Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Modifying pants to fit cloth diapers

 For those using cloth diapers finding pants that fit can be a bit of a challenge. I've already posted a few options for making pants. Here I show how I add a bit of room to an existing pair of pants. Note that m babe was around 8 or 9 months here and I think the pants were a size 2, so fitting big to start helps. They were designed to roll up the cuffs so that helped with the length.

The crotch got a bit tight though so I opened up the seem about 1.5" on either side of the centre seem, cut out a piece of matching stretch fabric in a soft diamond shape (about 1.5" wide) and sewed it in place. Not having a serger I just quickly added a zig-zag stitch along the edge to add to the strength of the seems. It looks a little messy on the inside (I rushed it a bit) but it looks quite nice on the outside.

For a little more pizazz you could also add a colored piece of fabric to the crotch insert as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Phat Shorts

Ok, so maybe my baby's got bootie. That's OK, he comes by it honestly (though not thanks to his parents). And as most of the mainstream baby outfitters don't seem to cater to chunky bums I got my sew on with my mum last week. These shorts are the result. I think they also speak to the fact that outside the box can be pretty fun. I got the fabric in the discount section at Dressew and the shorts influenced by funky loose Japanese children's fashion.

I used a typical 18 month shorts (for my 10 month babe) and added an extra inch side to side and on the top as well as several inches on the bottom. I also made the back pieces quite a bit scoopier to accommodate for rump + cloth diaper. I then sewed all four pieces together and folded down the top into a waistband. After threading the elastic through the waistband I stitched in the ditch to keep it in place. I also rolled back the cuffs and stitched them in place at the seems (inner and outer). Cosy, cute and versatile

Friday, April 11, 2014

Plaid Bunting! (fabric flags)

OK, one of those projects I've been meaning to try for YEARS and finally got around to.
Really is this easy:

1. Cut out triangle fabric--- yes you can freehand this- back to preschool, you know what a triangle is---I used pinking sheers (zig zag scissors) to avoid any finishing of the edges. Remember to iron flat.

2. Arrange a pattern (if you are using more than 1 type of fabric)

3. Sew the triangles onto a string, ribbon or, as I did---- in the fold of bias tape. Note I used a straight stitch at the ends to have a bit to tie, and then zig-zag stitch to capture the fabric in the sandwich.

4. Pin up and Party

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baby Jeans (to fit cloth diaper)

The Problem

Well, after investing in several pairs of cute little baby jeans I realized commercial jeans just don't quite work for my babe as he is a big boy and wears cloth diapers. I did find one loose-fitting European design that fit for a bit, but my babe just grows so darn quick that he was out of them in a month! I've noticed that jeans also tend to pull tight at the thighs when babies sit. I had thought about just giving up on jeans, but I do think they look pretty cute! Why not make some?

The Solution

So, having found a nice meter or so of denim from St. Vincent's thrift store last week, I decided to try my hand at making some jeans. I put some of the tight 12 month jeans I already had for my 7 month old baby (involved just a little stuffing) and got out my ruler to decide on the following specifications:
2" wider at hips (+ 1/2" seem allowance = 1.5" each side)
2" longer at the back of the crotch (See #1 from "a few things about pants" below)
1" longer at the front of the crotch
1" longer legs (+ 1" to create a hem with room for elastic)

The How

After taking my measurements I used the pants I had as a general pattern and modified according to the above specifications. Then, to make the jeans....

  • I cut out a couple of pockets, added a couple of top stitches to the top of the pocket, and after sewing the crotch seems, added them to the back pockets, using a double stitch for fun (note #2 & #3 under things I learned...).
  • I then sewed the sides of the pants together.
  • I hemmed the bottom of the pants with a small opening to add elastic because I like longer pant legs with gathered hem for a baby- it looks cool and keeps the cuffs out of the way for playing.
  • I made a waste band with a top stitch on both sides of the waistband to make it look a little more finished. Before adding the elastic I used a simple stitch to create faux pockets and fly. Added the waistband and did a little "stitch in the ditch to keep the waistband in place on either side (in navy thread) and voila!
Note, I've stolen my mum's serger for this project which makes beautiful edges but you can also sew a 1/4" from the edge with a straight stitch and add a zig zag stitch on the edge to finish and prevent fray

Here are a few things about sewing pants I learned from trial & error:

  1. To make the back of the crotch higher than the front (needed because the bum is bigger than the crotch and because the fabric pulls down when a little person sits down) you can't just increase the height of the back panels, you need to increase the length of the curved part of the panel.*
  2. If starting with sewing the crotch seems, careful not to mix up the trunk and the legs, as I did (and wondered why the heck my waist was so small and my legs so large!!! And causing me to resew the back patch!)
  3. When adding bum pockets, line up the edges of the pockets with the outside edge of the panel (not the inside seem), which will put them at a bit of an angle to the inner seem.
  4. Mustard coloured denim thread gives a great finish to jeans!
  5. As mentioned in my previous tutorial on pants, No fold elastic is worth the extra buck!

*I tried increasing the overall height of the back panels as well as slightly increased the curved part but ended up having to trim the difference between the front and the back panels when I made the waistband.

Pants folded backwards....

(and pocket sewn on leg)

Can't have a project without a little seem-ripping! (I sewed this pocket three times)

Back of pants, inner crotch seem & pockets sewn

Front of jeans, inner & outer seems sewn

Waistband & leg hems in place

Note the double stitch on the pockets, and the top stitch top & bottom of waistband
(with temporary gap in waistband for elastic)

Faux pockets & fly for a little jazz

"Stitching in the Ditch" (with black matching thread) to keep waistband in place

front, finished

back, finished

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Burban Headband

A friend of mine said these are all the rage in the burbs. At least if they come from a certain store that is.Also all the rage in the burbs. I'm in the city but still appreciate a good headband. This one was a gift.
Pretty Simple. I took serged two bands of stretch fabric, about 12" long each (I think), turned them right side out, looped them, then folded the ends inside and tucked three of the ends inside one, then sewed it shut.

Voila! You can use the looped end or the sewn side outside.