It is summer, which means time for shorts! I will buy shorts if I find cute ones at a reasonable price, but for the most part, I take my jeans and make them into shorts! A plus with doing that, is that I have to buy new jeans every fall! This summer, I had 3 pairs that I wanted to turn into shorts.
Anyone with basic sewing skills can do this. I did play with the hems with each pair so they are different. Normally I like cuffs and 2 of the pairs have cuffs. One pair has decorative stitching because as I was about to sew them, I thought “Why not?” That was the first pair and after that I decided not to do that again. It used so much thread. Below is the basic idea of how to transform jeans to shorts.
First, I recommend you measure the inseam of a pair of shorts you have to know about how long you want your new shorts, then add about 2 inches to account for the hem. I don’t always do this, actually I only did this with one pair of the shorts I made. I eyeball it, which is not necessarily a good idea.
Once you know about how long you want your shorts, draw a line on your jeans to mark where you will cut. You do want to make sure this line is straight. Diagonal tend to make funny looking shorts! I always use pinking shears to make my cuts because it helps prevent a lot of fraying.
For the two shorts with cuffs, I folded the ends of the pants up to the outside, about an inch. Again, it’s a good idea to measure as you fold. This is where I messed up. I didn’t measure and one of the legs of the decorative hemmed shorts is longer than the other! I can fix it but it a pain. Once you have the pants folded up, press with an iron. Otherwise the ends don’t want to stay down. You also will want to pin the legs. Again, I usually don’t do this. You’ve heard the saying; “Do as I say, not as I do” !?! Sew this part down.
Then fold again, about an inch, press and pin. Now at this point, I usually sew at the seams and hand tack the cuffs in about 4 places around the leg to keep the cuff from unfolding. Sewing at the seams can be a little tricky. Truthfully, you don’t have to do this if you hand tack the cuff, but I prefer it. To look nice, you want to follow the stitch that is already there. In the picture below, I lined up the seams and sewed on top of the stitching (on both sides) as best as I could. I used blue thread and you can see it, especially on the right side, but who is really going to notice when you are wearing them!
As I said, I usually hand tack the cuffs in about 4 places around the leg to keep it from trying to unroll. With the side seams sewn, it probably wouldn’t happen, but I hate refolding cuffs while I’m wearing shorts!
For the decorative hem, I just chose a stitch I have on my machine. I don’t use a lot of decorative stitches, so I thought I would play. I should have used a contrast thread to make the stitch pop, but oh well. Also, it is very important to make sure your stitching is straight. It would not look good to have your decorative stitching wandering up and down the cuff! I’m speaking from experience, by the way.
For the final pair, I made them into Capri pants. Again, you should measure the inseam of a pair of capris, add about 2 inches, and use that to make your cut. Once I made the cuts, I turned the pants inside out and folded the hems to the inside. Sew that fold and then fold again and sew. Don’t forget to press with an iron every time you fold. That helps hold the fold. Then sew the fold. I like to keep the top of the hem as close to the outside of the foot. See the picture below to know what I’m talking about. This helps to keep the edge in place and doesn’t fold down or do anything else wonky. If you use a contrast thread, this might look similar to the hems on jeans, but again I just used the blue thread and it blends in with the pant.
So, if you are cheap like me, you can take some jeans…
…and make them into shorts!
Do you re-purpose your clothes? If so, I’d love to know what you’ve done!