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Re-pursposing: Girl’s ‘Initial’ Pants


I have been making more and more warmer clothingfor the little ones…..from stuff that we never wear anymore. And having a ball while doing it. 

Free clothing…..nothing better.



All set to go, with a nice little initial “e” for my little lady.










And a sweet ruffle……oh, just because.









Here’s How:



I will go ahead and show pants from start to finish……….the way that works best for me.


First, find an old shirt that you thought you’d love but never fit you right. That’s what I found. Still makes me mad that the dang shirt never looked good on me. Wasted money. :)
(Or choose any other old shirt or pants.)

I first found a pair of knit pants that fit my little girl and turned them inside out to use as a pattern. I cut the front pieces and the back pieces at the same time, from the two layers of the shirt. (If it helps, trace your already made pants onto some paper first, that you will then use as a pattern on your new fabric. Depends on what you’re comfortable with.)

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Now you’ll have two front pieces and two back pieces. (Mine are stacked on top of each other.) Make sure they are the same length……to help you with putting both together more easily later on. And also make sure to add enough at the top to make a casing for the elastic and enough at the bottom for a hem.

Now, if you’re going to do something similar to what I did, now is the time to do it. I grabbed one of the front leg pieces and made the letter “e” with paper and then laid it on top of the fabric. I positioned it a little above where the crotch section is, so that it would sit a little lower than the hip when finished. You just need to visualize where you’d like it.

Then I carefully cut it out and added a little chunk for the inside of the “e”, just to help the shape a bit.

Then, I put some fabric behind the “e” and carefully and slowly stitched around the entire letter. Don’t get frustrated at this point. Sometimes the fabric may seem to bunch up, but just turn your wheel (on the side of your machine) with your hand to manually move your needle around those really hard turns or curves. You’ll get it.

This is the view from the back.

Now, if your skipping the letter, join in again here. You’re going to sew your two front pieces together with right sides together. You’re just going to sew from the top of the two front pieces, down the curve. Then stop.

Do the same to the back pieces. Here’s what both the front and the back look like from the front.

Now, you’re going to place the front and back pieces together with right sides together. Sew from the center of the crotch and down one leg. The turn it the other way and sew from the crotch down the other leg. This will help ensure that your crotch seams line up. Then sew along both sides.

Turned right side out, here’s what you have so far.

I used 1 inch wide elastic for the waist, inside my casing. So I folded down the top 1/4 inch and then another 1 1/4 inch and sewed all the way around, leaving a one inch gap.

Then I measured the length of elastic that I needed around my little girl’s waist and added an inch for overlap. Then I put a safety pin in one end of the elastic and threaded it through my casing. Then I overlapped the elastic one inch and sewed it into place.

Then I sewed the casing closed.

Now, I cut some one inch wide strips of knit, to make my ruffles. As a good guide, measure the length of the bottom of your pants all the way around…..and then double that length to make a good ruffle. So if your pants are 14 inches all the way around the leg, make a strip of fabric that is 28 inches long by 1 inch wide. Make sense? If you double the length, it will give you plenty of ruffle.

Then sew a basting stitch (really long stitch length) along he center of your strip of fabric. Leave long tails of thread. Then pull on the top thread to gather your fabric.

Then evenly distribute the ruffles and pin all along the bottom of the pant legs.

Then return your sewing machine to a normal stitch length and sew right on top of the center seam, attaching your ruffle to your pants. Remember, with knit, you don’t have to hem the ruffle or turn under the edges. It won’t fray.

And now……’re done.

So perfect.

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Shannon says:

    Oh I love these!I can't wait to make an outfit with this tutorial. I have been looking for a good one to make my little girls pants with and this one was so simple to follow. Thanks so much!!

  2. Carlotta says:

    Love it and made it! Thanks so much for another great and easy tutorial. My daughter is one happy lil girl. I posted the capris to my blog if you want to see.


  3. The McBs says:

    Thank you for officially saving my life! My 1 year old is growing like a weed, these are perfect.

  4. Annie says:

    Totally cute! I made a pair of pants for my daughter last night and an embellished shirt to match! Any ideas for sewing without letting one piece of fabric get "ahead" of the other. I think the bottom one was tending to pull faster than the top.

  5. Ashley says:

    betty – Sorry, I don't have a plain little tshirt tutorial….I should add that to the list. :) But cute idea for the pj's.

    Great tip Jaya…thanks!!

  6. jaya pratheesh says:

    if you lay the pattern so that the crotch shape is towards middle of the Tshirt, you can cut the pant legs on the side fold of the tshirt::so you can use the existing side of the tshirt as the outer leg seam. … one less seam to sew.

