Ready to sew up some cute shorts for your little guys this weekend? As promised, here’s my No-Buttonholes-Needed Drawstring Tutorial so you can give your Mud Puddle Splashers that great boardshort look! (You can really use this tutorial with any pants pattern that uses 1″ elastic pulled into a channel that is created by folding over the top of the waist.) If you missed yesterday’s post, just click here to go back and see my cuties modeling their new shorts.
An important note here before we move on: please be careful to keep your drawstrings safe! On items sold for children here in the US, the law allows for a waist drawstring to extend only 3″ past the opening when the garment is expanded to it’s maximum width: CPSC on Drawstrings in Children’s Clothing. Also, always be sure to secure the drawstring by stitching across it at the back or side seams so that it cannot be pulled out. Finally, don’t tie knots or add toggles to the ends of your drawstring.
In this tutorial, we’ll be creating two separate channels, one on the inside for the elastic and one for the outside for your drawstring. This method does take a bit more time than just putting in a few buttonholes and feeding the elastic and drawstring through the same channel. It’s probably not something that I’d want to do every time, but it’s not difficult at all, and it adds a fun new design element to your shorts. (And, it’s a great option if your machine doesn’t have an automatic buttonholer!)Let’s get started!
To begin, you’re just going to follow the pattern instructions to completely assemble your shorts or pants except for the waistband. If you’re using the Mud Puddle Splashers pattern like I am here, skip the memory creases on the waistline.Measure the waist. (A flexible tape measure is probably a better choice for this, but mine has mysteriously disappeared.) The waistband on this pair of shorts measures about 26″ all the way around. Write this measurement down because you’ll use it again later to find the length of your drawstring.Cut a piece of fabric to make your waistband channel. This piece of fabric should measure 2″ x the measurement you just took of the waist of your pants.Fold in each short end 1/4″, then 1/4″ again. Press and stitch across to secure.Fold up the bottom edge of the drawstring channel piece 1/4″ to the wrong side and press well all the way across. (Do not sew this down yet.)Fold the waistband of the pants down 1/4″ to the wrong side and press well all the way around. (Do not stitch this either.)Fold your drawstring channel piece in half the long way and find the center. (I generally just press down at the center quickly with my iron, but you can also mark the center with washable or disappearing marker.) Match the center of the drawstring channel up with the back center seam of the pant. Pin in place here, right sides together, with the folded edges of the drawstring channel and the folded edge of the waistband aligned.Wrap the drawstring channel around the front of the pants and pin it in place. (You only need a few pins for this step because you’re going to re-pin along the lower raw edge before sewing.) The front ends of the drawstring channel should fall about 1″ apart or 1/2″ from the center front seam of the pants. (Mine are a little further apart because my waistline measurement wasn’t as accurate as it would have been with a flexible tape measure.)Pin the lower raw edge of the drawstring channel evenly all the way around the pants.Stitch the lower edge of the drawstring channel in place 3/8″ from the raw edge as shown.Fold the drawstring channel down away from the top of the waistband and press all the way around.Fold the waistband down inside the pants. Fold the top 1/8″ of the drawstring channel to the inside, as well. This will make the bottom of the inside elastic channel fall slightly lower than the bottom edge of the drawstring channel, in turn making it much easier to catch both edges with one row of stitching. Press the waist really well before moving on.If you’re adding a size tag, now is the time to pin it in the back edge of the elastic channel. (I leave this pin in place and just sew over it.)On the outside of the pants, pin the bottom edge of the drawstring channel and the bottom edge of the inside elastic channel in place all the way around. Feel through and make sure the the bottom edge of the elastic channel is falling slightly lower than the bottom edge of the drawstring channel.Stitch along the edge of the bottom of the drawstring channel catching the bottom edge of the elastic channel inside. You’ll be leaving the space between the ends of the drawstring channel open for now to insert the elastic. (If you plan to use a drawstring without elastic, you can go ahead and sew all the way across the front of the pants, closing up the elastic channel inside.)Insert elastic into the elastic channel on the inside of the pants according to the measurements given on your pattern. Sew the opening between the two ends of the drawstring channel shut.Now you’re ready to make your drawstring. You have a couple of options here. You can make a drawstring that goes all the way around the waistline. If you choose this option, you’ll cut one long length of fabric and finish both ends. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a drawstring with a small amount of elastic at the back. This will make it so that your child can pull the shorts on and off without having to untie them every time. (For larger sizes, you may have to increase the length of the elastic at the back so that pulling on and off is easy.)
