Introduction: Couch Pants: the Last Word in Rainy Day Comfort
On a rainy/cold/grey day, is there nothing better that cuddling up on the couch under a blanket and watching a bit of telly, or reading a book? And is there anything WORSE than having to get up and walk your warm self through a cold(er) room to get a cup of tea and a cookie? or popcorn? Well! Do I have an 'ible for you!! Read on to make yourself a pair of totally awesome 'Couch Pants'. These pants are comfortable (made off a pair of your most comfy PJ's) and so deliciously warm and snug - because they are made of blankets!!!! Yes!!! Blankets!!. They are also easy to make - I am not a seamstress by any measure and managed to make these without any unpicking!
Step 1: What You Need
- Fabric - I bought three plush throws for about $8 each. I bought two fine ones and one wooly one to check out how difficult the two different types were to sew....
- Matching thread
- Ribbing for cuffs (Totally optional! but a great way to create length if you mess up the pattern!)
- Paper for a pattern - newspaper works, so does wrapping paper!
- Sewing machine - It doesn't need to be flash. I bought mine for $12 at a second hand shop :)
Step 2: Making a Pattern
Simple pants are probably one of the easiest things to make. There are plenty of examples of easy sew pants on Pinterest and the like. These generally rely on the pants being made from two pieces - so the back and the front are the same shape. These pants are a little more complicated than those, but more comfortable in the end!
Making a pattern is useful if you want to make more than one set of pants. It also makes it easier to get the design right as the paper will not move and fold like a pair of pants does when you try and arrange it and cut around it. If you are feeling confident you can go right ahead and use your pants as a pattern and skip this step. If you do this, remember to allow for seams so cut a cm or so wider than the actual pants.
When making this pattern I rolled out the paper on a rug and use pins to hold the paper and the pants in place while I drew around them - stops things moving but not necessary!
- Find your most comfortable pair of pajamas or tracksuit pants and turn them inside out.
- Fold them so that you have one complete piece of fabric facing up - with seams all around. Generally these pants are made from four panels - the back and front of each leg - so if you fold them in half and lay them down, you can reasonably easily arrange the pants so that the seams are on the outside edge like the first photo above.
- Draw around the edge of the pants, giving yourself an extra cm or two along the edges and a couple of cm at the top and bottom. This is called seam allowance and allows for the fabric that will be used when sewing the pieces together.
Note: You will need to make an allowance for the elastic around the waist of your pants when making the pattern. I laid the pants out so the majority of the leg was straight up the edge of the paper. At the top the elastic will pull the fabric away from the edge - don't draw this bit in - start drawing at the top of the pants and leave the long outsdie edge straight up.
- Repeat for the panel - if the one you have done is one of the front panels, make sure the second one you do is a back panel! The back panel will be higher from the crotch to the waist to provide room for your padded seat :)
- Cut the two pieces of pattern out.
Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once..
When you are ready to start lay your fabric down on the floor and fold it over enough to fit your two pattern pieces on. Lay the pattern down and pin it to the fabric. You are going to be cutting through two layers and you do not want the bottom layer to move!
Cut carefully around the edge of your pattern. If you allowed a decent seam allowance in your pattern you can cut right along the edge of the paper. If you forgot, then cut out a cm or two to give you some room to work!
Leave the pattern pinned to the fabric so it is easy to identify the front and back of the pants when you start sewing!
If you are clever you can set up the pattern so that the bottom of the pants is on the edge of the blanket - that way you dont need to do a seam at the bottom of each leg!
Disclaimer: This stuff does make a heck of a mess. Static electricity
is not your friend and I ended up with fluff EVERYWHERE - stuck to the floor, walls and the underside of the bench I was working on, not to mention all over me! It does help to have a vacumn cleaner on hand and run it along the edge of each bit as you cut it to suck off all the loose fluff :)
Step 4: Sewing Part 1
Take the two front pieces and unpin the pattern.
