08 May 2012

Make your own...

I don't know about you but after a week of deciphering patterns and generally sewing butts off my brain is still mush. I just want a project I can handle refreshingly...without care. After slapping together several of these Sarouels, I've decided they are the perfect project for a post Kids Clothing Week hangover. I'm loving that I can be as un-precious with these as possible and still yield results. This is a good thing, when you need a rest and not necessarily from sewing. As promised, I've put together a how-I-did-it and it's coming to you straight from the sewing nook floor! Be afraid.

To break it down we're making a super relaxed, super hip lounge-pant with a dropped crotch (happily accommodates a cloth nappy), skinny leg below the knee and drawstring front. And there is fun to be had with variations, contrasting cuffs and pockets. I'm sure there's a few er 'techniques' here that will raise an eyebrow, but it's just the circus effect. I cordially invite you to make your own pair of Sarouels for your babe and I'd love to hear how you go  / see your version! 

What you'll need

  • 1 x men's t-shirt (size L or bigger is best) or any knit fabric
  • Scissors
  • Elastic 
  • Fabric marker / chalk
  • Pins + safety pin
  • Butchers paper / pattern tracing paper and pen
  • A pair of leggings / skinny pants that fit your baby / toddler
*A word on seam finishing....There are opportunities along the way to serge / zigzag the edges but as it's knit fabric we're working with, you can also leave them raw.

1// Lay leggings / skinny pants on the butchers / pattern paper. Starting at the crotch, trace along the inner leg down to the bottom. Add 3/8" along the bottom for your seam allowance. Instead of hugging the side of the outer leg draw the line straight up. Extend the line an inch above the top of the waist band and continue along to the centre back waist band. I haven't included a 3/8 " seam on the inside leg here as I want the final pants to fit slightly skinnier than these. If you're using leggings as the guide and they're already skin tight, then add the 3/8 seam on inner leg seam. 

2 // Join the crotch to the top and mark this line as 'on the fold'.

3// Drop the crotch by 1.5 - 2 "  ( just wing it) and mark with a dot. You can use a different colored pen here to draw the new crotch line. Draw a slightly fuller curve as you connect this dot with the inner leg.

4 // Since the shape of Sarouel pants is an extra long skinny leg below the knee I've drawn the cuff with the majority hanging off the end of the pants (which are already a good length). The red line is the bottom of the leg and the blue is the cuff. To start with draw a rough rectangle that is the width of the leg and approx 2.5- 3" high (this includes a 3/8 " seam allowance for when we join cuff to leg later). Now in the photo you'll see I've drawn second vertical line inside the cuff. This is the actual width of the cuff and where you make this line will depend on the fabric you are using. In this example I'm using a t-shirt which is not as stretchy as ribbing but I still want it to be a little skinnier than the leg so I've taken 3/8 " off the end of that first rectangle. If you are using ribbing, you would take an 5/8 off. Mark the bottom and one side with a 'fold line'. 

5// Cut cuff out, following blue lines and ignoring the red lines of the leg. Cut off the unnecessary piece.

6// Cut out the rest of the leg piece following the new crotch lines. Mark this as the back. 

7// To make the front of the pants, re-trace the entire back piece on a new piece of paper. Because of the roomy fit of these pants, the seat of the front and back pieces are the same. 

8// Time to draw our pockets. Starting 3" along the top and 4" down the side, join with a curve. Draw a second line 3/8 " above for seam allowance. Cut this piece out and label as front piece.

Cuff + front + back.

9// To make the last pattern piece, the backing for our lazy fockets (Faux pockets). Lay the front pant piece on a new piece of paper. We're making basically a rough square. Mark a point 2- 3" below start of curve on the left and one at the same height on the right side. Extend left side of pant up, and top edge of pant along until they intersect. 

10// Join the marks and finish the lines until you've got this shape. Label as pocket backing, mark right hand side as a 'fold' line and cut out. 

