I don’t know about you but my kids go through sweat pants like crazy. All of the RTW options I’ve tried either pill, fall apart or get tears in the knees, almost instantly. The sewing is usually so poor the grommets fall off and the seams start unravelling after one trip in the wash, and I don’t even have a dryer! The fabric is usually some polyester blend that feels like its going to spontaneously combust and no matter how cheap they are, I always feel like I got ripped off. I am fairly new to knits sewing, but in preparation for our knit collection (Plateau Joggers and Mile End Sweatshirt) I got over my fear of stretch sewing and dove in with gusto. Sometime around my third pair of joggers I had a revelation! What if I could batch cut and sew sweats for my little guys (5 and 8) and never have to rely on crappy big box stores for their school uniform again!
With the challenge set, I had to go about figuring how to scale our pattern. I knew the proportions and style lines would work; they need pockets and drawstrings and tapered legs. I just needed to figure out the scale. To do this, I pulled out my handy calculator and got to work. First, I started with a pair of jogging pants that fit my youngest and had similar proportions to the Plateau pattern. I measured all the finish garment measurements from these and wrote them down in one column. In the other column, I wrote out the finished garment measurements from our size 0. That looked like this:
Once I had the two sets I wrote down the difference in the two sets. This gave me anywhere from a 2″ difference at the waist to a 8.5″ difference in the length. I figured the most important measurement was the length so I divided the 18.5″ inseam by the 26.7″ inseam to give me 68%. This is the percentage of scale that the pattern represents. Meaning, the kid’s pattern is 68% of the size 0.
I turned on the text and size 0 on my PDF and set the scaling to 68%. From there, you can print the pattern as normal. I printed this at home and so used A4 sheets. This means every sheet was 68% of a letter page and so created quite a bit of waste to cut off. If I was doing this again I would print it at the studio in A0. So many little pages to tape together, at least the pattern itself was pretty tiny!
Once I had the pattern printed and put together I compared the pieces to the original kid pants to double-check my math. It was easy enough to add a little extra to some of the places that needed it (the waistband was too narrow for the elastic and the cuffs got a bit small). I traced a little extra on those when I cut my fabric out.
All in all, it was a successful experiment! I really love the pocket construction on this pattern and it looked even cuter and more professional in miniature! While I could have just traced the simpler pants pattern it was nice to have those clever details figured out and the instructions to follow with all the nice finishes. I used the cuff piece to add some length (he grew two inches since I started this project) but left out the elastic as they were snug enough. This was a fun project and I plan on revisiting this in the fall when I have to get their school uniforms together. I can imagine batch cutting and sewing a whole whack of these if I can find some quality navy blue knit.
Have you ever tried turning an adult pattern into a kid’s pattern? Any tips? Tell me in the comments!