Sep 02

{tutorial} petal pants.

Homemade How-To {Petal Pants}

I call these Petal Pants because they float around like poppies in a breeze. They’re really fun and once you get comfortable with the pattern, you can adjust them to any size. They are a customer favorite. Today we’re making them in a 4/5 size for girls.

If you are a practicing seamstress, this should be cake. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry. It’s not as intimidating as it may seem. Just go slowly and have fun. And one more thing, if you do not have a sewing machine, this CAN be done by hand. It will take some time, but if you’re willing to give it a shot more power to you. They will be a very sentimental piece of clothing and beloved by the little girl that gets to rock them.

Supplies: Pants in the size you’ll be making, scraps or a sheet to make pattern, 1.5 yards of fabric, a spool of thread, 3/4 yards of elastic or as needed, 1 yard of cording.

The first thing we need is a pair of pants that already fit well. Preferably something not too stretchy, and with an elastic waistband. Turn them inside out and, starting with the front of the legs, find the seams and pin them together flat. Lay your pinned pant leg on an old ironed sheet, or any large scrap of cloth you may have lying around. This is what we’ll be making our pattern on. This way you don’t have to find the design every time. Trace a line 1/2 inch away from the actual pant, all the way around, adding 2 whole inches to the top waist and 1.5 inches to the bottom. When you’re finished, remove the pants and write on the pattern which leg it is. For example: Right Front. Cut out that leg, turn it over and write on the other side, Left Front.

Take your pins out of the pants and repeat with the back leg. If your seams do not lay flat, press them down as best you can and figure an extra 1/2 inch into your trace. So you’ll add an inch when you draw your line, rather than 1/2 inch. Label your pattern. Cut it out. Label the other side.

Measure from the top to the bottom on one leg and then the other. You should get the same number but if not, no worries. Go with the biggest. Take that number and divide it into 3. Best to write this down. My number is 27 so that makes 9. Write down your number, 3 times one on top of the other. These are your petals. To the top and bottom number we’re going to add 1/2 inch. To the middle we’ll add 1 inch. For our widths, from top to bottom we’ll measure 6, 11, and 15 inches. So here are the total cuts on your pattern fabric, cut 1 each of: 9.5 x 6, 10 x 11, and 9.5 x 15. (These are my numbers- do you see what I did here?)

Now in choosing the fabric you’ll make the actual pants out of, aim for 100% cotton as that will be the easiest to work with. Maybe you have an old dress you no longer wear or an old dress shirt of your husbands. Or by all means, take a trip to a fabric store and be swept away in what (fair warning) could become your new addiction. I’m using silk today, which is not the easiest to sew with at times, but I’m making my pants for a very special friend. Her favorite color is purple and I happen to have this beautiful silk skirt I no longer wear. Use what you have.

One thing I will mention, when you’re cutting out your pattern, be sure to cut out your pieces all in the same direction. Fabric has different tightness and pulls in different places. So you’ll want everything to flow similarly when you piece it together.

Once you cut out your pattern, make sure you pin a little post-it note to each piece so you’ll know which is which.

Alright, let’s get sewing. Unless otherwise mentioned, from here on out we’ll use a 1/4 inch seam and always back stitch at the beginning and end of all your stitches.

Gathering
We’re going to begin with the Petals and practice gathering, like so:
Set your machine to its longest stitch. Starting with the middle Petal and leaving a long tail of thread at the beginning and end, insert your needle in the top of the middle piece. Do not back stitch during any of the gathering process. Run this stitch all the way across the top of this piece. Cut your thread long. Remember do NOT back stitch. Hold onto the top thread as you gently pull and bunch the fabric together. Work on evening out your gathering stitches and shorten or lengthen to match to the top piece. Do the same with the top of the bottom Petal section, working to match it to the bottom of the middle section. Repeat with the other side.

Readjust your machine stitch back to the normal length.

The French Seam
Pin RIGHT sides together of the bottom of the middle section to the top of your bottom section. Sew a 1/4 inch seam, joining the two together. Don’t forget to back stitch at the beginning and end. Now cut away an 1/8 inch of your seam. Turning your seam the other way, with your stitch line now as your edge, sew another 1/4 inch seam. Turn right side out. The seam is now on the outside of the garment. Press the seam upward and top stitch it down. Perform these same actions with the top of the mid section to the bottom of the top section. And then repeat the whole thing on the other side. Your Petal pieces are done for now. Set them aside.

I like to use French Seams because they make for a more secure, as well as streamlined finish. Normally they would be on the inside of the garment (like in our next step), but for the petals I like to put them on the outside. I think it adds more character.

Take your 2 Front leg pieces and sew Wrong sides together from top of waist down to the point where the legs start. Do not sew the legs. Cut an 1/8 inch off the seam edge. Turn and sew 1/4 inch to finish your french seam. Repeat with the back leg pieces.

Sewing the legs
Pin the Wrong side of Front legs to the Wrong side of Back legs at their center seams trying to match up the point where both seams intersect. Cut an 1/8 inch off the edge. Turn. Sew 1/4 inch seam to finish.

Attaching the Petals
With Wrong sides together, pin the Front side of one petal to Front leg side. Sew, leaving a 1/2 inch gap 1 inch from the bottom edge. Cut an 1/8 inch off the edge. Turn. Sew 1/4 inch seam skipping the gap. Repeat with Back side of Petal to Back side of leg, without including the gap. Except when you make your final 1/4 inch seam, you’ll have to turn the actual leg wrong side out. Repeat the same steps on the other side.

We’re almost finished. You now have the basic shape of your pants complete.

Hemming the top waist
Turn down a 1/4 inch seam at the top edge and stitch. If you iron it down, it will be easier to sew. Using the pants that became your pattern, flatten down the waist band and measure with your own purchased elastic, and then double adding another 1/2 inch for sewing. Set aside. Fold down another 1 & 1/4 inch, iron and pin. Sew, leaving a 2 inch gap on one of the sides in which to insert the elastic. Taking an end of the elastic with a safety pin poked though, insert the elastic into the gap and slowly push and pull simultaneously making sure it doesn’t twist along the way. Send it all the way until it makes an appearance at the gap again. Pull both ends out and sew them together 1/2 inch in a flat line, one on top of the other with a double stitching line for security. Gather and crunch your waistband so that you have a smooth area to finish up your seam around the elastic, making sure not to catch your elastic in your stitch.

Hemming the legs
Now, if you like, you can just hem up the legs the same way we did the waist, minus the elastic. Or, you can add in drawstring casing. Here’s how: Sew your first hem up 1/4 inch. Making sure the gap you left when sewing the leg is exposed, fold up another hem 1 & 1/4 inch. Sew. Using either a store bought drawstring cord, ribbon, braided strips of fabric, shoestring, or whatever suits your creative fancy, use the safety pin trick again and wind your cord all the way through, making sure not to lose the starting end. Find some pretty bead attachments that are larger than your gap and attach to the end of your cords so that they don’t slip through when they’re not tied. Repeat on the other leg.

Finishing up
Cut all of your loose threads, iron if necessary and make some little girl very happy!

Did you try this project? Show me your results! Post a picture on bloom daisy’s facebook page!

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