11// Prepare your t-shirt. Cut along side seams, shoulder seams and sleeve seams until you've got four separate pieces. 

12// It's hack time. Fold shirt front and shirt back pieces lengthways down the middle. Lay your pant front and pant back on top of shirt with fold markings on the fold. The top edge of the pants pieces will line up exactly with the bottom of the shirt. As you can see it doesn't matter if the shirt has a placket because the legs straddle it. On the shirt back piece there will be a space to place the pocket backing piece on the fold (the larger shirt you use the more you have to play with). Pin and cut these pieces.

13// For the cuff we'll take the sleeve and fold in half like so. 

14// Then fold it again this time top to bottom. 

14// Now you have two folded edges to line up with the fold edges on the cuff pattern. Cut out one cuff from each sleeve.

15// Now for possibly the laziest or most genius drawstrings ever. There will be lots of scraps left over from the t-shirt carcass. Among these scraps you should be able to find two longish pieces. Knit fabric tends to curl up, so let it roll over itself once or twice.  

16// Topstitch a 3/8 " seam down the length of each piece for about 15 inches. You're sewing over the top of the curled over bit. Like so.

17// Trim close to the stitch line about 1/ 16 " but not so close that you break through the stitching. You're left with a long neat tubey drawstring with one raw edge...and just personally I like this slightly rugged edge on this sort of hipster get up.

18// Tie off one end of each drawstring in a knot. Pull it firm. 

19// All pieces cut and ready to go!

20// Before the next step...if you're using knit yardage instead of a t-shirt and you want to finish the seam, now is the time to serge the top edge of both front and back pieces. In this example when we cut our pieces, the top of the pattern piece lined up with the already neatened lower hem of the shirt. Lay the front piece with wrong side facing you. Place un-knotted end of drawstring in the corner where top edge meets pocket curve, 3/8" away from each side.

21// Fold edge of curve 3/8 " over to catch the drawstring. Pin in place.

22//Fold the rest of the curve over 3/8 ", pinning as you go. Repeat step 21-23 for other side.

23// Topstitch 1/8" from the edge for both sides.

24// Turn front piece over so right side is facing you. Fold the top over 1 inch towards the wrong side. Find the middle of the front piece and mark with a pin or fabric marker.

25// Mark the placement for two tiny weeny button holes about 4/8 " long, evenly spaced on either side of center mark. If you imagine where the inch of fabric folded down at the back might come to, you want these button holes to start and finish inside that inch. 

26// Unfold the top of the front piece now and you can see where the marks are in relation to everything.
27// Sew your buttonholes where you marked them ( The button I used had a 3/8 " diameter), slit them open and feed the drawstrings through.  

28// Take your pocket backing piece and serge the two long edges. With the wrong side of front pants piece facing you, place the pocket backing piece right side down, lining up the top edge of the two pieces.

29// At the side of the front piece and pocket backing, baste together where they meet. 

From the front it will look like this...basted together at the sides but not joined along the top edge.

30// Turn over so wrong side is facing you. With pocket backing and front piece together fold top edge down an inch toward you. Pin and stitch along the line, close to the edge to create the casing for the drawstring. 

This is what you will see from the front. Taking shape!

31// Time for super lazy pockets. With the right side of front pants facing you, place a scrap piece of paper on top to line up with where you just stitched. Find where the pocket backing begins at the bottom, and mark on the paper a point 3/8 " above this spot. Similarly at the top, mark a point on the paper one inch inside where the front piece starts. Join these two point with a curve and cut this shape out. It's your pocket guide.

32// Trace this shape using a fabric marker or chalk onto the fabric on both sides. You can be sure your pockets will look the same.

33// Topstitch along the pocket lines through both the front piece and pocket casing. Now you have pockets!

34// Cut a piece of elastic to just over half the width of back of pants piece. You don't have to be too exact here because the drawstring at the front will adjust the fit. 

