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

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