After the success of the doll shrugs Emma designed, I followed her instructions to make some pants from the sleeves of a couple of other tops that were in my cast-off-clothing-for-sewing-experimentation stash. They turned out nicely, so I made another pair (stitched in orange thread for visibility) for Johnny’s doll and included pictures. I don’t know what I was thinking when I used some blue fleece as the backdrop – white or black would have worked much better, especially on the dark rainy day like the one we had! Luckily the tutorial is functional, even if the pictures could be better. I did all of the sewing, but a slightly older child (maybe 8 or 9; certainly 12) could do this with careful supervision and a little guidance.
- Sewing machine (or patience with a needle and thread)
- Cast-off knit top (long-sleeved is easiest)
- Piece of elastic the length of the doll’s waist
Step 1: Cut off the ends of the top’s sleeves, just high enough that it reaches to the doll’s waist with an inch or so to spare (for adding in an elastic waist)
Step 2: Cut from the top of the folded-over waist band to where you want the inseam (inner leg of the pant) to start.
Step 3: With the sleeves turned wrong side out, stitch from the center back seam to the center front. Using a zigzag stitch is best since it allows for some give. The sleeves I used were a little wide, so I stitched the sides a bit to make the pants more narrow. Then I trimmed the side seams.
Step 4: Fold over the top edge and zigzag stitch down, leaving a small opening for elastic. I used 1/4” elastic, so I was able to keep the opening small enough that I didn’t even deem it necessary to stitch it shut at the end.
Step 5: Add the elastic (if you don’t have an elastic threader, a large safety pin works nicely), stitch elastic ends together, stitch elastic opening shut (I skipped that last step), and try on the doll.
Step 6: Take doll and play! This is another doll from my childhood (named James, I believe; the girl was named Mary). If you look closely his left shoulder needs stitching, but it’s a tougher fix than Emma’s doll, so I have some thinking to do before I start sewing. If you have any doll repair tips, please pass them along!
My kids love these simple pants – they are easy to put on and take off, and I stitched them together in less time than it took to write this tutorial!