Here’s a fun little a tutorial I shared at Train To Crazy last summer. It’s one of my favorite techniques to use with my boys’ pants and it seemed time to share it over here. Enjoy!
When Andrea told me about Dress Your (School) Boy, I knew I wanted in. I love to sew for my boys. I have three sons, and have never once felt like I had a lack of things to make for them. They are constantly inspiring me and suggesting new ideas to me. One thing I love about sewing for boys is the challenge of coming up with details that aren’t frilly, but still add interest and uniqueness to a project. I think the trick with details and boys’, and men’s clothing is that form has to meet function. No matter how superfluous the function is, if it can be justified utilitarianly, you can slap it on there. Just look at cargo pants! My boys are skinny. No, *really* skinny. Like don’t even register on the charts, nurses-checking-to-make-sure-their-scales-still-work skinny. Skinny. Adjustable waistbands aren’t just a convenience, they’re a necessity around here. But plain elastic waistbands are boring, full-on fastening flies are a chore to sew in, and belts are not so easy for busy boys to manipulate. My solution:
I’m going to show you how to take pretty much any basic pattern for simple pants and/or shorts and give them some masculine, functional flair. You can even retro-fit existing pants with this update. As I said, you can add this to any pants or short pattern you want instead of a drawstring or elastic waistband. You could even retro-fit a pair, if you unpick the waistband seems first. So all you need to do the Adjustable Buckled Waistband is - a pair of bottoms with an unfinished waist - one-inch webbing (found in the notions of any fabric store, usually by elastic) - one-inch braided elastic - a center release buckle (found in notions of any fabric store)
Begin by finishing the edge of the waistband. Here I did a serged edge, then a 1/4 inch hem. If you’re retro-fitting, the edges might already be finished for you.
With the bottoms wrong-side-out, pin the waistband over about 1.5-2 inches all the way around.
Flip the bottoms right-side-out. Place the buckle in the center front and use as a guide to mark two parallel lines at either end of the buckle. Use the webbing to mark the top and bottom of those lines you just made.
So now you have two “I”-like markings at either side of the front center seam. Unpin the waistband and pull the front center area out and away.
Using those “I” markings as guides, sew in two buttonholes at either point. Fold the waistband back over, repin, and sew all the way around. Get your webbing. Measure the bottom-wearer’s waist all the way around, then add about five to six inches. Cut the webbing to those measurements. Then cut that length of webbing in half.Cut about four to five inches of braided elastic. Sew the webbing to the elastic, forming a fun little elastic bridge between the two webbing pieces. I like to do a crazy-thick zig-zag stitch at every raw edge. Thread the one open end of the webbing through the female side of the buckle. Fold over, fold raw edge under, and do a sweet little box-stitch design to finish that side. Thread the other end of the webbing through one buttonhole… And come out the other. Use a safety pin to aid in drawing through the waistband. Now thread that open end of the webbing through the male side of the buckle. Fold raw edge under twice, to hide, and do another box-stitch design on that side. Buckle and… GO! Thanks to the adjustable webbing, pants stay on (and can fit the next kid down the line, if needed, too!). The extra bit of elastic helps small hands to take on and off by themselves. And the exposed buckle adds just a little bit more awesomeness to a basic pair of shorts keeping your kid looking good.Form and function, it’s a beautiful thing. Adjustable Buckle Waistbands get the thumbs-up from the resident males around here. Now you go try them out!