Both my girls love dressing up. Unfortunately for Esme, 99% of the dress up box is made up of stuff that is Orlaith-sized. Normally, not a problem, but this morning Orlaith was putting on her pirate costume and it was just too much for poor old Esme. She snapped and managed to steal Orlaith’s pirate top and ran off with it.
Orlaith was quite gracious about it, she kept the trousers and eventually bribed Esme with something else that she wanted and reclaimed her property.
But poor Esme was left, despondent and trouserless, wandering the lounge room wailing “Esme’s TROW-TROWS!” in truly harrowing fashion. I asked her if she wanted me to make her some trousers of her own and she responded in delighted fashion, so I did.
Here’s how I did it, if you would like to play along.
You will need:
A pair of elastic waisted trousers that fit your child well
Paper, pen/pencil, pins
Scrap fabric. Jersey works well for this but you could use non-stretch fabric too.
A piece of waistband elastic, measured to fit loosely around your child’s tummy.
Thread, sewing machine etc etc
Step One: Make your template
Grab pen, paper, pins and the trousers you’re going to use as your template.
Stretch out the waistband and pin to the paper. Then trace around the outside of one side of the trousers. The finished template will look like this:
Make sure you add room around the edges for a seam allowance. And add at least an inch to the top for your waistband casing. Cut it out.
Step Two: Choose your Fabric
I went with leftover cotton jersey for these, after going through my entire scrap stash. I went with this because it was there, unloved and unused for anything else. Because these were intended to be dress-up pants it really didn’t matter one iota what they were made of. You can substitute whatever fabric you like. Go crazy with leopard print and gold lame if you want.
Step Three: Pin and Cut
Fold the fabric in half and pin the pattern to it. Cut through both layers of fabric all the way around the template. You will have two pieces that mirror each other.
Repeat so you have four pattern pieces, two pairs.
Step Four: Sew the Crotch
You’re ready to sew the crotch seam.
Take one pair of pieces and pin them together securely, right sides together, along the crotch seam.
Sew, following the curve of the fabric.
Repeat for the second pair of pieces.
Step Five: Sew the inside leg
Lay out one piece, right side facing up. Lay the other on top, wrong side up. Match the crotch seams together and pin the two pieces together all the way around the inside leg. It will look a little like a Y shape.
Then sew the two pieces together all the way around the inside leg.
Step Six: Sew the outside of both legs
Pin up the outside of each leg and sew.
Step Seven: Make the waistband casing
Fold down the top inch and a half of the waist of the trousers and pin in place.
(If you want to have a nice professional look, you can turn the raw edge under. If, like me, you’re making something you know is going to get worn with wellies and a plastic cutlass, you probably don’t need to worry about a professional finish!)
Sew in place, leaving a gap big enough to insert your elastic drawstring.
Step Eight: Insert drawstring
Grab a safety pin or nappy pin and attach it to one end of your elastic. Then insert the pin through the gap you let in your waistband. Push the pin through all the way around the inside the casing and back out through the gap, pulling the elastic behind it. Tie the two ends of the elastic together to make a loop, push the knot inside the casing and sew the gap shut.
Put trousers on smallest pirate in the house and bask in their utter delight.
If you want to make these more piratey (or just general dress up-y) you could add some embellishments, like a skull and cross bones patch or something. You could even hem the bottoms of the trouser cuffs if you were feeling really flash and add some ric-rac or lace for a very fancy pirate.
And of course, if you want to make these up as just ordinary every day trousers then this method should work for that too. Just make sure you use coordinating thread and actually iron your seams!