To make these pants, use the BAB Basic Pants or Shorts Sewing Pattern, available in my shop. You can also use these instructions as a guide for following the pants pattern of your choice. (When in doubt, trust any instructions included with your original pattern!)
The very first step is to cut out your paper pattern pieces. Try to preserve the original lines of your paper pattern by cutting along the outermost edge of each line. Then pin each paper pattern piece to your fabric, and cut your fabric according to the shape of your paper pattern. I would like to get into describing what the marks (such as arrows and triangles) on your paper pattern indicate, where to place the pattern pieces on your fabric for cutting, and how to adjust your paper pattern to suit your unique needs (how to tailor your pattern) in one or more follow-up entries. So look for those!
After you've cut out all your fabric pattern pieces, you'll need to put each of the (two matching) "pants front" pieces together, aligning them at the crotch. The "right" sides should face each other, so that you're assembling the pants "from the inside out". (Video tutorials about telling the difference between the "right" side and the "wrong" side of a fabric can be found here and here.) It's easy to tell when your pieces are aligned properly, because everything about the shape and dimension of these two pieces should match. Next, you will need to run a seam along the pants' front using your sewing machine. Until you're ready to use the machine, simply pin these pieces together to secure their alignment.
The standard seam allowance marked on all my BAB patterns is 0.25 inches (which should comfortably accommodate a 16-inch Build-A-Bear Workshop toy). You are welcome to increase your seam allowance, since these pants are very forgiving around the waist, and in the length of each leg. All of your seams should follow the shape of the pattern as closely as possible.
Now do more or less the same with the two back pieces. In this case, the crotch seam in the back should end where the tail hole begins. That is, unless your particular bear (or other toy) either doesn't have a tail, or you don't want the tail that it does have to peek out the back of these pants. (Cabbage Patch Kids don't have tails, and my BAB patterns fit them, too!) Completely up to you!
After you run both of these seams, open the seams and press them flat — see below. Flattening these seams will help to reduce thickness or bulk, improving the look and feel of subsequent seams along the pant legs and waistline.
Now, this is the easiest point at which to turn the raw edges around the hole corresponding to your Build-A-Bear's tail. This is how I do it... (see below).
Next, you want to sew the inseam.
Line up the front piece to the back piece so that the crotch seams meet. The distance between the crotch seams at the center and the raw edges at the bottom of each pant leg may not be equal, and that's perfectly okay! Turning your final hemline will resolve that problem. So don't sweat it. For now, just line these pieces up, as seen below, pin them in place and run a seam that follows the curving edge of the fabric between your pant legs.
After you've finished the inseam, snip a few darts around the tightest curve in the crotch area. This will help reduce tension around the inseam, once the finished pants are turned "right" side out. Without these darts, you can expect to see some distracting wrinkles or bunching in this area.
Once these darts are cut, you can lay the seams open and press them flat to prepare for the hemline around each cuff. You can see in this photo that I have already pressed these seams flat AND sewn the hemlines around each cuff.
Before you sew up each side, you'll want to finish the hemline around each of the bottom cuffs. Simply turn the raw edge, pin it along the entire length, and run an edge seam.
You have plenty of room to turn the hem as much as you like, but since I'm going for a less bulky approach, I chose to turn my hem just once. For a more finished and professional look, you may want to turn the hem again, so that the raw edge is completely enclosed within the finished hemline. Run the edge seam twice, if it makes it easier for you. Or use your iron to press the hem as you fold it over.
Increasing the seam allowance at the hem will make your pant legs shorter. Use your bear as a reference to decide how much shorter the pant legs should be.
You can try the pants on your bear at this point, if you pin both sides closed. I generally do this to adjust the fit. (Unless I plan to use an elastic waistband, in which case pants should be a bit loose around the waist before the elastic waistband gets installed.) Once the pants are on, I can adjust the placement of my pins to make the pants fit more tightly, taking up the slack on either side of my bear's imaginary hips.
Pinning the pants around my bear rarely results in a straight line up the pant leg. So I like to use a fabric marker (with disappearing, water-soluble ink) to mark a point at the hip and another at the cuff while it's still on the bear. Then I take the pants off, lay a straight edge between those two points, and mark a straight line between them. When I run the seam, I follow this line as closely as possible. Then I spritz it with water, and the marks disappear!
If you don't have a fabric marker, you can use whatever works best for you, as long as it doesn't permanently damage your fabric.
Before you finish the waistline, you'll want to prepare the back of the pants for an easy closure. You may want to know, in advance, what kind of closure you plan to use: buttons, snaps, hook-and-loop, or something else. Pieces of hook-and-loop material (commonly referred to as Velcro), for example, may call for a particular amount of overlap to accommodate the width of the "Velcro". So plan accordingly.
Fold back the raw edges on these overlapping parts, until you have the desired amount. You may also want to adjust your fold in such a way to create a nice visual line, perhaps visually perpendicular to the waistband, or roughly parallel to the pant legs.
The pinned result may look like this... (see below).
Run a quick edge seam on either side.
Then move on to finishing the waistband. There are lots of ways to finish a waistband, including attaching a dedicated waistband. For this example, I'm using the simplest method, which is basically treating the waistband as though it were another hem. If you think this sits much too low on the bear's imaginary hips, you'll probably prefer to add a waistband. I'll have to show you how in a later entry...
Ideally, your waistband should appear to be level all the way around the bear's imaginary hips. Sorta like so... (see below).
(Not all sewing machines are built the same way. On my Kenmore, I can fit most of my full-size shirt cuffs, full-size pant legs, or doll-sized waistbands around the relevant part on my machine only if I remove this optional drawer box, which slides on and off.)
Sew an edge seam around the entire waistband. And then...
And then, that's it! You've finished sewing this pattern together! How does it look?
If you're thinking it actually looks a bit un-finished, you're right: I'm leaving one thing out.... Depending on the closure(s) you've selected, steps for placing and attaching them will vary. So I haven't included any instructions for adding buttons, snaps, or hook-and-loop closures in this entry. But if you'd like some pointers, right away, relevant information can be found here and here.
** Most of these photos were taken by Michael Caporale, so that I could use my hands. Thanks for your help, Mike! **