Ninja Boy!

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He’s my little Ninja. Er…I guess not so little anymore? Medium-sized Ninja?

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The kid is always throwing punches and kicks and generally bouncing off the wall. I’m not sure where all the energy comes from but it seems to be infinite. So a NINJA Flashback Tee (with short sleeves and a shoulder mod) seemed perfect. Paired here with some blue twill Parsley Pants that were oh-so-simple to sew: just the basic pants with an elastic waistband and a “tuxedo” stripe with a scrap of fabric my friend Chris gave me at the Weekend Sewing Retreat last fall stitched down the side. There’s also a quick tuxedo stripe tutorial at this post, but it’s also one of the many options included in the Parsley Pants Pattern.

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After talking about how awesome Lillestof knits are in my favorite knits post, I figured I should put my money where my mouth was and actually sew with them to see what all the fuss was about. Um, yeah. They’re awesome. Lovely amount of stretch, very soft, wash well, don’t fade. LOVE. Definitely worth the extra dollars in my opinion, and trust me, I’m a sucker for cheap knits too so I think I know what I’m talking about. I got this ninja print at Simplifi but you can find more sources for Lillestof in that favorite knits post.

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Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic today, but it gets me a little choked up when I think about how many of you “know” this kid. Like, you’ve read for years and watched him grow up, and make his silly faces and poses and be a goofball (you need to go look at at that Hansel post if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s kinda my Opus) in more than one post, and even though it’s through the screen, you feel like you have a sense of his personality, you know? I suppose some people could get creeped out by that but the glass-is-half-full me thinks it’s pretty fun that so many of you can enjoy his great personality. On the other hand, I am acutely conscious of the fact that he’s never had a say about (or even really comprehend the concept of) having his face be so familiar to literally millions of people. I’ve started talking to him about that, because I think he’s old enough to start understanding what that means. Someday he may ask me not to put his pictures on my blog and I will say OK, but at least for now he’s having fun.

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Please don’t pin or repost pictures of Elliot. Thanks!

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Bringing back big butt baby pants

I’ve been putting together a (rather long) list of things I want to sew for the baby for quite a while; it’s mostly little boy baby clothes, burp clothes, bibs, crib sheets, that sort of thing, things to fill in the gaps and freshen up the baby wardrobe that is currently aging in plastic tubs in my basement. Let’s be realistic, it’s been nearly five years since I had my last baby, and seven since I had a baby boy. So that means not only has half of the stuff already been spit up on twice and covered with stains, the other half is either covered in pink ruffles or out of style. Wah wah.

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BUT! That means I get to go bonkers and sew all kinds of new baby stuff, right? RIGHT. Starting with Big Butt Baby Pants. So far, three pairs made for my baby and one for a friend’s baby (had to include those here too since they were made with Fanfare!!!):

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I remember writing a slightly nostalgic post a few years ago called “Goodbye Big Butt” about the fact that Clementine was potty trained and no longer had a need for the B3P’s since they have extra room built in for diapers and they look the cutest with a nice big squishy diaper underneath. Now I get to bring ‘em back. Hurrah!!!

By the way, my “Baby-To-Sew-List” Pinterest board has a few of things I am planning to sew for this baby, if you’re interested in taking a look.

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Favorite Pants

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Ever since I started sewing pants for E, he’s had a favorite pair. A pair that if it’s clean and in the drawer will most certainly be worn. Over and over and over. The first pair that I can remember was this pair of Dapper Dillingers, which now are so threadbare at the knees that Clementine never wore them (serves me right for making pants out of quilting cotton without kneepads). These Saffron Pants are definitely his current favorite. They are an early version of the Parsley Pants that I made as part of my Celebrate the BOY collection last winter. I’m particularly fond of the pintucks on these pants (quick tutorial on that can be found here and is included in the Parsley Pants pattern)

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I couldn’t resist showing you the outfit he picked here, partly because his hair is SO GLORIOUS but also because the outfit actually coordinates. He wears clothing I’ve made him pretty much every day, but usually picks odd combinations of stripes and prints (actually, now that I think about it, it would be great to blog some of the more hilarious combinations as well). This is the shirt that he wore for the first day of school this year (also made by me with one of my own patterns). I love the Kokka fabric on the shirt not only because of the cute elephant print but because it’s really soft.

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Have a fantastic weekend everyone!!

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Pennant Pants with Sherpa Pockets

Today’s Fanfare project is a pair of flannel pants that I made for Elliot. You didn’t think I would just sew clothes for the girl, did you?

