Monday, June 27, 2011

Sewing: Convertible Cargo Pants for Kids


I have been thinking about making these cargo pants for some time. I love cargoes for their functionality and just plain decorative appeal--all those pockets and pocket flaps and contrast stitching.
 

Seemed the perfect way to add some interest to kids' simple pull-on pants. And since I finally got around to these in summer I decided to make them convertible cargoes. Why not? They can be worn long for sun protection or rolled up for some spontaneous wading. And hopefully they'll still fit to go back to school in the Fall.


But this past weekend they were worn up and down for exploring. While out-of-towning we took the girls to some sand dunes. So incredible! It felt like we were in the middle of a vast desert but it only looks that way. This is red sand and finer than the kind we're used to on the beach.



Audrey thought it was great for rolling around in and making sand angels. Scarlett didn't like the feel so much but finally warmed up to digging.


It was the perfect location for following animal tracks and playing treasure map. But it was a short visit. Even though we went on a cool morning it didn't take long to feel hot with the sun reflecting off the sand.


So we headed back. Shook out the sand. And spent the afternoon in the pool.


Scarlett wanted to be carried a good part of the time, and well, Tess doesn't have a choice, so behind the lens this is what it looked like, only with the camera too! Pretty funny, but it's ok, I'm used to it!


If you'd like to add cargo pockets to your favorite pull-on pants pattern click below for the tutorial and pattern. Though it's all girls in our family these would be perfect for boys too!



KIDS' CONVERTIBLE CARGO PANTS TUTORIAL

MATERIALS:
  • Your favorite pattern for elastic waist pants. (I used this flat front pattern from MADE)
  • My pattern for cargo pockets and convertible tab, found here.
  • Enough material for all of the above (1/3 of a yard is plenty for the pockets)
IMPORTANT NOTES:

**I used this pocket pattern for both of the pants pictured on my girls, ages 2 1/2 and 5. If you are going much younger (say 12 months) or older (7 or above) you may want to either change your seam allowances or cut the pattern smaller or larger. A good thing to do is to compare the pattern pieces to pockets on a pair of your child's pants and see how the size looks.**

**Pull-on pants such as these are generally sewn one of two ways: either you sew each leg together and then put one inside the other and stitch the rise/crotch seam, OR you sew the front pieces together and the back pieces together along the rise and then stitch the front and back together along the side and inseams. In order to add the cargo pockets you need to use the first method--sewing the pant legs together first so you can sew on the side cargo pockets. I'll show you what I mean....**
**The following tutorial shows pants with a self-waistband. If your pattern has a separate waistband you can either alter it by adding 2 1/2" to the tops of the leg pieces, or you can add the waistband later as directed by the pattern and the front pockets will be seamed in the waistband.**

**I used a lot of top stitching because I think it's cute! you can skip some of it if you'd like but you'll be stitching the pockets onto the pants and creating some top stitching that way, so you may want to match. I did one row of top stitching as close as possible to the edges of the pockets and then I created a second row when I stitched on the pockets and put this one 1/8" inside the first row. This creates some "flappiness" around the pockets--a little bit of margin between the edge and where the pockets are stitched down. I like the look but if you'd rather forego it you could do your first row of topstitching 1/4" in and then the second close to the edge when you are stitching down the pockets.**

**It's a good idea to read through this entire tutorial before embarking so you can make any adjustments to the plan to fit your pants pattern and idea for the final product! :-) **



TO MAKE:

Cut out the pants pieces according to your pattern.
Cut out the pockets as indicated on my pattern (4 of each of the pockets, 8 of the pocket flaps and 2 of the tabs)


First we're going to sew all the pocket pieces together so no wrong sides of the fabric are exposed. Stitch the cargo pockets right sides together with a 3/8" seam leaving the top open for turning. Clip the corners. You should have two pockets.
Stitch the pocket flaps right sides together with a 3/8" seam leaving the top open for turning. Clip the corners. You should have four pocket flaps.


Stitch the front pockets right sides together with a 3/8" seam leaving the top and short side open for turning. Clip the corners and trim the curved seam. You should have two pockets.


Fold each tab piece in half lengthwise and stitch it right sides together with a 3/8" seam leaving the top and bottom open for turning. Trim the seams. You should have two tabs. (I made another four thinking I would create belt loops as well....)


Turn all pieces, including tabs (though they aren't pictured below) right sides out and press. Turn under one of the ends of each tab and press (we'll top stitch it later). Press the front pockets and be sure you have a mirrored set to top stitch (the front side of the topstitching always looks best.)


On the pocket flaps, press the opening under, wrong sides together. We'll top stitch it closed in the next step.


On the cargo pockets, press the opening under, wrong sides together. We'll top stitch it closed in the next step.

Top stitch the cargo pockets on all sides as close to the pressed edge as possible. Top stitch the top edge again 1/8" from the first row of top stitching. (We'll complete the second row of top stitching when we stitch the pockets onto the pants.)


Top stitch the front pockets on the sides and bottom (skip the raw/open edges on the top and short side) as close to the pressed edge as possible. Top stitch the curved side again 1/8" from the first row of top stitching.


