This is not the first time I've mentioned making pants/undies/knickers out of unwanted T-shirts, and I can't promise this'll be the last! It's such a fun, quick and cheap sewing activity that I really want to inspire some of my lovely blog readers to give it a whirl.
Obvs this comes off the back of the release of my free downloadable pants/undies/knickers pattern that is now available in printable PDF form. It's a very short leap from a pile of unwanted T-shirts (above) to a host of funny new pants (below). Plus, as well all know, sewing isn't always the cheapest of activities. So once you've over-come the small hurdle of getting hold of some underwear elastic (I've found bargains on market stalls and eBay), with a free pattern and an unwanted T-shirt uncovered from a bottom drawer, you've actually got a very cheap little sewing project on your hands.
So does one go about reusing old T-shirts to make pants? Well, as with reusing old T-shirts to make vests, I have personally found the best way to start is to cut up the side seams and along the sleeve seams (the T-shirt I used below already had the sleeves removed for a previous project). Then I fold the T-shirt in half lengthways so you can easily find the grain line plus you have the most width to fit the pattern pieces on.
T-shirts, especially mens ones, often have little to no lycra/elastane content, which means they aren't the most stretchy source of jersey/knit fabric out there. Subsequently, as I have previously mentioned, it is advisable to cut a pattern size larger than you might otherwise choose if using jersey with no lycra/elastane content.
But back to folding the T-shirt in half. If you are using a T-shirt with a print design, folding the front or back in half length ways will help with placing the pattern piece centrally on the print, if a centralised print is what you are looking for of course. Using existing prints can be really fun. They can look great across the front of the pants or on the bum!
The pants pictured above were made using flat underwear elastic with a picot edge. I have used two different methods of application of this type of elastic, one method for round the waist and one method for around the leg holes. I've written more in-depth about that in this post.
The pants in the pictures above and below were constructed using FOE (AKA fold over elastic) both around the waist and round the leg holes. I have written about using FOE for this purpose in this tutorial.