Tutorial: Easy Pants Cuffs

For my last week’s Project Run & Play outfit for Boys Week, I wanted to make some pants with a cuff.  At first I was thinking about making fully lined pants with a fold up cuff, but I decided to simplify and just make a fold up cuff to attach to the bottom of the pants.  It’s a super easy way to add a fun accent or add length to pants that are a bit too short.  I thought I’d show you how I did it.

First, start with a pair of pants, either an already finished pair, or if you’re making pants you can stop before hemming the bottoms.  You want the length of the pant legs to be about a half inch longer than the final desired length of the pants.  If you are trying to lengthen pants, don’t worry.  Start with what you have and you can add the extra fabric to the cuff.

Cut two rectangles out of your cuff fabric.  Your rectangles will need to be twice the width of the pant bottom plus 1/2 an inch for seam allowance.  The leg openings here were about 4 inches, so I doubled that and added 1/2 an inch to get 8.5 inches (the fabric here is more like 9 inches because I usually cut extra, just in case).

The height will be twice the desired cuff height, plus 1/2 an inch.  I wanted my finished cuffs to be about 1.75 inches, so I doubled that and added .5 to get 4 inches.  If you are making cuffs to lengthen pants, you’ll want to add more fabric depending on how much longer you want your pants to be and how big you want the cuff to be.  You might have to play around with the measurements a bit.  I always cut my fabric big and then trim away what I don’t need later. 🙂

Fold your fabric in half, so that the short ends are together, right sides together and sew along the short ends using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Now you should have a tube.

Fold the top half of your tube down so that the right side of fabric is showing on both the inside and outside of your tube and press.  If your fabric has a top and bottom like mine, you want to make sure the print is facing the right direction and the folded part of the tube is on top and the raw edge is on the bottom (you may need to flip your tube inside out).

Now, with the folded edge still on top, insert the cuff into the pant leg.  Line up the side seam of the cuff with the inner seam of the pant leg.  The right side of the cuff should be facing the wrong side of the pants.

Line up the bottom of the cuff with the bottom of the pant leg and pin all the way around to hold the cuff in place.

Sew the cuff to the pant leg using a 1/4 seam allowance.  You can also serge or zig zag the edges here for less fraying and a cleaner look.

Pull the cuff out of the pants and fold them up.  Press and you’re done!!

Imagine the possibilities!  Now you can spice up just about any old pair of pants!  Have fun!

Boy-cycle Wear – Boys Week for PR&P

I said I was going to post one more holiday project, but before I do I wanted to share my outfit for this week’s Project Run & Play sew-along.

This week the theme was BOYS!  I find that unique boys clothes are hard to come up with and difficult to make well.  I think that if I have a son someday, I’ll really be pushed to be creative and it was fun challenging myself this week.  I have a daughter, but we dress her up in plenty of boys clothes, this was just my first time MAKING any.  It was also my first time sewing with knits!!  Feels so good to learn new things, especially something that I’d been so scared of for so long!  Anyways, here is the finished outfit.  Hideko thought of the name because of the bicycles on the orange accent fabric and because we thought it might be something a hipster bicyclist might wear. 🙂  Presenting Boy-cycle Wear!

For this outfit, I actually made FIVE pieces.  I was being way too ambitious.  I made pants, a shirt, a hooded vest, a hat and a tie (shown later).  The outfit is a bit more mismatched than I had in mind, but oh well.  Kids are supposed to be mismatched right!? 🙂  Here are some of the details.

I made the pants first.  I wanted to try more of a straight leg pant (as opposed to my usual boot cut) with some fun cuffs and pocket detailing.  I’ve been using this orange fabric with bicycles on it (this one) for a few projects recently and thought it’d be cute here too.  That’s how the bicycle theme was chosen.  I made 2 pockets in the front, one in the back and cuffs.  This piece was pretty straight forward.

Next I made the hat.  I used this tutorial from Bandy Canyon.  She actually provides a pattern as well, so if you’re interested, I would definitely check it out.  I drafted my own pattern from a similar cap that Yuki already owned adjusting shape and size.  This piece was tricky and I actually had to do it twice.  The first time I wasn’t sure if my pattern was going to work and it didn’t and the hat came out kinda wonky.  The second time was way better except it was WAY too big.  If I tried a third time I’m sure it would have been perfect, but I didn’t have the time or patience to do it again.  Instead I just added a lot of elastic to the back to make it fit.  It’s still a little on the loose side, but that means she can grow into it!  Unfortunately, Yuki HATES wearing hats and refuses to keep them on.  It’s a miracle I even got a few pics of the hat on her head, but I assure you it was only a split second later that the hat was back on the ground.

Next I made the shirt.  This shirt is a huge triumph for me because it is my first successful KNIT project.  Yes, I am one of those people who is totally scared of knits.  It started this past summer when I tried to make a dress with a knit bodice.  I thought the stretchy material would be great and I wouldn’t need a zipper or button closure because the neckhole would stretch to fit over Yuki’s head.  What I didn’t know was that if you sew it like regular woven fabric the material doesn’t stretch because of the stitching.  I finished the dress and then had to cut it open when I realized it wouldn’t fit over Yuki’s head.  Tragic.

Since then, I’ve avoided it at all costs.  I started collecting some information and doing a little research (there are some great resources for sewing with knits out there), but I was still confused and nervous.  But when it comes to boys shirts I felt like I didn’t have many options, either attempt a knit shirt or a collared shirt.  Both were daunting, but I’d wanted to learn how to sew with knits for awhile and it seems so practical (there are so many amazing things you can make with knits!).  Plus, learning how to sew a collar was not a task I was about to attempt in such a short amount of time (I had about one night for each piece of the outfit).

