Make a pair of comfy shorts out of an old T-shirt

Picture of Make a pair of comfy shorts out of an old T-shirt
With a teenage brother in the house, there are always piles of outgrown t-shirts begging to be used for something, and after realizing I have no comfy shorts for the summer, I decided to put those unused shirts to good use.

Things you’ll need:
- Sewing machine (or thread and needle)
- One XL t-shirt (or other size depending on how big your shorts are going to be)
- Matching thread
- Pins and pin cushion
- Scissors
-  Ruler
- Sharpie for tracing
- Something to trace you patter onto
- A pair of shorts to create your pattern with
- Optional: Iron, something for the drawstring, accessories such as lace or paint to decorate the shorts with
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Step 1: Create your pattern

Picture of Create your pattern
Start by folding your shorts in half and putting them on your pattern paper. Trace around the shorts with your marker. Your lines don’t have to be perfectly straight, because you are going to add your hem allowance. Next, take your ruler and measure your desired hem allowance from the line. I made mine ½ an inch, but for the waist and legs of the shorts, I would suggest doing 1 inch to make it easy to hem. Draw the hem allowance all the way around your pattern and cut it out. Now you have your pattern!
dvhuerta22 years ago
nice t.a.r.d.i.s. pin thing :3
CathlynnEMT2 years ago
Shorts (or sweatpants/pjs if using regular fabric or a fleecy blanket) can still be done in two pieces while making a better fit for bodies with bums, but that usually requires actually ripping out the center seam (from center front waist to center back waist) and inseam from a pair of appropriately-sized pants or shorts to make your pattern. Trace the entire side half for the pattern, and cut two reversed (one right, one left) pieces with seam, waist, and hem allowances. Stitch the center seam (right sides together, center front to center back or vice versa), then the leg inseams (can be done in one continuous seam from one leg to the other), finish hems and waist with desired method and done! I used to make shorts and pants for my daughters that way when they were small and I needed play clothes that were comfortable, looked nice, were easy to get on and off, especially with diapers and potty training. Works great for custom teenage shorts too.
Beekeeper2 years ago
A couple of years ago I made myself a few pairs of fleece boxer shorts for use during our frigid Canadian winters. I copied a pair of comfortable pants which resulted in two different parts to the pattern - one for the front and one for the back, both of which had to be turned over for left and right sides. Whether the difference in my male design versus your female design is because of the differences in male and female anatomy, I don't know, however most of us have bulging 'buns' and relatively flat fronts, so the rear panels should be more roomy. I notice in the photos of you modelling your shorts, they are a bit baggy at the front and tight up your crease at the back, so it would seem the pattern could be adjusted. In my boxers, the 4-piece join under the crotch is not in the middle, but towards the front, and the pattern for the rear panels is bigger.

Nevertheless it's a good idea to use up fabric in no-longer-used T shirts.
rewind_design (author)  Beekeeper2 years ago
Yeah I actually had originally planned for the pants to be the other way around, but when I was finished, the pattern I had originally decided to have it the front looked weird so I turned them around. So in the future, I will definitely make sure I like the pattern before finishing the pants.

ToniRose2 years ago
Great instructable, very easy to follow. Making four identical panels and then adjusting the crotch is a stroke of genius!

Seems like you could make side-seam pockets out of the sleeves; might be a hassle, but I much prefer shorts with pockets even around the house. (So I don't have to track down my phone.)

If you're happy without pockets, you could match the outside edges with the side seams of the shirt and leave that part intact. Then you only have the two crotch seams to sew.
rewind_design (author)  ToniRose2 years ago
Thanks! I'm glad you like them.

Great ideas! I will definitely have to make a revised version with pockets. It doesn't seem like it would be that much harder. And I agree that it would be helpful for keeping track of your phone. I always seem to loose mine
While we're on side-seams.. why didn't you just use the shirts side-seems for the sides of your legs? The only good reasons I could think of is the pattern wouldn't look good, or the room isn't enough. But it looks like it should work.
rewind_design (author)  anneangersbach2 years ago
Yeah the pattern didn't look right but I'm sure you could keep the side seams if you wanted to.
Wonderful. I've made knickers from old t-shirts but never thought of shorts. I love upcycling stuff so definitely having some of these. Thanks.
deChez2 years ago
Cool! Great re-use for tees!
l8nite2 years ago
they really do look comfy !
scoochmaroo2 years ago
Awesome! I'm working on an instructable about this right now too!
Very creative and comfy looking shorts :)
They look great! :D
jtdogg2 years ago
This is fantastic! Love the idea to make shorts from a t-shirt. Must be good to sleep in. Instructions really easy to follow. Thanks!!