Eli’s Pocoyo Hat

When I began this blog over a year ago one of the first sewing projects I posted about was this Up-Cycled Boy Hat I had sewn for Eli. I followed the tutorial I found on I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. (The link can be found in my original post.) It is constructed from fabric from old t-shirts and pajama pants.

Unfortunately Eli was decidedly less thrilled with it than I was. It wasn’t personal. He firmly held the belief that all headcoverings were evil instruments of torture. There passed many a winter day when I reflected upon the fact that our decision to move to Southern California from the Chicago area before he joined our family might prove to be a key factor in his reaching adulthood with ears still attached to his head in a form not grotesquely mishapen by frostbite.

He doesn't look so happy, but he really does like his hat (I promise!)

He doesn’t look so happy, but he really does like his hat (I promise!)

A couple of weeks ago I found the hat languishing in the back of a closet and pulled it out. Eli saw it and declared “my Pocoyo hat!” (The Pocoyo connection had never even occured to me… in fact when I made it I had never even heard of Pocoyo.) In that instant I found that I too loved Pocoyo. The next day he wore it to preschool and refused to take it off all day long.

Eli's Pocoyo hat


Toddler Pants with Knee-Pleat and Owl Patch

Last week I attempted to make a pair of toddler pants with a knee pleat detail copied from one of Eli’s out-grown jeans. Unfortunately I forgot to add seam allowances when I traced an existing pair of his pants for the patter. In the end the pants were salvageable, but I didn’t think they were worthy of putting out there in tutorial form.

That, however, was LAST week. THIS week I made another pair of pants complete with the beloved knee-pleat detail and feel perfectly confident about sharing the process.

Warning: This is a lengthy post.


First, trace a pair of pants that fit your child well. Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to the sides and around the seat and crotch. If you will be hemming the pants add extra length for your hem. I use a denim skirt for the material and just used the existing hem. Add 1 3/4″ in length to the front pattern piece only. (I know my pattern says 1 1/2″ but I found later on I needed just a bit more fabric in the pleat. You’ll see why.) You do not need to add any extra height for a waistband as you will be making that with a separate piece of fabric later.

I like to draw pattern pieces on freezer paper because then you can just iron it to the fabric you will be using and it doesn’t shift about as you cut it out.
I also like to use fabric from old clothing. You’ll save a LOT of money, keep clothing discards out of the landfill, and if the old clothing had sentimental value you can keep it around that much longer. My friends, family and neighbors keep me supplied with more fabric (for free!) than I can even store well… hence why the blogosphere will most likely NEVER see a shot of my dragon’s lair crafting space. Unfortunately, it is in what was formerly the dining room and is a fully visible part of our home.  I think I may have overheard my husband and Eli discussing whether to call that Hoarders program on me. But I digress.For these pants I used this old denim skirt. I liked how the stitching became an added detail to these pants. I was after a random effect, but needed to cut out the pattern pieces so that the existing seams in the fabric wouldn’t end up making the seams in the pants too bulky. In the end I got stiching stripes down the middle of the front and back of each leg. Not very random, but it I liked the end result anyway.Lay out one of your back pieces with the corresponding front piece on top, right sides together. Match up the points at the crotch then match up the bottom of the legs. The front piece is longer so there will be extra fabric.  Locate where the knee will be in these pants. Eli is between sizes 2T and 3T right now. The knee on these pants falls 7″ up from the bottom.After measuring to find the location of the knee, turn the ruler perpendicular to the pant leg. smooth the fabric from the bottom up until the bump of excess fabric is stopped at the ruler.

Remove the ruler and iron the excess bump of fabric down, first folded up, then down.

Push the excess fabric straight down from the middle so that it is equally distributed over the pant leg above and below the pleat.

Iron it down well to create very crisp folds.

This is what it should look like when you turn the pant leg over.

Here you can see the knee pleat on the inspiration pants. It is sewn on each side. Measure in 2″ from each side. Then mark a line on your fabric 1 3/4″ long both 1/4″ above and below the pleat opening on both sides of the knee. Connect the end of each line to the mark you made indicating the point 2″ in at the side. Sew along this line on each side. (This is where I found I needed the extra 1/4″ in length as sewing on the line would not quite catch the folded fabric underneath. I ended up sewing just inside the line I drew and it worked, but it would have looked a little bit straighter and neater if I had been able to just follow along on the line as I sewed.)

Pin the pant leg front and back together along the outer seam and sew.

After attaching the 2 pieces I added 2 lines of top stitching. One of these days I’ll try using a double needle but they kind of intimidate me. Here you can see the sewing on the knee pleat as well.

Repeat these steps with the 2nd pant leg.

I wanted to add a little decoration to these pants so I took some fabric from an old shirt sleeve and embroidered an owl.

I used 2 layers of fabric, both to give the embroidery stitches more stability and because I planned to leave the edges raw and wanted them extra fuzzy.

When I was done embroidering I cut out the owl and pinned it to the side of the pant leg just above the knee, more or less where a pocket on a pair of cargo pants would go.

I sewed around the edges 1/4″ in.  My sewing line is a little wonky, but it won’t really show after the next step.

I embroidered a border line over the machine stitches.

Then I trimmed about 1/8″ of the excess fabric around the owl detail and picked out some of the loose threads. It will get fuzzier after washing and with time.

Now I pinned and sewed up the inside seam of the legs.

Turn one leg inside out and insert it over the right side out leg so that the right sides are together. Pin around the opening, lining everything up from the midpoint of the crotch. When you sew go back and forth a few times where the seams converge in the crotch.

When I make a pattern for a pair of pants with this style of waist band I don’t spend much time worrying about the top of the pants. It just doesn’t matter. Now that they have come together, turn them right side out and trim the top so everything is even.

For the waist band cut a strip of fabric long enough to go all the way around the waist plus 1/2″ for seam allowances. It should be double in width. Since these pants were 11 1/2″ side to side, I doubled that (23″ ) and added 1/2″ (23 1/2″). I wanted a casing for 1″ elastic so I made it 3″ wide (folded in half 1 1/2″ leaves room for 1/4″ seam allowance and 1/4″ ease for threading through the elastic.)

Iron it in half the long way. Open it and join the two ends. Pay attention to the seam allowances being hidden when you fold it in half again. Pin the folded ring of fabric around the top of the pants with the folded edge down.

Top stitch down the seam allowance. I pinned it first.

Open up the seam where you joined the ends of the waist band loop. Measure around your child’s waist and add an inch to determine the length of your elastic. Thread through your elastic. Attaching a large pin to the end of the elastic helps. Overlap the ends of the elastic about 1″ and sew back and forth many times to attach them securely.

When finished feed all of the elastic back into the pants and hand stitch the waistband opening closed.

I restitched the hem of the pant legs.

I didn’t wait until after washing these to photograph them so the chalk lines at the knee are still there.

Here’s the side view.

Here they are being worn by Eli.

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