The width of your drawstring pieces is going to be 1 3/4″. There’s a simple formula to figure out the length that you need your fabric. Feel free to skip the explanation and just use the formula below. Start with the measurement that you used for the length of your drawstring channel (the waist circumference)(26″, in my case), add 6″ for safe drawstring length, and add 1″ for 1/2″ seam allowance at each end. For a drawstring without elastic, this is the measurement that you’ll use. In my case, that would be 26″+6″+1″=33″. To create our drawstring with it’s elastic section, we’re going to divide that measurement in half for our two drawstring pieces (33″/2=16 1/2″). The elastic piece is going to add 2″ total, 1″ on each side, so I’m going to subtract another inch from that measurement (16 1/2″ – 1″ = 15 1/2″). Still with me?
THE FORMULA: Add 7″ to the waist circumference. Divide that measurement in half. Subtract 1″.
Cut two pieces 1 3/4″ x this measurement.On both drawstring pieces, fold each long edge 1/4″ in to the wrong side and press well.Fold one short end of each piece over so that the right sides are together. Pin and stitch across the folded end of each drawstring piece 1/2″ from the raw edge.Turn the sewn ends so that the wrong sides are together. Tuck the raw edges neatly inside and press all the way up. Pin and topstitch the open long edge closed on both drawstring pieces.Cut one piece of 1″ elastic 4″ long.Overlap the raw edges of each drawstring piece 1″ on opposite sides of the elastic. Stitch in place.Pull the drawstring through the drawstring channel. Center the elastic piece at the back of the pants.Stitch the drawstring in place at the back seam of the pants to keep it safely inside its channel.Tie up the drawstring, and you’re done!If you use this tutorial, I’d love to see! Feel free to add a link in the comments or add your picture to the Fishsticks Designs Flickr group!
In case you haven’t heard, Shorts on the Line started this week, and I have been working on this idea that was rolling around in my head. Boardshort-style shorts are really popular this season for little guys–the ones that aren’t swimwear, but more like regular shorts with a drawstring. I’ve seen quite a few of them popping up here and there. I ran across these Mini Boden ones on Pinterest and fell in love!
Aren’t they so cute? (I actually just ordered this Railroad Denim from Fabric.com, and I hope to make a really close copy when it arrives!) It’s really not too difficult to add a drawstring to an elastic waist. You just stitch button holes or add grommets to the front of the elastic channel, but I had this idea for adding a little extra detail to the shorts and making a drawstring channel without buttonholes. It took a little work to figure out the best way to do it, but I’m really pleased with the result. What do you think?An important note here before we move on: Please be careful to keep your drawstrings safe! On items sold for children here in the US, the law allows for a waist drawstring to extend only 3″ past the opening when the garment is expanded to it’s maximum width: CPSC on Drawstrings in Children’s Clothing. Also, always be sure to secure the drawstring by stitching across it at the back or side seams so that it cannot be pulled out.I used my Mud Puddle Splashers pattern as the base for these. It’s a good straightforward elastic waist pants pattern with a nice modern feel. Jamie’s shorts are made with some of that Robert Kaufman seersucker that I adore. (What am I going to do if they ever stop producing it?!) Charlie’s shorts are made from a super-cute Kokka linen print.I took the boys out yesterday to do a little photo shoot at a local fountain. (I promised them smoothies if they were cooperative. Shhhh!) Something was up with my camera, though, and we only ended up with a few good pictures of the cute back pockets. (I suspect I accidentally changed a setting somewhere, and I cannot figure out what it is. Many of the photos are coming out grainy, and I’m having a hard time getting faces to focus. Even the today’s pictures are pretty icky. Suggestions are welcome!)So, how about a tutorial for adding a drawstring without buttonholes? Anyone interested? If all goes well, I should have it ready for you tomorrow!Until then, get some shorts cut out and start sewing! You can enter your shorts to win prizes, including Fishsticks patterns! All the details are right here: Shorts on the Line.I’m also adding this project to the Hopeful Threads June project: Summer Sewing for Family! The boys are wearing all mama-made clothing–Jamie’s top is an Everyday Camp Shirt that I made last year, and Charlie’s yellow tee is a Charlie Tee that I whipped up yesterday morning to go with his robot shorts. (Pattern links are all in the right side bar.)
It’s Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew, and it’s been a little while since I joined in the fun! If this is your first time here or your one hundredth time visiting, WELCOME! If you’ve found your way over from the link-up at Sew Mama Sew, I hope you’ll browse around a bit, say, “Hi!” and take away a little inspiration.My name is Bonnie, and I’ve been blogging here for many years, sharing the things that I sew for my little ones, for my family and for my home, along with a few recipes now and then, and a little bit about life in general. Recently, my assistant, Leigh, has joined me in sharing some of her projects, as well. (You can find Leigh blogging regularly over at Rooibos Mom.)I’m the designer behind Fishsticks Designs sewing patterns. I primarily design patterns for children’s clothing and for accessories. I really enjoy focusing my designs on things that are practical and things that work for little boys (although, I’m slowly adding little girls’ clothes, too).I’m giving away the winner’s choice of three of my pdf patterns this week, and since you’ll need fabric and notions to sew those new patterns, I’m adding a $25 gift card to the winner’s favorite online fabric store! There are thumbnails of all of my patterns along the right-hand sidebar here, and you can find details about each of them in the Fishsticks Designs Pattern Store if you want to take a closer peek at what you’re entering to win.I’m using a Rafflecopter for entries because it’s easy for you to use, and it makes choosing a winner complication-free for me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thing is to sew for your loved ones then click on the Rafflecopter to confirm your entry. (Don’t miss the bonus entries for Facebook fans and blog/newsletter subscribers!)a Rafflecopter giveaway
Since the first day of this season’s Kids Clothes Week happens to fall on Earth Day, I felt it was quite appropriate to recycle some old grown-up wearables into a few new little-one wearables!
