Crafty : Baby/Kid Pants from Sweaters

I have a cat… two cats, actually… but one of my cats has this thing for wool. He loves to EAT it. He really goes to town.

Therefore, I have a stash of wool sweaters in my craft room with holes in them, just waiting to be turned into something!

I had the idea to use the sleeves to make pants for Bunkers. The kid is forever out of pants! I can’t do laundry fast enough to keep up with how fast he gets pants dirty.

I had several other long sleeved shirts in my ‘up-cycling’ stash as well – knit, jersey, thermal, etc… so I started with some cotton fabrics to test out how to make them. I used a pair of Bunkers’ existingย pants to get a general feel for how I should be making my cuts. The overall length, crotch length, waist width, etc. Once I have the basic shape, I cut up a bunch of shirts!

You can find some good shirts for this activity at Goodwill or other thrift/charity shops. Men’s sweaters or long sleeved shirts will make for larger pants (12 months+) and women’s will make for smaller. The sweater I use in this tutorial was purchased at Goodwill for $3. And, as is often the case at thrift stores, it was already partially felted for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re using wool (or a blend with at least 50% wool), you will probably want to felt the sweater before you make pants. I washed my sweaters on warm heat and dried them prior to making the pants. The sweater I bought had already been felted once, so it got two washings. I had already felted the other sweaters, so in total they got two washings as well. AND if you’re cloth diapering, these wool pants can double as soakers/longies!

Materials you’ll need:

Long sleeved shirt (with sleeves long enough for your baby)

3/4 inch elastic


Start by laying your baby’s current pants on the sleeve to get a feel for where you want to make your cuts. In making my pants, I gave a bit of growing room in the length. Be sure to leave seam allowance at the crotch and hem allowance at the waist. I made my waist cut a little over an inch above where I thought the waist should go.

Since my baby is cloth diapered, I tried to make the bum area nice and baggy. I didn’t make a very exaggerated crotch curve.

Once you’ve got one side cut, place it over the other sleeve (making sure the up-the-arm seams are lined up) and use it as a pattern to make your second leg.

Once you’ve got that, turn one inside out. Matching up the up-the-arm seams, place the sleeve that’s still right-side-out INSIDE the other one. You’ll now have right sides together inside.

Make sure your cuffs are lined up so your pant legs will be even.

Here’s where you’ll be sewing up the crotch.

Serge the two pieces together making a U shape. If you don’t have a serger, just use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine. If you don’t know what that is, just use a zig zag stitch. Don’t get discouraged! This isn’t hard.

Once you’ve made your first seam, pull the inside leg out.

You should now have this:

Now we’re going to make the hem. When using knit cotton or jersey fabrics I don’t bother to pin, but with the wool I pinned my hem in place. You want to do about a 1 inch hem. We’re using 3/4 inch elastic, so we want to make sure it’s going to fit.

I used this stitch on my machine to make my hem. It gives a nice finished look that stretches. If you’re not sure what you should use, do a zig zag stitch.

Stitch around your hem, but stop about two inches before you you close it up so we can get the elastic in there. To determine how long you need your elastic, either use a current pair of pants that fit your baby as a guide, or find your baby and put the elastic around his/her waist and measure what seems like a comfortable fit. Once you’ve got your measurement, add 1 inch to that and cut. Hook a safety pin at one end and use that to thread the elastic through your hem.

Once all the way around, overlap your elastic 1/2 inch and sew back and forth and back and forth using a zig zag stitch.

Tuck the elastic back in your hem and then close it up! You’re done!

Edited 12/22/2012:

Here are some pictures of my son in these pants, as requested! ๐Ÿ™‚ We were at the zoo. *I have the cuffs rolled up – so these pants will be long enough that he can wear them next year, too!



13 thoughts on “Crafty : Baby/Kid Pants from Sweaters

  1. I love making these for my son. We had a cat that was a wool sucker/chewer too and lost a few sweaters to him. I read that if a cat is weaned too early it can cause the habit, but since our cat was a foundling I don’t know if it was the case or not. Anyway, great pants… and just in time for winter!

    1. That’s interesting! I got this cat as a young kitten (about 10 weeks old, I think) so I don’t know his history from birth, but he really just likes to eat wool! Can’t leave the closet door open! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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