e mustard cords: plus tips on making patterns

5:00 AM

e cords (18 mo) pattern and text instructions here
I really loved the outcome of this project.
That isn’t always the case.
From the same mustard scrap I made Ellie’s purse, came a toddler pair of mustard cords for fall.
At the end of the post are a few tips I use when making a pattern from store bought clothes.

I used a pair of jeans as a pattern, but wanted a more slender leg.
I almost just pulled out the jeggings pattern, but I got looking at real jeans made with denim and there’s much different shapes (mainly in the back) to have a non-stretch fabric go around a diaper butt than a stretchy legging pattern.

So I started from scratch making a pattern from her Old Navy jeans.

Changes I made:
taper the legs so they weren’t flared
patch pockets
faux fly
adjustable buttonhole elastic waistband
no belt loops

I also made them longer to hopefully last all winter and maybe even into next year. So for now she’s folding the hem.

I thought about whether I should do a tutorial, but really the sewing was the same as the baby jeggings, to sew the faux fly.
The patch pockets are a little different, but you just plop them on top and top stitch them to the pant front.

Another special detail I liked was some free motion stitching on a back pocket.
I just made an “e” for her name and to give it a little subtle personalization.

I’ve mentioned before how I really have a hard time designing, picking out fabric, or getting excited about sewing girl clothes. Boys are much more interesting or inspiring for me for some reason, which is probably why I ended up sewing half of all my Project Run and Play entries for my son. But I’m starting to get better and getting girl ideas I like.
I was a total pink loving, skirt twirling little girl, but now I just don’t gravitate to traditional girl colors, ruffles, bows, etc.

My husband was commenting on Ellie will probably be a tom-boy since she never gets to wear pink and she’s already wearing boy shoes. These shoes I recently bought for her because she only has sandals, but all the girls section were sequin, pink glitter, character, just not my thing. So a simple pair of boys canvas keds were less expensive and something I actually liked. I pointed out she does have a flower on her head (easy to make). Plus, this girl has a spunky personality and I’m sure once she can speak and have opinions on what she wears there’s nothing I can do to prevent pink, ruffles, and glitter if that’s what she wants. Plus this outfit does have a purse to match!

Tips on how to use a pair of jeans to make a pattern.
Basically I think it’s most accurate to trace the exact replica of each piece with it face down on the paper.
This is construction paper from Lowes in the painting section, and personally it’s too thick for patterns. I’ve also used wrapping paper, but I think I’m going to buy a roll of thinner paper in the near future, if anyone has an affordable paper they like for drafting patterns let me know!

The example I’m using was the jean front.

So I put the jeans face down and traced the exact dimensions of the jeans, then set them aside.
From here I was able to first take in the leg so it’s not flared, drawing the lines from the thigh down to my narrow leg opening on both sides.
The hot pink lines are the additional fabric I’ll need, so the bottom is some extra length and fabric for a hem.
The top I needed excess fabric to made a fold down waistband (1.25”) and the extra faux fly panel.

Then you just need to add your seam allowances to all edges except the straight top and bottom.
You can use a ruler and just measure out your allowance and then connect the markings all around.

But my little tip is this this little gadget I’ve been using for a while that makes it so much quicker.
Seam Allowance Guide 
It’s a magnetic seam allowance guide that hooks right to your scissors and is adjustable. It just saves time so you can cut a uniform seam allowance with no measuring, or even lay out a garment on fabric and add the seam allowance right as you go.

It’s definitely worth the investment if you make your own patterns or alter patterns a lot.
Sewing for myself I find I’m between the commercial pattern sizes a lot. So a lot of patterns I’ve purchase my measurements are actually a size bigger that’s not included so this helps as I seem to need a little bigger pattern often. I should just start buying the patterns with the larger range of sizes but anyway...
The way this gadget works is I first draw two lines, and the distance apart is my seam allowance.
So for these kid jeans I actually did a small allowance, only 1/4” because I was using scraps and I was serging all the seams and thought I’d save fabric with a smaller allowance.
So there’s two different guides, green is for scissors that don’t have any slant to the blade.
So I cut into one line, then adjust the rubber ring to where 1/4” would be using these particular scissors.

Then it’s set and you’re ready to roll. and just cut out your pattern, keeping the rubber ring on your finished garment line.
The only thing this changes using the guide is the fact the pattern always has to be on the right of the scissors, so you have to cut out your pattern or fabric going clock wise.

It makes it a lot easier for me to get a nice uniform allowance on curves, I just take many short cuts with the guide, rather than connecting dots.Then you can just plop your paper pattern on your fabric and cut it all out, having the pattern to fix once the garment is sewn, or use again.
So I have these little jeans and am considering a few other pairs, they’re quite quick to sew now the pattern’s there and you just can’t find mustard baby cords very easily either.

Yay! You made it to the end of this post!

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  1. I use cheap interfacing for my pattern pieces. Even when I use a bought pattern I'll trace it out onto interfacing. I buy it by the roll. The best part about it is that it grips to many types of fabric, so often I don't need to use pins!

  2. I've never heard of the seam allowance guide! Thanks so much for sharing that! Also, I love the pants!

  3. I love that her outfit looks sylish and girly while still being pants. My girls (2 and 5)think pants/shorts are a punishment. haha

  4. What a cool little gadget!

    As for paper, I use whit craft paper from Hobby Lobby. But I've also heard of using exam table paper (which you can get on Amazon) and it is super affordable per square foot. However, I don't like that it's usually only 18 inches wide - great for kid patterns, not so great for adult skirts.