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One of the reasons I love Pinterest is that it gives me so many ideas for sewing for Elliot (you can see my “Elliot” board here). And I love seeing when someone else uses a pin for inspiration on a sewing project, so I’m going to show you the pin that inspired these pants, even though I’m a little embarrassed that these pants really didn’t quite hit the mark. If you look at that link, you can maybe see that what I was going for here was something like sweatpants, with a knit waistband and cuffs. But the truly awesome thing is the sherpa pockets, which Elliot loves because they are so warm and cosy.

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Anyway, I keep studying these while he’s wearing them because I feel like they’re either a little too wide or a little too narrow (I used the Parsley Pants sewing pattern as a starting point, just cut off the waistband foldover at the top and tapered the legs). Or maybe a little too long, because when he wears them you can’t really see the cuffs very well? But he’s turning into a little stringbean, so I HAD to make them long because he’s starting to grow out of all of the size 6 Parsley Pants I made him last spring already. Stop growing, little dude!

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So I’m not sure if I should keep tinkering with them or not, but at any rate E loves them and has already worn them three days in a row (including to school yesterday), so that’s a win, right? But don’t you think they would be even greater with a pair of SHERPA KNEEPADS??? Or is that completely insane to put white kneepads on a pair of boy’s pants. I think I am answering my own question.

*JAZZ HANDS*

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The fabric of course is Fanfare, my line of organic flannels for Cloud9 Fabrics, which is in fabric shops right now. I used the amazing Michael Miller Organic sherpa for the pockets (which is currently in stock over at Fabricworm) and a grey rib knit for the cuffs and waistband.

I’ve been hosting a Fanfare blog tour for the past week, so if you’d like to see all of those posts, you can click here. We’ve got just one more stop on the tour tomorrow, and then it will be back to the usual randomness around here after that!

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Easy Parsley Shorts for Elliot

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Somehow I ended up making all of my kids’ shorts this summer (too lazy to buy them…haha), and it seems like we are always running out of pairs to wear because they’re in the laundry. Kids get dirty, especially in the summer. Go figure. So I finished up another pair for Elliot earlier this week with a bit of fabric I had left over from the Washi Dress I made with the same print. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but this print is probably my favorite from the Tsuru line. Quilting cotton is perfect for summer shorts, and it means I can make much more colorful and interesting items, especially for Elliot, who is now entering the size category of boys’ clothing that is entirely boring. I mean, total snoozefest. What is UP with that?!

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I trimmed off the Parsley Pants pattern as shown in my “Make Shorts from Pants” tutorial to make them into shorts (I believe I measured 6 or 7″ down the inseam) and used the most basic waistband option, which is just elastic all the way around. I also double-stitched the hems; this is something I learned from Dana, and I love how it makes them look a bit more “BOY” and profesh.

Speaking of Dana and shorts, if having a ready-to-go shorts pattern in your arsenal is more your speed than cutting off pants (I hear that!), you should definitely check out her recently released KID Shorts pattern, which is really great! It’s formatted a bit differently from the typical eBook instructions; I love that she’s doing a series of blog posts to show you how to make all kinds of different shorts with the one pattern (which is totally the way I love to sew)!

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It was difficult to get a good photo of these shorts ON the child. By the time I got my camera and brought it outside, he had already turned on the hose and sprayed himself with it. I just had to laugh…it’s so ELLIOT. I did manage to snap the shot below with my phone later in the evening when we went to the park. I think it captures something wonderful about summer evenings, when the sun is going down but it’s still warm and light outside. I love summer so much.

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See what everyone is making for summer with the Parsley Pants Sewing Pattern!

darth vader halloweendarth vader halloweenfanfare elephant pajamasfanfare elephant pajamasfanfare elephant pajamasparsley pants 003parsley pants 002Red corduroy ParsleysRed corduroy Parsleysshamrock parsley pantsshamrock pantsparsley shorts hands in pockets

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Parsley Shorts in Action

I just finished another pair of Parsley shorts for Clementine, this pair in a lovely Oxford fabric from Yuwa called “Cat and Bird” (I found the fabric here).

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I had considered making her a matching Flashback Tee to go with them, but this morning she put together this genius ensemble, making me wonder why I ever bother making matching clothes for her. I can’t say it would have ever occurred to me to put these two things together, but it works (shirred Pierrot tunic blogged here).

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They look a little puffy in the bum, but that’s because there’s an entire ruffled hem tucked in there.

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Here are some “new” poses she insisted on (please don’t pin these pics below; the ones above are fine, though). Very creative, this girl. I sense that she may have a future in theater.

