Girly Sewing: Ruffled Hem Pants

You know how everyone always says that little girls have their fathers wrapped around their finger? Well, I think this applies equally to mothers, because I’m beginning to think my little girl pretty much has me all wrapped up too. Pants with ruffled hems are just not the sort of thing I ever imagined in my child’s wardrobe, let alone did I imagine they’d be something I would actually sew for her wardrobe. And yet somehow these pants came to be. It was as though once I started imagining her baby-chub legs adorned in something so girly-cute, I couldn’t hold back.

This past weekend I scored some fun fabrics by Lisette during the Jo-Anns “daffodil dash” sale. The fabrics were on the red tag shelves, and all red tag fabrics were an additional 50% off — bonus! Despite the fact that I left the house telling my husband it would be a quick trip because I wasn’t shopping for fabric, I came home with a generous amount of yardage in very cute prints. I swear I was only going to pick up some trim and thread. But really, how could I pass up such a deal! And since I’ve already put some of my finds to use, I think the purchases are completely justified.

I drew my pattern based on an existing pattern I made for a recent pair of pants for Eli, and then modified for Daisy’s measurements. The most obvious modification was to make the pant leg shorter than usual to accommodate the length of the ruffled hem. I cut my hem pieces 3.75 inches tall by 1.5 times the pant leg opening.  The leg opening here was approximately 12 inches, so I cut the hem pieces 18″ long; you could certainly cut a longer piece if you desire a more tightly gathered look for the hem.

I didn’t take photos of the process but it was very straightforward. To create the ruffled hems, I did the following for each leg: (1) sewed the short ends of the hem fabric together, right sides facing, to create a big loop of fabric, (2) hemmed one long edge of the fabric (fold over 1/4″ and press, then fold over another 1/4″, press and sew hem), (3) machine gathered the other long edge to create the ruffles (using basting stitch, highest tension, and slightly holding the top thread between my thumb and pointer finger to add further tension), (4) evened out the gathers and made sure the gathered hem piece was the same size as the leg opening, (5) placed the gathered hem piece around the outside of the leg opening, right sides of fabric together, raw edges aligned and side seam of the hem piece aligned with inside leg seam (note: the hemmed edge of your ruffled piece should be positioned toward the waistband of the pants), and then (6) using a regular straight stitch, sewed the ruffled fabric to the leg opening, using a seam allowance that placed my new stitches closer to the waistband of the pant than the gathering stitch line on the ruffled piece (so the gathering seam doesn’t show once the ruffled hem is attached). I then serged the seam where I added the ruffled piece to the leg to create a cleaner look and eliminate fraying, but you can finish the seam according to your preference.

If you have a pair of pants that still fit your little one everywhere except in the length, adding a ruffled hem could definitely give you the length you need to extend the life of the pants. I imagine a pair of too-short jeans would look adorable with a cute ruffled hem attached.  Of course, my daughter is on the shorter end of the height spectrum, so she has yet to outgrow the length of any pants prior to outgrowing the waist! I think this would also be such a cute look for a pair of pajamas — maybe ruffled hems on the pant legs and the arms! Oh dear, I have definitely been bitten by the girly-clothes bug.

This week is the Spring 2013 Kids Clothes Week Challenge — one of my favorite sewing times of the year. Created by elsie marley, the KCWC is a challenge to spend at least one hour a day for the week sewing kids’ clothes. It always manages to focus me on wardrobe needs for my children, so I appreciate the challenge. I tackled a few more items in addition to these pants, which I’ll be posting about soon. Check out the new kids clothes week blog and the related flikr pool for a peek at the kids clothes awesomeness that is being sewn up this week! And on her own blog, Meg from elsie marley is documenting how she is using each of her hours of sewing during the KCWC to create a great dress for her daughter. It’s so fun to watch it all come together – hour by hour, post by post.

Okay, enough about time spent indoors sewing, I’m off to enjoy the outdoors on the gorgeous spring day. Hope you can, too!

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