By Chelsea Woodhouse
Need to cut your budget this summer? Why not tear yourself a pair of jean shorts from your winter wardrobe’s extras?
Jean shorts are INdefinitely summer’s most basic must-have and their ubiquity has dominated our lower halves for quite sometime. Not to mention, they certainly complement any shade, print, or silk-screened graphic-T.
But, is it really worth it to pay full price for a garment probably manufactured out of leftover, unsold pairs of pants from this past winter and fall? Although ill informed, this accusation engenders the following questions: What’s the harm in being a little resourceful? WHY NOT learn to make your own? Dismantling fashion can be fun!
Thanks to help from my friend, Hayley, who has dabbled in sewing for pleasure and thrift over the past several years, below is a guide to making jean shorts/Capri pants with a cuff. Two styles of cuffs will be described. One that is sewn closed all the way around giving a more tailored affect. The other version is sewn just in the front and in the back in order to produce a triangular cut at the hip (See photos). The process for making each is entirely the same EXCEPT for step seven.
Here’s what you will need:
- A marker
- Measuring tape
- Sewing Machine or a strong, large-eyed needle and thread to hand stitch the fabric
Optional: (use these for added precision and/or ease)
- Seam ripper
- Iron and ironing board
Step one, Find your guinea pig: Obtain a pair of blue jeans. The style is up to you and merely rests on the aesthetic you want to achieve. I wouldn’t go with your favorite though…as to account for the possibility of human error. (When testing this recipe with Hayley she used her old horseback riding jeans. I decided to use a pair of jeans that were actually too tight. As it turns out they fit better as shorts!)
Step two, Marking: Try-on your jeans in order to determine how long or short you would like your shorts to be. Take your measuring tape and marker to draw a line on the front and back to mark the length you desire. This is best done with a friend. In order to have shorts or Capri pants with a cuff be careful to leave anywhere from four to five inches of extra fabric below your desired length (See photo).
Step three, Let it rip! : Take your scissors and clip the edge of both seams on the sides of the jeans (see photo). If you have a seam ripper this is the optimum time to employ it, if not don’t fret, the seams can be hand ripped or cut with scissors. Rip the seams up to the point you have marked with your marker (see photo). Repeat for both legs.
**Quick note: If you want your cuffs to look as uniform as possible, you can remove their outside/inside seams with a seam ripper. This step is NOT obligatory. However, doing this also makes the cuff a bit more flexible and roomy, rather than totally straight. It’s totally up to you and the effect you want to achieve. This step has been preformed on the Capri pants and not on the shorts that are pictured.
Step six, Time to sew: Choose a color thread you like or one that matches your jeans. Also, most sewing machines have a detachable piece in the front used for storage. Please remove this piece, as its absence will allow you more space to put your pants/hands while stitching.
Step seven (A), The first stitch: These stitches should be made on the inside of the jean…that means you MUST turn both cuffs inside-out. (See photo). Position your needle as close to the edge of the outer seam as possible. You may start with either the left or right side of the first cuff. Stitch one line along this seam. Repeat for all subsequent sides and return the cuffs to normal.
Step seven (B), The first stitch: If you prefer to leave your cuff open at the seams there is no need for step seven A. Merely skip to step eight. It is, however, a good idea to cross-stitch the upper portion of the seam in order to avoid tearing, but not necessary.
Step eight: Nearly finished!!!: Position the needle at the top of the cuff on the OUTSIDE. This can be done with pins to keep the fabric well aligned. Stitch one long line along the top edge of your cuff. Repeat for the other cuff (do front and back) (See photo). Your last line of stitching will be made on the bottom of the cuff (see photo). Do this line in the same way as you completed the upper cuff and repeat for front/back and the other cuff.
Step nine, Show ‘em off: Try them on, and enjoy the rest of summer ☺