Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Upcycle - Pants to Shorts

Happy Earth Day today! In honor of our Earth today, I am going to share a nice upcycle project I just finished. I am going to show you how I turned some worn out khaki pants into shorts. My guys are hard on their clothes and always seem to get holes in the knees. We are lucky to get one season out of them with my son. But the rest of the pants are perfectly good. I love this project because not only is the Earth happy we aren't throwing out those old pants, I am also happy because this is just the time of year that my guys need some new shorts and I don't have to buy them new ones! Check it out! There is a nice trick to make them look great!

Essentially, what I did was to make a wide facing for the bottom hem of the pants. I think this gives a much nicer look than just a turned under hem for a few reasons. First, you can get that nice deep hem. This helps it look better on the outside, but also helps to give some weight to the hem and helps it hang better. Plus, we will shape that facing a little to help it fit in the hem nicely, where you will probably have some pulling or bunching if you tried to turn the hem up too much, since the pants legs are not quite straight. That contrast facing just looks cool, too. 

First, of course, you are going to want to gather your supplies. You will need those worn out pants. This project is perfect for pants with worn out knees and/or hems.You will also want some scraps of fabric to use for a facing. And of course, you will need some matching thread, cutting and measuring tools, and an iron. Now, let's get to work.

  1.  The first step will be to cut off those pants. Figure out how long you want them, either by trying them on your model or measuring another pair of shorts that fits well. Add 1/2" seam allowance and cut. 

     2.  Now we need to take some measurements so that we can make a pattern for the facing pieces. Measure across the width of your pants leg at the seam line (which is now 1/2" from cut raw edge) and measure the width 2 inches up from the bottom. Measure carefully so that you can get an accurate fit. The upper measurement will likely be slightly (about 1/4 - 1/2") larger than the bottom measurement. It may not seem like much, but that much will make a difference in how well the facing fits in there. Now, on a piece of blank paper, draw a line near the top of the paper the length of the upper measurement. Draw another line, centered at the same center line, 1.5" down from the first line, making the length of this line the same as your lower measurement. Connect your lines at the ends. You should have a sort of trapezoidal shape. Add 1/2" all around for seam allowances. Now you have your facing pattern!

    3.   Cut out four of these facing pieces. I suggest cutting them on the bias so that they will have some give. This makes it easier to work those pieces in there. 

   4.  Working with two of the facing pieces at a time, sew the short ends with right sides together and 1/2" seam allowance. (Make sure your longer bottom edges are together and shorter top edges are together.) I finished my edges with a serger, but you don't really have to since they will all be enclosed. I just think it makes them easier to work with. 

   5.   Pin the facing piece to the raw edge of the shorts, right sides together. Be sure that you are working with the right edge of your facing (probably the shorter side). Sew together with 1/2' seam allowance. Press seam allowance towards facing. Understitching at this point is a good idea.

   6.  Press the outer edge of your facing under 1/2" and then press facing towards shorts. Pin in place. Sew facing in place by topstitching near the edge of the facing.

   7.   Follow steps 4-6 for the other leg. Then, give those shorts one last press and you are done! Don't those look great! If the thread matched perfectly, you would never know these were modified. Except for that added interest in the contrast facing on the inside, which I think makes it even better.

And now we are ready for summer! Thank goodness, because its starting to warm up here and my guys needed some shorts!

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