Now I totally understand that many of you may be thinking 'Life is WAYYY too short to make kids' undies'. And it's very likely that if you actually have a toddler, you'll probably have less time and energy to make toddler undies than someone who doesn't have a toddler knocking about. But as I've mentioned previously, I have a real interest in seeing how much of my children's clothing needs I can meet using my own sewing skillz (with a healthy dose of hand-me-downs and secondhand). And with potty training looming, it was time for me to get making...
The same issue of Ottobre design magazine that featured the scrap-busting vest pattern handily also included a simple little pants/knickers/undies pattern. Indeed, Winter 6/2013 is one of the best issues, IMO, there's heaps of patterns in there that I hope to get round to trying at some point.
My initially thoughts were to trace the size 92 which would correspond to her current height, but after comparing some of the shop-bought pants I'd already bought Dolores in a pre-potty training panic, I decided to go for the 98. The pattern suggests using either picot elastic or making binding strips for the leg openings. I planned to use fold over elastic because I have plenty of suitably narrow FOE in my stash. I also wanted to use it round the waist edge, rather than regular elastic as indicated in the magazine, so I reduced the height of the front and back pieces to omit the elastic casing.
Fabric and elastic:
Here's where the real fun began! Hunting through all my knit scraps (of which I have two large tubs), I was able to find lots of small pieces of t-shirt-weight knit to use up. I love the idea of turning these little space-wasting scraps into useful items and eeking every last bit of value out of the initial cost of the fabric. And making my daughter's undies out of bits I already have lying about has got to have a lower (although far from zero, sadly) environmental impact than buying packs of new mass-manufactured undies from a shop.
I've talked a lot about fold over elastic before, the most comprehensive of my posts being 'Fold Over Elastic: What the Hell is it, Exactly?', where I mentioned that FOE can be bought in a range of widths, although typically is about 2cm wide. Recently, Claire found and kindly sent me some packs of narrower (about 16mm) FOE in pastel shades in a Tiger shop, which I thought would be pretty perfect for the task. I also had some of this awesome rainbow FOE in my stash but I can't remember for the life of me where I bought it. On a couple of the pairs of undies I also used some little iron-on decals that I've had in my stash for over a decade.
Although I think this batch of toddler undies look really cute, there are a few problems with them. The main issue is that, whilst I usually find Ottobre pattern sizing to be spot on or eversoslightly too big, these pants came out a bit small. In fact, after a recent growth spurt they are a bit too tight and another batch is required. She's been wearing 'big girl pants' for a couple of months now, these five pairs plus three pairs of shop-bought ones, but I was kind of hoping my efforts would see more use. My fault, I guess, for getting carried away and making five pairs instead of one and assessing the fit before I carried on.
I also found them to be super high-waisted, the leg openings are a bit small and the crotch area is too wide. In the near future (like, when I finish writing this post), I'm going to trace the size 110, lower the height of the waist by 2cm at the back and 3cm at the front, then narrow the crotch by about 1.5cm in total, which will simultaneously make the leg openings wider. I'll apply the FOE (or I may try picot) a little more loosely, and with all these things combined I'll hopefully end up with toddler pants that are slightly too big and therefore should have months of wear in them.