Friday 7 December 2012

Refashion Friday Tips & Ideas: Remaking T-shirts into Pants / Undies / Knickers

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


Lucy Legget said...

Just a little question but how much elastic do you use? Is it the same as the length of the whole or abut less say 3/4 of the length? I am imagining you will want it a bit tighter but maybe not. Thanks for the pattern too!

johanna@projects by me said...

Wow! What a great idea. I love ideas where you can re-use unwanted garments/things. Thanks!!

didyoumakethat said...

It's not often I have reason to type this, but: some superb knicker action going on here, Zoe! Hmmm, I have a lot of knicker elastic knocking around somewhere...

Miriam said...

Awesome Zoe I love your projects. You are such an inspiration. I look forward to trying these

Super slim fit dress shirts said...

Awesome idea. Just loved it. Thanks for sharing

Lucy Legget said...

I meant hole. Oops.

French Toast Tasha said...

What a great idea. I can't help laughing looking at your examples and thinking about how the slogans on the shirts seem much more clever when they're suddenly on underwear!

Shannon said...

Great idea! I have a ton of t-shirts I hadn't a clue what to do with. Now I do!!

Zoe said...

Thanks peops! Glad this has inspired some re-makery!

@Lucy Legget, I don't measure the elastic before I attach it, I just kind of eye-ball it with creating tension as I apply the elastic. So yes, the elastic does end up smaller than the length of the leg hole or waist, but I can't tell you exactly by how much. Hope that helps.


Unknown said...

Hahahahahaha! LOVE the Britain's Got Talent one!

Anonymous said...

These are so cute! You've inspired me to go digging around for old tees to undie-ize!

Margaret said...

I have found success with ordering FOE on Etsy. Many vendors have done the work of buying a gross of elastic and then selling it in 3-yd chunks in a million colours.

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