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My friend Jenn, aka Baby Makin’ Mama (and one of my absolute besties), came over today and got me hooked on one of her favorite hobbies: sewing. She’s been at it since October and is already turning out truly awesome toddler-wear on a regular basis. If you knew her this wouldn’t surprise you at all; the girl’s a self-dubbed Domestic Diva who also maintains a flourishing news reporting career, and has writing and photography chops to boot. AND she’s humble, patient and funny as hell, which makes her an excellent instructor… Which makes me today’s lucky winner. We met up this morning as soon as the kiddos were both dropped off at daycare, then joined forces and sewed ourselves two pairs of reversible toddler pants.

Jenn had offered to teach me to sew a few weeks back, but I confessed that I’m a) completely inexperienced, b) not detail-oriented and c) without a sewing machine. Not exactly a recipe for success. Then it turned out that her hubby hooked her up with a new sewing machine for Christmas. Meanwhile, my mom’s been offering to buy me one (despite points a and b listed above) since I graduated from college. So Jenn and I decided I’d inherit her old one—she gave me (slash my mom) a sweet deal—and sewing lessons were suddenly in the cards. I did a little Googling as we decided upon a date for this to go down, and ended up choosing reversible toddler pants as a first project. Jenn has made skirts and dresses galore for her Lil’ J, but never pants, so she’d get to explore some new territory, too, in the process of showing me what she knows.

We started with this online tutorial, which made no sense at all to my virgin eyes, but showed the end product I imagined (sans the super-ugly fabric. Sorry, lady). We did print the pattern that it linked through to, and then Googled around some more for other basic toddler pants tutorials, because the one we started with omitted some crucial steps (thus I didn’t feel quite so bad about being so lost). So if you, too, like what you see and want to make some reversible pants, I recommend you get yourself a good regular pants pattern to start with—the one from the tutorial is a little skinny in the butt for the diaper-sportin’ set—and pick up at the whole sewing the bottom seams together step. That’s what we did, anyway.


Click "Read More" below for the rest of the post!

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It's you and me now, baby.
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Cutting along the pattern.
Once we figured out our game plan, and once Jenn showed me how to thread the machine’s needle, turn its light on, and few other basic maneuvers, we got to cutting (she showed me some tricks for that, too) and sewing… and eating gingerbread men, and drinking tea. The actual pants assembly went pretty quickly, too; the most challenging part was that step I mentioned where the bottom seams of the pants get sewn together; from there the pants just fold inside one another, and all that’s left is the adding of an elastic at the waist (Jenn showed me this, too). We had a little scare after sewing the pants legs together at bottom, realizing suddenly how easy it’d be to do this completely wrong; if we’d accidentally mis-matched the legs, or if one had been turned backwards (and backwards looks just like frontwards when you’re turning something that’s already inside-out partially outside-in-and-up), we’d have been screwed. But, through the good grace of beginner’s luck, we lined everything up correctly, thereby averting heartbreak and disaster.

I was just pulling the last of my elastic through the waist when Aaron brought Kaspar back from school; I hadn’t measured Kaspar’s waist before beginning, so I used another pair of his pants to ballpark-guess at it. This didn’t quite work out; I cut the elastic a bit too long, and Kaspar’s pants don’t stay up as well as they should, so I think I’m going to slash holes in the waistband for a drawstring. Other than that one glitch, though, the pants look fantastic, and fit like a charm. I also cut them significantly longer than the pattern suggested, figuring that, on the off chance this whole sewing thing worked out, I’d be pretty bummed to see my hard work get grown out of within a few short months (you know how these kiddos do). Now, Kaspar’s pants have ample cuffs, and can grow with him for a while. The double-layering that the reversible style provides also makes them ideal for winter—they’re warmer than a single piece of cotton would be. Kaspar ran around in his new pants all afternoon, engaging in his latest, thematically appropriate obsession with breaking into, and “driving,” our car.


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Sewing snacks.
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Kaspar is obsessed with breaking into, and "driving," the car.
Watching Kaspar wearing the pants I fashioned was immensely satisfying; I’ve now officially caught the sewing bug (I’ve actually been itching for it since another talented friend, Daughter Fish, launched her blog last year). I’m also aware of how much I don’t know— I don’t really know how to ‘read’ a pattern, tutorial or sewing video in the way Jenn does, and I don’t know anything about the various types of stitches or why you’d use them—but I’m excited to continue exploring.

Jenn, for her part, was also psyched to create her first pair of pants. The pair she made for Lil’ J are seriously cute in a way that only pink polka-dots can be. I think Jenn has plans to add ruffles and such—she can improvise when she sews, something I’m somewhat in awe of— and is going to blog about her pair, so keep an eye out there, and here, for photos of Lil’ J and Kaspar both rockin’ their respective reversible pants-wear.

Next on our list: cooking lessons. This time I’ll be the teacher. In fact, we’re coming up with all kinds of ideas for new skills we’d like to acquire, and we need a name for what will doubtlessly be a cascade of creativity and grandeur in this series of posts on our two sites. Let us know if you have any ideas!


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Zoom zoom.
 


01/11/2012 05:08

I had such a BLAST!!! It was so fun and you were fabulous... Such a fast learner!

I'm so glad you had fun and K looks cute in his car pants! You could pull the elastic out a bit again and re-stitch it tighter together. Im going to try them on Lil' J today!

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01/11/2012 08:52

Can't wait to see Lil' J rockin' her polka-dots! Thanks again for the patient tutelage-- and get brainstorming on some of your favorite foods, so I can show you how to cook them at home. :-)

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01/11/2012 06:04

I love these! I made some aprons out of this same fabric, but in black, for my nephews last year. I love the contrasting fabric you chose. Lookin' good, K! Will we be seeing some mama-created dresses soon?:)

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01/11/2012 08:55

So cool that you found the same fabric for your nephews! I couldn't help but buy up the green... if I declare bankruptcy in a year, you'll know it's due to all the irresistable, pretty fabrics in the world.

I certainly hope some self-made mama clothes lie somewhere in my future, but so far I only know how to sew a straight line (backwards and forwards). Is that enough? I don't just want fugly a-line skirts. I want what Daughter Fish can make. Get down here and gimme a lesson!

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01/12/2012 03:56

Ha! A straight line will get you a long way! There are tons of simple, cute patterns out there. This one by Colette patterns is free and has really good instructions for beginners. http://www.coletterie.com/colette-patterns-news/free-pattern-to-download-the-sorbetto-top

07/09/2012 05:13

So cute, I love these!

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01/29/2014 08:37

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