Upcycled red shorts

With this project I’m introducing a new category to my projects list, and that is Upcycling. Some of my early projects have produced a number of rather awkward garments. Even now, with few years of sewing experience, from time to time I still make weird choices of fabric, or pattern, or both. And this was so much more prevalent in the very beginning of my sewing career, when I was learning all the things about sewing. I have been carrying along a thought for a while now to upcycle few of those early garments that have not turned out all that well, or perhaps they have, but they have not managed to spark joy in me. During spring tidying up exercise I decided that two of my early jumpsuits would be excellent candidates for upcycling. So this time let me share what I did with my Raspberry jumpsuit.

This jumpsuit was my first garment to have a zipper, I was learning on it quite a bit. In the beginning this sturdy vibrant cotton looked like a good fabric choice for this jumpsuit design. But eventually I started disliking both – the sturdiness of the fabric and also the entire design of the jumpsuit. Two things bothered me the most in the jumpsuit. Due to the fabric being quite sturdy, pants were looking like a pair of pipes – not too flattering at all. And the other problem was shoulder line, which was somehow weirdly slopping down, making me look tired all the time. This jumpsuit did not get much wearing, I think I wore it like a couple of times only. And so after washing it I decided to cut it to pieces and make a pair of shorts out of whatever good was in it. And so here we go – a pair of shorts it is!

So what I did first was cut so meticulously sewn jumpsuit into pieces. It was a bit tough emotionally, but I waved that feeling away. I needed the upper part of pants to stay intact, and then I needed to find enough fabric for the waistband. The jumpsuit had a zipper at the back, I intended to keep that zipper there. I cut it much higher up so that it would accommodate new waistband. And of course I needed to invent the waistband itself.

What I ended up doing was borrow waistband pattern pieces from my wide leg pants that I made last autumn. I knew from the very beginning that there would be a problem with sufficient width of fabric for the front waistband. The width of cut off pants was not sufficient. The back was cut in the middle for the zipper. So the only part of the jumpsuit that I was able to squeeze the waistband from was front bodice, specifically, the middle section of it. I ripped chest darts, carefully pressed the piece of fabric and it was just enough of width for one front waistband. The facing of the front waistband has a seam in the middle as I did not have any other continuous piece of fabric to cut it from.

When all the waistband pieces were cut and interfaced, I installed the main waistband and went ahead to try my shorts on. In the process of doing so I accidentally pulled zipper head out. The zipper at the back was cut in half, so it no longer had those stopping notches at the top. But I managed to somehow forget that, pulled zipper head up swiftly, and next thing I knew, it was out in my hand. Frankly, it was a face palm situation there. I could not manage to put the zipper head back in, and so this meant that I’d need to take the previous zipper apart and install a new one. Just like that I had added totally unnecessary work for myself. Anyhow, it was what it was. I ripped zipper seams, installed a new one and proceeded to install the waistband facing. With the initial waistband, my shorts were sitting very high up on my waist, so I ended up removing a bit of that height, made the waistband a bit more narrow and made sure that shorts fit me well and felt comfortable.

Finally, I had to deal with the hem somehow. I wanted it to be cuffed hem, so I had to calculate a bit to make sure that I liked the length of finished shorts, and the cuffed hem looked well proportioned, too. Eventually I was happy with how the hem was turning out, and with that my old-new garment was finished.

These shorts are made from an old jumpsuit, and there is no pattern for them, really. I calculated all the proportions as I saw fit. To complete this project I needed the following notions: a bit of interfacing for the waistband, 25 cm invisible zipper, and coordinating thread. These shorts did not cost me anything – that’s the joy of upcycling! They were made in July, 2022.

I am really happy how this pair turned out! This fabric works so much better for shorts than it did for long pants. I was also very happy to upcycle the garment, and thus save it from being thrown out. When I came up with an idea to make these shorts, I envisioned styling them with white boxy shirt and black flats – the style below on the left. But when I finished them and started trying them on with other tops, I rediscovered my liberty crop top that I made last year. This top haven’t gotten much wearing as it is really short (I simply did not have more fabric to make it a bit longer). But with these high waisted shorts it works really well (right picture below). And now I like this way of styling my new shorts so much better than my initial styling idea! Which style works better, in your view?

I also have tried them on with my recently made bright floral blouse – the picture at the top of the post. Am not sure if this style isn’t too overwhelming and too colorful, though 🙂 One way or another, my new shorts seem to go really well with many tops I own. And they already now get so much more wearing than the initial jumpsuit did!

With this project my summer collection ends this year. When one is involved in fashion business (self-pun intended 😁 ), one has to live ahead of time! My sewing projects have to be in line with an upcoming season, and what season is ahead of us? That’s COATS season, and that’s something very enjoyable for me! Even though it is a bit sad that summer has flipped to the second half, I am very much looking forward for all the autumn collection makes that I’ll be working on for the upcoming colder season!

Let there be peace in the world! 💙💛


Published by giedrestyle

This is a sewing blog. I am weekend sewist who enjoys creating a unique and one of a kind wardrobe.

5 thoughts on “Upcycled red shorts

    1. I am so glad you liked this project, Liana! ❤️ I enjoyed the process very much and had a lot of fun wearing these shorts this summer.
      As for scraps, honestly, there was little left when I was done. Jumpsuit pants got cut off at around knee length to facilitate cuffed hems of my new shorts. I used one cut off pant part for waistband pattern pieces. And for the front waistband I had to use the front of the bodice to make sure I had enough of width. The back and sleeves of the jumpsuit were too small pieces to make any use of them. So whatever was left got thrown away really.
      Retrospectively, there was enough of fabric for some smaller projects, like a pencil case or cosmetic case, but I do not make them actually, so that thought had not occurred to me back then.


    1. Thank you so much, Elle! ❤️ I truly enjoy wearing them
      I thought that it was only me having such a mishap with the zipper, but your comment here left me feeling a bit better as apparently I am not alone. ☺️


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