Back several years ago when I was a contributor to Whipup, I wrote a post about how frustrating it was as a mom that clothing manufacturers don’t make pants for girls that are as warm as those they make for boys. Many retailers and manufacturers offer flannel-lined pants for boys but you’ll have a hard time finding flannel-lined pants for girls. Even retailers like REI that sell clothes for outdoorsy types don’t offer pants for girls and women other than those for skiing.
There are fleece pants that are fine inside but the wind goes right through them. I bought a pair of lined girls’ pants at Hanna Andersson but they are lightweight cotton lined with jersey so they are still not warm enough for really cold days at recess or walking around town in the winter. Given that we live in Chicago I wanted a pair of pants that my daughter can wear to school or ice skating or just playing outside with her friends in cold weather without pulling on a head-to-toe snowsuit.
Back in the 70s when I was in school, I remember that girls weren’t even allowed to wear pants to school unless it was snowing. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I still worry about the message it sends to our daughters. To me the message is, “You don’t need to be warm because you won’t be outside in cold weather” or “Looking cute is more important than being warm.” The message that I want to send to my daughter is, “Be prepared for any weather” and “Never let not having the right clothing hold you back from doing what you want to do and having fun, regardless of the weather.”
So when our daughter was three I made her a pair of reversible flannel pants, that she immediately dubbed her “fancy pants.” I made them from a commercial pattern for a pair of simple elastic pants. In addition to cutting the fabric for the outside of the pants, I cut pieces the same size for the flannel lining and just slipped them inside the pants before I topstitched the waist and the hems of the legs. Our daughter wore the first pair I made that winter more than any other article of clothing she owned. Year after year she would start asking me in October if I would make her another pair of “fancy pants” because she had outgrown the last pair.
A few years ago I switched from making the pants with reversible flannel to using colored denim on the outside for added durability. Last year I found jumbo pink rickrack to run down the sides of the legs and chose a pattern that included a simple zippered pocket for the inevitable tissue collection that goes along with playing outside in cold temperatures. I was really excited to find the perfect pink zipper that matched that rickrack!
What I really want to do next is make a pair for myself.