35// With wrong side facing you, fold top of pants down an inch towards you. Pin and topstitch casing shut close to the lower edge. How far from the edge is dependent on the width of your elastic, just leave it plenty of room to slide through. 

36// Attach the safety pin to one end of elastic and feed through the casing. Before the other end of the elastic slips through, pin it in place at the start. 

37// Pin the other end in place and remove safety pin. 

38// Pin front pants piece to back piece, right sides facing and sew a 3/8 " seam down each side. Make sure the elastic is still in place. Finish the edges.

39// Do the same for the crotch seam, pin, sew and serge.

40// To make your cuffs, fold in half with right sides together so that the short ends of the cuff piece meet. Pin this edge and sew a 3/8 " seam for both cuff pieces.

41// Turn cuff right way out and fold in half lengthways so that the wrong sides are together and the raw edges matching.

42// Place cuff over end of pant leg, with raw edges lined up. Pin in place and sew with a 3/8 " seam. Finish edges. And that, my friend, is it! 


  1. Sophie!!! This is an awesome tutorial... great job! I have to make this for Lala...

  2. Thanks for doing this Sophie! Elsie is definitely getting a pair... it's on the long list that forming for when this insane contest is over :)

  3. Awesome! I'm thinking the kid definitely needs some more comfy pants!

  4. Yessss! They look so good! Going to try and make some today. I love the pockets!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I might raid hubby's wardrobe for more T shirts.

  6. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm gonna make a pair for my three year old.

  7. loooooove these! thanks so much for the tutorial! i wonder if my little guy is cool enough to pull them off??

  8. "fockets" that killed me!! Thanks so much for the tutorial :) Super impressed you managed this after everything you made for the challenge!

  9. A great little tutorial.. I am sooooo going to make these... Love it!!! Thank you x

  10. Thank you thank you Sophie. Can't wait to give this tutorial a go ... god knows when I'll get the time but I promise to share the results when I do. Thank you. Mrs B xx

  11. reading this tutorial made me realise that my skinny rib leggings pattern is virtually the same (minus lowered crotch) I just have the fold on the side rather than the centre. I'll have to go and whip up a pair of these now!

  12. Awesome! I think my little baby on the way is going to get some of these ...

  13. ahh you make me laugh... thanks for the tute :-)

  14. wowww! What a nice tutorial! And the result is so cute!

  15. Love these, going to make some for my little guy. I'm pretty new to sewing knits, this will be a great project to practice with!

  16. awesome! Yay for more trouser tutorials that fit over cloth nappies! They will be super comfy for my little man to crawl around in too!!

  17. Fantastic tutorial, I can't wait til I have some time to give these a try.

  18. These are fabulous! I have a little baby boy on the way and a whole stack of old t shirts and have been trying to figure out what to make.now I know!

  19. This is a fantastic tutorial! The instructions are so clear, and I love that you walk through the steps of creating the pattern. I'm not too experienced with making clothes so making patterns is scary. This tutorial is not. Thanks!

  20. Here's my version. Again, great tutorial! I'll definitely be making another pair come fall time...

  21. Trashing my through my bf's closet right now hihihi
    I so LOVE these! Totally my style :-)
    Gonna make them for my 3 year old son.

  22. Recently I felt like I'd lost my sewing mojo... I'm so glad I clicked over tonight (I've been spending too much time on my mobile so can't look properly at blogs...) I'm gonna do these for sure. Thanks!!

  23. These turned out so cute! I love them! I want to sew some for my boys!
    I'd love for you to link this up to WKWW-What Kids Wore Wednesday Link Party this week at ONE little MOMMA.



  24. Thank you for this pattern. All I've done with my old t-shirts is make them smaller, into nightgowns, so now she has a million. She'll love having some new pants!

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  26. Made these as my first ever sewing project. A few muck ups along the way but nothing that wasn't fixable. Thanks so much for the turtorial - super easy to follow & love the style :) Might be able to see a pic of them here: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/1901132_10152249730506830_737204862_n.jpg