Thursday, February 14, 2008

Easy up and down pants with free pattern and instructions

Since practicing EC, I always reach for Jonah's stretchiest, loosest pants; It makes pulling them up and down all day way easier and less time consuming. After seeing a really cute pair in a store, I decided that I would design some pants that were EC friendly. They have an elastic waist band and are made out of soft stretchy cotton. They are perfect for using over waterproof or non-waterproof trainers or diapers. The pants will stretch out over a bulky cloth diaper but when washed will shrink back to be trim over a pair of trainers. Additionally, they are a great pants for toilet training. If you want your toddler to learn how to use the potty independently, easy up and down pants are a necessity, a toddler will be more likely to pull them up and down themselves if they don't have to deal with button, snaps or zippers. The slightly flared bottom makes them fashionable for boys and girls alike.

The fabric should be a knit, cotton interlock for example, (stretchy kind of like a t-shirt). A thicker material will be warmer and easier to work with. Steer clear of the super thin knits with curly edges, its not worth the effort - trust me! You could even use old t-shirts from your husband's closet or from Goodwill!

I used my serger to sew these pants but you could use a stretchy stitch on your regular machine or a wide, close together zig zag along the edge of the fabric. All seams have a 1/4" seam allowance.

Download pattern. Some download times are long.

In case you were having trouble figuring out how to tape the pieces together here is a picture of the back piece put together. I cut out the XL size.


Cut out the pattern pieces, tape them together, and fold your fabric in half. Lay the pattern piece down so that the stretch of the fabric is horizontal to the length of the pants. The pattern should be on two layers of fabric, NOT on the fold, hold it in place by putting a book on it. Trace around the pattern, and pin the fabric together so it doesn't shift as you cut. Cut it out.

By laying the pattern on the fabric in this manner you will be cutting two of the front piece, one on the right side of the fabric and one on the wrong side of the fabric.

Repeat for the back pattern piece.

Cut out the waistband ON the fold with the stretch of the fabric parallel to the long part of the pattern piece.
Lay the back pieces of the pant on the table with the crotches (pointy parts) facing each other, and the good side of the fabric facing up. With right sides together, lay the front pieces of the pant on top of their respective back pieces so that the crotches meet up with each other (the good side of the fabric will be facing down). The front piece will be smaller at the waist and at the crotch, this is because we need less room in the front of our bodies as we do in the behind. Line up the outside edge of the pant and the bottom edge of both pieces. Pin and sew a 1/4" seam along the outside edge of the pant and the inside edge, stopping at the crotch.
Pin the crotch seam together (with right sides facing each other) so that the seams line up. Continue to pin up the back butt portion of the crotch seam and up the front portion of the crotch seam. Sew along the crotch seam with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Leave the pants for now and turn to the waistband. Fold the waist band with right sides together and sew up the shorter raw edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Take a length of 1/2" or 3/4" wide elastic that will fit your child's waist. For example: Jonah has a 17" waist so I cut a piece of elastic 17" and overlap it 1 - 1 1/2" when I sew it together. This gives a nice comfy, loose fit. You can always try the elastic on your child once it is sewn together.

Pin and sew the elastic the to fit your child's waist.Take the waistband that you sewed previously and turn it right side out. Fold it in half along the horizontal, with wrong sides touching, and lay the elastic inside the crease.
Push the elastic against the fold of the waistband and pin it there so it won't slip down towards the raw edge.
Take the pants that you had put aside and turn them right-side-out. Take the waistband/elastic combo and insert the pants into the waistband so that the raw edges of the waistband and the pant meet up. Pin all the way around so that the fabric of the waistband is distributed evenly. Line up the back seam of the pants with the back seam of the waistband and sew all the way around, thereby joining the waistband to the pants. Make sure you stretch as you go so that the fabric of the waistband is distributed evenly along the pant.
This is what it will look like after the waistband is sewn on.
In order to cuff the bottom of the pants you are going to make binding. This is actually easy to do. I have a 1/2" binding maker which is a $4 (Joann's of course) contraption that forces the fabric to fold in a certain way so that you can iron it flat, with the raw edges turned in. If you don't have one or don't want to buy one you can iron the binding by hand, it will just take a little longer.

Cut a strip of fabric that is 2" wide and as long as you need it for both pant legs, cut with the stretch of the fabric parallel to the long portion of the rectangle.

Small: 2” x 11” Large: 2” x 13”
Medium: 2” x 12” X-Large: 2” x 14 1/2”

Fold and iron each raw edge over by a 1/2". This leaves a tiny gap in the center where you will fold it in half again, to give a 1/2" binding, to cup the raw edge of the pant leg.Here is the binding maker. You feed the fabric through and pin it to the ironing board to secure it. As you slowly pull the binding maker back along the strip of fabric, it folds the edges down for you and you iron as you go.
In the end you have a strip of fabric 1" wide with the raw edges turned in.
Cut the binding to the correct length for each pant leg.
Open up the raw edges of the binding and pin with right sides together. Sew along the raw edge with a straight stitch and a seam allowance of 1/4". Trim excess fabric.
Fold the edges back, thus hiding the seam, and place the binding onto your sewing machine. If it is like mine you can take off the table to leave a much narrower table. Place the binding around the mini-table, past the foot.
Place the pant leg around the mini-table and on top of one edge of the binding, push the raw edge of the pant leg right to the gap in the binding (the middle of the binding).
Fold the other edge of the binding over the pant leg so that the binding completely encases the pant edge. Place all this under the foot of the sewing machine.
Sew a wide, close together zig zag all along the binding. Go slow and be careful to continually insert the raw edge into the binding as far as it will go. Make sure that the binding is being sewn from both sides, all the way around. Try not to stretch the fabric while you sew, otherwise it will leave a strange shape to the flare.
Here is one leg with binding. Do the same for the other leg.
Here are the finished pants.
Here's Jonah wearing his comfy, easy up and down pants. I also made a pair for Cai and he loves them too!


Dixie said...

I made these for my daughter but they came out waaaay small... not sure what I did wrong.
Like I said they came out tiny but they looked awesome! LOL

Green Momma said...

Did you check the scaling on your printer? If the scaling was on then it shrinks the pattern when it prints out. Hope that helps!

flarffy2000 said...

I must not be very bright because I can't figure out how to tape the pattern together. Are the pattern pieces labeled correctly? Any help would be great! Thanks so much, Monica

Green Momma said...

I'm actually camping right now so I can't print anything out but I will try to help when I get back around the 12-14th? Sorry for the trouble!

flarffy2000 said...

Are you back from camping yet?!?!

Green Momma said...

I'll be able to do it on the 2nd!

flarffy2000 said...


Green Momma said...

Eeek! I totally forgot! Now I'm at home (I was staying with my mom before) so I can do it tonight. I'm really sorry for making you wait!!!!!! You are so patient!

Green Momma said...

I added a photo to the top of this blog entry. I hope it helps you put the pieces together:) Thanks again for being so patient!