Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ruffle bottom pants - a tutorial of sorts

I'm proud to say that last night I made my second ever garment using knit fabric! I made the first one about 25 years ago, and only sent it to the op shop this week (I think I wore it on average less than once a year during all those years), but I don't expect this week's attempt to last anywhere near that long in our house at the rate the Newbie's growing.

Here's the details:

The ruffles were inspired by a pair of pants that the Newbie has outgrown because of the added bulk of her cloth nappies, and also by similar projects such as this one at Makeit-Loveit.

Pattern:  Rae’s Basic Baby pant

An old T-shirt of mine which had seen better days

I used the bottom hem of my T-shirt as the hem of the pants, doing away with the need to hem them separately, added the length of the hem (ie. I lined up the bottom of the pattern piece with the bottom of the T-shirt), and added ruffles to the back of the pants (see tutorial below).

I suspect that I mis-measured the Newbie's waist, as when I used Rae's 'waist  1"' instruction for the length of the waist elastic the result was about 2" too long.  The pants are on the long side though, so instead of cutting off the excess elastic I've doubled it over, and will let the elastic out as she grows.

Make your own ruffle pants:
Lie the T-shirt flat, then fold along the centre front/back.  Pin pattern piece along the fold, matching the bottom of the leg with the base of the T-shirt.  Cut out.

I then cut two 1" strips from the width of the T-shirt, cross-cut them into rectangles which were as long as possible, creating four strips.

I wanted a rounded edge to my ruffles, so I cut a curve on one corner of each end of each strip.

I then stitched all round each piece with a mid-width zig-zag (top strip above).  You could also leave the edges unfinished, or overlock them if you have an overlocker, but personally I like the texture of the zig-zagged edge and the stretching of the edges of the fabric for this project.

To gather the strips I adjusted my stitch length as long as it would go, and set my machine's tension as high as it would go.  I then stitched along the long edge of each piece, approximately 1/4" from the edge which still had the squared corners.  This gathers up the fabric without the need to pull up the bobbin thread separately - a trick I learnt from a blog recently (sorry, I found it after following a trail from one blog to the next, and now have no idea who to credit with the idea!).

I sewed the centre back seam of the pants, then used my patchwork ruler and a soft pencil to mark lines on each side at 3", 3.5", 4" and 4.5" from the top.

I then adjusted the gathering on my strips, making minor adjustments to the width of some of them at the same time, and tying the gathering threads at each end when I was happy.  My strips ended up being around 8" long each.

I then pinned and stitched the strips onto the pants, matching the gathering stitch with the pencil lines, and starting with the bottom line.
The ruffles will overlap with one another slightly:

When all four had been sewn in place I sewed the centre front seam and the inside leg seam as detailed by Rae.

Obviously you could add the ruffles to any pants / nappy cover you like, but having now made my first pair of 'Basic Baby Pants' I know I'll be making more from this pattern.

1 comment:

  1. So cute! And thanks for sharing the gathering idea, never heard that before:) Cyndy


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