Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Upcycling outgrown knit dress into bike shorts/leggings

I have been on a sewing kick lately, sewing dresses, skirts, pants, etc for my kids. Pinterest has proven a great resource for many things, but one thing I couldn't find was ideas on what to do with old knit dresses. My girls have outgrown many dresses that were barely worn, and so I hesitate to give them away.

Then it hits me, I can make bike shorts/leggings with them. Since I couldn't find an exact tutorial for it, I decided to just do it myself and share the process.

1 - I took a legging that fits just right and traced it on parchment paper. The dress is too small to make a full length leggings so I folded it to make bike shorts. I traced it half an inch larger on the side for seam allowance. The waist has about 1 - 1 1/2 inch seem allowance to allow for elastic casing.

2 - I cut out the parchment paper and pinned it on the dress. While doing this, I realized that I can use the side seam on the dress for bike shorts, so pinned the pattern slightly outward to remove the seam allowance on the side.

3 - After cutting one leg, I turned the pattern over and pinned it on the other side of the dress and cut another leg.

4 - 2 legs ready for sewing. 

5 - I used zigzag stitch on the inner pant leg. Once both inner pant leg were done, I placed one inside of the other (right sides together) and then sewed the crotch. Since I used the hem of the dress, I didn't need to hem the pants!

6 - Fold the waist over 1/4 and then again at whatever width your elastic is. Make sure to leave an opening to fish the elastic in. Use a safety pin to fish the elastic in, overlap 1 inch. Then sew the opening close.

7 - Bike shorts!

NOTE: At first I decided not to put an elastic in and used elastic thread instead. It didn't work quite right because it still prevented good stretch while putting the pants on. After ripping that up, I decided to not put any elastic. That almost worked, but since I fitted the pants right below the belly button, it just flared up too big on the waist and the pants eventually started slipping off. For the 3rd try, I decided to just go ahead and put elastic in. That worked much better.

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