Today’s project was one of those that came together (finally) – not by intention, but it worked. And worked well!
I was originally going to cut up these baby corduroy capris into bermuda shorts for River. Since I couldn’t find a free pattern that I liked, I referenced back to a self-drafted pattern I made last year for her (hope to make it available soon for everyone!). However, my end result was not bermuda shorts, (as you have already seen) but capris!
Any shorts or pants pattern. I used a self-drafted bermuda shorts pattern and lengthened the inseam by 2 inches. If you use a pants pattern, decrease the inseam accordingly. The inseam on my 3T pair of capris was 6 inches.
The details I was aiming to keep in this upcycle were the front pockets and the waistband. I wanted these shorts to have an elastic waistband for my 3-year old to easily dress herself (so I wasn’t concerned with keeping the zipper or button closure).
First, if the pattern you are using is a four-piece shorts or pants pattern, tape the front and back panel pieces together, as shown in this photo (you may want to overlap the pieces by the seam allowance so that the capris/shorts aren’t too baggy. I chose not to do that, so River’s capris did end up on the baggier side):
Place your pattern piece on top of your pants/capris, lining up the seam line of the original pants to the middle of the pattern piece. Shift the pattern piece up about 1.5 inches to account for the waistband. Since you don’t have to add a waistband, you will need to make the shorts 1.5 inches shorter (save a little fabric and tons of time!).
Then I took that first panel and used it as my pattern piece to cut my second piece. Just make sure you line these up right side to right side or else you’ll be cutting two of the same shorts leg and that wouldn’t work out too well. Again, line up the seam lines here.
This next step was the trickiest. I needed to make sure the elastic would slide through the waistband casing, so I couldn’t just close these shorts shut with a simple stitch. I placed the right sides together and stitched just the outside of the short’s back waistband together. You can see where I pinned; I just sewed that 1.5 inches closed.
After sewing the waistband back section together, I repeated that step for the front of the shorts. Then, I sewed down the front and back seams starting from just under the waistband.
Then I measured River’s waist (20 inches) and cut elastic of 20 inches. I was going to use some upcycled elastic, but didn’t have the time to seam rip it, so I just grabbed some olive green. Not River’s color, but it will be hidden, so it doesn’t matter!
All sewn together – you can still see the elastic through the front and back sections that are not sewn shut. I sewed these carefully with my sewing machine, taking care not to sew the elastic to the front or back of the pants. You could also sew these shut by hand. These sections will be on the inside of the shorts, so they won’t get seen.
Then I finished the capris by sewing and serging the inseam. At this point I tried the shorts on River and measured how much I needed to hem to make them the perfect length. I love the way they turned out, plus since they are a bit baggy, they will make great bermuda shorts next year for her!
Here’s the breakdown:
Head on over to Feather’s Flights today for some cute baby shorts and bloomers plus a FREE pattern too!