Photo Tutorial ~ Children's Knickers Pattern #NJ201

Helen Cloke children's knickers knickers pattern NJ201 photo tutorial

Here is the photo tutorial for the Children's Knickers Pattern that comes as a freebie when signing up to the Nellie Joans newsletter.

This knickers pattern was designed for comfort and coverage.

Knickers in smallest and largest sizes

For the pattern description, important things to note, material requirements and sizing, please refer to pages 1 and 2 of the booklet.

This tutorial supports the written information on pages 3-5 'Method of Construction.' It also covers some alternative methods not explained in the written instructions - these are shown in the grey fabric.

This pattern is designed for a lingerie elastic finish, placed on top of the fabric edge. 

If you are using an alternative type of elastic you can find tutorials for those here:

(More will be added to this list as the tutorials are created.)


Cutting Out:

Cut the pattern pieces out of the fabric, placing them all on the fold and paying attention to the 'direction of greatest stretch' arrows.  You should have 1 x front piece, 1 x back piece and 2 x crotch pieces.

pattern pieces cut out

Crotch Seams ~ 'Burrito Method':

Mark the centre point of the crotch seams on both the front and back pieces and on both ends of both crotch pieces.  I recommend doing this with a pin or fabric marker rather than clipping into the seams.

centre points of seams are marked with a pin

The back crotch seam will be sewn first.  Place one of the crotch pieces (this will end up as the inside crotch piece) down on the table with the right side up and the back crotch seam at the 12'0'clock position.  Place the back piece on top of this with the right side up and matching crotch seam centre points.  Place the other crotch piece right side down, matching the centre point with the other two pieces.

three pieces lined up

Centre points matched up

Line up the three edges and pin.

Pinned edges

Close up of pinned edge

Sew with a 6mm seam allowance.  You can use an overlocker to sew this seam or a regular machine set to a very slight zig-zag stitch.

When overlocking, I like to move my first pin parallel to the seam edge so that I can keep all the layers together at the start of the seam and not worry about this pin getting caught in the overlocker blade.

Overlocking the seam, starting position

Alternatively, here is the seam sewn on a standard sewing machine.  You want a narrow zig-zag stitch to allow the seam to have a slight give.  Try a setting of 2.5 long x 1.5 wide, test it out on a scrap of fabric first.  If you have it then you can also use a lightning stitch, (shown below) setting 3.5 long x 1 wide.

zig zag stitch seam

machine setting

Place these three pieces back on the table facing the same way up as before and with the seam again in the 12'o'clock position.

Shows overlocked seam complete

Take the top crotch piece and extend the free (front) end up so this piece lays flat over the sewn seam.

Crotch piece flipped upwards

Take the front piece and lay it right side down on top of this crotch piece, matching up the front crotch seams and centre notches.

Front piece placed over crotch piece

Starting at the waist edge of the front piece, start rolling this up into a tube, it will end up laying around the halfway point of the crotch piece.

The front piece rolled up

Repeat for the back piece so that it is rolled up and sitting alongside the front piece tube.

Front and back pieces are rolled up

This will expose the underneath crotch piece.  Take the free end of this piece and fold it up and over the rolled front and back pieces so that the front crotch seam meets the other two front crotch seams.

Crotch pieces lined up together

Line up the centre notches and pin these three layers together.

Detail of the notches lined up

Seam edges pinned together

You should end up with the two crotch pieces encapsulating the front and back pieces.  Sew this seam with a 6mm seam allowance.

Sewn seam

To untwist your 'burrito' feed one side of the two rolled pieces through the tube made from the crotch pieces and out the other side.

Untwisting the burrito

If you open out the layers you should have the front, crotch and back all sewn together with enclosed seams.Opened burrito

Press and then trim any thread tails.

Pieces sewn together at the crotch

Side Seams:

Lay the back and front pieces together, right sides facing, matching up the side seams.  Pin in pace.  I like to pin so that I can sew both seams in the same direction, i.e. top to bottom.

Pinned side seams

Sew with a 6mm seam allowance (12mm if you are making the petite variation of Size A.)

Sewn side seams

Press the seam towards the back and trim any thread tails.

Pressed side seams

Elastic Application:

You'll need one length of elastic for the waist and 2 x lengths for the legs.  The suggested lengths can be found on the sizing table and each length includes an additional 2cm for the seam allowance in sewing them into a loop.  However, I recommend that you try the knickers on the child first and then test the elastic length against them.  As elastics vary in stretch you may find you need slightly more or less than the suggested amount.

For Lingerie Lace Trim: (There is an additional blog post covering alternative elastic types.)

Elastic cut to length

Fold the elastic pieces right side in with the short ends matching to create a loop.

Elastics pinned into a loop

Sew with a 1cm seam allowance.  Tip:  If you are finding it difficult to backstitch the elastic, lift the presser foot, spin the elastic around 180 degrees so that you can now sew forward over the previous stitches, locking them in place. 

I also find it easier to sew the three pieces of elastic in a chain.  It's quicker and uses less thread.

Sewn in a chain

Trim the thread tails and finger press the seam allowance open.

Quarter mark the waist circumference by placing the side seams together and marking the centre points of the front and back pieces.  Quarter mark the waistband elastic in the same way.

Quarter mark the waistbands

Place the waistband elastic loop on top of the waist of the knickers, wrong side of the elastic against the right side of the fabric.  I'd recommend placing the seam of the elastic at the centre back quarter point and matching up all the quarter marks from there.

Centre back quarter

The elastic sections will be slightly smaller than the fabric sections.  The decorative edge of the elastic should match the cut edge of the fabric.

Elastic pinned in place

To sew the elastic, set your machine to a zig-zag stitch.  I prefer a stitch that is 3 long x 4 wide but this varies from machine to machine and personal preference.  You want to avoid too tight a stitch as this changes the structure of the elastic and is more likely to result in a wavy elastic.

Machine settings

You want to sew nearer the inner edge of the elastic, putting just enough tension on the fabric to stretch the elastic to an equal length.  Don't overstretch the fabric itself.

Sewing on the elastic

As some knit fabrics have a tendency to roll, keep checking this and the positioning of your elastic as you sew.

Checking the fabric underneath

Sew on the full loop of the elastic, backstitching when you get to the overlap.

Waist elastic sewn on

Quarter mark the leg holes by starting at the side seam, fold the leg hole edge together to find the centre point, mark this and then put the side seam and centre point together to find the halfway points between these.  Quarter mark the leg hole elastic.

Quarter marked leg holes

Sew these on using the same method as the waistband.  I find it easier to turn the knickers inside out so the leg hole sits above the part where I am sewing.  Otherwise the small leg hole doesn't fit over the arm of my machine.  You are still sewing from the right side with this method.

Showing sewing the leg elastic in place

Elastic all sewn on


From the inside of the knickers, trim away the very edge of the fabric where it lies beyond your zig-zag stitches, being careful not to cut the elastic.  Do this for the waist and leg holes.  Also trim any thread tails.

Trimming excess fabric

Find the centre point of the front of the knickers and hand sew on a bow or other decoration.  This helps children determine front from back.

Finished knickers

Finished knickers

Congratulations!  You've finished.  I'd love to see your makes so be sure to tag me @nelliejoans #nelliejoans #nelliejoans201


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  • Carla on

    Hola, me comparten el patrón, gracias!!

  • Gladys on

    hello … Greetings from Venezuela .. could you please send the Childrens Knickers pattern #NJ201. Thank you

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