High-waisted Shorts Made Over

I’ve been looking for shorts for the past two months and have not been able to find any that work for me. A trip to Old Navy with a Groupon yielded two pairs of shorts which have sat in their Old Navy bag for two weeks. Note to self: if you can’t even take them out of the bag then you’re not going to wear them this summer. Back to the mall! A cruise through Wet Seal was, well, discouraging. There just doesn’t seem to be much out there that falls anywhere between Daisy Dukes (which don’t cover much more than a bikini does) and matronly looking just-above-the-knee-elastic-waist-bermudas.

Then I remembered that I had a pair of shorts that I loved – except … they were leftovers from a time when high-waisted was the only thing around and now they looked more “Sierra Club hiker” than “Summer of 2011”.

Allright, this isn't me or my shorts, but they look just like the shorts I'm refashioning.



After my two discouraging mall trips I was determined to make these shorts work for me though. I should note that they are now too small for me even if I was okay with wearing them as high-waisted shorts. The rest of the shorts fit fine, but the waist was now too tight. I started by using a seam ripper to remove the waistband and the zipper. They fit better but were still too high-waisted. So I folded the waistband down towards the outside of the shorts and sewed it down creating a casing through which I slipped a stretchy shoe lace. I left the edge of the casing raw so that it would fray a bit and look deconstructed.

stretchy shoe lace = new drawstring



I didn’t need to replace the zipper with a shorter zipper as there’s a panel similar to that in boxer shorts that prevents me from flashing my undies, so I left everything as is other than adding a small velcro tab to hold everything in place.

little piece of velcro holding it all together



Now I have a pair of shorts that will be a wardrobe staple this summer and I didn’t pay a cent for them. Wish I had thought of this before I wasted all that time shopping for summer shorts.


The shorts I've been living in this summer!



Off The Shoulder Short Sleeve T-shirt

I first discovered the concept of reconstructing or refashioning t-shirts when I came across a copy of “Generation T”. I was fascinated by the idea of taking apart a t-shirt and reconstructing it into something completely new and fabulous. Oh the fabulous things a woman can do with a pair of scissors and a box of safety pins!

I have a collection of short and long sleeve t-shirts with great graphics and (sob) crew necklines. I love a little T with jeans to kick around in but I’m so over the crew neck. This is my first crew neck recon – so please look on it kindly.

I was so excited to take over this T that I forgot to take a before picture. Sorry! But if you need a before pic you can gaze on this:

crew neck T that looks nothing like my T

The first thing I did was lay the shirt out on a table and pin it together along the shoulders and upper body so that when I cut into it everything will line up front to back. Then I stretched a length of masking tape from under the right arm to just under the neckline on the left side of the shirt and cut along the shirt through both front and back just above the masking tape line. Done! Ran into the bathroom to try on my new t-shirt in front of my full length mirror. If I could show you the sad picture of me modeling my new off-shoulder T as it falls off me, you’d shed a few tears also. But alas, I didn’t snap that pic. What I did do though was to cut four thin strips from the sleeve I had cut off and sew three of them to the right shoulder (front and back) and one to the left shoulder (front and back) so that I had spaghetti straps to hold my top up.

right shoulder

left shoulder

My top now stays up! Happy days are here again!

I didn’t like how the neckline of the T though so I folded it under and stitched two lines using yellow thread.

Kinda reminds me of the yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz.

I was still not liking this little T so I grabbed my seam ripper and took out the stitching on the one sleeve and the bottom hem. Then did a lettuce edge using yellow thread.

Lovin the yellow and denim blue together.

I love the deconstructed look of the sleeve and bottom hem.



Ribbed T-Shirt Recon

Years ago I bought a bunch of v-neck, long sleeve ribbed t-shirts. They weren’t Juicy couture but still I wore them to death, eventually moved them to my pajama drawer and then one day decided to do a little recon on one of them. I started with a brown t-shirt because I had a box of appliques I’d picked up at Joanne’s Fabric Store on sale and there was a set of blue/brown ones that I thought would look great with my little brown tee hiding out at the bottom of the wardrobe cabinet that had last seen the light of day during a Sunday afternoon Lifetime Movie marathon.

This little T-shirt is about to get a whole new life!

Now as much as I like a long sleeve t-shirt to hang out in during the winter I had bigger plans for this little Tee than hanging out on a Sunday afternoon. I love to design clothes and this little recon would give me a quick trip into Project Runway land. As you can see in the pic above, this Tee is looking pretty sad and worn out.

I started by cutting away the top in a straight line just under the armpit so that I had a long tube. I’m sorry but since I hadn’t planned on posting this I don’t have step by step pics, but I’ll give you all detailed instructions and pics I snapped after it was all done. This is an easy one to recreate. You can almost use it as a t shirt design template as the possible variations for designing clothes in your own wardrobe closet are endless.

I carefully trimmed the ribbing from the v-neck. I have plans for you Miss Ribbing.

I turned the tube inside out and upside down so that the old hem of the ribbed t-shirt is now the top of my new halter. I took the ribbing from the neck line and pulled on it a little to stretch it a couple of inches longer. I pinned each end of the ribbing to the inside of the tube at the neckline to make a halter strap. I had at first planned to button it to the tube on one end, thinking I would need to do that to get it comfortably on and off, but as it turned out I was able to easily slip my head through the halter strap without unbuttoning it so I ended up sewing both ends to the top of the tube and leaving the button in place as I liked how it looked.

Cute little button with nothing to do but hang out on my new halter top.

Then I thought that the other side of the strap looked a little lonely so I attached one of the blue/brown flowers half way up the strap.

Hello sweet little flower! Come join the party on my new top.

After trying it on I could clearly see that it was much too short. What’s a girl who doesn’t want to show her belly button to the whole wide world to do? Light bulb moment! I cut away the seam on both of the sleeves so that I had two long slightly triangular shaped pieces. I sewed the two sleeves together to make one long piece, leaving the factory sewn hem at the end of the sleeves as the hem at either end of the long piece. (You can lettuce edge one long edge of the long sleeve piece or leave it as is.) The next step was to sew this piece to the bottom of the top (wrong sides together) making sure that the factory hemmed sleeve ends met at the left side seam of the top. It didn’t quite go all the way around but attaching another one of my blue/brown flowers over the gap solved that problem.

Flower hiding the gap at my hip.

While the top was still inside out I snipped little slits all the way around between the seam attaching the sleeve to the top and the seam allowance and threaded a long strip I cut from the throw away portion of the top through the slits; pulled on the strip to gather it just above my hips, tied it in a bow …

Drawstring just below waist.

stitched on a few more blue/brown flowers …

… tried it on and pronounced this top complete. See for yourself.

No more hanging out on the sofa for you sad brown T, you're ready for lunch with the girls.

Oh and here's the back.

This was basically a tube top with embellishments. I’ll be doing more of these and showing you all some of the endless variations on this theme that are possible so that you can design your own custom clothing.

Make Your Own Custom T-Shirts with One of These Books