DIY Month: Refashioning – Men’s business shirt into toddler shorts

Husby buys really nice business shirts – expensive ones, made with lovely cotton fabric in some really great prints (finally – it took me years to get him out of his basic white business shirts!).

And of course, the first place they show wear is in the collar and cuffs. And those are hard (even impossible) to fix without matching fabric, especially if you are me. Bu it always struck me as a real shame to use them as rags, so I have a neat little pile of shirts in my sewing cupboard, awaiting a new life as something else.

And mostly, that something else will be shorts for Connor. This isn’t going to be a full on tutorial, there are more than enough out there on making simple shorts for kids. But hopefully this will show you how easy it is to make basic shorts for next to nothing!

Start off with the shirt:

Cut it into pieces – I don’t worry about undoing the seams, because they are mostly double-seamed (no doubt there is a fancy sewing term for that). But go for it, if you want! Cut along the seams, cut off the collar and cuffs, and unless you want to try to use it as a feature in your new garment, cut off the yoke on the back. There’s a decent amount of fabric in a shirt, isn’t there!

Don’t forget to cut off all the buttons, including the spares, and tie them together with thread. You have to start that button collection somewhere!

I cut a simple pattern off some elastic waist shorts Connor already had. Don’t forget to add a seam allowance and waistband casing allowance.

I cut the pattern using the back and sleeve fabric pieces – the fronts aren’t quite wide enough.

Then sew it up! Make sure you don’t sew the legs of the two front or two back pieces together, because that way lies a skirt, much swearing and seam ripping (note: I did not do that when making THESE shorts!) Insert elastic in the waistband casing, sew it together and you are done! Maybe an hour’s work!

Show shorts proudly to small son who insists on wearing them straight away! Beam with pride as he capers excitedly around the room in his new shorts! (Forget to take a picture of said capering because you are a bad blogger!)



Filed under DIY, sewing

12 responses to “DIY Month: Refashioning – Men’s business shirt into toddler shorts

  1. DrK

    Such cute shorts! And so easy. Except for the skirt not short part, and I heard that swearing and it was funny. and I would never have thought of doing that thing with buttons till I saw you guys do it. One learns a lot from ones sewing sisters, in many ways ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. So clever!

    Am quite enjoying your DIY month. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store!

    (The double seam is called a French Seam. I tried it once. Fiddly bloody thing. Never did it again. Now I just serge, and forget about it.)

  3. I’ve never thought of sewing buttons together like that. Clever! I’ve long meant to do this with shirts. Thanks for reminding me!

  4. amy

    I keep meaning to turn a nice shirt into a dress for G…by the time I get to it, it’ll probably end up as a skirt instead, she’ll have grown too much! The nice thing with girls is you can just leave it as a button front–easy peasey. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I *love* French seams, didn’t find them fiddly at all, just a bit thinky, because you start off sewing WRONG sides together. But I don’t have a serger so I need to get clever when sewing things that fray when you look at them cross-eyed.

  5. What a great idea, I bet he loved them.

  6. Nice stitching, love how much fabric there is in shirts, I keep hoarding them, must do the next step some day!

  7. 1morerow

    You are so creative and the shorts look great. They must be so comfortable for Connor.

  8. The shorts look great and it feels wonderful when your little one likes what you sew! And knowing it didn’t cost you anything except maybe for a little bit of elastic… Priceless!

  9. Madmad

    Oh, my gosh, that is so awesome!

  10. I bet they are very luxurious and comfy shorts!! In the olden days my mum always turned our collars and cuffs on school shirts and dad’s shirts too. She also ‘turned’ sheets. When they thin in the middle, you cut them in half lengthwise, sew the outsides together and hem the new edges. I hated sleeping on the seam but it made the sheets last twice as long.

  11. sweet! waste not, want not ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. So nice to catch up with you. The car photos remind me so much of my son at that age. There is something so sweet about little boys and cars. Seth was able to identify brands and models better than I when he was just three. I should probably warn you: He turned out to be a horrible driver! Hopefully that is not a result of playing with cars.

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