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

Now for a few shots of Elliot’s moon shorts (you can see a better shot of them in this post):

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

And that is my little Zombie. Having grown up in a house full of girls, I can safely say I never imagined I would have a six-year-old who was obsessed with zombies. I for one did not know what a zombie was when I was six, that’s for sure. I certainly never anticipated that his preschool teacher would pull me aside last year and explain that it is NOT OK to talk about zombies at preschool because it was frightening the other children. THAT was a bit embarrassing. Oops.

If you would like to make the Parsley Pants pattern into shorts, you’ll find a very handy little how-to over on this post. Check it out!

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Baby Boy Quilt + Pants

I’ve had no less than nine friends and family members give birth to boys in the past year. NINE. Can’t think of a single baby girl though…why is that?? What is up with the baby boys?? I would be lying if I said I was able to make handmade gifts for all of them, but I did manage to finish and gift this little boy quilt last week:

Happy Drawing

Happy Drawing

Happy Drawing

Happy Drawing


This ladder quilt was inspired by this quilt on the Cloud 9 blog, which in turn was inspired by this post by Lu Summers. There’s a tutorial for Michelle’s version on the Cloud 9 post, mine is a bit simpler but if there’s enough interest I could probably post some instructions for this version as well. I used my “cheater bindof method” for this quilt, super easy and — extra added bonus! — because I quilted all the way to the edge of the blue backing with white thread, it created a cool stitching pattern along the side bindings.

Happy Drawing

Baby quilts are so fun and quick to make. I like that it’s rectangular so that it could be potentially used as real bedding once little Baby M is old enough in addition to the usual nursery decor or play-blanket functions.

Oh and of course I had to make a cute little pair of Big Butt Baby Pants too!!! Love the little frogs on this print. That Ed Emberley is a genius.

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{Fabric in this post: Happy Drawing by Ed Emberley for Cloud 9, stripes are Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House, blue and white Moda Bella solids for quilt backing and sashing}

A look back at my year in sewing

I’ve been seeing lots of project roundups from last year pop up on other people’s blogs over the past week, and I realized how much I enjoy them. I love seeing a bunch of things from the entire year presented in one place! So satisfying. It just appeals to my visual side. So I started to look through all of my projects from this past year to see if I could sum up my 2012 projects in photos. It turns out that’s a pretty big job, yikes. At the same time, I definitely started to see some general trends. For instance, I sewed a TON of stuff for me this year, especially dresses and tops (YAY!!):

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1. scarfonme, 2. Sparkler Top, 3. libertytop1, 4. Wiksten Tank by Rae, 5. green snow white top ., 6. Charcoal striped shirt by Rae, 7. Alabama Chanin Babydoll, 8. teal tee with green skinnies, 9. figuring the eight

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1. Washi Dress, 2. Pink washi maxi dress, 3. Summersville Washi top, 4. aqua washi dress, 5. Time for Tea, 6. aquawashi7, 7. Orange Washi, 8. hello pilgrim full length, 9. Ruby Star Washi Dress

I’m super proud of what I accomplished this year when it comes to sewing for myself. Believe it or not, I learned a ton of new techniques and I feel like the things this year I made are more comfortable and wearable than clothing I’ve made for myself in the past. I also made a TON of stuff for Clementine (DOUBLE YAY!!!):

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1. Pink Geranium Dress, 2. fauxfurcoat, 3. flutter sleeve linen dress, 4. Princess and the Pea Dress, 5. pomegranate pierrot, 6. yellowjacket, 7. Bubblegum Dress, 8. nursery versery pamama pants, 9. charliegreensnowwhite, 10. geranium fox top 4, 11. whale shirt, 12. pink and gold crochet sweater, 13. Striped flashback tee with puff sleeve, 14. Little folks dress, 15. pierrotwithabow, 16. Charlie Dress

So that’s cool. BUT. For the boy? Not so much.

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1. flashback13, 2. awesomepants1, 3. shirtshorts5, 4. short sleeved flashback tee

OOPS.

It makes me really want to sew more for this little guy. The crazy part is, he really likes to wear things I make for him (unlike Clementine who is very hit or miss and usually requires bribery to get photos), so I actually do sew quite a bit of stuff for him, but not much of it ever makes it onto the blog because it’s always a little bit boring. Like two plain brown Flashback tees. A pair of grey linen pants. Yeah. Time to amp it up in the boy department, Rae.

