Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Catch Me (and my Boy Pants) on Made By Rae!

Hello all - I'm guest-posting over at Made By Rae today!

Rae and Dana from MADE are working together on a
long series of themed posts to celebrate the
boys in our lives.
I was so tickled to invited to join
in the fun - me, with my
houseful of pink-obsessed
princesses and their poor outnumbered
father. You all
know I sew only girl clothes and the occasional
neutral toy but I combed my archives and picked
some things that might be fun for boys (and their
to make- so head over there to see!

Also, to keep my promise here, I made boy pants!
Just for
you (not because anyone in our house
will actually wear them).

This tutorial has a three purposes:

there is a
pattern for a 3-year-old size
that you can print out.


it may help you turn your own favorite pants pattern
a technically-reversible, fully-lined
thingummy with turned-
up buttoned cuffs.

it could be the beginning of a
series on
How To Sew Pockets.

Ready? Here we go!

First, here's the pattern for a tall 3-year old
(she's 39" tall), and the pattern instruction sheet:

Updated: Click HERE to download those six pages as a pdf file.

Some notes on the pattern:

1 Add your own seam allowances. There are none in the pattern.

2 Wherever you see "cut 2", remember that the pieces are mirror images (i.e. left and right sides).

3 I used three fabrics:

  • the main fabric is a tan twill (3/4 yard)
  • the accent fabric is a brown ticking (1/4 yard)
  • the lining fabric is white muslin, because that was what I had in the house (3/4 yard).
4 If you line the pants according to the tutorial, you will not need to finish any raw edges - they'll all be tucked away inside the lining. With the exception of the front pocket facing, you won't need a serger - and even the edges of said pocket facing can be dealt with using a french seam. It is also completely possible to make these pants from one fabric (1 yard) or a main+accent fabric combination (3/4 yard of each). With the former, you would have unlined pants. So you might want to use fell seams so they look nice when turned up at the cuff. With the latter, the entire garment is lined with the accent fabric.

5 You'll also need about 19" of 1" elastic, drawstring cord (or drawstring-cord elastic) and buttons.

Step 1
  • Sew on back pocket(s).
  • Complete the cuff straps, including buttonholes.
Step 2
  • Sew the pocket accent fabric onto one muslin pocket piece (left in the picture). Set aside.
  • With right sides facing, pin the muslin pocket facing to the front of the pants and sew along the diagonal pocket line (right in picture). Press seam and turn over to right side. Top-stitch along the pocket edge. In the next step, you will be layering these two parts of the pocket.

Step 3

  • Place the front of the pants from Step 2 on top of the accent pocket piece (also from Step 2) so the top and side seams line up. Pin in place. Flip up the front of the pants to expose the muslin pocket facing pieces and sew their edges together. Trim to shape if needed. Finish the edges with serger, zig-zag stitch or use a french seam.
  • Flip back the front of the pants over the muslin pocket and sew close to the top (waistband) and side edges to secure the top and side of the pocket to the front of the pants.

Step 4

  • Repeat Steps 2-3 to complete the other pocket.

The hardest part is over!
Now for the easy stuff:

Step 5

  • Make the inner layer of the pants - attach the accent cuff fabric to the muslin lining piece.
  • Repeat to make the three other inner pieces.
Step 6
  • Pair one back piece with one corresponding front piece, right sides facing, and sew the inseam and side seam, forming a leg tube. Repeat for the other leg.

Step 7

  • Turn one leg tube right side out

and insert it into the other tube, so that the right sides are touching each other.

Step 8

  • Line up the curved crotch edges and sew up the crotch seam. Notch, snip or pink the edges for turning out.
Step 9
  • Turn right side out and marvel at how it already looks like a pair of pants!

Step 10

  • Repeat steps 6-7 for the outer pants.
  • Top-stitch along the seams for durability and a nice decorative effect - single along the crotch seam and double along the side seams and inseams.

Step 11

  • Insert the inner pants into the outer pants so the raw seam allowances are sandwiched between them and hidden away.
  • Line up the side seams and inseams of the layers of each leg.
  • Fold in (ironing helps) the hem allowance of both layers and top-stitch all around the bottom opening of each leg.

