If you're stopping by from Project Run and Play, hello and thank you!
Ansley has a pair of capris (seen here) that I love. The outside is smooth, kind of like the outside of a thin sweatshirt and the inside has loops. After doing some research (virtual shopping and looking through her clothes) I concluded her pants must be made of french terry. A quick google search led me to articles like this one, with the consensus that french terry is found in women's robes and sports and infant clothing. I stopped by all of the fabric stores in town (including one that also sold trampolines?) and no one carried it, so I definitely missed my chance to create an outfit for sportswear week. I did find some online at fashion fabrics club (not a promotion, just info) and was surprised at how inexpensive it is (and wider than quilting cottons). I ordered three colors and the stretch and feel of each varies, despite identical descriptions on the website. No matter though, I'm still happy with how they turned out. :) The black is definitely the stretchiest (and stretches in both directions, which I forgot when I was cutting out the last pair of capris. Oops.) and the white and purple have minimal stretch- same pattern but different fits.
Black (made by extending the leg length by about three inches, but I'm getting ahead of myself):
(purple in the garden)
I made this pattern by tracing Ansley's pink capris. They feature pockets, faux fly, an elastic or knit waistband, and cuffs. They are probably about a size 3T. She was in the 50% weight percentile and 20% height percentile for three year olds a few weeks ago. I would say this pattern works best for french terry, but could maybe work with a pretty stable knit (like an interlock) or a cotton with a little bit of spandex or fleece (if you extend them into pants, fleece shorts probably aren't very useful ha), though I haven't tested them. My french terry sewed up really easily, kind of like a stable knit. It doesn't fray as much as cotton but I did get little fuzzes, a little bit like sewing minky.
You will need:
**pattern (3 sheets of paper taped together, sorry the very bottom of the pocket got cut off but it should be easy to fill in) (pattern for personal,noncommercial use only. Thanks!)
**about 1/2 yard of french terry (depends on the desired length) prewashed and dried
**about 1 inch elastic or knit band that fits the wearer's waist
**contrasting fabric and notions for cuffs, if desired
**usual sewing stuff
(ballpoint needle if you want, I just used a regular needle)
(feel free to press your seams even though I didn't)
****please note I like to use a small seam allowance, about 1/4 inch****
Cut out your pattern pieces. You will need 2 front pieces (a left and a right, I usually just fold the fabric over and cut them at the same time so they're mirror images), 2 back pieces (a left and right), 2 pocket pieces with the dashed line cut out, 2 whole pocket pieces, and 1 faux fly cut on the fold OR 2 mirror images.
Wrong sides together, baste your faux fly together. Zigzag or serge raw edges. Sew to the wrong side of the left front (left side facing you), aligning the top of the faux fly pretty close to the top of the left front.
Turn to right (outside) side and add an extra line of topstitching to the curved part of the fly.
Right sides together, sew the curved pocket piece to the curved part of the front.
Flip the pocket piece to the inside and topstitch along the curve. (my picture is flipped back to the inside, sorry).
Turn pant over. Lay the whole pocket piece on top of the curved pocket piece. Sew the pocket together (only sew the parts that are part of the pocket- don't sew the pocket to the pants). (picture shows the other front piece. I might've forgotten to take a few pictures along the way)
Zigzag or serge raw edges of pocket.
Repeat sewing in the pocket on the other side.
Line up both front pieces and sew the curve. Don't sew all the way down the leg! Zigzag or serge. Repeat for the back pieces too.
Match outside side seams and sew. Zigzag or serge.
You may lose a little bit of the outside of the pocket. No biggie.
Now line up the inside seams and sew. Use lots of pins and go slow. Note that the fabric will not lay smooth, as the back is bigger than the front. Do your best to line up just the edges that you're going to sew, if that makes sense. I line up the front and back seams first and work my way out. Sometimes it takes a few tries to pin it just so; it's much easier to remove pins than stitches!
Trim any excess on the bottom of the leg.
Add your cuffs OR bind the ends like a t shirt. sew a tube of knit slightly smaller than the opening, right sides together on the outside of the pant, stretching the binding tube/strip as you go.
Fold binding up and over the raw edge. Pin in place or hold it carefully or better yet, press in place. I like to secure it with a zigzag stitch (my machine only has eight stitches) "in the ditch" between the pant and the binding, as I alluded to here. Nice, huh? It's even better after ironing. . . .
Here's what it looks like on the inside. Trim the excess if you want.
Last step- add the waistband. I like to zigzag the raw edge before adding the waistband. With the purple capris, I sewed a tube of knit to the top and realized it wasn't snug enough so I added elastic. With the black and white capris/shorts, I cut a rectangle of french terry (you want it to stretch with the length of the waistband) about 3 1/2 inches by 22 inches (or almost the exact width of the top of your pants). Right sides together, sew short ends, creating a loop. Wrong sides together, I basted the waistband together , leaving a small opening for elastic before and after the loop creating seam. Pin to pants and sew right sides together, leaving a small opening for the elastic. Add your elastic in your new casing, zigzag ends together to secure. Carefully sew up the opening (you'll be sewing through both layers of the waistband and the pant top). Zigzag or serge.
Enjoy your new capris (or shorts or pants)! And clean and oil your sewing machine.
I don't have any boys to sew for but these might work if you change the curve of the pocket to a diagonal line and make them shorts or pants. Also, sew the faux fly on the right side of the pants (facing you) rather than the left.
Let me know if you have any questions (leave your email address so I can get back to you). I'd love to see yours if you give them a try!