Back in January, one of the things on my list of projects for 2011 was figuring out how to make a version of Mini Boden's knit shorts (for a fraction of the cost). Done and Done. And then done some more. I'm kind of addicted (what's new?).
The problem with making these shorts? Fabric selection. I wanted a heavy cotton knit, and I was looking for something with stripes. Let me save you some time (for all readers who are local)--this doesn't exist in St. Louis. Also. I didn't want to buy fabric online without ACTUALLY seeing/feeling it, and I sure didn't want to spend upward of $10 per yard, because while it would still be cheaper than Mini Boden, it didn't (in my mind) justify the cost of KNIT PLAY SHORTS. I mean, we're not talking about a 14 karat gold tuxedo here, people.
Every few weeks, I regularly peruse some thrift stores that are close to our house, because there is ALWAYS some piece of 2nd hand goodness that I have to have. In this case, I was looking for old sweaters to recycle into new, smaller sweaters (tutorial HERE). And that's when I came across the women's shirts. And oh, there was my heavy knit, striped fabric--enough for one pair of shorts--for $2.
Oh, the knowledge. I now feel like I have an entire thrift store worth of fabric. I am in LOVE.
I went back for round #2, and decided to try working with a polo fabric--not pique, but a softer, brushed cotton? This pair of shorts (they look solid blue in the picture, but are actually very thin stripes) is lighter in weight, but it worked just as well. And I can imagine that they will be delightful come August and the full force of the summer sun in its 117 degree glory.
(pardon the threads...I was in a rush to get this picture while there was still natural light out)
I can't even begin to tell you how to make shorts--I give all the credit to Dana at Made for creating an EASY tutorial, for this very purpose (link HERE). Her tutorial is for pants, but I will share a little secret: If you're making shorts, just cut the pattern SHORTER. I will tell you that making shorts or pants in this style is very easy--especially since I was going for a baggy, mini-boden style. I'm still tweaking my pattern, because I think I want the legs slightly less flowy, however, I truly fear that doing so might inadvertently create a pair of knit, skinny capri pants for my boys. It's a fine, fine line.
The only thing I will add on to Dana's tutorial? Because I was using an already-sewn garment as fabric? Well, I decided to save myself some time and energy, and I used the bottom finished seam of the shirt as the bottom of my pant legs. Make sense? When I created my pattern (out of banner paper), I made sure to place the bottom of the pant leg directly on to the bottom of the shirt. NO HEMMING. And you have a perfectly finished seam, the way the big dog clothing manufacturers would do it. And now I think my brain is starting to atrophy, because that is the best idea I ever had in my life.
For size reference: My boys are 6 and almost 5, but they wear the same size (roughly a size 5). The olive green striped pants were made from a women's XL knit shirt, the blue and white striped pair were made from a man's XL golf polo. There were scrap bits to spare, but not enough for another pair of shorts (but would make GREAT scraps for embellishing a matching t-shirt...).
I feel a craft night coming on, because my boys could use 67 more pairs of these.