DIY: ankle biters

 In the spirit of spreading sunshine & cheer, I thought I would share with you how to make your very own ankle biters. This is the perfect project for recycling old t-shirts*. Here is what you'll need.
...And of course a sewing machine.  If you have an actual pant pattern that you like, feel free to use that in place of the old pants.  Let's get started!
1. With printed side of shirt facing you, fold shirt in half lengthwise, smoothing out any creases and bumps.  Always keep the print out towards you. (This makes it easier to see where you are cutting and to make sure you don't cut into the print/pattern of the t-shirt).  2. Lay the outer edge of the pants close to the fold of  the t-shirt. Be sure to place the waist of the pant as close to the lowest part of the neck of the t-shirt as you can.  3.  Now cut around the old pants using them as a guideline. Give yourself an inch or two (white dotted lines) to allow for proper fit and seem allowance.
You should have 2 pieces that look something like this.
4.  Fold each piece of the pant lengthwise, right sides together.  5.  Sew along the inside edge of the pant (dotted lines).  You've now created the pant legs.
Since these pants have raw edges, they need to be clipped and trimmed.
6.  Now turn only one of the pant legs right side out.
7.  Slide one pant leg into the other, right sides together.  Line up the seams.
It should look something like this. (I peeled back the top piece to give you a little peek at what it should look like when one pant leg is in the other and seems are lined up,  THIS IS JUST FOR SHOW).  8.  Now you're ready to sew the pants together.  It's easier to do this if you remove the arm of your sewing machine.  Sew along the dotted lines at 5/8".  You can double stitch the crotch area for reinforcement if you'd like (I suggest doing this).  When finished you should have sewn what looks like a "U" shape.
Trim close to the seem with pinking scissors for a cleaner look. 9. Now you're ready to take out one leg from the other and you should have....
irresistibly cute little pants! Now, let's make the casing for the elastic. You're almost done.
10. Line up the waist of the pant at the 6/8" mark on the plate of your machine.  Baste stitch around the entire waist.  This creates an easy guide for you to sew a straight line without having to involve measuring tape or the iron.
11. Now fold over the waist, lining the basted edge along the 5/8" mark on the plate, and sew around the waist of the pant leaving a 1/4" opening  (you need to leave an opening to slip the elastic inside).
12.  Cut a strip of elastic (for my 2 y/o, I measure 18 inches of elastic),  attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and thread your elastic strip through the waist of the pant.
It should like this once the elastic has made it around the entire waist of the pant.  Now you can remove the safety pin.
14. Sew your elastic ends together, and tuck into the waistband of the pant.
15.  Sew shut the opening for the elastic, and your finished! 
Now you have the perfect pair of pants for play or just lounging around.   Please email me with any questions you may have.  I am new to tutorials, I hope I didn't confuse any of you.  I would love to see your ankle biter creations, please email me your pictures.

If you discover sewing little pants isn't your thing, we still have a few ankle biters available in the shop

*The t-shirts used in this project are adult t-shirts.  The size of your ankle biters will depend on the size of the t-shirt used.  For my 2 y/o I use a large or x-large.  I have made these for 4 y/o using an extra large shirt.  It's hard to make these for kids older than 4--finding a "cool" variety of t-shirts available in the size needed is challenging.


  1. This is so great!!! I don't even sew and I want to give it a try. These are going to be so much fun for people to make. Great DIY!:)

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  3. Awesome tutorial! This must have taken you forever to write! Well done!

  4. These are so darn cute i can hardly stand it! The tutorial is perfect I'm sure for those that know how to turn on a sewing machine...is there in fact an on/off switch...I wouldn't know. I love seeing the project from the cutting board to the park! Seriously, you are beyond creative!!


  5. This is a fantastic DIY!! ...you're giving away your secrets:) I wonder if I find a "big and tall" tee, I could make a pair of comfy pants for myself?!