We can make that: a pants pattern to challenge young kids

Last week, D was inexplicably cranky. Like, "there-isn't-enough-coffee-in-the-world," "I'm-regretting-all-my-life-choices," "we're-never-having-another-kid" level cranky. 

He threw engines in the kitchen sink. He drove recently-washed engines on the curtains I was ironing, leaving wet track wrinkles behind. He spent quiet time ripping the letter F photos down from his alphabedroom wall and tearing them Langoliers-style

I never realize it in the moment, but during these inexplicably cranky days the explanation is often pretty simple: he's bored. So he finds himself new challenges, like "can I rip this in the most methodical, eerily terrifying way?" 

This week I came up with my own scary challenge. I've kept the sewing supplies on a high shelf. Because needles. Because scissors. Because electricity. But sewing supplies are endlessly fascinating: elastic is fun to pull, bobbins are fun to spin across the floor. And none of the fundamentals of sewing are all that hard. Tracing, cutting, pinning: an attentive toddler can't quite master any of these skills, but he can help with all of them. 

So I grabbed some paper from our shared studio and sketched a two-piece pants pattern from an existing pair. I grabbed last year's unused Halloween fabric from my stash and we traced the pattern together. I wasn't ready to let him wield the fabric scissors, but did let him help me pin the legs together. Then I pulled him up on my lap and we started sewing. 

His turn: Yell "pin!" to let kiddo know your foot is off the pedal and it's safe to do his job.

His turn: Yell "pin!" to let kiddo know your foot is off the pedal and it's safe to do his job.

Thomas doubles as a pin cushion.

Thomas doubles as a pin cushion.

One small setback: If you sneak a ribbon tag into one pant leg, your kid can learn about the seam-ripper, because he will yell until the offending tag is removed.

One small setback: If you sneak a ribbon tag into one pant leg, your kid can learn about the seam-ripper, because he will yell until the offending tag is removed.

When it came time to press the pants for hemming, I let him hold the iron. When later he still hadn't tired of sewing and we'd moved onto a second pair of pants, I had him help me "drive" by pitting his foot on top of mine. 

Now kiddo is decked out for Halloween almost as early as Target is. 

Sweet dreams: candy corn pants.

Sweet dreams: candy corn pants.

Our afternoon of sewing has reminded me to keep giving us new challenges. Maybe tomorrow I'll give him a chef's knife.