Knock It Off!

Posted in: Tips and Tricks — By on October 6, 2014 11:31 AM

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

So it’s really a compliment to a certain clothing store that I knocked off a pair of their baby pants!

I never thought I’d be sewing clothes for my 6-month-old son — I don’t want him to be that kid in the dorky clothes his mum made! That said, it seems like I’m buying him a new wardrobe every couple of months. (Thank goodness for Value Village!) The other day I was looking at a pair of his pants and realized how simple the pattern was. I wondered if I could make something similar using these pants as a template, so I picked up some material, dusted off my serger, and gave it a go!

It was so easy to create a copy of these pants that I wanted to share the process with you… shall we?

How to create a sewing pattern from an existing garment:

  • Take a close look at the garment and identify the individual pieces. You may want to draw a little diagram.
  • Take note of any notions you’ll need, such as elastic, buttons, lining, zippers or bias tape.
  • Carefully transfer the outline and details of each piece to paper. There are two ways you can do this.

a) Lay tissue paper or waxed paper on top of the garment and trace around the pattern piece. I liked this method because you can both see the seams and feel them through the paper.

b) Lay the garment on top of a piece of paper and use a tracing wheel to mark the outline of the seams, then use a pencil to fill in the line.

  • Whichever method you use, remember to…
    • Mark the grain of the fabric on each piece
    • Add seam allowances (mine were 1/4″)
    • Note where there are details like darts or pockets
    • Label what piece it is (front leg, waistband, etc) and what pattern it is (jogging pants)

  • It never hurts to measure the pattern pieces and the garment, just to make sure you’ve traced accurately.
  • Cut out your pieces like you would a commercial sewing pattern.
  • It is probably best to use a similar fabric to the original garment since you know it works for that pattern. Experiment at your risk! (…As I did when I used ribbed material rather than a flat knit for my baby pants – I had to adjust my cuffs and waistband)
  • The only other piece of the puzzle are the sewing instructions, which you obviously won’t have if you’re making your own pattern. I would recommend looking at an online tutorial or a pattern or book you may already own for a general idea of how to assemble that kind of garment. I had never sewn sweatpants before, so I found an online tutorial to find out what order to assemble my pattern pieces in.

For these pants I serged all of my seams and used my regular sewing machine to topstitch a zigzag stitch to achieve a similar look to the pants I was ‘inspired’ by. This also helped the seams lie flatter.

As a side note, these pants are the first project I’ve made with my serger! It was a Christmas gift from my husband back when we were dating and I’ve been nervous to bust it out in case I broke it or something! I’m feeling much more confident threading it now and can’t wait to tackle more projects using knits. After reading Sew U Home Stretch this week, there are plenty of projects on my to-sew list. I love how there’s always something new to learn with sewing!

For a first ‘knock off’ and a first serge, I am pleased as punch with how these pants turned out. I never thought I’d be the kind of mum who sewed her kids’ clothes, but for simple knit garments like these pants, why not? (I promise I will stop by the time he’s 5!)

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