waistband Casing
This was much easier then I imagined it would be. First you will want to fold down the fabric 1/4th of an inch and press (Some prefer 1/8th of an inch but I like more wiggle room), then fold it again 1/2 an inch down and press again and pin.
You will want to start sewing on the “back” side of the pants so any messy start/end stitching does not show up on the front, I started in the center of the back, you will need to leave 1″ unsewn so that you can slip the elastic inside the casing.
When you sew, you will be sewing as close to the open edge as possible, so the elastic has it’s 1/2″ to fit into.
When you have come to the end and have left 1″ open, take your elastic out. I used my sample pants to figure out the elastic width. I just measured the top of the pants, and multipled by 2 to get my elastic width, and added 1″ so I would have room to sew the elastic closed. Take your safety pin and pin it to one end of the elastic then slip it into the casing you made. You will figure out how to wiggle the elastic through by pulling on the pin from the outside. Make sure your elastic does not twist or turn. Once you have it all the way in, pull both ends out a bit and pin together overlapping about half an inch and sew back and forth a few times to secure the elastic, pulling on the pants a bit and the elastic shrinks right back in, spread your fabric out niceley. Now you can finish sewing that last 1″ you left open, be careful not to catch the elastic, sew closely to the edge. I think that sewing the elastic together and closed is the hardest part in sewing the pants. A bit fiddly, the wider your elastic the easier it is to sew.
Step 6 – Hemming the Pants
I like a small hem, I folded each leg down 1/4th an inch, pressed, then repeated for another 1/4th inch. Reember that we drew 1/2 an inch of extra fabric down on the bottom of our template to accomodate this, you can change as desired. Pin down your pressed fabric so that you can begin sewing.
Just as with your waistband, sew as closely to the open edge as possible, as seen in the photo below.
You will notice in the photo above I forgot to serge the leg inseams, oppsy!
Step 7 – Do the Happy Dance
Turn the pants right-side-out and press. You just created pants, all by yourself! Don’t you feel empowered? Now sew up some more, change the shape as you please to fit better, tweak it a bit or have some fun with tall cuffs in another color fabric, larger hems or adding ribbon. Above all, enjoy yourself and be creative, adding your own personal touch to each pair.