  7. bettylws says:

    I just found your site, love it! This would work great to make my son pj pants to match daddy's for Christmas. Do you have a similar tutorial for a simple kid's shirt?

  8. Anissa says:

    Thanks Ashley. I appreciate you responding. I'll probably stick with the pieces being the same until I get the hang of things a little more.

  9. Ashley says:

    Anissa, I actually did make the front and back the same for a pair but on others (especially if your child is in diapers) I made the slope of the crotch longer on the back. That way, there is more room for a diaper bum. But my little girl needs less room and I can actually go without make the back pieces bigger. With a real pant pattern from the store, the back pieces are always bigger, to allow for the bum to fit better.


  10. Anissa says:

    I made my first pair of lounge pants for my son today, using the knee-pad pants tut from dana-made-it. I REALLY got messed up with the back and front patterns being slightly different. I'm new to sewing and this just didn't work out for me at all.
    So on your tut do you just use the same exact pattern for both front and back pieces? It looks like you did, but I just wanted to double check. Would this concept work for adult lounge pants too? Thanks so much. I'm loving your blog, you've got amazing talent and I've been inspired to sew by women like you!

  11. MelissaSue says:

    Hi Ashley!
    I made these pants. This was so freakin' easy! It never dawned on my foggy little mind to use existing pants as a template. DUH. I spent like forever searching online for a decent toddler pant pdf, too. Anyways, this was great for me. Now my dd is going to get a billion pairs of pants made for her from upcycled goodies. Thank you, you are, as usual, my go-to source for these things!
    I put a link to this tutorial on my blog, should you have a minute to check it out… :) THANKS!!

  12. Laurel @ Ducks in a Row says:

    I totally love these – can't wait to try it!

  13. says:

    Those are so cute! I really love the ruffle at the bottom. I'll be linking.

  14. Tasha says:

    My poor DD is super skinny and tall (if we could all be so lucky!) This combination means that none of the pants I buy fit her! They're either too big around or too short. I've been thinking about just making her some, but wasn't too sure I could do it. Now I can! So easy, it always seems easier when someone else figures it out and you can just copy them! Thanks for figuring it out for me! ;)

  15. Zimms Zoo says:

    What a great way to dress up some pants. It is so cute! We are loving ruffles right now so I will need to try this.

  16. Alison says:

    You just helped me solve my current dilemma! My little girl is sprouting like a green bean through all her pants that they fit like capris now…and it's getting cold here! I'm gonna make her some pants myself and hem them down each time it's needed rather than having to buy new ones so stinking often! Your re-purposing ideas are so ingenious! Thank you!

  17. Codi says:

    Thank you so much for posting a tutorial on pants. I loved the cute little pants for your son, the one with the knee pads, but I just didn't understand everything in the other persons tut. I love that you make everything soo simple for me (VERY new to sewing)!


  18. Jessica says:

    How cute! I will have to try them for my daughter for her birthday!

  19. Caldwell Family says:

    Totally ADORABLE! I've been needing some new pants for my little one and I'm not into the idea of spending a whole lot on them. Got any great re-purposing shirts for little girls?

  20. Lea-Ann says:

    I'm loving your blog!

  21. Jen says:

    I've made pants simialr to these but I basted the letter backing on before I stitched the letter. I used chalk to trace the letter, stitched it and then cut out just the inside of my letter's top layer. I think this is easier. Super cute pants. My daughters pajamas are all homemade.

  22. katevet says:

    wonderful! I might try it myself! thanks :)

  23. Jill says:

    I just thought I would share this, don't know if you want to post it…but blog2print is like blurb and I just got a discount code in my email and wanted to pass it on. if you want to post about it and share the code go right ahead!!

    Use the code fall4b2p to receive 20% off of your finished blog book. This offer is valid until November 9th.

  24. Kirsten says:

    I used your skirt/legging tutorial to make leggings for Trevor's Robin costume since I needed the legs to be a different color than the "undies" part (what would you call that part?!) Thanks for all your work in posting these…you are awesome!

    My kids are going to be Supergirl, Wonderwoman, Batman and Robin this year so I've been super busy sewing! I used a 99 cent McCalls pattern for the girls but have been making up or using your tutorials for the boys.

  25. Emily S says:

    Oh my gosh super cute!!

  26. Mom's Place says:

    Very cute!

  27. Jennifer says:

    Very cute!! I've actually got a similar color top that I've had to lay aside because the puppy got his teeth into it. Now I know what to do with it! =) Thanks

  28. Fields of Gold says:

    I love this! Can't wait to make a pair for my sweet pea!

  29. dsouth20 says:

    So CUTE!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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