Step 12

  • Fold the waistband lengthwise in half and press to get the midline.
  • Working with the entire garment inside out now, line up the waist/top edges of both layers of the pants and match the side and crotch seams.
  • Line up one long edge of the waistband with the top edge of the garment, so that the ends meet at the middle back. The right side of the waistband should be facing the right side of the inner pants.
  • Sew all around the top edge to secure. You can either sew the short ends of the waistband together before doing this, if you have measured the circumference to exactly fit the waist of the garment, or sew the ends together after attaching most of the waistband to the garment.

Step 13

  • Fold the waistband along the midline and over to the outside of the garment.
  • Fold in the seam allowance and top stitch the waistband onto the outside of the garment, leaving an opening for the elastic.

Step 14

  • Insert elastic, sew ends together and stitch up the opening.

Note: I added two small buttonholes (I didn't have grommets) to the front of the waistband, for a drawstring cord later. This is optional but if you intend to do this too, remember to sew the buttonholes/ insert grommets before Step 12.

Step 15

  • Tucking under the raw (top) edge of the cuff strap, sew it onto the inner side seam of the leg. The bottom tip of the cuff strap should not protrude below the hem of the pants. I sewed a little square pattern.
  • Turn pants right side out and sew the button right in the middle of that square, on the outside of the pants.

All done!

Front and back

Taking the time for all that top-stitching
will really be worth it.

With much wiggling and some bribery, I got Jenna to

model the pants for photos. So if you see frosty pink
toenails, don't be surprised.

They rode a little low on her hips today because
I didn't
take the time to actually buy the
shoelace-drawstring cord, let alone insert it.

I love the casual look of those cuffs folded up (screams
Summer! Beach! Boat dock! Ice cream!) but these pants
look pretty
smart folded down too

with a teeny flash of stripes peeking out!


  1. I love this ! Now how do I convert this to adult size ?

  2. These are just wonderful! I can't wait to make them for my son!

  3. LiEr, I LOVE these! And your pattern is the perfect size for Johnny to grow into by the time I get them made, thanks so much! =)

  4. Oh, thank you. Brought back memories of similar pants I made for my boys long ago. They can even go a bit dressy if you make a matching vest. I so want to make these but my boys are teenagers now.
    Lovely tutorial. Thanks for the details.

  5. i discovered your blog about a week ago. its lovely and i love love love these pants!

  6. Superb! Thank you for fantastic, easy to follow instructions!

  7. You. are. amazing.


    Can't wait to get started on Elliot's!

  8. oooooh! Perfect timing for my son's summer holiday wardrobe! love these enough to try some grading practice. They may not get worn in your house, but my gosh, they'd be worn out in mine!

  9. those are soo soo adorable! I can't wait to make one or two for my daughters. Thanks for sharing, I've been a follower and have enjoyed reading all your projects, you've very talented! :)

  10. Wow, wow, wow!! What an amazing tutorial -- I'm totally making some for my girl! :)

  11. This is a great tutorial! I found your blog recently and I love it! I have 3 girls too and this is definitely going to be made into a pair of girly pants :)

  12. Wow! Great tutorial and such cute pants! I came over from Made by Rae and love your blog!

  13. These are so cool! If I start working on them now - just hypothetically - I could maybe get them done until my now three months old son is 3 ... hahaha ...:-)

  14. What a fabulous tutorial - not to wait for my son to be three so I can make him some!! Might have to become a follower if all your tutorials are as fabulous as this one - thanks so much for your generosity in sharing.

  15. Wow! This tutorial looks great!
    Thank you for sharing!

  16. I love these! I don't have any little boys to sew for but I will be making these for my little lady. I read through all of the instructions and they are so thorough. You take your reader through each step and the details are great. Thanks.

  17. Just jumped over from Raes blog. thank you so much for sharing your beautiful ideas! I cant wait to set some time aside and browse.

  18. I love "roll up" pants! And how there are no raw edges in the construction! Wonderful as always.

  19. Beautiful! Thank you so much for posting this. I will be making them for sure!

  20. Oh I love these! The pants look absolutely gorgeous. Will come in handy in a year or two. :) I have been fretting about how it's so boring to sew for boys but look what you have done! Love the fabric too.

