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!
I mentioned that I had a Thank-You gift for all of the hard work that you guys put into sewing bibs for last month’s Dinner for Two project, and here it is! I’ve sized the Big Kid Snap Bib down to Infant and Toddler sizes and put all the sizes (even the Grown-Up Bib) into one pdf file! I even added the Serged in Seconds Tutorial. Bibs in all sizes, all in one place! What more could you ask?Just click right here for the download: The Bibs in All Sizes Pattern.
Easter is coming soon! And, Easter tends to bring beautiful handmade dresses for all the pretty little girls. Piles of flowery fabric and stacks of frilly patterns have made their way to sewing rooms everywhere. Boys, on the other hand, are so much harder to sew for when it comes to dress-up clothes! Most of us tend to go for simple and traditional button down shirts and dress pants for our little guys. How about dressing up those plain tops with a fun, personalized, handmade tie . . . or two . . . or a dozen!
Ties are so fast and easy to sew, even ties that fasten with hook & loop tape (like Velcro) or pull on over the head with elastic! You might even find that your teenage boys will get excited about wearing something mama-made, if it’s a tie made with a great fabric! (I can’t believe how grown-up my Allen looks in this picture! And, for the record, he not only said, “That’s pretty cool,” when he saw the tie, but he also wore it to his writing class this morning.)Don’t they look handsome? (Even if they all really need haircuts!)I had to try these ties out with my Everyday Camp Shirts! I wasn’t sure at all how they would work since the Camp Shirt pattern is really meant to be worn as a more casual top. (It doesn’t even have a top button!) I think they look adorable, though! What do you think?I did find that they look much nicer with the Velcro-type fastener than with the elastic, though. I think that’s because the Camp Shirt has a wider neckline than a traditional button-down dress shirt. How can you resist a sweet little guy in a matching top and tie?! I’d say my little guys approve! (Or maybe big sister, Samantha, was making faces behind my back while I was photographing?)Ready to sew up a batch of ties for all the little boys and young men in your household? I’ve got a tutorial all ready for you! The tutorial includes patterns and instructions for Velcro and Elastic Ties in sizes to fit little ones from 2-4 and from 5-8, and it includes the pattern and instructions for a Traditional Tie for your bigger boys from ages 8 to about 14. You’ll find the tutorial right here: The Totally Terrific Tie Tutorial. If you sew one or two or more, I would love to see!
Addition/Correction: It’s been brought to my attention that I did not specify the seam allowance on the original tutorial. 1/2″ seam allowance is included. So sorry about that!
This month’s Dinner for 2 project at Hopeful Threads is all about bibs. If you’ve been reading along, you already know that here in Florida, we’re collecting handmade bibs for the Hidden Treasures Foster Home in China. (You can read more here: Big Kid Bibs for Hidden Treasures.) The project is actually called Dinner for 2, though, because over in Louisiana, Anita is collecting bibs for the residents at Grace Nursing Home! I couldn’t let the month pass by without sewing a few adult bibs to send her way.
Remember how I said that I had collected a pile of thrifted men’s button-down shirts in anticipation of the Upcycled Men’s Shirt Challenge at Project Run & Play? Well, guess what I did with the extra shirts? I turned them into bibs for a few of the men at Grace Nursing Home! First up, the plaid dress shirt version:Here’s the fun-loving, novelty version:Finally, the casual flannel shirt version.
Aren’t they fun? Using thrifted shirts in good condition saved on fabric costs and gave them a more grown-up look! Sewing them was really easy, too. I scaled my Big Kid Snap Bib pattern up to adult size, using my husband as my model. For each bib, I cut the front and back body from the front and back of a men’s large button-down shirt. To add some absorbency, I also cut a hidden body layer of flannel. Before I started sewing things together, I stitched the button placket on the front shut. For the wraparound neck piece, I used coordinating fabric, cutting the same three layers. Once I stitched each neck piece to each body piece, I just followed the instructions from the Big Kid Snap Bib pattern, making the diameter of the neck about 7 1/2″. Easy peasy, right?
I had planned to just blog about these adult bibs, but I couldn’t resist drawing up a pattern for you to use. There’s still time to add to the collection heading to Louisiana! You might even want to sew them for other things, too! Wouldn’t they be perfect for the tasters at a chili cook-off or maybe the contestants at a pie-eating contest or even just for the grown-up messy eaters at home? Okay, here’s the link to the pattern: The Grown-Up Bib. This is only the pattern. For the instructions, you’ll need to go download this pattern and follow the steps I mentioned above: The Big Kid Snap Bib.
Have you peeked over at the Dinner for 2 Flickr Group lately? There are some seriously great-looking bibs showing up already, bibs for kids and adults alike. Have you sewn a bib or two yet? What are you waiting for? A quicker method of sewing perhaps? Do you have a serger? Well, then the Serged & Snapped in Seconds Bib tutorial is just for you! (Okay, so it really takes minutes, but seconds make up minutes and without seconds you don’t get the alliteration.)
Let’s get started! First, hop over to this post: Hopeful Threads & Dinner for Two. Read all about why we’re sewing bibs this month, print the Big Kid Snap Bib Pattern and get your three fabric pieces cut out: I have a front piece of cotton quilting fabric, a hidden inner layer of cotton flannel and a backing piece of PUL. (This method works well with PUL because the slippery side is hidden when you serge. Ripstop may be too slippery, but you can certainly try it!)
Grab a glue stick from your school supply closet or your junk drawer. A fabric glue stick will certainly work, but regular glue stick is cheaper and easier to find, and as long as it’s washable, it works just as well. You do want a glue stick that is new and not gummy at all. It needs to spread quickly and in a thin layer.Rub that glue stick all over the shiny side of your PUL. You want plenty of glue so there won’t be any slipping and sliding. Carefully place your hidden layer on top, line up all the edges and smooth it out.
Now glue the wrong side of your front fabric piece to the top of the flannel using the same method. It is much easier to spread the glue stick glue on cotton quilting fabric than on flannel. Flannel leaves icky fuzzy stuff on your glue stick. Check to see if you have any areas where the fabrics are overlapping and square them all up. Now you’re ready to serge. Just one second before you head to the serger, though. Do you have one of these baskets? These beautiful colored spools of Woolly Nylon have been sitting in this basket since Joanns clearanced them quite some time ago. If you have a basket like this, you might consider pulling one of those pretty colors through your upper looper. If you don’t, white will work just as well! Now, off to the serger! The seam allowance is 1/2″ so you want to cut off 1/2″ or close to that with your serger blade. It’s hard to keep that exact when you’re going around curves, but get it as close as you can. I started and stopped my serging at the back of the neckline since that’s the spot that will be least likely to be seen when the bib is worn. Zip, zip, round the corners, and all you have left to do is add the snaps.Refer back to the pattern for snap placement. Press the snaps in place. And you have a bib ready to send off with love to a sweet little one who will be so excited to receive it! Now wasn’t that fast?! Fast enough that you have time to make another one? Super! Go serge some more!