ruffle pants are uber cute and comfy, and best of all, they stitch up easily in an hour or two. i relish projects like this one on a rainy afternoon, or late at night, when the littles are slumbering and my house has found its quiet.
materials: you'll need a couple yards of knit fabric (depending on the size of your pants), a sewing machine, thread, scissors, and pins. a serger is preferred but optional. (crybaby's boutique is an excellent source of fun, affordable knits.)
step one: i used a basic self-drafted pants pattern for the body of the pants, but if you don't have one handy you can also draft a loose pattern on lightweight paper, using a pair of yoga pants as a guide. (you can also use jeans, but you may want to extend the crotch just a bit.) i included the measurements of my pieces above, but yours, of course, will be different.
**if anyone's interested, i'll sketch out a basic pattern and tack it on here, but keep in mind that it will need to be graded if you'd like to make a size other than little girls' 4.** eta (5/2012): in the past couple months, i've gotten a few requests for a pattern--i sincerely apologize, but life has shifted a bit for us since i posted this, and i'm now in the middle of coursework and photography and five kids. my four year old is now seven, so that size four pattern is long gone. if i find a couple hours to spare at some point, i will work on a new pattern for y'all, but in the meantime please forgive me and go with the instructions above. thank you, friends!
step two: cut out your pieces and pin them to your fabric. cut two of the main pieces, reversing one of them. cut one waistband piece (this should be an inch or two narrower than your child's waist). cut two long rectangular pieces for the ruffles; they should measure about twice the length of the bottom of your main pieces to achieve a full ruffle. (please note that although the ruffle pieces are pictured with a long vertical edge, i cut them horizontally.)
step three: pin the top curves of the main pieces, right sides together. sew and finish your seams (serge or zigzag stitch). **do not sew together the bottom curves of either side or the top straight edge.**
step four: rotate the fold of the sewn piece so that the seams are in the center (it should now resemble pants). pin the insides of the legs; sew and serge in one continuous line up from one ankle, across the crotch, and down to the other ankle.
step five: press your waistband piece in half the long way, wrong sides together. open it and sew the short ends together, right sides together. fold it back in half so that you now have a double-sided waistband.
step six: turn the main body of your pants (sewn in steps three and four) right side out. position the waistband upside down around the outside of top of the body piece so that the raw edges line up. (make sure the seam of the waistband matches up with the back seam of the main body.) pin through all three layers of fabric; sew and serge.
step seven: fold each ruffle piece in half so that the short edges match up, right sides together. pin, sew, and serge. finish the bottom edge of each piece with either a rolled or a double-turned hem.
step eight: set your machine on its widest setting and sew a gathering stitch along the top of each ruffle piece. gather and pin each piece to the bottom of the main body's legs, right sides together (the ruffle piece will be upside down and circling the outside of the leg). sew and serge.
step nine: give it to your little one and revel in her appreciative crooning.
note: the waistband is meant to be folded over, but you can easily have your child wear it unfolded if you prefer a higher waist.