Gathered Leg Casing for Tree Climbers

The Tree Climbers are adorable as  bubbly pantaloon-style shorts or knee-length pants with elastic at the bottom of the legs, but they also work very well without the elastic. 

Here is a capri-length, wide-leg variation that I made, featuring a sweet ruched drawstring detail at the bottom of the leg.  The wide leg gives them a relaxed, summery feel, and my daughter loves the bow detail!

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial


1.    Adjust Tree Climber pattern pieces:

When cutting out the pants pattern pieces, you may wish to add some extra length to the pant leg for a mid-calf length, but of course you can adjust the length to your preference.  For this size 6 pair, I added an extra 3” to the bottom of the pant leg.  Sew the pants as instructed in the tutorial, and hem the bottom of the legs.  


2.    Prepare the drawstrings:

For the drawstrings, you will need to cut 4 strips of fabric 2” wide by 14” long (you may need to adjust the length depending on the size of pants you are making - the 14” strip provided enough length to account for a knot at one end of the drawstring, and to tie a nice big bow).  Fold the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.  Then fold the outer edges to the centre fold and press again, as you would for making bias tape.  Edgestitch along the long edge of the drawstring piece.  You may wish to finish one end of the drawstring piece, or tie it in a knot.

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial

You could also use twill tape, pre-made bias tape, or ribbon for the drawstrings, though I would avoid using anything too slippery so they don’t come untied.  


3.    Prepare the drawstring casings:

Cut out two rectangular pieces of fabric to use as drawstring casings - for this pair I cut the casing 2.5” x 5.5”.  You could adjust this dimension slightly, just make sure that it is wide enough to accommodate two drawstring channels side-by-side.

Fold over the long edges of the casing ¼” and press.  Then, fold over the short edges of the casing ¼” and press.   

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial


4.    Sew the drawstring casings to the pants:

Pin the drawstring casing piece to the bottom of the pant leg, centering it on the outer side seam of the pants, and placing it so that the bottom of the casing is about ¼” from the bottom of the pant leg (I like to press the casing piece in half lengthwise so that it is easier to line it up on the side seam of the pants).  Edgestitch along the left and right sides, and also down the centre of the casing - do not stitch the top of the casing at this point.  

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial


5.    Insert the drawstrings in the casings:

Use a safety pin to thread the unfinished end of a drawstring through each of the channels of the drawstring casing from the bottom to the top.  

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial

Pull the drawstrings down just a bit so that the top of the drawstring is about 1/8” below the top of the casing - you will want them to be just below your edgestitching line so that they are hidden.  Pin the drawstrings in place and edgestitch across the top of the casing.  Sew a second line of stitching about ¼” below the first line of stitching to ensure that the drawstrings are well secured.  

 Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial


Gather up the casings and tie the drawstrings in a bow.  Enjoy your cute new pants!  

Tree climber pants gathered leg casing tutorial


Angela Schade lives in a little town in the mountains of British Columbia with her daughter and husband. She can usually be found sewing or with knitting needles in her hands, but also enjoys exploring forests, lakes, and rivers with her family. You can find her at Snippet