Top stitch the pocket flaps on all sides as close to the pressed edge as possible. Top stitch the side, bottom edge and other side again  1/8" from the first row of top stitching. Top stitch one sides of the tabs, along the bottom edge and along the opposite side as close to the pressed edge as possible. Stitch button holes in the middle of the pocket flaps and at the bottom of the tab as pictured below. Zig zag finish or serge the top raw edge of the tabs.


Next we'll place the pockets on the pants pieces and stitch them on. If you have a pair of your child's pants you like, use them as a guide for the pocket placement measuring form the sides and top of the inseam.

Pin the front pockets to the pants front aligning the raw/open edges at the top and sides with the top and side of the front pants piece. (This assumes you are using a pattern that has a self-waistband. If you are using a pattern with a separate waistband check the placement of the pockets as you may want to make them a bit higher and trim the top.)


Baste the top and sides of the pockets to the pants. Top stitch along the side and bottom 1/8" from the first row of stitching. The top and sides of the front pockets will be seamed in the waistband and side seams later in the pants construction...


Following your pants pattern (and adapting it if necessary to sew the legs together first), sew the front to the back of each leg. If you would like, add two rows of topstitching down this side seam--one in the seam and the other 1/8" onto the back piece (see the yellow pants pictured at the top of this tutorial for an example of this).


Next pin two of the pocket flaps to the back of the pants. We're making artificial pockets here. Use an existing pair of pants as a guide taking into account extra fabric at the top for the waistband casing (about 2 1/4").  The pocket flaps should sit at least 1/2" below the waist band when the pants are finished, but they could be a bit lower depending on your preference--no exact science here! Pin your pocket flap in place along the top of the flap and stitch 1/8" from the first line of stitching. Stitch on the button over the buttonhole through all the layers of fabric.



Next we're going to sew on the cargo pockets on the side seam of the pants. We'll sew on the pocket and then sew on the flap a bit above it, about 1/4", so it can flip up easily. I placed my flaps about an inch lower than the bottom of the front pocket. So the cargo pockets are about 1 1/4" below the bottoms of the front pockets.

Pin and stitch the cargo pockets around three sides 1/8" from the first row of stitching and leave the top open. Then pin and stitch the pocket flaps above the pockets. You'll want the sides to align with the sides of the cargo pockets and you'll want to be above the pockets enough that you can stitch the flaps down without stitching the pocket closed.



Sew a button onto the top of the cargo pocket so you can button the flap closed. I poked a pin through the button hole onto the cargo pocket to position my buttons.



Next, we'll make the pants convertible. You'll start by sewing on a button along the side seam a bit below the cargo pocket. The distance is up to you. I used a pair of pants to see how short I'd like to be able to roll the cargo pants (I opted for just below the knee). I ended up placing the button 2 1/2" below the cargo pocket.


Now you need the tab to go with the button. Stitch the raw edge on the wrong side of the fabric just below the button. You'll want to make sure your presser foot will clear the button! I used a zigzag because I like the look, but it could of course be a straight stitch.



Now you can follow the rest of your pants pattern to finish the pants. You'll need to sew the two legs together along the rise/crotch seam, hem the legs, and create the waistband casing (I folded over 1/4": and stitched, then folded over again 1" and threaded through 3/4" elastic.)

You did it! You've got convertible cargo pants for your little explorer.

51 comments:

Selena and Anna said...

Happy SITS Day!! I love your blog and I wish I had one ounce of your creativity!!! Maybe I'll just have to visit your blog more for some inspiration:-) Those cargo pants are great!!! Enjoy your day in the spotlight.

Laura said...

I love cargo pants too. Too bad I never learned to sew.

Happy SITS Day!

Sharon said...

I love this!!! I have been wanting to make my cargo pants for some time for toddler, thanks so much for sharing this tutorial!!

Sharon

Sarah said...

I have two boys and I definitely see these in their future!
Thanks for sharing!!!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

Perfect for little boys indeed! Thanks for sharing :)

(Florida) Girl said...

Wow those are cute. You have some crafty skills. Impressed.

Happy SITS Day!

The BabbyMama @ IKHIBF said...

Love the pants and the pics! I've thought about making pants but it's so much more intimidating than elastic waist skirts, hee.

Happy SITS Day!

Amanda @ Ninth Street Notions said...

Happy SITS day! The pants are amazing. I need to make myself some of those.

criticalcrass said...

happy sitsday!

love the print for these! so cute!

Trish said...

Happy SITS Day!

Semper Wifey said...

Congratulations on your SITS day! Your blog is fantastic! I'm looking forward to following it and reading about all of your adorable ideas! :)

Mel said...

Those are adorable cargo pants! Coming by from SITS to say hello. Congrats on your SITS day. Blog on.

Zeemaid said...

Those are adorable pants!

Congrats on your SITS day!

Jenn Erickson said...

Your day at the dunes looks like it was a lot of fun and those cargo pants are fantastic -- love the style and the fabrics! You're very talented!

Jenn

Eclipsed said...

