For this project, you'll need:
- 1 pair of adult athletic shorts
- sewing machine
- matching thread
- loose-fitting toddler pants or shorts to use as a template
I started with this pair of size Small women's jogging shorts. These have been sitting in my drawer since college. Time to embrace reality, and realize that these will never be appropriate for public consumption again.
First, turn the shorts inside-and lay them on a smooth, flat surface. Take the time to perfectly center the middle seams and line up the front and back band. I also smoothed out all the wrinkles to point downward. You can't get rid of the wrinkles since it's all gathered in the elastic, so just try to make sure they're all pointing in the direction that you'll be cutting.
Next, lay your template pants over the shorts, being careful to line up the center seams and band. Toddler sweat pants would be best for this. (Don't use leggings.)
Rather than use chalk or a pen to make the outline, I just pinned the layers of the shorts together. MAKE SURE you keep both layers of the elastic band on the same level when you pin them, and PIN THROUGH THE ELASTIC, so it doesn't "boing" deep into the band when you cut through it.
Cut through all layers of the shorts about 1/2in. outside the line of pins. I pulled the waistband ties out to make sure I didn't cut through them.
Next, sew up your seams with coordinating thread.
I went back and zig-zagged over the waistband seams for added durability.
I had a little trouble with the bottom of the shorts since women's jogging shorts are longer in the back.
But a quick hem fixed that.
I would recommend taking in the crotch, just to make them fit better. Especially for girl shorts. Just turn them inside out, fold them flat along the horizontal crotch seams, pin, and sew. (Technically this should be done before you hem them.)
And there you go!
Even if you can find toddler mesh shorts in fun girl colors (Target has zero, Old Navy has one), they're gonna run upwards of $12 each. These were absolutely free, and took less than an hour to make.
She's excited to play "bassetball" at the park with Daddy once the weather really warms up.
While I was working on the project, Jaina was playing with the side pieces of the shorts that I had cut off. She kept saying they looked like mermaids, so I sewed them up, and made a quick and dirty mermaid tail for her stuffed animals.
Didn't quite work out, but at least now I can say I upcycled the entire pair of old shorts. Pretty sweet!
So next time you're about to take a load of clothing to donate give it a second look. Or give it to me!