suspenders are cute

Recently, on a prop shopping trip for my photography business, I stumbled upon the most adorable prop for which I decided Grady needs a pair of suspenders. Well, unless you want to shop online and wait for them to arrive, it is a tad difficult to find toddler suspenders. Instead of waiting around, I decided to go on ahead and make a pair. It turned out to be a simple naptime project for me. Since I possess mere beginner’s sewing skills, I’m positive these suspenders would be easy for just about anyone to make!

A quick note, your toddler needs to be wearing jeans or pants with belt loops in order for these suspenders to work with their outfit. I just didn’t want anyone to be disappointed if they made these suspenders only to be unable to use them with the envisioned outfit!

Toddler Prop Suspenders {TUTORIAL}

All the things I used:

– maybe 1/8th of a yard of blue fabric

– 4 inches of brown 1″ wide elastic

– 3″x3″ square of brown felt

– 3 buttons

– 3 small-sized hair elastics

– thread

– needle

– sewing machine

– rotary cutter (you can use plain ol’ fabric scissors)

– fabric marking pen

– ruler

– cutting mat

You may wish to pin your sewing as you go along but I am a lazy sewist and rarely ever pin. If that’s your thing, pin away!

1) Measure from the center of your toddler’s back about halfway down, over the shoulder, down to the waist. Add an inch to that measurement for seam allowances and general roominess. This is the length at which you will want to cut your fabric pieces – the front of the suspenders. The length of my fabric was 19″ and I cut my strips at 4″ wide. You can make them as wide or skinny as you would like. So, I cut two strips of fabric at 19″ long x 4″ wide.

2) Measure from the center of your toddler’s back to the back of their waist, toward the top of their rump. Add an inch to that measurement for seam allowances. This is the length at which you will cut your elastic piece. I cut mine at 4 1/4″ long.

3. Make a 1/4″ fold at either end of your fabric strips and hem the ends to create a clean finish. With the unfinished sides of the hems facing out, fold each of the fabric strips in half and sew each, creating two tubes of fabric. Turn your tubes right-side out (I think this is the step which took the longest for me, no joke) and press with an iron, making sure to center the seam of the tube.

4. Lay your pressed tubes on top of one another. Be sure the right sides of each tube (the side without the seam, which will be facing forward once your suspenders are finished) are facing one another. Using your fabric pen and ruler, make a mark 1.5″ up from the bottom of the tube on the right side of the top tube.

5. Using your ruler, cut an angle from the bottom left of your tubes to the mark on the right side of the tube. Because I am but a mere novice in the sewing department, I do not have the angle figured out for this. I just eyeballed it.

6. Flip your tubes over so that wrong sides of each tube are facing and sew them together along the angle you just cut. Your tubes will now look like a big ol’ V. It stands for being victorious up to this point in the project :)

7. Pull out your elastic piece and cut it to the length you figured up earlier.

8. Using your ruler, determine the point at with your tube V is approximately 1″ wide and cut the bottom of the V right off. This is where you will be attaching your elastic.

9. Lay your elastic on the “pretty” side of the tube V and sew it on.

10. Flip the elastic down and sew another seam 1/4″ from the point at which you attached the elastic. This finishes the elastic off nicely. Even though this is the back side of the suspenders, making sure to take this one extra step will ensure that your toddler doesn’t have a bothersome bump of fabric rubbing against their lower back while wearing the suspenders.

11. Admire the nicely-finished backside of the suspenders.

12. Flip the suspenders over to the sort-of-ugly-at-the-moment “right” side. Pull out your 3″x3″ piece of felt.

13. I sorta-kinda eyeballed this part as well. I knew the elastic was only an inch wide, so I marked an inch in from each side of the felt and then cut an angle from the widest point of the felt (3″) to the mark on either side of the felt (1″ in from each side) which created a trapezoid.

14. Sew a line around the outside of your trapezoid 1/4″ in from the outside edge.

15. Now it is time to attach those small hair elastics to each end of the tube V as well as the end of the 1″ wide elastic. Place the hair elastic at the end of the tube, making sure the seam of the hair elastic is facing so that it is covered by the fabric. Fold about 1/4″ of fabric over the elastic. Sew a seam.

16. Look at the middle picture above and mimic what I am doing – place the exposed loop of elastic over the seam you just created, then fold the fabric/elastic over so that only two small loops are exposed.

17. Sew a seam down the center of the elastic. You can use your first seam as a guide.

I realize this is confusing but this is the best I could explain it. So sorry!

18. Repeat the above process with the 1″ elastic end.

19. Curse your sewing machine repeatedly for getting jammed up on the elastic.

20. Rejoice that any mistakes made on the first elastic seam are covered by the final fold.

21. Using a needle and thread, attach a button to one side of each of your elastic pieces (one per suspender strap as well as one on the back 1″ wide elastic). I sewed through the elastic in a few spots to be sure the button wouldn’t slip along the elastic. I’m not 100% positive that is necessary but it made me feel better :)

22. Attach the suspenders to the belt loops on your toddler’s jeans. To get the buttons to center on the belt loop, I had to pass the button and hair elastic across one another inside the belt loop, then wrap them around the front of the belt loop to attach. It worked out well!

I love how these turned out so very much. They are super adorable and will work out well for the photo shoot I have in mind. Keep in mind, these are merely “prop” suspenders. I do not promise these will keep your toddler’s pants from falling down but I do promise they’ll be super duper cute.

While I think the suspenders are so incredibly adorable, Grady didn’t quite agree :)

Hopefully he’s a bit more cooperative for our “real” shoot :)

I’m linking this tutorial up at WhipperBerry as well as:

I Heart Nap Time