Toddler Tour Pants + tutorial

I’m probably dating myself with this post, but I’m sure some of you remember this hippie craze back in the late 90’s… patchwork pants!!


The idea for these came to me in a flash when one of my best friend’s from highschool, Jay and his wife, Maegen had a baby this Fall.  I wanted to make their little guy a gift but didn’t feel inspired to make my usual set of baby bibs…so these were born.  I thought it would be so fun to modernize these pants… by using some lighter fabrics (there was a lot of corduroy back in ’98!), in softer colors. I think they are perfectly appropriate for a hip little baby!

Maybe you knew a guy like Jay- A really nice/cool/funny guy, who liked Phish, the Dead, etc… went to school in Vermont, now has a super cool job working at Ben & Jerry’s- Bonaroo Buzz? Yeah, he pretty much invented it.  I know…I’m jealous too.  Jay still gets to jam out at shows from time to time too.

He used to wear pants like these back in the day, just… earthier.  😉

So really, Jay (if you are reading this), you are the inspiration for these.  And your sweet little Chet will be recieving a boy version very soon!

Here’s my 9 month old Corinne hanging out in her new duds… munching on some raisins….

oh, and she walks now.  no big deal. !!!!


“divided sky the wind blows high…..”


“Take me where the whispering breezes
Can lift me up and spin me around”



Shall we make some pants?

First, you’ll want to make your patchwork panels.  Cut your scraps to 4″ wide, and anywhere between 2″ and 4″ long.  Sew them together to end up with 2 panels that are 4″ wide and as long as your pants pattern. Make sure you iron all the seams down.  Set those panels aside when you’re done.  These pants are a great way to showcase some of your favorite fabrics, and of course a great way to use up scraps.


Next, using your favorite pants pattern, cut your 2 front and 2 back pieces.  I cut my pants from this thrifted linen skirt- i LOVE this fabric, and the weight of it… I’ve been dying to cut into it and it’s just perfect for these.  (there’s a matching cropped jacket too that is waiting to be hacked up!)


 I’m using the Quick-Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings (though i altered the pattern by not using the back panel piece, and just extending the back piece to make them regular pants.)  Dana has a few pants tutorials- i like this one where she shows you how to draft your own pattern from a pair of well-fitting pants you already own.

You’ll want to cut 1″ off the side edge of your back pieces…


…and 1″ off the side of your front pieces.

(these will end up being more wide-leg than your original pattern… adding about 2 inches of “room” to each pant leg of your finished pants).


With right sides together, sew your back pieces (i always label the front and back pieces with tape since it can be hard to tell them apart!) together at the center seam.


Do the same for your front pieces….


Clip the curve…


Next, with right sides together, sew your patchwork panels to your back piece.


Should look something like this… oh, and press those center seams flat!


Okay, your back piece should now look like this!


Now, you can skip the next few steps and move right onto sewing your pants together, but I decided to line these for my baby since there are so many seams.  Lining pants is actually super easy and keeps everything nice and soft on the inside.

I’m using this vintage pillowcase since it’s really soft and thin.


Using your new front and back pieces, lay them (folded) onto your (folded) lining fabric- easy to just use a pillowcase!


Trace the pattern with a marker.



Cut it out.


Sew the front pieces and back pieces the same way you did with your other pieces.  Clip curves at center, and press the seams open.


Your pieces should look like this right about now:


Time to sew up your pants!  With right sides together, pin your front piece to your back piece.


sew the sides first (i’m using a 5/8″ seam allowance).


Trim your edges


Next, sew the inside seam of your pants, starting at one leg… and ending at the other.


Voila!  Pants!  Almost….


Press your seams open


Now, put your lining pants together in the same way, sew the sides first… then the center….


Press your seams (on a low setting if you’re using a pillowcase with polyester like i am… i almost melted my center seam. whoops!)

Okay, so turn your outer pants right side out, and keep your lining pants inside out.  Fit your lining pants into the outer pants.

There will be no exposed seams inide the pants… cozy.  🙂


Pin the top raw edges of your pants, and run that edge through a serger if you have it.  If not, you can zig zag stitch.


Nice and neat!


Now, fold your top edge over about 3/4″.  Using 2 pins, leave a 2″ space in the back of the pants to thread elastic.


Topstitch all the way along the folded edge (i’m using an edgestich foot- love it!) as close to the edge as possible.  Then, Stitch along the serged edge to form the casing… just remember not to stitch where you have your 2 pins!


