The British Heart Foundation is running a campaign challenging ‘style-savvy shoppers to get crafty’ called The Big Stitch. They want you to personalise an item of clothing you find in their shop.
When I heard about The Big Stitch I thought it was a great idea. I am a supporter of the British Heart Foundation anyway, so this seemed like the perfect campaign to take part in.
I highly recommend thinking of ideas for what you would like to create before you go in to your local British Heart Foundation. It will give you something to aim for. Armed with a few ideas I headed down to my local clothing store in search of some inspiration. The clothing you get in each of the shops varies depending on the area you live in and the people who donates. My local store wasn’t overflowing with treasures, but I did pick up a couple of items to work with.
When it comes to upcycling, I can be a bit of a one-trick-pony. Shorts and trousers for children are what I like to make, I know how to do it, I don’t need a pattern and I can whip up a pair in about 20-30 minutes. So that is what I thought I would make. Usually stitching in Jersey, I started to look at the woman’s dresses hoping to find a gorgeous floral or geometric fabric. Alas, it was not to be. But then my eyes met this beauty across the store…
Have you ever seen such a bright shirt! I fell in love with the pattern and after having a good feel of the fabric thought swim shorts were on the cards. For £3.49 I had to have it!
I like upcycling clothes and similarly, I like to use old clothes as pattern pieces. Luckily, I had a pair of shorts that my son was about to grow out of that I used as a template.
I started working from the back of the shirt. Using the seam at the side as part of the seam on the shorts. Where the shirt naturally folded at the side, I laid down my old pair of shorts and cut with a one-inch seam allowance around the outside.
I had cut this pattern out twice, one on each fold of the shirt so you end up with two pattern pieces like above. Folding the piece in half, right sides together I used my Janome Overlocker Sewing Machine 8002D I sewed the legs together.
I then turned one leg the right way out and then put it inside the other, so the sides I had just sewn together are in line with each other.
I then sewed, from the top, two right pieces of fabric together and followed it all the way round, when you reach the crotch, keep going round, back up the other side until you reach the top. You will now have the main part of your shorts.
The final part is to add your waistband. I have seen a tip online for getting the perfect size for elastic. It is: “Wrap the elastic around the fullest part of the hips and overlap slightly in the front. Not too tight, or you won’t get it around your hips after the bulk of the fabric is added. Without removing your hold on the elastic at the front, slip it up to your waistline. If it’s comfortable, use that measurement. If it’s a bit tight, slack off a little bit”. That is what I did for this and it worked well.
I used my sewing machine (not my overlocker) to then sew the ends of the elastic together with a one-inch overlap. Two lines at either end of the overlap worked a treat for me.
Back to the overlocker. With the fabric facing right side out. I put the elastic around the waist. I then used the overlocker to attach the elastic and the shorts together. One very important thing to mention. As you do this part tug at the elastic slightly, but not the fabric of the shorts. If you don’t do this your shorts won’t be elastic and you won’t have enough elastic to go the full width of the shorts either!
Turning the shorts inside out I then folded the elastic over so it’s on the inside of the shorts and then over again so no elastic is showing. Then, using a sewing machine I sewed around the shorts at the bottom of the elastic.
And there you have it! A pair of shorts from a Hawaiian shirt. My son loves them, I love them, you can’t ask for more than that really can you!
I’ve had so much fun doing this, I want to do more. Have you heard about The Festival of Thrift? A big FREE weekend of activities designed for all the family (check out the 2016 videos here). Showing you how to save money, be environmentally savvy and live a rich and creative life. Leading and emerging artists, demonstrations, stalls, talks & workshops offering thrifty advice, tips and tricks as well as innovative tasty food and drink. Get your craft on, get your sew on and get your savvy head on!
Read more about The Big Stitch campaign by The British Heart Foundation here.