Turn the pieces inside out and place them back together - this is the side you are sewing on so all the seams are on the inside of the pants. The inside of my pants is a lighter colour than the outside - check your fabric before sewing.
The first seam to sew is the shortest. It is the seam from the belly button down to the crotch (the pointy bit on the pattern). Pin this seam to stop it from moving around while you are sewing.
Set your sewing machine to a straight stitch, about a medium length and go for it. I start each seam by sewing forward a cm or two, then reversing back and setting off again. This makes the seam much less likely to unravel! Repeat at the end of the seam.
Repeat the process for the back pieces.
Put the front piece and back piece together inside out. Pin down the long outside leg seams and sew.
Step 5: Cuffs
If you want to add separate cuffs now is the time. I used the waistband off an old pair of tracksuit pants for my cuffs, but you can obviously buy stretchy ribbed material for this!
Measure how long your piece of cuff needs to be - either off an existing pair of pants or by measuring around where you want the cuff to be. The short pair of pants I made needed cuffs to fit around my son's upper calf, so I measured the widest part of his calf.
Cut the fabric. If it is not already folded in two lengthwise do this and iron it flat.
Fold the cuff in half and pin the middle of it to the outside seam at the bottom of the pant leg. It needs to be pinned on the outside of the pants so that when the sewing is done you can fold the cuff down.
Sew carefully - you will need to stretch the cuff fabric out as you go to make sure it reaches all the way around!
If you do not want to add cuffs, zigzag around the bottom of each leg to prevent fraying before sewing the inside leg (next step)
Step 6: Sewing Part 2 - the Inside Leg
One big seam to go!
Pin the two seams that make the crotch together then pin down either side to the bottom of the leg.
Sew. You can either do this in one seam or two, either starting at the bottom if you want to make sure the cuff is matched up perfectly, or at the crotch and down both sides if you want to make sure the crotch sits perfectly. The fabric is pretty forgiving so I made sure my cuffs were lined up!
Step 7: Waist and Finishing
Normally when you are sewing the waist or bottom of the legs you would double the fabric over so that it doesn't fray. This fabric is a bit too bulky for that, so it is a good idea to 'seal' the edge of the fabric by zig-zagging along the length. This should stop it from coming apart.
Fold the top of the pants down as far as you need for your elastic (or drawstring if you are going that way!). Pin the middle front and back, and the sides. Sew around the bottom of the fold - make sure you leave room for the elastic. Do not sew all the way around - you need to leave a gap to get the elastic in.
Measure the length of elastic needed and attach a safety pin to one end. Use the safety pin to push the elastic into the waistband and around and out the other side. Remember to hold onto the other end (or use another safety pin to pin it to the pants) so you dont lose it inside the waistband! Pull the elastic out a bit and sew the two ends together. I overlap the ends (after making sure there are no twists in the elastic) and zigzag back and forth. Pull the waistband out to draw the elastic in. I don't worry about sewing the hole in the waistband up - you can't see it anyway because the fabric is so fluffy!
Now is a good time to try the pants on and check the length. Pin the cuff up and sew.
Clip off all the long strands of cotton and you are done!
Step 8: Cozy Up
Now all that is left for you to do is slip those bad boys on and recline on the couch! Don't forget your popcorn!
It was definitely easier to sew the smoother blanket material - the long fluffy stuff got caught up in the foot on the sewing machine and was a real pain. I ended up taping a bit of card onto the foot to stop it getting caught up.
You will see from the photo that the blue wooly pants are actually shorts - I have a son who doesn't like long pants but wanted some couch pants anyway. They make him look remarkably like a faun, so if you are thinking Mr Tumnus for Halloween, this is a winner!
Ooh and as a bonus! Run a straight cut down the remainder of your blanket, zig zag down it and voila! a mini throw! or superhero cape depending on what you are into...
Second Prize in the
Warm and Fuzzy Contest