So, my sewing goals for the new year…hmmm. I think we should Celebrate the BOY, don’t you? I’d also like to try more skirts and pants for myself this year. And I know this might seem strange, but I think I need to cut back on the amount of stuff I sew for Clementine. It is really fun to sew for her, but she seriously had more clothing this year than I knew what to do with, it was crazy.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree Shorts

OK, so it’s a long name, but it’s fitting: You take a bunch of shirts or boxers from dad’s closet and chop them up, then put them back together to make a great pair kid shorts. I should have posted this eons ago, but honestly I just plain forgot about it *facepalm*. Sometimes that just happens around here. You know what made me think of it? The fact that he’s wearing them, today, in Florida (we’re here on our annual family vacay). He loves these shorts, mostly because everything in them used to be his daddy’s. Plus they’re supercomfy. Double yay.

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This tutorial was previously published as part of the Fall 2012 Issue of Petit Purls, a great online kids’ knitting mag (this was their Sewing Issue) and it’s still fall, so in a sense it isn’t late at all. But in the sense that it’s just now starting to snow in the Midwest, maybe not so much. Ack. Oh well, perfect timing for those of you in Australia, who are just now starting your summer sewing, right? By the way, that will never not be weird to me.

I should also point out that if you followed the tutorial but used a pair of pants for your pattern instead, you could make a seriously cute pair of pants for winter!! Flannel plaids would be SO GREAT for this pattern. One last thought: if you’re cleaning out the husbeast’s summer clothes drawer to make room for sweaters now, start saving a few shirts for a pair of shorts next spring. OK, I’m finished trying to convince you that you need this now. If it’s snowing by you, save it for later.

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So the tutorial consists of three parts (SCROLL DOOOWN FOR THE FULL TUTORIAL!). First you trace a pattern (you could do this with shorts or pants):

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And then you make the “fabric:”

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Then you turn them into cute shorts! (or pants!)

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Did you catch the incorporation of shirt-pockets to shorts-pockets? Clever, eh?? Can I get an Upcycling high-five?

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And of course, you could use the basic instructions with any fabric, even if it’s not pieced. I think you’ll find this tutorial to be really useful!!

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Here’s the full tutorial, as it previously appeared on Petit Purls:

This snazzy pair of shorts is a great way to reuse old grown-up shirts or boxer shorts! We always have a pile at our house that my husband has tossed aside for various reasons, and I save them when I like the print and the fabric is still in good shape. You could also pick up a pile of shirts at the thrift store or use new fabric if you like (just remember to pre-wash and dry your fabric if you do this). This tutorial shows you how to reuse the finished edges of the older garment as hems for the shorts, making them a nice quick project. Your boy will enjoy knowing that his new pair of shorts came “from daddy’s shirts!”


PatternSIZE
Any size, made to size.

MATERIALS
men’s shirts or boxers (I used four old shirts and two pairs of boxers)

1” wide elastic

Tools and notions
clear quilter’s ruler, rotary cutter, and mat
sewing machine with size 14/90 ruler
matching thread
white butcher paper or large-sheet packing paper
marker
seam ripper
safety pin

PATTERN NOTES
This tutorial shows you how to make a basic 1-piece shorts pattern from an existing garment, and then shows you how to construct the shorts. You could use the same techniques to make a really great pair of PANTS too!


INSTRUCTIONS

Make your pattern
First we’re going to make a simple shorts pattern that will allow you to make a great pair of shorts with just one pattern piece! I think you’ll find that you can also use it for more than just this tutorial — I’ve found mine to be incredibly versatile and since it’s based on a pair of shorts that already fit, there’s no guessing on the size you need!

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Step 1: Find a pair of shorts
Find a pair of shorts that fit your child. The shorts should have elastic either halfway or all the way around the waist. Flat-front shorts with elastic in the back are fine.

Step 2: Trace the back of the shorts
Fold the shorts in half down the center so that the back side of the shorts is facing out. Place the shorts on a large piece of butcher or packing paper, and overlap the halves of the shorts as evenly as possible, lining up edges carefully and flattening the shorts as best you can. Take a marker and trace as closely around the bottom, center, and top edge of the shorts as possible, stretching out the elastic as much as you can to get the true shape of the shorts along the top. Make marks at the side so you’ll know where to place the shorts on the paper when you trace the other side.

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Step 3: Trace the front of the shorts
Now fold the shorts down the center so that the front side is facing out. Line the sides of the shorts up with the marks you just made. Repeat the tracing steps for the back.

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Step 4: Check that the pattern is wide enough at the waist
Before we move on, we’re going to do a little size-check. Measure across the top of the shorts, double that number, and make sure that it’s at least 2” bigger than the hip measurement of your child (measure with a flexible measuring tape around the widest part of their bum). If the waist width is too close to their hip measurement, it’s going to be a squeeze to pull it on, so if it’s too small, draw the pattern wider at the center front or center back until it’s large enough.