  21. I know this is for boys, but I am going to be making these out of some cute, pink, flowery fabric for my girls!

  22. oh my gosh, i am so glad to find your blog. I am too a fan of kain ikat. thanks for your generosity with all the drafting tutorials, keep up the good work

  23. Fabulous tutorial! I'm so happy to hve found you via Rae's blog. I cannot wait to brew a pot of tea and read about all your projects.

  24. Cute and stylish. I was wondering what you were going to come up with.

    You have a very gracious model, I daresay (:

  25. Thanks so much for this - have always wondered how to make them - my little man is not size three yet - so I will attack another pattern I have and see how I go.

  26. So darn cute! Thank you so much for the tute. My daughter is only just turning one, but I'll have this stashed away in my collection for the right time!! She's proving to be a dirt digger and mud-puddle-stomper thus far so these will be so cute and perfect!

  27. By the way, I found you through MADE's Celebrate the Boy month. So glad I did!! Thanks again!!

  28. OMG! I love these! Thanks so much for the tutorial. My boys are a lot shorter than your three year old. They are both about the size of a two year old and they are three and five. How should I modify the measurements?

  29. Thank you! I'm excited to make these.

  30. So glad I found your blog! I've been browsing around and I love your Owie dolls and so would my nieces! I'll check your shop in hopes you will list another one or a pattern sometime.


  31. Wow! What a GREAT tutorial!! Thank you so much for sharing that - I know you put a lot of work into making the tutorial!

    Come link your cute tute at my party: Thursday's Treasures!!

  32. I'm a mom of 4 boys and just discovered the "month of the boy" celebration. This tutorial and pattern is great! Thanks for putting in all the time to put it together.

  33. Thank you so much for this tutorial! LOVE these pants, made a pair with owl flannel accent for my boy, and just cut out some kitty cat ones for a friend.
    I discovered they're the perfect size to cut out from old pairs of my husbands pants. Just lay front and back on each leg and cut. greast way to recycle, and it's the perfect amount!

  34. LOL, my little girl will love these. Thankfully she hasn't quite entered the "all-frill all-the-time" stage yet... She's still fascinated by pants because she can finally SAY pants, also she loves pockets...

  35. Thank you so much. I posted a link to your site on my blog. This is so great. The pants are beautiful.

  36. These are adorable! I will definately be making them for my little guy! Thanks so much for sharing this pattern with us!

  37. hi, i will very much try your pattern. but i printet it and is this realy 3 years, I put on a pants in europe size 86 and it fit, i was thninking to shrink it to my boy on 2 but now i dont know :) sorry poor english , from norway

  38. These are too cute - and I'm glad your little model prefers pink, 'cause I have a little girl that I'd love to try these out on! I linked to this on my weekly roundup. And your horse and unicorn food. And the foam dirt. And the foam sofa (which I am SO with you on - I've loved them from afar but hate the characters). I promise I'm not a crazy stalker, I just think you do cute stuff!! :>) Thanks for sharing -

  39. Boys need cute clothes too! Thank you so much! I can't wait to make these for my son. It's not easy to find inspiring patterns for boys clothing, most are very bland. I love all the extra little details, and they will be perfect for using up my thrift-store clothes that I buy for the fabric.

  40. I'm coming up on the end of sewing up a pair of these gorgeous pants, and I have a question! How on earth do you top stitch the exterior seams? I'm looking at it, and it's just not making any sense to me! Is there some simple thing I'm missing? I just can't figure how to top stitch these buggers with the pants already... well... pants-y!

    Thank you so much!!!

  41. Care, I top-stitched the outer pants in this sequence:
    First, I sewed and double top-stitched the outer/side seam of each leg.
    Second, I sewed the inseam of each leg.
    Third, I turned each leg inside out and double-top-stitched the inseams. This part takes a bit of fabric manipulation with the sewing machine!
    Fourth, I sewed the crotch seam.
    Fifth, I single-top-stitched the crotch seam.

  42. Hi!

    These are adorable! I've featured them in a boy's handmade clothing spring wardrobe roundup on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. Check it out and let me know what you think. If you're interested, feel free to grab one of my featured on link buttons from my left side bar.


  43. These are great. I just finished a couple for my boys.

  44. I love these! I was looking for a pdf pattern to buy to make my son some pants, but this came up when I was searching Google. It's better than any of the patterns I was looking at to buy. Thank you!!