Measure your kiddo’s waist, add about an inch and cut.  Coco’s measurement is 17″…


Slip a safety pin through one end, and thread the elastic (mine is 1/2″) on through your casing….


Once you get all the way around, bring the two ends together about an inch, and zig zag stitch to hold them together.


Pin a piece of folded ribbon into the opening at the back, and stitch then stitch it closed.


Now to hem!  Fold your outer pants to the inside and press (I folded up 1 1/2″). (**you may need to trim up your bottom raw edges first before you fold them under to hem, sometimes they can get a little wonky after sewing the pants together….)


Then, fold your lining up the same amount and press.


It should look like this:


Sew around each leg hole… i sewed about 5/8″ from the edge.


And you’re done!  Your kid is ready to go out on tour!

And play bongos!

With people she doesn’t know!

Or go bouncing around the room! (…or, the parking lot if she’s not so lucky).

(…Just don’t buy a veggie burrito from the kid in the brown Volvo- there’s like one bean, and the rest is just rice and you’ll be jipped out of $3…)

Yeah, I’ve been to a handful of these shows in my 33 years.  (but not as many as my sis though! Caroline- STOP asking me to make you an adult version of these, okay?  Just go put some Jerry on Pandora and make yourself some falafel if you really need to relive those days.  That goes for you too Joanne T!! hahaha…)


I’m kidding… just put them on your little babe, and enjoy the sunset….


“inspiration, move me brightly…”


Anyone going out on Crib Tour 2013?

Coco is!


“Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way”


44 thoughts on “Toddler Tour Pants + tutorial

  1. I was grinning ear to ear reading this post, and then a shout out? I love it! These pants are more suited for the little ones for sure! I have so many fond memories of sitting in the dorm at UVM with a bunch of girls huddled around a sewing machine making our own pants (just like these), and backless shirts. Corrine is beautiful btw….

    1. Jo! I knew you’d like this post. I believe Caroline is “on it” and your little babe will be rocking some of these once it’s born! So happy for you by the way… i bet you are super cute pregnant!

  2. Awe yeah! Brilliant idea, my sister! Can’t wait to try a pair of my own! No, not for me. Well, maybe.
    “She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes…”

  3. Ahhhh! I remember those ’90s hippie pants!! So fun. And thank you for my daily dose of Phish. “When you’re there, I sleep lengthwise. And when you’re gone, I sleep diagonal in my bed.” 🙂

  4. As always, way cute. I even shared your post with my hippie music lovin’ husband! What a fun way to use the scraps of favorite fabric!

  5. You amaze me! Seriously…. Thrift store linen pants, vintage pillowcase…. all just waiting around for you to work your magic. I’m lucky if I have fabric and a pattern to follow from Joann’s!

  6. These are great! I wonder, could you just sew a lining to the patchwork panel so the pants aren’t so thick? (thinking ahead to spring/summer)

    1. Hi Erin,
      I did think of that- it’s a great idea! I thrifted several pairs of pants recently and a couple fo them would be perfect for Summer pants… w/o the lining. 🙂

  7. Erin,
    Love this sooo much…I have actually been wanting to try something similar to this from one of my favorite books – it is called “Sewing for boys” and the pattern is the “Treasure Pocket Pants”. However, they use a single panel on the sides and it is a large pocket. You have inspired me to create a panel from the Dr Seuss line “Oh, the places you will go:” and not make it a pocket…Many thanks for this great idea – will post a link to my blog when I am done.

  8. I love this post! The pants and design are awesome, and your story has left me nostalgic for the good old days! Love the jo and caro reference by the way and the burrito bought from the dude in the volvo. xo – Monica

  9. I just found you blog and LOVE this post! It is so nice to see some hippie sprinkled into a great crafting blog. It makes my heart happy 🙂 I too am 32 and have been to many many Phish shows 🙂 ! My husband and I just had our first baby and I have been sewing more than ever. Please keep up the great work. I look forward to following y’alls blog. “Life is just a bundle of joy!”

  10. Another one I Love these are so cute and I laughed the whole time I was reading you tutorial your so funny thanks again, Linda newbie follower have a Blessed day…

  11. Wow! I had a skirt (the first one I had ever sewn!) to match my patchwork bag and my backless tanks. I love tutorial and definitely plan on making a star wars themed one with fabric scraps for my 4 year-old….yeah, totally dating myself now. Now, if you can only do something with my old flannels from the early 90’s….

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