m.g.b.p. #3: stripey pants!

so when i first found out that the birthmother who’d chosen us was going to have a boy, i experienced one ridiculous twinge of regret–“boy clothes are so much harder to sew than girl’s clothes!” and while i’ll still admit that there’s not much that’s easier to sew than an elastic waist skirt or a simple little sundress, these pants are pretty darn easy too.  i found the pattern while poking around online and was inspired to make another trip to the dig-n-save.  i’ll preface this entire project by admitting that making baby pants (even from repurposed, $1/lb clothing) is likely not the most cost-effective way to build my child’s wardrobe, but look at how stinkin’ cute those pants are!!  and (once the “fabric” and the elastic (new!) has been purchased and the fabric laundered and the decision made about whether or not i can really justify “ruining perfectly good shirts” to make baby pants) they only take about 10 minutes to make, start to finish.  okay, maybe 15 minutes, i didn’t actually time myself.  but super, super fast and easy.  the link to the pattern above has a pretty nice tutorial (with a great idea about adding a lined cuff to extend the wear time of the pants!) but i took some photos of my process so you can see a few extra little tricks i added.

step 1.  choose a shirt.

this is a child-size turtleneck that i almost couldn’t cut into (it’s still a good shirt!  someone might wear it!  what if the pants turn out ugly?  i’ll have wasted and ruined a perfectly good shirt!) but then i reminded myself about how much i hate turtlenecks and that made the decision easier.  plus, it was $1 a pound which makes it slightly less tragic (at least to my wallet) if the pants are a failure.

step 2.  fold the shirt in half down the middle and pin your pattern along the fold you just made, lining the bottom of the pattern up with the hem of the shirt (this will be very useful later!):

look how well the pattern fits this shirt!  almost no wasted fabric!  (the sleeves can be made into babylegs, i think….)

step 3.  take a deep breath and cut the fabric!  then, turn each piece inside out and pin as shown:

note:  if you’re using a striped fabric, it’s a good idea to try to match up the stripes as you pin, like this:

step 4.  sew the part you just pinned.  then turn one leg right-side out:

step 5.  tuck the right-side out leg inside the inside-out leg:

step 6.  start pinning where the sewn seams meet and work your way up each side from there.  again, it’s a good idea to match stripes as much as possible!  then sew the seam you just pinned.

step 7.  when you turn the whole thing right-side out, they’ll look like this:

you’ll notice that since you lined up the bottom of the pattern with the hem of the shirt, your pants are already hemmed–hooray!

step 8.  cut a piece of elastic to the size you want it to be (i’ll admit–this is total guesswork for me at this point!  i’m erring towards too big because it’s always easier to make it smaller.  plus, who likes tight pants?) and stitch it into a circle:

step 9.  fold the top edge of the pants over the elastic band.

this part would probably be easier if i would just go iron down the top edge to the desired height, but i’m too lazy for that, so instead, i’m picking a stripe in the pattern as my guide.

step 10.  put your zipper foot on your machine and snug the edge of the elastic right up next to the foot and stitch all the way around, pulling the elastic to gather the fabric as you go, until all the elastic is encased in the waistband.

then you’re done!  here are three stripey pairs:

and one polka dot pair i made out of the sleeves of a large jersey knit cardigan:

who knows if i’ll have time to make pants after there’s a baby in the house, but for now?  i’m just a wee bit addicted.  i did make one sample pair of these pants and try them on an actual baby (thanks to a friend who had their baby at the library for a program) because i wasn’t sure how the whole no-specific-front-or-back thing would work, but guess what?  diaper butts are just as big in the front as they are in the back!  the only thing i altered after trying these on the real live baby were the the pattern had the waistband pretty low.  i raised it for these.  we’ll see if that works or not once i’ve got someone to wear them.  it’s an easy fix if i need to alter them.  hmmm…. maybe boy clothes aren’t so difficult after all….

p.s. i just double-checked the site where i got this pattern and found this page.  oh my.  screen printing onto the pants?  i sense another flurry of creativity!

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