Upcycled Sweater Pants

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I am seriously IN LOVE with upcycled sweater pants...they are just so good all around. Good for the environment, good for getting rid of old sweaters, good because they are cozy for your kiddos...just good!
*Yes, I am aware the pants are wrinkly in the pic...but my little girl really wanted to wear them right then...I can't say no to such enthusiasm over homemade pants!*

Here's what you need:

-An old sweater (I used a V-neck but it is MUCH easier with a crew neck. I used a "medium" ladies sweater, which is fine for a 3T or smaller---but if you are dealing with a bigger kiddo you'll need a man's sweater probably)

-sewing machine

-elastic (I used 1" wide)

-measuring device

Here's how I did it:

1. Take measurements of your child...fun stuff, right?! Or just measure a pair of pants that already fit well. You will need measurements around the waist, length and inseam. I divide the waist measurement and add an inch for the seam allowance and an inch and a half to the overall length for elastic allowance.

2. Lay your sweater out on the floor, inside out. Measure and cut your sweater up, two pieces at the same time! Make the bottom of the length measurement line up with the bottom of the sweater. The waist measurement is the top of this weird shape, then it widens with a curve as you get to the inseam length measurement to about 16-17 inches. That makes for a pretty swanky wide leg. There's no science to the curve from the waist measurement to the 17 inches...just draw a curve. Here's what it should look like:

3. Sew up the little curved parts at the top ONLY. Then fold it the opposite way so that now your two seams you just sewed are touching, like so:

What's that?? Oh yeah, PANTS!

4. Now you're going to sew up the inseam. Just start at the bottom of one leg and go all the way up and around until you get to the bottom of the other leg. The middle will be a little thick...just power through it, don't be a chicken!

5. Elastic is next! This is the SUPER EASY, possibly lazy way...I have done it many other ways that involve poking things through places...but this way is faster. Measure the elastic to the size of the waist, PLUS an inch. Sew it together so it forms a loop, overlapping by just a little. Then put that loop over the pants, which are still wrong side out.

6. Fold the top of the pants over the elastic so it covers it all the way plus a smidge more so you will have room to sew. Now, the pants are still wrong side out, but the right side is visible on the top, just like this:

7. Sew it almost all the way around. Leave a little opening so you can still pull the elastic out because now...here's where I really cheat! I pull a little out, sew it straight across to take up some of the elastic and make it "fit" your kiddo and gather up the waist a little. Then, cut off the excess elastic.

8. Here's where I would have my little one try these on...because if you need to take the elastic up a little more or add a strip on, you still have that little opening to work with it easily. If everything fits ok, then sew up the little opening you have PANTS! I also go back and put a line of stitching at each hip through the elastic so it won't go wonky in the wash.

Here's another pair I made:

Now, there are, what you might call "rough edges" on these puppies. If you are giving these to someone, you could always double fold the top...just make sure when you are measuring and cutting you allow for that.

There you go...cozy, comfy, FREE pants! Just in time for the end of winter, when you don't really want to buy a bunch more winter clothes but the old ones are just that...old! I plan on taking some of the scraps from the arms of the sweater and maybe doing some applique on a shirt so it has a match. A good idea, especially if the sweater you use doesn't match anything already in their wardrobe. These pants can't go to waste...they are too great!

Can you tell I am enamored with these??


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