Monday, 16 May 2011

Toddler trousers

Seven of you answered the poll on the website and said that you wanted to know how to make toddler trousers - here you go!

Toddler trousers are just about the easiest things in the world to make. Having said that, I constantly screw them up. This is because they are actually quite counterintuitive. OK, they are only two pieces of fabric sewn together with three seams...but each time I make them (correctly) it amazes me how they turn out.

Choose your fabric wisely and you can make these in twenty minutes. Add an applique, ribbon or trim, and pockets if you've got time to spare. Stretchy knits are lovely - just make sure to use a zig-zag stitch. Try cozy fleece for winter, or make mini-joggers with a drawstring waist. Oh the possibilities!

You will need:

-a pair of toddler trousers to use as a template
-newpaper for making your pattern
-elastic (I like to use fairly thick elastic, but whatever you're comfortable with really)
-sewing machine

Step 1: making your pattern

Take a pair of trousers that already fit your toddler, or are the size you want to make. Lay them on top of a piece of newspaper, so that the outside edge of the leg is along the fold of the paper.

Trace up the inside seam, and along the top until you get to the centre seam of the trousers. Remove the trousers, and join together your top and inner seam lines. Cut out and open up the paper to hopefully reveal a shape like this:

Step 2: Cutting Out

Cut out two of these shapes.

Step 3: Sewing

Here's the part I ALWAYS mess up. If I look at the pieces of fabric, my feeling would be to fold them in half and sew to make the legs. But that's not the right thing to do (and yet, I do it 3 times out of 4...this pair of trousers was the FIRST that I managed to sew properly in the first go). But don't worry - I'm sure you are much cleverer than I and this will pose no problem at all.

What you do is sew up the top right and left sections of your two pieces, like so. I used a zig-zag stitch because my fabric is stretchy. Use a normal stitch for not stretchy stuff, and it's a good idea to go over it again for strength. Sew the left and the right side.

Sew up the top half, left and right, to make the bum and front of your trousers.

Now open up your trousers and turn them so that one of the seams you just sewed is front and centre, and your fabric looks like this:

Now, pin together and sew up and around the inside to make your two legs. Again, it's a good idea to sew this twice for strength. You may want to snip around the curve, too, if the fabric isn't lying flat once you turn it right way out. (To do this, make tiny cuts up to but not too close to your line of stitching, just to easy the tension on the fabric as your stitches curve.)

Hem the bottom of your trousers to the desired length.

Fold over the top edge of what will be your waistband, just a tiny bit to get rid of the rough edge (or forget this step, because it will be hidden inside the trousers anyway!). Fold it over again, to make a casing wide enough for your elastic to easily fit. Sew around the bottom edge of this casing to secure it, and leave an opening of about 1-2 inches.

Cut your elastic to the desired length. The best way to do this is to actually measure it on your model! You don't want it too tight, or too loose - especially for babies. Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic and start threading it through your casing, making sure you don't lose the other end!

Once the elastic has gone through, grab both ends and sew them together, sewing over the pieces several times to keep them secure. Now sew up the rest of the casing to hide the elastic away.

Turn your trousers right side out and admire! Embellish as desired and enjoy. Easy peasy.

The finished product!


  1. Fabulous post Rachel! No longer shall I be longing for a pair of trews that fit over a baby's cloth-nappy wrapped bottom (trousers in most shops don't fit!). Thanks muchly. jx
    p.s. love the arrow in figure 4, who needs photoshop!!

  2. Aw, thanks! And yes, the arrow is a Good Thing. I am keeping it, and maybe making a few more...