Have a very happy sits day

Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE said...

i LOVE this! Not only would it be a perfect solution to the issues I'm currently facing with Nicole's wardrobe (I love the look of this style of shorts/pants. It hurts me to pay ridiculous amounts of money for them, and I can't currently find a good deal on them anywhere.) but I'm also sending this to some of my friends with boys because this is PERFECT for turning basic pants into 'something extra' which I know they sometimes struggle to find a way to do!

Caren with a "C" said...

Happy SITS Day! I love your blog ideas. I'm your newest follower!

Alexandra said...

Wish I had some skills with the sawing machine :-( , love cargo pants! Hope you have a wonderful Sits day!

feelincrafty said...

These are beautiful! I can't wait to make some for my son. I agree, I love the topstitching!!

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

These pants are unbelievable! You made those yourself? I really do admire who can sew beautiful clothes like this. I mean, sometimes I look at clothes I have and think, I could TOTALLY do this..if only I could sew! Happy SITS day!

Craftwhack said...

I am so impressed by your sewing brilliance. Almost inspired to learn how to sew....... I'm gonna go explore your site now!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Happy SITS day! These are so cute!

Chelsea said...

Wow, everything on your blog is absolutely beautiful. Happy SITS day!

Everyday Mama said...

Happy SITS Day! Bookmarking your site NOW -- such great and crafty ideas...now if I can only find the time to make them :)

projectedprogenitor said...

Oh my gosh, these pics are gorgeous! Happy, happy SITS Day to you!

Deidre said...

Wow they look absolutely fabulous! Nice work! Love those patterns.

M.M.E. said...

Is it silly to say I want these in my size?

Ginger said...

Congrats on being featured on SITS. :) So glad I found your blog. Love the cargo pants...so cute. You have a beautiful family. :)

Ginger
gingersnapcrafts.blogspot.com

Susan @ Living with Punks said...

So brilliant Anneliese! I adore that fabric too...great choice as always :) Is it regular quilting weight fabric you used, or more of a twill?

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Those are super sweet! Do you have a pattern? The Girl would LOVE them and I bet I could adapt them for The Boy as well!

Crafty Housewife said...

These are all adorable and I am itching to make some of these for my 3 sons now! Love the pictures, and congrats on your SITS day!

casserole said...

These are SOOOOO AWESOME!!!! I LOVE the floral print on the cargos! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-kids-convertible-cargo-pants/2011/06/28/
(link will go live later tonight)
--Anne

Amy @ OurScoop said...

Annelise, I just love these! Now where am I going to find the time? I have to make those for my girls!! Perfect to play in! Love the fabrics you chose and the stitching makes it! Hope you are doing well!

GGBunnie said...

Thanks so much for sharing & introducing me to "made." Have been looking for a nice flat front pant/shorts pattern for Clover (2 1/2)since she no longer wears a diaper. Want her to have a "big girl" look:) I have made her cargo pants in the past, she loves her pockets! Since her little hands still have a some trouble with buttons I used Velcro.
Have a blessed day!

Rebecca said...

I LOVE these pants. You're amazing. :)

Diane said...

You're so creative! There are great ideas on your site!

dana said...

Just realized I never responded to your email on these. Sorry! Love them! They're great Anneliese. And wow, those photos are gorgeous. Perfect background and so unique/different. Very fun!

managed exchange said...

Beautiful pics!

tasha said...

the cargo's are so cute!

Brooke said...

I love these cargos! So cute! Looks like you are visiting my neck of the woods! I hope you had fun!

Sandy said...

Congrats with you being featured!
Love the cargo pants too! cool even for my boys! If I make a pair and post it,
I would like to give credit to you if that is cool with you. By the way where are those sand dunes? would like to go there. Beautiful photography there too girl.
Happy 4th!

mavi said...

I love your blog!, Is that since I discovered the web trying to see every week to see what new things you've done, I'm in practice for cargo pants, I hope you are well.
I wanted to congratulate you on your work, your ideas, and inspire me from a distance (as I live and work in El Salvador, Central America) I sent a very affectionate greeting and continue to see this page as interesting!
Congratulations!
Sorry if my English is not very good.
Mavi

small + friendly said...

These are awesome, I've added them to my fall clothes to-sew list.

Carolyn said...

Perfect pants. And my, those are gorgeous pics!

luvinthemommyhood said...

Love these hun!!!!!! So awesome!!!

Slave To My Needles said...

Love this tutorial. Thank you. You make it so simple to follow. My granddaughters are going to love these. Great job!!!!

Kim said...

Love these pants!!! All your projects are amazing. I enjoy seeing your creations. Thanks for sharing!

Pauline said...

Wheee! I made some after seeing your pants on Pinterest: http://pauline-lifewiththeboo.blogspot.com/2011/09/cargo-pocket-pants.html

Kappy said...

woow love the pants i'm thinking of making an adult one -hold ur breath LOL!!! -B.T.W. was this in Morocco - the pics remind me of when i lived in egypt back in 06'-07' - o how i miss it soo !

karlamcurry said...

These look fabulous! How funny, I'm just learning to sew and made the flat front pants for my 2-year-old. I'd love to try these!

Cargo Pants HQ said...

Wonderful hands-on article!

Thank you for sharing.

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