Just to warn you, this is one looooong tutorial. I thought about breaking it up into two but it wasn't quite that long...
My almost two-year-old daughter decided that she no longer liked diapers and started refusing to wear them. So we decided to gently introduce her to the idea of potty training. To aid with that, I decided that she needed some training pants so that she could work on the concept of keeping her "panties" dry. After much googling, I finally found this free pattern that I really liked. It comes from the Nappy Network--DIY side of the site. Here is the specific Wee Weka Knickers pattern in PDF format. You can also get to the pattern by clicking on the Nappy Network link, scrolling down to the bottom of their page and finding their link that says "Wee Weka Pull-on training Knickers."
So, go print off the pattern, measure your kiddo to see how he or she compares to the pattern and modify the pattern accordingly. For my daughter, I made four modifications:
1. I folded over the waist to make the elastic casing rather than sewing on a separate band--my daughter preferred a lower waist.
2. I cut the leg holes a little wider--she liked them to be looser.
3. I did not add cuffs around the leg holes--same reason as the above.
4. I added a small absorbent liner in the crotch area--my preference.
It took making 3 different panties to discover what my daughter liked. I highly recommend making one and modifying the pattern, making another one, modifying it, etc. until you find the right fit for your kiddo. Here is my final pattern. You can click on any of these pictures to see them larger.
This is a felled seam. Basically, you stitch up the seam as normal, then cut one seam allowance shorter than the other, fold the longer one around the shorter and turn under the raw edge so that all raw edges are hidden. Then you stitch it all up.
What I did was stitch up my side seams as I just showed you and trimmed the back panel's seam allowance to be significantly shorter. Then I folded the front panel's seam allowance back over it, but I didn't fold the raw edge under. I stitched it down just like that. One raw edge is still showing and the other is hidden. I did this because I wanted the side seams to be a little more finished and flat so that they wouldn't bother my daughter's sensitive skin. She's very sensitive to the way clothing rubs, so this flattened the potentially annoying seam so that she doesn't even notice it. It also adds a nice finished touch to the panties. Make sense? Probably not, it was hard to catch with photos. Feel free to comment with questions!
There you go: how I modified a pattern to make my own cloth training pants. Our potty training kind of isn't going anywhere, but hopefully yours will move along much better than ours! My little girl seems to think her panties are cloth diapers and prefers them over our typical disposables. I comfort myself with the fact that we're saving money on the disposables.... ;)
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions! The comments are moderated so I will see the questions no matter how long ago I posted this.