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The Rocketman Wears Pants. And a Jetpack.

August 11, 2012

Thank you everyone so much for reading and for the wonderful comments you left on yesterday’s post over on Melissa‘s blog! I’m still beyond flattered to have been included there!

I showed you yesterday how to make Sam’s rocketman shirt.

Now lets talk about the pants!

The first thing you need is a pants pattern that works for your kid. I used Dana’s pattern, which I’ve tweaked repeatedly to make work for my guy. Just make sure whatever you use works for your shortie and you should be fine!

If you happen to be using Dana’s pattern, the first thing I want you to do is NOT follow her instructions for actually constructing the pants. Not that her instructions aren’t great – they are! it’s just that in this particular case, we want to put cargo pockets on the outside, which means that instead of starting with the inseam, we need to do the outer seams first.

Go ahead and match a pant front to back, and sew the outside seam. Repeat for the other leg, and press both seams out.

Set the pant legs aside and let’s make the pockets.

Cut two pieces of your main pocket fabric that measure 10″ wide x 7.5″ high.

(Ignore the part where I had to serge a little extra fabric to my pockets to get the right size. Yep, awesome cutting skillz).

Fold the pockets in half width wise.

From the fold, measure in 2″ and draw a line.

Along this line, measure down 3″ and place a mark. Then measure 1″ up from the bottom and place another mark.

Stitch along the line, backstitching, from the top until the 3″ mark. Switch to a long basting stitch and baste until the second mark. Go back to a regular sewing stitch, and sew the bottom inch, backstitching to secure.

Open the pleat and press it flat – align the fold line with the stitch line and press it flat.

Serge around the edges of the pocket to finish it. Press the serged seam along the top of the pocket down  1/4″, and tack it in place.

Set your pockets aside and get your colour bands ready! I used scraps of red t-shirt jersey to make mine. I wanted them to be about 3/4″ tall, so I cut 1.5″ strips that were the same as the pocket width and ironed them like bias tape.

Lay your strips across the pocket, about 2″ down from the top seam, and stitch them down.

Fold the top of your pocket over to the RIGHT side 1.5″, sandwiching your stripe, and press.

Stitch down the folds using a 1/4″ seam allowance, and backstitching well.

Flip the top “envelope” over to the wrong side, so the top and edges are finished, and the stripe is now about 1/2″ from the top of your finished pocket.

Top stitch 1/4″ around your ENTIRE pocket.

Now, remember that little bit of basting you did down the middle of the pleat? It’s time to take that out! Use your seam ripper and carefully remove only the basting stitches from the center of your pocket. This will keep your pocket solid, but allow it to “bag” a little when it’s stuffed full of rocks and dirt and cars and whatever else your little man picks up along the way! (Pro tip: check the pockets before doing laundry. I am just saying.).

Next, we need to sew them onto your pants! Now, I wanted these to be kind of low on his legs – lower than traditional cargo pants. Where you put the pockets is going to depend largely on your preference and the size of the pants!

To get these where they are on Sam’s pants, which are about a 2T,  I measured down 2″ from the crotch points on the pants and aligned the top of the pocket there.

If you want the pockets to be in a more traditional placement, align the top of the pocket with the crotch points.

Wherever you want them to be, pin them in place and sew around 3 sides, leaving the finished top of the pocket open. Make sure to reinforce the very top of the pocket by backstitching a couple of times to make sure it can take a little stress from small hands!

Now you can go ahead and finish the pants according to your pattern. If you’re not used to making pants starting with the outside seam, don’t worry – it’s easy. Just put your two pants pieces, right sides together, and sew/serge the front crotch pieces and back crotch pieces. Then align your inseams and sew/serge all the way around, up one leg and down the other!

Finish your waistband and hem your pants, and they are good to go….unless, of course, you need space explorer labels!

Obviously you need space explorer labels.

First, go online and find a NASA font. The one I used is here. Then you can use whatever method you like to put the words on your pocket bands. I used freezer paper and fabric paint – but if you prefer using a printer and iron on paper, then go for it! Whatever works for you.

Your pants are ready for exploring!!

Which means there is only one thing missing. You guessed it – the trusty rocket pack.

I saw a few tutorials and examples of this on Pinterest, and I kind of forged my own method for it, which I’ll share here.

You need two 2L pop bottles, a small piece of cardboard, some silver spray paint, some scraps of red and yellow fabric, and a glue gun.

First, I should warn you that I am not so much with the “general craftiness”. I kind of make things work, but it’s definitely not my strength. So I’m sure there are better ways of doing this – this is just how I made it work!

So start by emptying your pop bottles. This will be easy if someone in your house drinks it. We went through a lot of club soda. All good! Peel off the labels.

Go somewhere well ventilated and spraypaint those bottles silver. Definitely drop them on the ground a few times too so that they get nice and covered in grit. (Okay don’t do that. It’s not the best.)

When the bottles are dry, fire up your glue gun and glue the two bottles together, side by side. I didn’t get too obsessive about this, but try to line them up nicely.

Cut a square of cardboard that fits behind your bottles nicely – this will be the part that’s in contact with your shortie’s back. You need it to attach your straps to, but you don’t want it to show. Glue that to the bottles.

Eyeball a length of elastic that seems like it would make a good backpack strap for your kiddo, plus about 2″. Glue 1″ of the elastic to the top of the cardboard, and about 1″ of the other end of the elastic to the bottom of the cardboard. In case that’s confusing, take a look at my high-tech drawing below. I’m sure it will clear everything RIGHT up.

Repeat on the other side to make two straps. If they are a little short, the elastic should account for that okay. If they are a bit long, just knot the loop a little bit under your child’s arm. It’ll be fine!

Finally, cut some random strips/triangles/fire-ish shapes of fabric scraps. I used a combination of red t-shirt jersey and yellow fleece, because that’s what I had on hand. Vary the widths and lengths of your “flames”. Knot them all together at the top (or tie an extra scrap around them to bunch them together). You want to shove the knot into the mouth of the pop bottle – ideally it should take a little bit of work to push that knot in there so that it won’t fall out too easily. You could add a bit of glue to secure it, but I didn’t worry about it. Repeat on the other side.

And you are done! Strap it on your little person and let them blast off!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hubby permalink
    August 11, 2012 10:07 am

    Can’t say enough about the overall impact of the rocketman getup. Going out on a neighborhood walk with Sam, he turned heads all over the place! So theoretically, if one were to be intrigued by the idea of making an adult sized rocket pack, what containers would you use instead of 2L pop/soda bottles? 😉

  2. Angela permalink
    August 12, 2012 11:49 pm

    Love, love, LOVE! Great job!:0) Sam, must have had a blast!;0)

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