Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tutorial - The Milly Capris

I tend to get an idea in my head and just run with (learning from my mistakes as I go). Today however, I did lots of planning and remembered to take photos so hopefully I can give you an insight into how to make some baby capri trousers like the ones I have made in preparation for Milly's visit next week. So here goes...

First find a pair of trousers that fit well, or a pattern that you know you like and that fits. I really like Jessica's Baby Snap Cargo Pants pattern from mesewcrazy.com so I used this as a starting point. This pattern narrows at the ankles but since my capris have a cuff at the bottom I cut my legs straight and also a little shorter (since they are capris). - I folded the bottom of the trouser leg pattern under.

These trousers would probably work in any fabric, but I had an old pair of jeans ready to be upcycled so decided to use them. I placed the pattern so that I could keep all of the original inner and outer leg sems as the finish is much more professional than anything I could do. I also saved the fabric cut out in the curve made for the crotch to use as back pockets.

Then you need to find a contrasting fabric for the cuffs, waist band and edging for your pockets. I used Amy Butlers Midwest Modern - Happy Dots in Linen.

Cut the pocket edging to match the width of the top edge of your pockets. The cuffs need to be long enough to fit comfortably around the baby/child's leg, under the knee. I did mine about half the length of the whole bottom leg edge. I cut mine 4 inches deep. The waist band has a flat front and an elasticated back so you need to cut two pieces of different lengths. I used the same depth as for the cuffs. The front waistband length should be half of your child's waist measurement plus 1 inch. The back waistband length should be the width of the back of the trousers plus 2 inches. 

If you cheated like me and kept the original seams, you need to unpick 2 inches at the bottom of each outer leg seam. You also need to unpick 2 inches from the top of one outer leg seam. If you are working from scratch then you need to sew the leg seams, stopping 2 inches from the bottom of both outer leg seams and 2 inches from the top of one. Next fold the seam allowance under and stitch to secure. Then you are ready to sew the crotch.
Turn one leg right way out and slip it inside the other leg, making sure to match up the inner and outer leg seams. Stitch and then finish edge. Turn the whole thing right way out and you should have what looks like trousers (fingers crossed). If you are adding pockets to the back, now is the time to do it. I'm not going to go into how, just use your favourite method style.

Now we're ready to add the cuffs. First use a  running stitch around the bottom of each leg to gather it so that it is the same length as the cuff. Next press the cuf fabric - Turn the long edges under and press. Then turn the short edges under and press. Fold the cuff in half and press (trim any corners that poke out if necessary). Slip the gathered edge of each leg between the two layers of the the cuff and pin in place. Use the fold at the short ends to enclose the open edges of the trouser leg. If you want to add buttons and loops like I have, now is the time to slip the loops into the open front edge. Top stitch all the way around the cuff.

The last big job is to add the waistband. Join the two waitband pieces at one end then press the waistband in the same way as for the cuffs. Before attaching the waistband, attach one end of a piece of elastic at the top of on outer leg seam. The elastic should be as long as half the child's waist measurement (or a little shorter if very stretchy). Pin the elastic down vertically along the side seam so that it doesn't get caught in any sticthing. Now slip the front top edge of the trousers between the two layers of the front wasitband. I added a pleat to each side of the front to make it fit well. Make sure the seam of the waistband matches the side seam of the trousers then pin the back waistband in place. You will have about an inch of waistband left when you get to the edge. This will be where you put the button hols. Top stitch all the way around the waist band, leaving a gap along the bottom edge of the wasitband at the point where you attached the waistband and the short edge at the end where the button hols will go. Then attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic and pull through to the end. Secure by stitching through the waistband just in from the trouser opening edge. Then topstich the short edge of the waistband closed.

That's it... all the tricky stuff done. Now you just need to make the buttonhole on the waistband at the side opening and add your button (and buttons to the cuffs if you have added loops.

And here's my finished 'Milly Capris'.

 And that's the end of my first ever tutorial - Hope it makes sense.

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