I've seen the picture on Pinterest countless times. Some cute chick with a fashionable pair of shorts-- that she made! From a pair of pants! In just a few easy steps!
So, buoyed by this false sense of easiness I went to my local Goodwill in search of the perfect pair of pants. After all, this was the easy part, right? Just pick a pair of pants that fit, a couple well placed cuts, a little sewing later and BAM, I would have my own cute pair of shorts.
Well, as I found out, not exactly. You see, how quickly and how easily your pair of pants turns into a pair of shorts depends on two key factors.
First up, the fabric. My jeans were made out of a stretchy denim-- which you do not want. It doesn't spell the end of your project but it can stretch (haha) an easy 30 min craft into a two-day ordeal. Sewing with elastic material is really difficult-- wrinkles just appear out of nowhere and the only way to get rid of them is to pull out your seam and start over.
Second up, is the cut. When I tried my jeans on, I liked the fit. They were snug against my hips and thighs before falling straight down. Overall, everyone was balanced out. Until I cut them into shorts. The snug fit around the thighs remained, but it wasn't balanced out anymore. Rather, my shorts were like skinny-shorts. If that is what you are going for, then make sure your jeans are snug and not extremely loose.
The line on the left was the cut I bought. The line on the right is the cut I should've bought. With the cut I bought, my shorts were unflatteringly close on my hips and thighs.
Once you have your jeans, it is relatively straight forward to transform them into shorts.
I laid a pair of my shorts on the jeans to get an idea of how short I should cut them. I used chalk to mark where I wanted to cut. Since I'm not a detail person, I cut each leg a slightly different length-- but I corrected that when I made my hem.
A couple snips later, my jeans were slightly rough shorts. Next up was the hem. You can do hems in a variety of ways. You could flip the jean up and sew the hem down for a rougher look. Since one leg needed to be hemmed about a inch more than the other leg, I didn't go for that option. Instead, I turned the jeans inside out, flipped up my jeans, and sewed a hem.
The hem was difficult, as my material was stretchy. Another problem when you go with a form fitting jean is that the material you flip up to sew a hem might be smaller-- or larger-- than the fabric you are sewing it on. Jeans naturally get smaller as you go down the thigh and sewing that smaller hem onto the larger fabric can be an issue.
Since my jeans were a bit too snug in the thighs I took out some of the side hem, and sewed the flaps of fabric down to give me a short of V cut on the side of the pants that allowed me more movement.
Et, volia! If you pick out the right pair of jeans, then turning them into shorts is as easy as a few cuts and a little sewing. I didn't really like how my shorts turned out-- they were too form fitting to be flattering. However, I thought maybe someone could learn from my mistakes and pick out the right pair of jeans for their next project :)
As always, thanks for reading!