DIY indestructible boy pants {tutorial}

April 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

easy kids pants

Super easy kids pants

I swear my boys have cast iron knees. They can wear holes in a pair of pants just by trying them on. Ok, possibly that’s a slight exaggeration, but they can absolutely wear out jeans in under 3 weeks. As a form of self defence I’ve perfected these virtually indestructible pants, and honed it down to the quickest and easiest method possible. These would make a great first sewing project. Pants in 4 seams.

These pants have turned me into a polar fleece fanatic. Here’s why –

  • Fleece is virtually indestructible – I’ve had one pair in continuous use for over 4 years, and they are only now starting to look thin at the knees
  • They dry in about 10 minutes – which really means something when you live in a place with long wet winters and don’t own a dryer!
  • They are practically body armour – many a grazed knee averted here while learning to walk, run, or ride.
  • They are warm, soft and comfortable – fleece is instantly warm to the touch unlike most natural fibres.
  • Fleece is even made from recycled plastic – side serve of sanctimonious anyone?
fleece pants

An assortment of pants from over the years


Fleece – I like polar fleece because it is tougher and thicker than microfleece. (This is the hiking jacket type of fleece by the way, not the brushed cotton tracksuit material that is fuzzy on the inside.)
Fold over elastic for the waistband.
A pair of pants to copy.

star pants kids pants

dog pants octopus pants

DIY school uniform easy kids pants

Bottom row: (left) size 8 school uniform pants, (right) size 1 baby pants


First, make a pattern. This sounds more daunting than it really is. Take a pair of pants that fit your child, and are loose enough to comfortable. (Note, leggings have way more stretch than fleece. Consider the capabilities of your fabric when planning your pants, loose is a safer bet because you can always take it in.) Turn your pants inside out, and fold in half, following the curve of the crotch seam.


Cutting a pattern from some old pants

Fold your fleece over to the necessary width, and lay your pattern-making-pants on top, adding a centimetre for seam allowance, trace around with chalk, or if you’re feeling bold, dive right in with the scissors. These pants are pretty forgiving. For the waist, I cut the front seam down about 4 cm lower than the back. Then lay this first leg out on top of your fabric and use it as the pattern to cut the second one.Next winter you can make a bigger pair by laying these pants out and adding some extra length to the top and bottom, and a bit more to the width. If need be, get the kiddo to model the current pair so you can measure how much to increase by.


Sizing up. Allowing extra length top and bottom, and a little extra width.

Note the slant on the waistline? That’s to help the cut sit better in the front, and avoid Brickies’ Bum at the back.

Do you want pockets? Now is the time to sew them on. My kids have the magpie gene and love to hoard apparently fascinating treasures like rocks, sticks, the broken arm off a plastic figurine, half a cracked bouncy ball, 6 pieces of lego, and possibly a lump of blutack. I used to put a little pocket on one of the back cheeks, but over the years the pockets have grown bigger, and taken over a decent part of the real estate on the front thigh. (This way they have the added attraction of being able to transport a healthy percentage of the sandpit inside at every opportunity. Joy.) I’m told the more pockets the better.

IMG_20140426_111858 IMG_20140426_115107
Cutting the second leg from the first. Folded them in half and lined up to test pocket ideas.

Fleece doesn’t fray, so the next bit is pretty minimal as hemming and overlooking are not necessary. Sew up each leg. If you have a swanky new machine, you may have a more sophisticated stitch for stretchy fabrics, but I recommend at least a slight zigzag as there is a bit of stretch to polar fleece, and the first few pairs snapped thread until I figured this out.

Perform the strange mental origami that is necessary to get the two legs to join at the crotch seam. (Sewing is so good for the brain! When else do you have to work backwards and inside out?) I tend to double stitch both crotch and leg seams as my kids seem to think tree climbing and sandpitting are extreme sports.

IMG_20140426_221710 IMG_20140426_230013
Sewing on the pockets, then the leg and crotch seams

Now you’re up to the fun bit. Sew on your elastic. There are no doubt various ways to do this. I used to wrap the elastic around the appropriate boys’ waist to measure, tighten a bit and cut a length off. Nowadays I am lazy and just pin the start of the elastic on to the middle front seam, and start sewing, stretching the elastic (not quite to the maximum, maybe 2/3 of the full stretch) and zigzagging on my widest setting. You may know a better way (in which case, please tell me!)

That’s it. Four seams and you’re done. Time to feel extremely self satisfied and productive, and apologise to your sewing machine for abusing it so rudely when the thread cobbled. Twice.

Or is that just me?


Finished. The recipient inspected them when I’d finished and kindly informed me they were fine, but they would have been even epicer (translation: more epic) if the pockets were bigger. Tough crowd..


Judging by the 3 inches of ankle visible on the specimen on the left, some new pants were long overdue. Note the washing basket in the background. If you look closely, you will find one visible in every photo taken in this house. It seems to be cursed with self-filling washing baskets. If anyone can suggest an effective counter-curse, I am willing to pay in chocolate.


Much better, the modesty of the ankles can now be thoroughly accounted for.


To any foolhardy souls still reading all the way down here, here is some gravity-defying proof of the superpowers of polar fleece. Either that, or he has an invisible chair and hasn’t told me.




Entry filed under: Crafty Stuff, Patterns. Tags: , , , , , , , .

#9 Motherless Poetic Thursday #10

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