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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tutorial: Fleece Training Pants

I made the most amazingly successful fleece training pants for my potty trained little girl, and I would love to share them with you!  I haven't yet had the time to talk to you about my potty training endeavors with Bunny, but sufficed to say that after laying the groundwork since she was about a year old, we put her through what we called "potty training bootcamp" just after she turned two where we basically stripped her from the waist down and reinforced good potty habits.  We were amazed when she caught on after not quite two weeks! She's now in underwear or training pants full time, and actually sleeps through the night without accidents better than she does in the day!

Part of the success--a small part--is due to the Sesame Street training pants I sewed for her.  She was very concerned about peeing on Ernie's or Herry Monster's face.  When I realized that, I made five different Sesame Street Character's faces.  She loved them so much that she was quite cognizant of keeping their faces dry.

Right now, I'm just going to teach you how to sew the body of these little guys.  Later, I'll attach a pattern for appliqueing their faces (and if you want to do the applique, it happens before you sew the pants together)

First, let me explain why I'm sewing my own training pants.  I do not want training pants that are just a fancy diaper, which is what Pull-ups and even the cloth diaper varieties sometimes are.  I also did not want to spend an arm and a leg on cloth ones when they weren't quite what I wanted.  I wanted training pants that were absorbent enough to stop huge puddles in my floor, but not so waterproof that my little cloth diapered Bunny, who was quite accustomed to having a wet diaper against her little bottom, wouldn't feel the need to go to the potty.  I bought some Gerber training pants, which are great for home, for this reason.  They make it necessary for Bunny change clothes, which lets her know that something is wrong.  The fleece pants a little more absorbent than my Gerber pants, and much  more waterproof, but they also necessitate a change in clothing when accidents happen, so they're great for going out of the house.

You'll need:
*The Pattern.  I've never done this before so bear with me! The top piece of the pattern is upside down so you'll have to turn it around to connect it.  Also, there is no overlap with the pieces of paper.

* about 1/2 yard of blizzard/polar fleece.  This fleece will pill when washed, but it's slightly waterproof so it's worth it.  I also used non-pill fleece for some of mine, but urine goes through it like it's cotton. 
* Thread.
* Your sewing machine.
 You'll start by cutting out your pattern pieces.  I've attached the pattern for the body of the pants, but the waistbands and leg bands depend on the size of your baby's legs and waist.  Mine are four inches wide, and the length of Bunny's legs and waist minus 1 or 1/2 inch.  All four of these pieces need to be cut with the stretch going horizontally or it won't work.  If you are going to add applique to the butt of your underwear, now is the time to do it. 

 Take your leg and waistbands and fold them in half. 

 Then sew them together using a very slight zig zag stitch. 
 Now fold the body of your pants in half vertically, and stitch together on the sides, also using a zig zag stitch. 

Now, you're going to fold each of your leg bands, and your waistband in half horizontally.  Like so:

 1. Lay flat inside out.

 2. Press seams down.

 3. Pinch seams together.

 4. Fold bands all the way around.

Now, all your pieces should look like this in preparation for putting them all together.

 I like to start with the legs.  Open one of the legs up keeping the body of your underwear inside out.  

 Insert one of the leg bands, and pin the seam of the leg band to the seam of the underwear, pushing the seams flat.

 It's ideal if the leg band is slightly smaller than the leg of the underwear.  If it isn't, you might have to size up in your underwear by adding to the sides of your pattern.  Now, fold both legs in half to find the middle of each, and pin them together at that spot.

 I only use two pins for the leg bands because it allows me the liberty to stretch them as I sew, but you can use more than that.  Stretch the leg band over the arm of your sewing machine and sew with a slight zig zag stitch.  Keep your stitch length on the longer end, too. 

Your leg band should look like this when sewn into the underwear.

Repeat for the second leg band.

Now, it's time for the waistband. 
Note, if your material is stretch enough, you will not need to insert any elastics here or in the legs. 
 Keep your training pants inside out.  You will insert the waistband upside down on the inside of the inside out training pants.

 First, though, fold the pants in half so the two side seams touch in order to find the middle of both the back and the front.  Mark those with a pin.

 Now, pin your waistband to the training pants putting the seam in the middle of the back of the pants.
I like to pin it four times in this case.  Again, your waistband should be slightly smaller than your training pants.  If it is not, you might need to size up in your training pants by adding to the sides of the pattern, or make the waistband slightly smaller. 

Sew this up the same way you did with the leg bands--stretching the waistband as you go to fit the body of the underwear and using a slight zig zag stitch. 
 Now, turn your training pants inside out and the body of them is done! Note, if you want to add an absorbent layer, now's the time to do it.  We're going to do that using snaps--though velcro would also work. 

Here are some of the training pants I made for my daughter and for one of her friends. Some of them have appliques, which we'll get into sometime later on this week.  Bunny LOVED them and went around for weeks telling people that she had "a monkey on my butt" or "Bert is on my butt."  People looked at her like they thought they were hearing things wrong until I took it as a wonderful opportunity to pull the waistband of her pants down and show them my handiwork.  However, this backfired because while we were at a bridal shower, and people were exclaiming over her Bert panties, she thought it was only fair if she could see all of their panties, so she went around bending over to look up people's skirt. I told her she shouldn't do that and I gave her a time out when she continued to do so, explaining that this behavior is inappropriate.  But then my Dad interjected that it's only fair if I'm showing off hers then she should get to see everyone else's! Good point, Dad! I'm working on not showing off her panties anymore!

Stay tuned later on this week for a tutorial on the insert of these pants! 


Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

How funny about her wanting to see everyone else's undies. Well, you probably didn't think it was too funny at the time.

I love the look of these training pants. My son (3) has been potty trained during the day for over 18 months. However, he's such a sound sleeper that he still pees every night. We've just put him in a diaper, but we need to somehow make the transition to undies. I think we'll try some trainers and see how that goes.

Shari said...

Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for, and a bonus with the Sesame Street appliques. I was just going to make them for my little girl, but a friend has a little one turning 2 who is Elmo obsessed. These will make a great birthday present!