I started with this pile of polos that I picked up recently at a thrift shop. One of the things I love about upcycling thrifted clothing is that it’s already been washed and dried multiple times, so there’s no guessing about how the fabric will wear. The fabric in these polos was all in great condition, so I don’t worry that I’m going to put time into sewing something with it, only to have it pill after being washed and dried a few times.I fell in love with the vintage look of this first polo with its vertical stripes, and I was so excited to find that they fit perfectly on the Charlie Tee pattern in Jamie’s size. Normally, when I upcycle a cotton knit shirt, I reuse the hems to save time. The hem on this shirt was so crooked, though, I didn’t really want to use it as is. That was the first sign that something just wasn’t quite right with this shirt. Without the hem allowance, there wasn’t quite enough fabric below the placket on the original shirt for the new one, so I had to sit and seam rip the original hem.Once I had the pieces all cut out, including the back and the sleeves with their original hems intact, I sat down to re-hem the front of the shirt. I noticed upon close inspection that this knit looked quite strange. That would be because the shirt was sewn with the stretch going up and down, rather than around the body. So weird! But, I wanted those vertical stripes! I’d invested enough seam ripping by that point that I felt it necessary to just move forward. It’s a good think I was determined! A broken serger needle and a little bit of sewing-machine-eaten fabric later, that old polo has a sweet new life as a vintage-look striped tee for my 6-year-old. (And, it fits perfectly, even with the front of the shirt turned the wrong direction!)Charlie’s tee was so much faster and easier! I grabbed this pique cotton polo that was formerly sold at a high end men’s store. That means the fabric must be great, right? I definitely didn’t have to worry with crooked hems or fabric turned the wrong direction!This tee took less than 30 minutes from cutting to done. I was able to use the existing hem from the old polo for the front and the back of the new tee. Rather than re-hem the sleeves, though, since the originals were trimmed with ribbing, I used the Charlie Ringer Tee sleeve option. Voila! A cute little ringer tee for my youngest from what started the morning as a used and tossed aside polo. (I’m going to put off sharing modeling photos of the things that I sew for KCW until we’re on our family trip in a few weeks. I’m taking advantage of KCW this week and sewing up tops so that my youngest two will have plenty of handmade shirts to take with the jeans — and possibly winter coats — that we’ll be packing! I really hope that it warms up a bit north of here soon!)
I hope you were all blessed with a wonderful Easter Sunday! We enjoyed an amazing worship service, yummy food, great company and beautiful weather! I was up late two nights in a row last week sewing for our two little guys and our granddaughter. The boys ended up with khaki shorts that I ran out and grabbed at Target on Saturday night, and I was still sewing buttons on Charlie’s shirt about fifteen minutes before church started on Sunday morning! (We’re used-car shopping right now, and it takes so much time! We were out nearly all day on Saturday after spending hours of time researching for days ahead of time, and we still haven’t purchased anything. I’d really like the perfect van to just appear in our driveway so we can be done.)
We went to the early service on Sunday morning, so we were all a little wrinkled by the time we got out to hunt eggs in the afternoon. You’ll just have to overlook the wrinkles. We also had no baskets, so the kids hunted with my reusable grocery bags!Katie’s dress is the Reversible Double-Layer Katie J. Jumper in Riley Blake Tone-on-Tone Dots and coordinates from Dress-up Days.Charlie got an Everyday Camp Shirt made with Timeless Treasures’ Soho Solids and yellow buttons! (Hmmm . . . how did I miss that dirty face? Just pretend that I washed it, and you can’t see that chocolate.)I’ll be back to share a little more about Charlie’s shirt later this week. It’s Button Week at Sew-vivor!Jamie’s shirt is a prototype of a new design that I’m working on. It’s a fun retro Western-style shirt.Those pocket flaps were supposed to get snaps, too, but church was starting without us! I love the shirt-tail hem on this one.Ray and Samantha hid the eggs for us, including a few that they thought would be too high for the little ones to get to on their own.Bet you never knew that palm trees were made for climbing! (I certainly didn’t!)I attempted to get some pictures of the three little ones together.