I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

Treasure Pocket Pants Sewalong – Day 5

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Let’s finish these trousers and wear them this weekend!

Today, we’ll be measuring to ensure a perfect finish, so grab your measuring tape and let’s get started.

So far, we have a very unfinished pair of pants (as pictured below).  You can start at the Waist facing or at the hem facings, whichever you like.  Since I have clearer pictures of the process from the hem facing steps, I’ll start there.  (Note that this is the opposite order from the directions in the book, but the pants will come out the same.)



Size and attach the hem facings

Remember when I advised you to cut your hem facings a little longer than the pattern piece “just in case”?  You’ve put these pant legs together with 3 pieces, which means 6 opportunities to have not made a perfectly perfect 3/8” seam allowance at each edge.  To still end up with Perfect Pants: measure around the hem edge of a pant leg, and add 3/4” to that measurement (seam allowances=3/8” each and you need two.) Trim your hem facings to this size, then sew the short ends, right sides together to form a circle for each leg.

Press a raw edge 1/4” to the wrong side of each circle to make things easy on yourself.

Align the raw edge of a hem facing to the raw edge of each pant leg right sides together.  Line the seam of the hem facing circle to the inseam of each leg, like this:



Stitch the raw edges together and press the hem facing and seam allowances down, then stitch all those seam allowances in place (this is called understitching; the seam allowances and the hem facing will fold nicely together if you do this:



so you end up with this on each leg so far:



From here, you’ll fold the hem facings to the inside of the pant leg:



…and then stitch the pressed, folded edges of the facings in place. They should now resemble like this from the inside:


(…you can now fold up the facings to use as cuffs while your little guy is growing, then fold them down to accommodate his growth spurt in the Spring.)

How handsome these hem facings are!



Attach the Waist Facing

We’re going to repeat the process to form the elastic casings that form the waistband.

Measure the raw edges of the waist end of the pants, then add 3/4” to the result. (there is a typo in the book, indicating to add 3/8” to this measurement.  3/4” is the correct addition for two seam allowances)


Cut a length of contrast fabric to 2 1/2” wide by the total length you determined above.  Mark a chalk line down the center (lengthwise) of the contrast waist facing piece.

Sew the short ends together to form a circle, the press that seam open.

Press a raw edge 3/8” to the wrong side as before.  Please note: the pressed edge will be the lower edge of the waist facing. (If you have a directional print like I do, this is important to note before you attach the waist facing.)

Now you can align the right side of the raw, unpressed edges of the waist facing to the wrong side of the raw edges of the waist end of the pants.  Line up the waist facing seam with the back center seam of the pants.


As with the hem facings, stitch these raw edges together, then press the whole facing and seam allowances upward.  Again, fold the waist facing over, this time to the outside. You can understitch here as well, or edgestitch the top of the waist facing (1⁄8″ from the folded edge).

If you want to sew a tag into your garment, this is a good time to do so.  I line mine up about 1” from the waist facing/pants seam, centered over the back center seam.


Leaving a 2″ opening, stitch along the chalk line to form your first casing. Leaving a 2″ opening, edgestitch along the folded waist facing edge to form your second casing.

6.5_WFopenings 6.5_WFopenings2

Cut two pieces of 1⁄2″ wide elastic to the following measurements:

18 months: 19″

size 2/3: 20″

size 4/5: 21″

size 6/7: 22″


Using a bodkin or safety pin, pull through one of the 1⁄2″ wide elastic pieces in the top casing, careful not to twist the elastic. Overlap the elastic ends 1⁄2″ and stitch the ends of the elastic together. Repeat for the lower elastic, then finish stitching the 2″ openings closed.


(Optional: You can also use 1″ wide elastic with a single casing.)


Stitch some decorative buttons on, over the faux fly, and you’re done!


Aren’t they cute?

Front View - Finished Treasure Pocket Pants Side View - Finished Treasure Pocket Pants

Back View - Finished Treasure Pocket Pants


Any questions? Comments? New tricks? Post them below in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.


The final step is to put these on your kiddo, send him outside to play, take some photos and share them with us over at the Sewing for Boys_The BOOK Flickr Group and give each other some virtual high-fives for a job well done.

Even better: If you want a high five from Shelly, take your pants over to Powell’s Books in Portland at 2 for a book-signing event tomorrow. If you want a high five from me, come to the Material Girls in Dearborn for a book signing event at 1!
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Leave a Comment

  • Girl like the sea October 21, 2011, 5:59 pm

    I never even thought to add buttons. Cute! That’s going on my next pair.

    • Karen October 22, 2011, 9:05 am

      Cant wait to see ’em!  Nothing like having the opportunity to use buttons without needing to make buttonholes :)

  • Kimberly October 25, 2011, 4:53 pm

    This is an excellent how-to! Thanks for sharing and I plan to coming back here again once I make these cute pants.

    • Karen October 28, 2011, 7:34 pm

      Thank you, Kimberly!  I hope you’ll post your projects to the Flickr Group so we can all be inspired!

  • Guest October 28, 2011, 8:13 pm

    This sew along is great!! I only wish you had done it a couple of weeks prior while I was making my pants, hahaha!!!  The tiny little simple thing my brain fumbled me up on …was the easy little step in the beginning where you attach the pockets to the pocket flap, I think the confusion in my brain was that everyone seems to be making the pocket flap the same color as the pants and not the side panel, oh well, I got over it! :)  But this is a really great reference and love the pants, they are adorable!

  • Allison Kehoe April 28, 2012, 8:46 pm

    I;m a little late to the sew along game, but I just finished my first pair and found your pictures and explanations extremely helpful!!  Thanks!!  :)  Here are my treasure pocket pants… in a girly version!  http://myrainasunshine.blogspot.com/2012/04/treasure-pocket-pants.html

  • Megan May 25, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I just finished my pants (only took 1.5 naptimes – gotta love that!!) and they are ADORABLE.  Thank you for the tutorial – the pictures allowed me to feel a little more confident than I would have with just the book instructions.  The pants are fantastic and I can’t wait to try them on my toddler as soon as he finishes his nap!


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