  45. Thanks you for this pattern! It's just so pretty for a little boy! Have a look for my boy pant version!
    Sorry for my english, but I wanted to tanks you for this!!!


  46. Thanks you for this pattern! It's just so pretty for a little boy! Have a look for my boy pant version!
    Sorry for my english, but I wanted to tanks you for this!!!


  47. i just stumbled upon this via RAE and i have to make them... i'm going pants crazy over here!! awesome thanks for the free tutorial!

    sue @

  48. hey this is yusra...
    these are wonderful... i'm gonna make it for my son's second birthday... i also wanted to know if you can show us how to make the frilly pirate style shirts... with frills as collars and sleeves... tht would be a big help too... i wanted to make those for my son's birthday... its on july fourth... i'll constantly be checking your page for that one... hoping for the best...
    thanks alot already... :)

  49. Amazing sewing job!!!! LOVED this pants! I will for sure try to make it for my 2 boys (2 months old and 2 years old)!! Thank you so much for sharing!


  50. I finally sewed some overalls for my very girly girl who has been going through a no-pants phase -- refusing to wear jeans or any of her brother's handed-down pants. So we have gone through this winter with thick tights, leggings, and now these, which are a morphing of your overalls and pants tutorials. They are the only pants she will willingly put on; the main fabric is deco weight from IKEA; pink dotted flannel is an old recieving blanket. The black and white check is printed, not woven, cut-offs from my husband's chef pants. I'm in love with my snap pliers atm so the room-to-grow details feature adjustable strap length and a snapped waistband extension as well as the contrast cuffs.!/photo.php?fbid=2769582791205&set=a.1487813947785.2064966.1007016911&type=3&theater
    I'm not sure if the picture link will work, but hope you like it!

  51. Wonderful tutorial, great pants! You Rock for sharing – thanks!

  52. Hi LiEr, I am hoping that I can make these wonderful pants, the shortalls I made last week rock - thanks so much for posting your patterns. I'm a bit worried about the pants size though. The instructions say they are made to fit a tall 3 year old and the pic of her wearing them with the cuffs down show the hem right to the top of her feet. My print out of the pattern has the (without seam allowances) inseam at 12.5" - is this right? I don't have a toddler to measure but everything I've found says 3T inseam is around 16". I would appreciate some help from anyone who has made these cool pants.....

    1. Hi SewFun - yes, that's about right (12.5", I mean). The hem does go down to the ankle, which means that when the cuff is rolled up, it's mid-calf. The pants are not slouchy, ankle-cuff pants i.e. there isn't room for vertical growth. The cuff is meant to bring the hem up to capri sort of length. I don't know about the standard inseam measurements, unfortunately - so it could very well be that these pants are too short for other three year olds. Or it could be that my Jenna wasn't as tall a three year old as I thought! I wonder if other people who have tried this pattern can weigh in?

    2. This may be too late to help, but my daughter is a month shy of 3 years old and is 36" tall, which I think is around 25% percentile. Her outseam is 19" and inseam is 13.5" If you don't have a toddler to measure, I recommend measuring a store brand pair of pants.

    3. Yikes - I inquired about this in March and I still haven't finished making them. I figure I'll find another boy who will fit them at some point, I have three pregnant friends currently.

  53. Thanks LiEr for the wonderful pattern. I finally made this for my niece, and love how it turned out :)

  54. hoy empezare a hacerlo para mi hijo, muy bien explicado el tutorial, y el pantalon es bellisimooooo!!! unas manos muy habilidosas tienes

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  56. I have just made these pants for my grandson out of some old jeans of mine and an old shirt of my husbands. I used the shirt pocket on the back but cut down in size. They look absolutely great. Thanks allot for the pattern and instructions. Easy to follow.
    Look forward to other patterns.
    If your coming to New Zealand look at our website

  57. I have just made these pants for my 31 month old. I used the pattern as it is, rather than add any seam allowances as he is small for his age and I thought they would work out right. I should have measured though, the pattern is great, but I've found the waist is not high enough at the back, so he has his bum permanently showing! Not a good look :) I'd say the pattern is on the small side. Definitely measure first, and you may need to add some to make the waist band higher. I will make another pair for him though as I love the pattern!

