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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Making over pants for girls, 2

This time I want to show you how to make over a pair of pants that is longer or for older girls, where the trimmed legs would not provide enough material. It is very easy to find dollar bins of material at almost any fabric store, and this variety can be handy for may things. If I see a good sturdy black, white, or tan, I will buy several yards, without any specific project in mind, knowing that it will come in handy later. For the longer pants, either a matching material or a contrasting material will work. I will provide pictures of both. It is also easy to use the existing seam on the bottom of pants if you do not plan to shorten the length.

This idea may not be useful for those who have always worn dresses and skirts and whose extended family do not buy the children garments that do not fit with the family's choice. But it might be of great help to someone you meet who is new to modest dress or the church, and who cannot afford to replace a wardrobe for an entire family all at once. This is the situation we were in. The more we studied, the more convicted we became. Yet there were clothes in the closets that were not ready to be gotten rid of, and as I am sure many of you have realized, finding appropriate clothing in many stores is quite a challenge! I am also handy with the basics of sewing, but cannot follow a pattern to make something from scratch. So when we can re-make an item for little or no cost, it serves many purposes. I think it is just good stewardship.

Making over pants for an older girl

With older girls, we need to be mindful of the changing shape of her body and how the straight-legged pants will not necessarily be any more modest as a skirt. With the ones that are too tight, I would find another use, such as patches, making purses, or as a material for making over a younger girl's skirt. With those that can be stretched a bit more and are fuller in the hip and rear, follow the same instructions as for the original skirt, but make the 'patch' or pleat wider. If what is left of the pant leg seems too narrow, it is best to use a matching color so as not to draw attention to the hips.

1. Have child try on pants and decide on desired length. Cut legs off at one inch BELOW this line.

2. Cut the inside seam out of the pants, staying as close to the seam as possible. This will create an open-legged pair of shorts.

3. Have child try on shorts again, determining the necessary width of material to fill the gap and allow for modesty. Write you top, middle, and bottom measurements out and use these as a guide for cutting material. Cut chosen material in the general shape of the area to be covered, leaving a 2 inch seam allowance.

4. Using Heat and Bond or Stitch Witchery, fold and iron a seam for the bottom of each leg of the shorts. Do the same for the bottom of your patch piece.

5. On just ONE SIDE of the middle front seam, cut up one inch. Do this also on the middle seam in the back. Turn shorts inside-out.

6. Cut thin strips of bonding agent and fold over material to create a bonded seam up the front on both sides (the one-inch slit will allow you to fold the actual sewn seam to one side and iron it flat). Repeat on back of shorts. You should now have a pair of shorts with no inseam, but with bonded hems and seams around the entire bottom inch of material.

7. Cut a large piece of bonding agent to just 1/4' smaller than patch piece. Trim the middle triangle out of the bonding agent and proceed to iron 'patch' to inside of shorts.

Option 1: Place patch about 1/2' above bottom hem of shorts to create a dart or pleat look. Iron fully.

Option 2: Place the patch even with the bottom of the pant legs. Iron a strip of bonding agent to the bottom on both sides to hold it in pace. Cut a triangle out of the patch on both sides where it meets the pant leg, making a flush edge. Turn up the edge of the cut and iron with bonding agent to form a clean seam inside the skirt and to keep material from unravelling.

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