Before we start, here are a couple of tips for sewing with knit fabrics:
-If you don't have a serger (I don't and it doesn't stop me!), be sure to use a zig zag stitch, or another stitch for sewing with knits as designated by your machine. I just use a basic zig zag stitch and it works great.
-On that note, I like to make my stitch length a bit smaller and my tension a little stronger when sewing with knits. For me, this has proven to move my fabric through the machine a little easier. You may want to play around with your stitch length and tension on a piece of scrap fabric first to see what works best for your fabric and machine.
-A lot of people recommend using a ball point needle. I have done this occasionally, but I usually just end up using my basic, all-purpose needle because I always forget to switch it! Both have worked fine for me.
-Don't pull on your fabric as you're sewing! Let it feed through the machine on its own (unless you're stretching it on purpose, like we will later when attaching the waistband). This will prevent your fabric from getting stretched out while you sew.
1. Trace your pattern. I used a pair of basic leggings to trace that I could then modify. I like to use parchment paper for my pattern tracing, but any paper would do just fine.
2. After tracing the pants, we'll need to modify them now. (Since this was the first pair of harem pants that I've made, there are a few modifications that I'll make next time, so I'll mention those as we go along.) First, you'll want to extend the bum space. I did this by adding 3 inches straight out from the crotch.
**Here's where I would do something different next time. At this point, I also recommend dropping the crotch about an inch or two. So, next time, I would lower the crotch 1-2" and also extend it out 3".
Next, to account for the ankle cuffs and band on the waist, you may want to make the adjustments now. I took about an inch off of the top, but again **next time I won't. This will help to add more of the dropped crotch look. I also shortened the length 2 inches because we'll add the cuffs later. (In the pictures you'll notice they're kind of baggy around Clara's ankles. I made them a little long so that she will have some room to grow. If they were exactly the right length, they wouldn't be baggy.)
Below is my pattern traced, with the dotted lines indicating the adjustments. Cut your pattern out along your dotted lines.
3. Next, cut out your cuffs and waistband pieces. For the cuffs, I just used the piece from the pattern that I had cut off below the dotted lines. I also took an inch off of the width so that they would be tighter around her ankles. Once you have your pattern cut out, fold your fabric twice (the bottom and one side of your pattern should be lined up on folds.) This way, once your fabric is cut out and unfolded, it will be twice as long and twice as wide.
For your waistband, measure the size of your child's waist. If you're using a knit that has a small amount of stretch, I would cut your piece to the exact measurement. That way, once you've sewn it on with seam allowances, it should stretch to just the right size. The fabric I used for Clara's pants, however, has A LOT of stretch. It's very thin and has a 4-way stretch. To account for this, I decided to cut her waistband 2 inches smaller than her waist.
The height of the band will depend on your preference. I wanted the band to be about 2.5 inches once it's folded over, so I cut it to be 6 inches tall (so that once it's folded over and then stitched on it would end up being about 2.5 inches.) In case you're wondering, Clara is 18 months and her waist is about 18". So, my measurements for the waistband were 16" wide by 6" tall.
4. Cut out your pants pieces. Place the straight edge along the fold of your fabric. Cut two of these pieces.
5. Once your two pieces are cut out, unfold them and line them up with each other, right sides together. Pin the two bum seams together and sew along these two sides.
6. After you've sewn the bum seams, line the seams up. Your fabric should resemble very wide pants now! Pin the inseams together, making sure to line the center seams up first. Sew all the way around where you've pinned.
7. Now it's time to sew the waistband and ankle cuffs into bands. Fold your pieces so that the short ends are matched up. Sew along these ends.
5. Now we'll attach these bands to the pants. After these bands have been sewn, fold them in half so that the raw edges are matched up. (Right sides out.) Keep your pants inside out and place your first cuff inside one pant leg, so that the right sides are together and inside seams are matched up. Pin in place. *If you made your ankle cuff smaller like I did, make sure to stretch your cuff evenly as you pin it to the pant leg.* Sew along the raw edges, making sure to pull your cuff band taught as you sew. Repeat this step with the other leg and with your waistband.
**The smaller your waistband is compared to the width of your pants, the more you'll have to stretch the waistband fabric as you sew. Pin it evenly and then sew slowly and you should be able to get nice, even bunching of your fabric where your waistband meets your pants.
6. You're finished! Admire your work and try them on your lucky little model!
Will's hand made a small debut here! He was trying to show Clara where to stand for the picture :)