Monday, 16 April 2012

Upcycle: Collared shirts that become long pants

A few weeks ago, I wrote a tutorial for making some easy-peasy pants for kids. Today, I'm going to use a similar process to upcycle one of Franky's collared shirts into a cool pair of kids' pants with pockets.

Making a pattern

Create a pattern by tracing around a pair of pants onto tracing paper/greaseproof paper (for more detail on how to do this, check out my easy-peasy pants tutorial). Cut out your pattern.

Cutting out the fabric

You will find the shirt easier to work with if you cut it into separate pieces - this helps you to lay the fabric flat for easy cutting. I cut mine into two front pieces and the back piece, with the sleeves removed.

First, we will make the back of the pants, from the front of the shirt.

Lay out the pattern piece on the front of the shirt (right side up). Be aware of the position of the pocket. I traced over the outline of the pocket to make sure I was happy with the position on the pants (and actually moved the pattern higher as a result). If you have two pockets, marking the pocket position on the pattern will also help you to put the pocket at the same height on both legs.

Pin around the pattern piece and cut out the fabric. Remove the pins.

Flip the pattern piece over and lay it on the other front piece of the shirt, right side up. If there is a pocket on this shirt front, make sure you place it in the same position as on the other side.

Pin around the pattern and cut out the fabric. Remove pins.

Now you will have two pieces that will form the back of your pants. Mine both have pockets, as Franky's shirt had pockets on both sides. 

Now it's time to make the front of the pants, from the back of the shirt. 

Fold the back of the shirt in half. Lay your pattern piece on top and pin it down. Cut around the pattern piece and remove the pins. Now you have the two pieces that will make the front of the pants.

Stitching the legs

Match up the pieces, right sides together, so that you have 2 separate legs. Make sure that you match the pieces up correctly - so that both pockets are at the back and the plain pieces at the front.

Pin along the inside of the leg and the outside of the leg. Sew these seams (I have used an over-locker, but a regular sewing machine is fine too - just sew a straight seam, about 1cm in from the edge, then finish the raw edge with an over-locking stitch on your machine).You will see in the photo that I overlocked the top and bottom edges at the same time.


Now it's time to sew along the crotch, so that the two separate legs are joined together. Start at the top of the pants, matching up the edges and pinning along the crotch. Once it's all pinned, you can sew it in a straight line from back to front. 

Inserting the elastic
Fold the top of the pants over (about 3cm) and pin. Sew close to the overlocked edge. Leave a 3cm gap where you will insert the elastic.

Measure around your child's waist and cut the elastic to size. Use a safety pin to pull the elastic through the casing.

Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the two ends of the elastic together. Make sure the elastic is not twisted!

Push the elastic inside the casing and sew the opening shut with a straight stitch.

Making a hem

Pin the pants up at the bottom to the desired length. Make sure both legs are the same length! Sew around with a straight stitch.

The finished product

and modeled by Mr Fun:

I loved these pants so much that I made another pair from a "work shirt":

and another (yes, Franky does wear a lot of stripes...)

 And one more pair...

You may have guessed this last pair were not made from a shirt! I upcycled some fabric that I used to cover a wardrobe a few years ago. The wardrobe is living in the garage now (storing our camping stuff), so I rescued the cool fabric!


Pam said...

Fantastic refashion!!! Very clever to position the pattern so the pockets are already done!!! The pants look great...

Monica said...

What a great way to get pockets on the pants! If my little guy ever needs pants (he gets a lot of hand me downs, poor kid doesn't get much of his own), I will have to try this!  Maybe as cargo shorts too...

Joelle said...

so awesome! i can't wait to use this idea to make pocket-ed pants for my boys! thanks for linking to make it wear it thursday so i could find you!

Erin @ Lohtown Life said...

Thanks Joelle :) Glad it was helpful!

Erin @ Lohtown Life said...

Cargo shorts is a good idea :) Mr 1 has a lot of hand-me-downs too!

Erin @ Lohtown Life said...

Thanks Pam :)

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