The following is a post from contributing writer Jackie.
Using upcycled clothing to make “new” clothes for my little girl is so much fun. I have already shown you how to make a skirt and a dress from upcycled T-shirts. Today I want to share how to make pants from a T-shirt, specifically a maternity shirt. (Here is another idea I shared for refashioning a maternity shirt.)
Technically, you can make these little pants from any large T-shirt, but maternity shirts are what I had on hand. Also, you can sew pants for a baby, not just a toddler.
Be sure to save your scraps so you can make an upcycled T-shirt rug when you’re finished.
Not only did I make my little girl a pair of pants from one of my old maternity shirts, but I also made her a coordinating shirt using another maternity shirt. Here are the details.
- Maternity T-shirt or other T-Shirt
- Pants that fit your toddler
- Sewing Machine
- 1 inch Elastic
- Safety Pin
1. Lay your maternity shirt out flat. Line up the hems on the front and back.
2. Turn the pants that fit your child wrong side out and lay them on top of the maternity shirt. You will be using the hem of the maternity shirt as the hem of your pants so that there will be no hemming required for this project.
Cut around the pants leaving approximately 1/2 inch on all sides except the top where you will need to add about 2 inches. You should now have 2 pieces cut out.
3. Repeat Step 2 so that you have a total of 4 pieces cut from your maternity shirt.
4. Place two pieces on top of each other, right sides together, making sure that the hems match. Pin along the long straight side as well as the short, curved side (bottom half, inside) as pictured above.
5. Serge or sew along the pinned sides using no more than a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
I used a serger, but a regular sewing machine will work just fine. Be sure to use a ball point needle and to lengthen your stitch length slightly if using a sewing machine. This will accommodate for the stretch of the knit.
You will sew a total of 4 seams in this step.
6. Here is what the pants should look like now. Turn them right side out.
7. With right sides together line up the seams and top edges of both sections of the pants. Pin the two halves together so that, even though the right sides are together, the inside will be visible as picture above.
8. Serge or sew along the pinned curve using no more than a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This step will join both halves and give you an almost finished pair of pants.
9. Turn the pants wrong side out again.
10. Fold the top down towards the inside of the pants 1 1/2 inches. Pin in place.
11. Stich close to the raw (open) edge all the way around the pants, but leave about a 2 inch opening for inserting the elastic. This step forms a casing for the elastic.
12. Insert a safety pin into one end of the elastic and thread it through the opening you left in Step 11.
To determine how much elastic you need you can try the pants on your child and figure out exactly where to join the two ends of the elastic. Alternatively, you can measure your child’s waist and add an inch to that measurement. Cut the elastic to this measurement.
You may notice that there is some pink ribbon sewn into the pants. I like to use grosgrain ribbon as a tag. I simply cut a piece, folded it, pinned it to the pants so that the raw edges were inside of my casing, and then stitched over it in Step 11.
13. Place one end of the elastic over the other end and zig-zag the ends in place 4-5 times. Make sure that the elastic is not twisted inside the casing first.
14. Sew the opening of the casing closed just as you stitched Step 11.
You now have a finished pair of pants/leggings that will bring new life to an old shirt.
To make the shirt for my little girl I didn’t use a pattern and I really didn’t write out a tutorial. However, I thought I would try to briefly explain how I made it just to let you know that you can wing it.
What I did was use another shirt as a guideline and cut out two pieces, a front and a back. I made the shirt longer than my template shirt because I wanted it to be more like a tunic. I used the hem of the maternity shirt as the hem of the new shirt.
The sleeves of my maternity shirt became the sleeves of my daughter’s shirt by simply making them narrower so that the circumference of the upper part of the sleeve was the same as the opening on the shirt.
I stitched the sides together and the shoulder seams. Then I stitched the sleeves to the shirt. Finally, I used a piece of the maternity shirt hem as a neckband.
If all of this is confusing I apologize. I used white thread on my serger so that you could see where all of my seams were. I didn’t have to hem the bottom or the sleeves of this shirt because of the way I cut it out which was a nice bonus.
This is the finished product. I would suggest using a pattern if you aren’t overly comfortable winging it. However, if you have a little sewing know-how I imagine you could use an existing shirt as a guide like I did.
My little girl liked her new outfit so much that she cried when I was going to take it off of her after taking this picture. I guess that’s all the affirmation I needed that I did a good job.
Do you enjoy making clothes for your children? Have you ever used upcycled clothing to make “new” clothes for them?