ANYWAYS, I tried two techniques: the double pointed needle and the stretch stitch (which looks like an angled zig zag stitch).  Both worked well, but I had to play around with the stitch width and length and also the tension for different fabrics.  I made a simple long sleeved shirt which turned out fine except for the neckline which came out too wide.  After the shirt was done, I used a stamp that I had carved a long time ago for another project (so awesome that I happened to have a bike!) and some fabric paint to stamp the bike image on the bottom corner.

The fourth piece was this necktie that kinda ended up getting scrapped completely.  I used this awesome pattern and tutorial from Very Homemade.  Somehow I thought that it would show at the neck under the vest, but it didn’t.  It’s also too big, so it looks kind of ridiculous on Yuki.  I’ll keep it around for some other time or maybe give it away as a gift.  I love this picture . . . doesn’t she look like a mime or a clown!?


The last piece of the outfit is, without a doubt, my favorite – possibly even my favorite creation to date – the hooded vest.  I had this image in my head and wasn’t quite sure how to make it happen, but it turned out really close to what I wanted!  There are definitely things I’d do differently if I were to make it again, but overall, I really like it.

I’m not quite sure what this type of neckline is called, but it’s kind of popular these days, I’ve seen it on a lot of men’s and women’s sweaters.  In fact, I have a long sleeved sweater with a similar collar.  Except I wanted to turn the collar into a hood and instead of a sweater, I wanted it to be a vest.  The collar/hood construction took a little time to figure out, but it came out just the way I wanted it to (don’t you love when that happens!?).  I lined the hood and the pockets with this new fabric by Lotta Jansdotter called Woven.  I LOVE the print, but it is in fact, a woven, so it has no stretch.  It’s unfortunate because although I love the way it looks, the collar has lost all of it’s stretch and it’s actually a bit of a squeeze to get it over Yuki’s head.  Oh, there has to be at least one problem with everything I make!!  But at least it I’m learning . . .

So those are the 5 pieces that make up Boy-cycle Wear for Boys Week!  Even though we have a daughter, we have no issues putting her boys clothes.  Hideko’s style is more on the masculine side, so Yuki definitely gets the best of both fashion worlds.  I’ve never been into the standard definitions of femininity/masculinity or beauty and we definitely want to raise Yuki as free from gender stereotypes as possible – which of course, is impossible.  So far though, she seems to be a little tomboy, just like us!  She loves to run, climb and play ball and she’s totally obsessed with cars and planes.  Who says those things are for boys??

(maybe I should have made knee pads too!)

Ok Ma, no more pictures!!

Well thanks for checking out my outfit for this week’s PR&P sew-along.  Next week the theme is Sewing Through the Decades – something inspired by fashion from the past.  Sounds fun, but I have NO clue yet as to what I want to make.  If you have any great ideas, I’m all ears!!

Sew & Tell: Tucker’s Suit

Friends of ours are taking their 8 month old son to a couple of weddings on the East Coast in October and they wanted a baby friendly “suit” for him.  I’d never made anything like this before, but I love trying new things.  Here is the finished outfit!

I made the vest from a pattern I purchased on etsy and the pants using this tutorial from made.  The part I had the most difficulty with was finding the fabric.  I wanted something that looked suit-like, but was machine washable and dryable – incredibly important for anything coming within a couple feet of a baby!  This is a MUST for most of my projects and ruled out any wool or wool blend fabrics.  I also didn’t want it to be too thick or stiff so lil Tucker, who is starting to crawl, would be free to move.  Lastly, I didn’t want it to look too old for a youthful guy like Tuck.

What I ended up getting was a polyester fabric from Fabrix in the Inner Richmond.  This place can be great.  It’s like shopping at Ross or a thrift store.  You have to dig and dig for something amazing, but when you find exactly what you want, it’s like striking gold.  And generally it’s very very inexpensive.  Most of the time I walk out empty handed, especially when I’m looking for something very specific.  But if you are just looking for some fun and cheap fabric, I highly recommend it.  I found a bunch of great suit-like fabrics that are all polyester (machine washable) and I’ve already made a wallet for Hideko and I can’t wait to make some vests for Yuki!

The best thing about this project is that it forced me to make buttonholes.  Up until now, I’ve avoided them completely by using zippers, snaps, and button loops.  But for a vest, it was unavoidable.  I found the buttonhole foot, read the instruction manual for the sewing machine and . . . I could not figure it out.  For the life of me.  I could not get it to work.  So after trying about a hundred times, I gave up and just made the buttonholes with the zig zag stitch.  It’s essentially the same thing.  Maybe I’ll figure it out someday, but for now, this will suffice.

But wait, there’s a surprise bonus . . .

A necktie!  I haven’t talked to Tucker’s moms about this, but I couldn’t resist adding this little accessory.  I don’t even know if he’ll wear it with the suit, but that’s ok!  He can pair this tie with any outfit, even just a t-shirt and jeans, to add a little character.  I used this tutorial from Very Homemade.

Hopefully we can get a picture of Tucker looking dapper in his new outfit.  I’m afraid he’s going to steal all the attention at these weddings – he is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen!

Well, as you can see, I’m still a beginner and I use other people’s patterns to make a lot of my stuff.  As I gain more experience, I hope to come up with my own projects and patterns to share with you guys.  Until then, I’m so grateful for the wonders of the internet and all the generous people who share their stuff with the world.  Thank you!