November 13, 2012

Refashionista Day 2 - With Running With Scissors

Today we have an amazingly talented girl who can sew anything.  Jessica from Running With Scissors is here.  You may have seen her dino tails or her maxi dress from a vintage sheet around blogland, but she's got a billion more incredible projects on her blog.  Welcome Jessica!

I'm thrilled to be part of Cheri's refashion series! I love re-purposing and this was a good excuse to look through our goodwill pile for something that needed a second life.

I decided to use my husband's chambray dress shirt and ended up making pants for our daughter.

Refashioning a chambray dress shirt from my husband, I flipped it upside down to use the sleeves as pants.  Obviously sleeves are only so long and so this will only work with toddler sized pants. 

I went with a basic pant with an elastic waist and added patch pockets.
The back of these pants ended up having the sleeve underarm seams coming to a point at the waist.
I know I wouldn't want an arrow pointing to my butt, but in a baby I thought it added some texture and interest.  You could also add back pockets draw some attention away.

The unique element that comes from the sleeves are definitely the plackets and cuff that become the new super thick hem and interesting buttoned side seams.
I added the pleated patch pockets and all the contrasting buttons.

So on to making your own:
Make Some Pants from Dad's Sleeves!
Start off by hacking off the sleeves at shoulder seams.

To avoid having puffy pants above the cuff, you'll need to get rid of the wrist pleats found in men's dress shirts.  Unpick the cuff from the sleeve.  You'll need between the buttonhole side to 2" beyond the pleats free.
I use a flat razor to unpick, much quicker and easier than a seam ripper.

3. Press the sleeve to make the button placket your new side seam, and steam and press the pleats flat.
You'll be sewing a new seam line to match up with the width of the cuff, taking out the excess fabric that was used in the pleats. 

4. Using a pair of pants that fit or a pattern, trace the front of the pants.

Orient the hem right on the cuff (since you won't be hemming) and the side seam right on the fold of the sleeve placket.  Trace the pants to allow for seam allowance and an extra 1" along the top for an elastic casing.

**Remember to plan a seam allowance at the bottom of sleeve to meet up and match the width of the cuff**
5. Cut along your line, making sure to only cut the front of the pants, not through both sides.

6. Flip the sleeve over to the other side, and fold the pants to trace the back half.

Repeat the same steps with the seam allowance, and cut out back half of leg.

When you open it up, the fold is the new side seam, and you can use this piece to cut the other sleeve.

7.  Sew the inside leg seam, making sure they are right sides together, and will match up to fit the width of the cuff when sewn.

8.  Reattach cuff to sleeve by top-stitching around what is now the pant leg. 
Repeat on other sleeve.

9. Connect both pant legs by inserting one inside the other.

One will be right side out, one will be inside out in order to have them right sides together.

Sew the curve that creates the center front and back seam.
At this point you'll have a pair of pants.


1. Trace desired pocket shape on muslin or lining fabric, cut rectangles using scraps from upper sleeves about 1.5" wider than desired pocket.

2. Pin the outer edges to the pocket sides on the muslin, then work the rest of the excess fabric into pleats to lie flat on the muslin base.

3. Sew across the pleats along the straight top side of pocket tracing.

4. Fold the muslin back, keeping the raw edges between the layers.  Press the fold to make the finished top of the pocket.

5. Measure button and sew horizontal buttonhole through both layers.

6. Pin pleats again along bottom of pocket as you did to the top.

7. Stitch around the pocket, in the "U" shape connecting the entire pleated top fabric to the muslin base.  Trim the edges to 1/4" or serge around pocket.

8. Pin pockets to front of pants.
I used the fold or "side seam" as a guide for the outer edge of the pocket and placed my pockets vertically between the top of the sleeve placket and waist.
Top stitch around the edges of the pocket with 1/8" seam allowance.

9. To create a casing or tube to hold the elastic, finish the top edge by serging, pinking or sewing a zig-zag.  Press down top edge 1" to wrong side of pants.  Sew around waist with 7/8" seam allowance making the casing, but leave 2-3" unsewn so you have a hole in the tube.

Cut 3/4" elastic to desired waist length, and using a safety pin thread through the pants top casing.

Pulling both ends of the elastic out of the hole you left, sew them together, then finish sewing the casing hole to complete the elastic waistband.

10. Add buttons for pockets and replace original dress shirt buttons with something fun.
I chose to add four buttons to the sleeve placket to look more intentional and less like a sleeve on a baby leg. 

The pleats are gone, leaving a straight leg pair of pants with unique side seam button placket and thick cuffed hem!

I was thinking this same idea would be great for little boys, making them with cargo pockets, knee patches, or snaps/ studs rather than buttons for a more manly look.

Thanks for having me and you can find more kids clothing and other junk at my blog!

Thank you SO much Jessica.  If you guys want to be amazed, click HERE to see what Jessica made when she was in Project Run and Play.  There's a LOT of cool boy stuff.

Thanks for stopping by.


Suzanne Winter said...

so awesome!!!! Just pinned it for baby girl

marnae said...

What a great idea! I've made lots of dresses from men dress shirts, but never thought to use the arms for pants!

Delia said...

So cute Jessica! I love those little pleated pockets. What a great idea to use an old men's shirt. Love!

Krista said...

That is adorable and a great idea! Looks more tricky to make pants like this then starting from new material, but I love the reuse aspect of it.

~ko said...

I've been a long time fan of her blog! But oh the cuteness here! This is hilarious and cute and stylish all at the same time! Cute cute cute! Makes me hope you are having a girl Cheri!!!

kim west said...

i would have never guessed that was sleeves! amazin! love the buttons!

Unknown said...

Love this! Those are so stinkin' cute!

nana said...

just too amazing. and i do believe Elle is getting into this modeling business. just thinking about the possibilities for this idea and finding tall sizes as the thrift store means it can grow with the little one as far as available shirts.

Anne LK said...

Loving this! Hubby has too many old shirts that I can now use up. Will be making little boy ones, maybe with some vintage metal buttons...

Joelle said...

ahhh! I've tried the "sleeves for pants" thing before but hated the puffy pants result ... why did I not think of unpicking those cuffs and sewing a new seam? genious!!

Sandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra said...

It looks awesome! I will try this for my little boy for sure. (Had to remove the comment above, because *the little hero* typed inbetween my comment. Uups)

Shannon said...

These pants are super cute! Love the pockets.

Michelle Johnnie said...

Totally awsome idea. I am featuring this at today!

Anshu said...

Very stylish. I featured them here:


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