  5. I'd never heard of a Seam Allowance Guide. Thank you so much for making my life easier (You are officially my new best friend!!)

    I actually prefer the thicker paper. I use poster board because I can stack the patterns or hang them up and they are super easy to trace around. I get them for 25 cents at our local craft store (Hobby Lobby) when they go on sale every few months. I just stock up.

  6. Love the idea of the seam allowance guide. What a cool little gadget!
    Adorable outfit. Thanks for sharing.

  7. She looks super stylish! I love the cords. I might have to try making a pair for my little lady. I really like the color too.

  8. Yeah! I'm not the only mom who tries to bypass the 'girly girl' section when in stores! (And I will never ever understand the addiction some people have of making their daughter's head into a gigantic advertisement for gerbera daisies. Yes the flowers may be cute, but is there a babies head somewhere under there?!?) Thanks for all your tips. I hope you are feeling better!

  9. Last time i went to Hobby Lobby I was buying something breakable, and they were wrapping it in that craft/tissue at the front of the store and I went hmmm... that would be the perfect weight for patterns. I asked if I could buy some and they said no, but they let me take as much as I wanted for free! The pieces work well for kiddo patterns-- i've had to tape a few together for adult patterns. But hey-- free!
    Also those seam allowance thingies are awesome! I gotta get me some!
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. I actually like to use freezer paper, it is quite cheap, I buy mine at Sams or Costcos. It is fairly wide and you can even iron the paper onto your fabric for easy cutting and it does not leave a residue when removed.

  11. Love the pants! You do such a good job and get so many things done!

  12. i am always tempted by the boy section of the shoe store! i love tweedy canvas sneakers and the girl shoes are TERRIBLE.
    kudos to you for not just sticking with what you are 'suppose' to buy!
    i can't say i like sewing for boys better but i do think it will be fun when/if i ever have a boy.
    Love her new cords--so sweet and stylish.

  13. By far the most adorable pair of pants I've ever seen on a little girl! SO cute!

  14. I've never seen a seam allowance notion like the one you used. Now I have to have one too.
    Love the pants. It's so silly for people to get caught up in what colors or styles children should wear. My daughter is a red head and pastel pinks made her look pasty. She's 23 now and still stays clear of pastels, ruffles, and lace.

  15. One of my earliest clothes memory is of my fawn cord dungarees. And there are loads of photos of me in blue or red. I guess my gran didn't like pink much either and she made my clothes.

    I use brown wrapping paper for patterns, the kind one uses for covering schoolbooks and wrapping parcels.

  16. for paper the end rolls from the local newspaper. this is great for multi sized, fairly strong but folds up nicely for storage after the pattern has been made. this paper is also terrific for children's "art" time, packing paper. I got an end roll and my children palyed with it, made patterns, and have made moves for both myself and others. It is also quite nice for letting the children decorate it to use for gift wrapping. at one time i got some free but the ones i have gotten for others have had a minimal chg.

  17. i forgot to say how impressed i was with the model and the professional looking cords.It will probably make a good handmedown for the new sister in a couple years. the tutorial was so good if anyone cannot follow it they might want to sell their machine.

  18. I bought a roll of food safe white butchers block table covering at sams for like $45...it will last me a lifetime, I can see through it just enough to trace commercial patterns and it is tough and durable for saving patterns!

  19. Oh, I want to make a pair of these for my son, they are so cute... Though thinking of making a pair in cotton as we are going into Spring.


  20. Eep these are so cute! Love her wearing them while holding her new purse, too! Thanks for the seam allowance guide tip, I'll need to keep an eye out for those (or just order one, what the heck?). :)

  21. I second what reader Curt said: end rolls from our local newspaper! Sometimes ours gives them away free, other times they charge a couple bucks for TONS of paper. It's the newspaper that is left on the end of the roll (before it's printed) and there isn't enough for the next paper run. It is awesome stuff. I have done all of what Curt said: let kids use it to decorate as gift wrap, packed breakables for moving, put it on as "table clothes" at a picnic and let guests color on it, made "flat stanley" life size models...and used it for pattern drafting. For me, it's just the right weight, and there is SO MUCH of it, I don't worry about wasting it.

  22. Haha! I love this. Love that you didn't buy her pink glittered Dora shoes, love that you made her mustard skinny cords, and love that I just bought some white slightly stretch lightweight denim so I can dye it mustard and make Creamie some skinnies too :) Love it! And going to check out that seam allowance guide!

  23. I totally feel you on preferring boyish clothes. For some reason, I gravitate more towards tomboy stuff for my girls. Probably because I'm not so girly myself, despite being an obsessive pink dress girl when I was little. One of these days I am going to pop out a boy to sew for. haha. So far two for two on the girls though ^_^

    I do patterns on freezer paper. Got a huge roll from costco recently....that thing is going to last for a LONG time.

  24. This is so cute! I want to make some for my grand daughter!

  25. I use cheap sew-in type interfacing for patterns. It is transparent, so I can trace things easily and it does not tear.

    And my baby (18mo) already is trying to pick out her own clothes. You are absolutely right, if she wants pink and ruffles, she will let you know soon enough. Enjoy making what you want right now.
    I remember when my eldest (now 8)at 6 told me that I didn't know her "style" in clothes. Yikes! a style at 6.


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