Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Snow Pant Refashion Tutorial

I wanted to title this "The Emergency-Hurry-Mom-The-Snow-Is-Going-To-Melt-Snow-Pant Tutorial" but that seemed a bit of a mouthful. The northwest got hit by back to back snowstorms this week. We went into this winter a little unprepared. My son, now solidly in boys' clothing, only had an old pair of 2T snow bibs that just wouldn't do for the hours of snow play that were to fill our week. The stores were taking full advantage of the snow panic and buying a new pair was out of the question; it was time for a mommy refashion. I photographed the process, but it was all a bit rushed and I can't remember the last time I saw the sun, so I apologize for any blurry or dark photos.

I started with my husband's old coat from college.

I selected a pair of pants that had a lot of growing room to use as a guide.

I incorporated the original coat's hemline into the hem of the pants to save some time and effort.

Once I was happy with the pattern I had chalked out for the back leg panel, I cut it out. I never trace the right and left of a pattern independently, to keep the new article symmetrical I draft one then flip it over to get the mirror image.

For the front, I wanted to incorporate the original coat pockets into the pants. Based on the pocket orientation, I was going to need to piece the front pant panel from different parts of the coat. First I used the same pair of black cords to chalk out the upper front panel.  I was not sure what kind of waistband I was going to use so I added extra height to the rise.

I cut open the sleeve at the seams and laid it flat to cut out the lower part of the leg panel.

When I laid out the pieces, I decided that I could add some additional function to the pants by taking advantage of the panel piecing to add knee pads.

After chalking out the knee region I cut out panels about the right size, pinned everything together, then finally trimmed off all the extra bits once I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like.

I laid out the lower piece and knee pad as one piece, than put the pocket panel right sides together and marked my stitch line. 

On hindsight, it may have been better to quilt the knee pad first and add a dart for better range of motion, but I had a boy with his nose to the window waiting on me, so I took liberal shortcuts.

After the the seam was stitched I trimmed it to 5/8" and cut out excess lining to reduce the bulk before finishing the seams with a zigzag stitch.

I top stitched the front side with seams toward the knee pad and pressed the lower edge of the knee pad under 1/2" and stitched it in place.

At this point is when I realized that a dart would have been useful at the knee and decided that a little quilting would at least create some bend points.

I decided to utilize the elastic cord from the original coat to create a cinch cuff on the pants to keep out snow. I carefully used my seam ripper to undue the hem and insert a rivet. I measured out the 5/8" seam allowance and eyeballed a little extra so that my sewing machine foot would not have to ride over the bulk of the rivet when I sewed the outside seam.

I placed the front and back panels with right sides facing and stitched the outside leg seam, again finishing with a zigzag stitch. 

Without the rush, I would have top stitched all of these seams for comfort and durability, but snow only lasts a few days around here.

I then put the right and left legs facing and stitched up the front and back rise. Again, finishing with a zigzag.

Laying each pant leg open, I threaded the elastic cord through each side.

I was very worried about not having enough elastic and put in at least twice as much as necessary. Even over his boots, when the elastic is pulled snug there is a loop with a 8" circumference. If you decide to try it, check the elasticity of your elastic first.

Then I pinned the inside seams together, matching the cuffs and center seam first. I was careful to center my elastic cord and stitched over it several times to make sure it would stay secure. Again, I finished the seams with a zigzag.

After trying them on, I decided an elastic waist would be easiest for quick on and offs when he inevitably dashed in to use the restroom. I marked with chalk the finished rise I wanted in the front and back. I had some wide non-roll elastic handy and eyeballed about the roll down I would need to make a casing, trimmed, and zigzaged the lining and outer layer together. 

I did not want a rolled edge because it was already very bulky with the lining. An alternate option would have been to trim the lining to the finished waist, stay stitch, then use just the outer layer for the rolled casing, but since I had treated my lining and outer layer as one piece, it would have been a terrible headache to rip out that many seams. 

I had so much fun adding the drawstring cord to the cuffs, that I decided to add it to the waistband too. I flipped down to see about where the casing would be and added two rivets.

To avoid the struggle of threading the drawstring and the elastic through the sewn casing, I looped the drawstring through and tied it to prevent slipping, before I sewed the casing in place. Then I sewed the casing leaving a 3" opening to thread the elastic through.

I measured out a comfortable length of elastic, worked it through the casing using a large safety pin, and zigzagged the edges together.

I should have closed up the casing opening and added a second row of top stitching, but the boy couldn't wait any longer. He's been wearing them for two days straight, and new snow is falling as I write this, so I think they are worth the effort.

Find more repurposed projects at:


  1. you did an amazing refashion. congrats!

  2. I am very impressed! Those look like you bought them! What a lucky boy he is to have a mommy like you!

    If you're interested, we're hosting our first ever link up party. Please stop by and link up!

  3. I am amazed!! You are great seamstress and I love recycling.

  4. Thank you all for the encouragement. So far the kids aren't demanding store bought. . . we'll see how long that lasts.