Potty learning & Mama made trainers

I have been washing diapers for close to 2.5 years now, and I am so ready to be finished! Unfortunately, the Little is not quite ready to be diaper free for good. To help the transition, I decided to sew up some trainers or “undies” as we refer to them, to wear around the house or during short trips where a bathroom is easily accessible. I landed on Stitch Upon A Time‘s Kids Scrundlewear Pattern, and am so glad I did.

The pattern includes 9 sizes from 12 months to 12 years. I always look for kids patterns with a wide range of sizes so that I can use them for years to come. The pattern is loaded with options featuring both boys and girls fits AND a trainer option for EVERY size. Pretty great if you ask me! I have the women’s Scrundlewear pattern, and have made myself a few pair, so adding this to my patterns was a no brainer.

When making the trainers and using some non-stretch fabrics, it is recommended to size up. Little was on the top of the 2y size, so I went with a 4y and am glad I did. The first pair I made, I went exactly as the pattern called for.

I used some Cotton/Lycra that has been sitting in my fabric stash for over a year and I knew I wouldn’t miss in case it didn’t turn out perfectly. I bought some PUL to use as a water resistant layer (often used in cloth diapers or mama pads) at Joann Fabrics. The inner layers I used some flannel or cotton interlock fabric that I had in my fabric stash. I think I used 3-4 layers of this material for the absorbent trainer portion of the undies.

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For the first pair, I followed the instructions. This method, you end up with the seam where the absorbent layers end up on the bum. I didn’t think that was probably the most comfortable, so knew I wanted to switch it up for the rest. I checked the fit on the first test pair, and everything else looked great, so I didn’t need any other modifications! In the photo below, the green pair is the original, with the absorbency sewed in as the pattern calls for (inside view).

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For the next pairs, I made a slight modification. I combined the front and back pieces of the pattern into one, omitting the seam allowance, so I had one long piece. I then used that pattern piece for the inner liner. This way, I would hide the seam where the absorbent layers are, making the undies a little more comfortable. I also used this single piece for the outer layer when using non-directional fabric! The photo below shows the difference between the combined pieces, and what the pattern calls for.

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The second batch, I cut about 8 pairs at once. Cutting and sewing in batches really makes everything go much faster for me, so I definitely recommend that once you have your fit!   I also had just gotten in a container of 100 sewing clips. Definitely a life saver for this project, sewing in batches!

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For most of these, I used up old fabrics from my stash. Many were made with some cotton interlock from Joann that I had in my stash. These were fabrics I bought when I first started sewing, not realizing they are actually not great for nice looking clothing and have little to no recovery. They worked fine for the trainers, and I tried to use my good cotton lycra for the bands, to make sure the bands had good recovery.

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The first pair I made, I used my coverstitch machine to sew the absorbent layers into the trainers (no picture). This worked great, but with all the layers, my machine was a little finicky. For the rest, I used a plain zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. This was definitely the quickest! I opted for black thread in all of these to make the sewing process quicker. Plus, most of my chosen fabrics had some black in it, so it matched perfectly. You can kind of see the green pair below, and the look of the overstitch machine compared to the zigzag.

When sewing these layers in, I left out the solid inner piece at first. This way, I could make sure I hit all absorbent layers, and again, reduced a seam against the bum. I usually sewed right side up around the crotch and front piece. That way, I made sure the front piece was sewn to the edge of the absorbent layers.

 

 

 

I like to sew around the circle part with the absorbent layers facing up. With a zigzag stitch this is possible, since both sides look the same!

 

 

 

After the absorbent layers were sewn in, I placed the inner layer into the trainers.

 

 

 

I then flipped the trainers over, so the outside was showing. I then pinned the sides, right sides together, and made sure to catch the inner layer.

 

 

When finished, the inner layer was connected to the front (and absorbent layers) just by the sides. This worked well for me! It occurred to me after I had about two pair left (and was already past this stage), that I could have zig zagged just around the round part of the absorbent layers, then placed the inner layer in, and zig zagged around the crotch and front pieces, so the inner layer was not as loose when sewing the bands!

 

 

After the sides were sewn, I just needed to serge the bands on and I was finished! The hardest part when attaching the leg bands, was the corner of the crotch and the bum. After needed to resew that corner on a couple pairs, I figured out I just needed to make sure I was pushing the fabric into my serger so it all caught in the seam. After that, I didn’t have any troubles. The second photo shows the corner that gave me some trouble.

 

 

Overall, I made 19 pair (I think, some are always in the wash or on the bum so I haven’t gotten a photo of all of them together, yet). We have been incredibly successful with potty learning at home, and even lasted through a Target run! I know we aren’t fully ready, as we still do more asking than him, but it’s been great so far. The absorbency level I used is enough to catch small pees in time to get to the toiler, but enough to let pee run down the leg so he realizes what’s happening. That’s the point of trainers, right?

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I highly recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a trainer pattern! You can add as much or as little absorbency as you want. I also can use this pattern in the future, although I’ll probably switch to the same pattern company’s Kids Boxerwear pattern. I sewed up some of those for a friend last summer and they are so adorable!

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As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments! Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers!
Caitlin

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