    1. How much did you increase the back rise to fit your boy's butt? Do you remember?

    2. See my comments much later in the comments section (I made these with a few changes to the pattern. Also, If you are in doubt, Charlie Harper has a free PJ pants pattern that is similar with a longer back rise. Maybe you can copy the back rise from that pattern. (I haven't made the CH PJ's).

    3. Increase the back rise by 1/2"

  58. I am really having a hard time figuring out the pockets in these... i picked two fabrics so i could make them reversible, but it is not clear which fabric goes which way. Or my husband i are pattern dunces. Help.

  59. since my baby is not living close to me, I am always at a loss for how much elastic. anyone have any ideas?thanks, kc in ky

  60. nice pattern with easy instructions to follow Thank you

  61. I know this is an old post, so I don't know if you'll see this comment... I just used this waistband technique on a pair of corduroy (lined with knit!) pants for my son -- and I *love* the technique. It looks awesome!! Much better than my previous technique. Also thanks to you I have decided to try sewing with knits. I bought a stretch needle for my machine and one yard of knit fabric and so far I like it. Thanks again.

  62. i like this idea i will try it soon

  63. Hi. Great tutorial. I just have one question though... Is the back part of the pants larger than the front one? I printed in "real size" on my printer but the back part is waaaay bigger, so I wonder. Sorry if it already was answered, I didn't read all the comments, too many ;)
    Thank you in advance for your response.

  64. Thanks for this lovely pair of pants, I already made a pair for my granddaughter. Great tutorial. Planning to made her another pair bigger for the future. Great tutorial.

  65. Wouldn't the liner have to be inside out before inserting them into the outer pants for sewing? This way the wrong sides of both would be touching each other. Then when the cuff is flipped outward the right side of the liner would be seen.

    1. J Geoffroy: Which step are you referring to?

  66. I would just like to say I have had this pattern for a couple of years and never had the nerve to try it. Today I just finished and cudos to you for a wonderfully clear and accurate pattern and instructions. I am so pleased with the results, and you are right, all that top stitching is worth it and makes it look so sharp. My grandson in going to be a happy camper in this.

  67. What size waist and hips do these pants fit?
    My nephew is on the slightly chunky side and has short legs.

  68. Hi, Thank you for the super cute and free pattern! It looks so cool! I have 3 questions, firstly: The back crotch rise pattern piece cuts straight across horizontally... normally the centre back is a couple of inches (give or take) longer than the front and sides. It seems it may be wrong? I too, have had an issue printing back and front at 100%. BACK seems A LOT BIGGER than the front pattern piece, (1 1/4" wider and 1" longer). Any chance you can put a test square on there, so we can tell if we printed it at the correct scale? Would you happen to know what I might have done wrong? Can you tell me how much to extend the centre back rise by to correct the deficit in the pattern before I cut it? Thank you so much for your help!

  69. The pants are great! A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES: Don't forget to add seam allowance! Raise the back rise by 1/2". Lower the front rise by 1/4". I also increased the crotch curve by 1/4" front and back (useful to accommodate a pull up in conjunction with a 3" wide waistband, with 1" elastic). I added 3" to the leg length, so that at full length, to the ankle, I had a 3" turn up of the contrast fabric (inseam 15 1/2" before hemming). My 3 1/2 yr old nephew has short legs. If you prefer to make them without room for a pull up then use 3/4 inch elastic and stick to the 2" waistband . I didn't line them (but I should have), as I made them with thick corduroy and quilting cotton for contrast. They are already a favorite! He slept in them last night, he wouldn't take them off!

  70. You may want to make the back pockets a touch larger, and move them a minimum of 1/8" closer to the back centre seam, which would actually be a closer match to the pants in the photos.

  71. Adorable! I love to see a video sew along to make these...hint, hint!!

  72. Hi LiEr - I too have a problem with the putting together of the pocket pieces.
    Is it possible to explain to someone with 2 left th8umbs how to do it please?
    marking the pocket pieces as 1,2,3 would also help.
    I'm dying to finish the pants for my grandson.
    Thank you for such fabulous ideas & sharing them with us.

    1. Anonymous: here is a tutorial for those kinds of pockets:

  73. Thank you for sharing your talents with everyone! I am making Christmas themed pants!


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