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Example (above): I measured the waist edge on the pattern to be about 13” wide, so the finished shorts will measure twice that, or 26” around the waist before the elastic goes in. Since my son’s hip measurement is 24,” there will be 2” of extra room.

Step 5: Make sure the inseam is the same length on both front and back
The shorts have to match up along the inside of the leg (inseam), so measure that distance on both sides and make sure it’s the same. If it’s not, lengthen one of the sides to match the length of the other.

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When you’re finished you should have something similar to the outline below. The taller side is the back of the shorts.

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Step 6: Add seam allowances to the pattern
Take your ruler and add ½” around the outside of the center and inseam edges of the pattern. Add 1 1/2” to the top for the waistband casing.

Note: You won’t need to add a hem allowance to the bottom edge of the pattern since we’ll be using the finished edges from the shirts for the hem. If you want to use this pattern to make additional pairs of shorts or you are using new fabric for this tutorial, you should add a 1” hem allowance to the bottom of the pattern.

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Make your “fabric”
Now it’s time to chop up those old shirts and boxers and piece them together to make the fabric for the shorts.

Step 1: Cut your old garments into 4” strips
Cut your garments along side seams, press them flat, and use a rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut them into 4” strips that are as long as the pattern is wide. For the top and bottom of the shorts, they can be a little shorter because the pattern piece is narrower at the waist and leg.

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Hints:
- For my shorts (about size 5 / 6), I needed six strips for each side of the shorts, 12 strips total.
- Use existing hems whenever possible
- Cut a couple strips from the button plackets of a shirt and use a seam ripper to take off the buttons (below left). These finished edges can become the bottom hem of your shorts.
- Save a couple of shirt pockets by cutting ½” around the outside of each pocket (below right). You can use these as pockets for your shorts if you like.
- As you cut the strips, line them up over your pattern piece to see how many strips you’ll need total. Keep in mind that the strips will lose ½” on each side for seams.

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Step 2: Sew the 4” strips together

Here is a quick overview of how all of the seams on the shorts were sewn, both when piecing the strips to make the fabric AND when sewing the shorts together:

- Sew the long edges of the two strips together with a ½” seam (a).
- Press the seam to one side (b).
- Zig-zag stitch over the raw seam edges to tack them down and so that they won’t fray (c). This will make all of your seams extra strong. You will be able to see the zig-zag stitch through the fabric, which adds a nice effect (d).

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Now sew enough strips together to cover the entire pattern piece (I sewed my strips WRONG sides together for this part):

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Then press the seam allowances down and zig-zag stitch over the raw edges:

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Repeat for the other leg of the shorts.

Construct the shorts

Step 1: Cut out your fabric
Place your pattern piece over the shorts and cut out the fabric. The rulers in the photo below were used to hold the pattern piece flat.

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Flip the pattern piece over and repeat for the other side of the shorts. VERY IMPORTANT: Your two shorts panels must be mirror images so check carefully before cutting into your fabric!

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Step 2: Attach the pockets (optional)
Press the edges of the pocket pieces under towards the wrong side.

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Pin each pocket to the center of each of the shorts panels, and sew carefully around the edges to attach. BE CAREFUL not to sew the pocket shut when you sew across the top edge!

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Step 3: Sew the center seams together
Place your two shorts panels with right sides facing, and sew the center seams together with a ½” seam allowance.

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Recommended: Trim seam allowances to ¼”, press to one side, and zig-zag the raw edges down to make this seam extra-strong.

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Step 4: Sew the inseam
Open up your shorts and line up the inseam edges with right sides together. Sew with a ½” seam.

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Recommended: Trim the seam allowance to ¼”, press to one side, and zig-zag the raw edges down to make this seam extra strong.

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Step 5: Make waistband casing
Fold ¼” along top edge of shorts toward wrong side and press. Fold over an additional 1 ¼” and press down. This will become the waistband casing.

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Starting at the back center seam, sew along the lower folded edge of the waistband casing, being careful to leave a 2” hole at the back to insert the elastic. I sewed a little piece of ribbon under the casing at the back to help my son tell front from back.

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Take a piece of 1” wide elastic and cut it 1” shorter than your child’s waist measurement. Thread it through the casing using a safety pin. Overlap the ends by at least one inch, and zig-zag stitch back and forth a few times across the ends to secure them.

Hint: Cut the elastic a couple inches longer than needed (as shown below) and overlap the ends by 2” instead of 1” so that you can let out the waist as your child grows.

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Now sew the waistband casing opening shut along the folded edge, and you’re finished!

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