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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upcycling Pants Fabric Using Pattern Pieces

There's a lot of talk in our patterns group about upcycling adults' clothing into kids' outfits. It can be a lot of fun to do and it makes those little creations extra special -- and of course it can save us money on fabric!  On the blog here we have made several tutorials for upcycling tees and woven tops. But for today's tutorial we're going to show you how to take a pair of adult pants and use them as the fabric for your pattern pieces!

 I do this type of upcycle fairly often because my husband wears khaki dress pants and shirts/ties to work every day, so as they get worn out I have a lot to work with!  I have made his once-nice clothes into kids' dress pants, bows, dress bodices, etc. There are a lot of uses! Today I will demonstrate by cutting pieces for shorts. The same method today works for adult jeans and pajamas too, so don't throw any of those out either!  Here goes:

I will start with a pair of men's dress pants. They are worn at the hems and pockets and deemed unusable by my husband. First I lay them out and check to make sure the largest areas are free of stains or tears that will be a problem. 

Then I print out the pattern pieces I need and lay them on the pants. If I am making a pattern that calls for mirrored pieces, I can lay the piece right on the leg because there are already two layers to the leg, as shown above.  I just pin the piece in place and cut around it.  It's that simple!

Then I follow the sewing instructions as written. That's how I made these cute Patrick's Dress Pants

Notice that they even have that center crease down each leg, because of how I carefully placed the pattern pieces. 

The above method is how to do it if the pattern pieces fit on the leg and if the pieces are mirrored.  However, if you need a larger piece or if you only need one layer, you can first cut the pants open at the seams and lay them out flat so you have one larger piece to cut from. 

But what if you are making a pattern that needs the pieces cut on the fold? 

Well, that's even easier!  Simply lay the pattern piece down so that the fold line of the pattern piece is on the fold of the pants.  For today's example, I am making Jakob's Cuffed Shorts, which are cut on the fold. 

Because the pants I'm using have a side seam, I was careful to be sure they were laying completely flat with the seam exactly on the side.  The side seam of the adult pants will become the side seam on the kids' shorts -- and look really sharp! 

After cutting out the first leg piece, I moved the pattern piece over to the other leg, flipped it, and cut the piece on the fold again. 

After cutting out both leg pieces and opening them up, this is what I have. 

I also needed cuff pieces for the shorts so I used the measurements from the cutting chart and was careful to cut them using the fabric directly below the shorts pieces so the seams and lines would match up after attaching them. If you don't have enough fabric below where you cut, you can cut fabric from anywhere else on the remaining pants' scraps. 

And finally, don't forget to harvest that button from the pants!  It will make a cute accent, even if the pattern doesn't call for it. 

At this point I had my pieces all cut and ready to go! I just followed the steps I always do when making these shorts.  

Just twenty minutes later, here are my super cute size 4T Jakob's shorts!  I decided to sew the cuff in place since they were already a little worn at the edges. And of course I added that cute button to the waistband.  

And the little man approves!  He couldn't wait to show off his daddy-upcycled shorts that cost us nothing but half an hour of my time and a negligible amount of thread! And -- I think there's just enough of the khaki pants scraps left to make a Christopher's cap to match!  How incredibly adorable will that be?!

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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