My daughter is 5. And she loooooooooooooves wearing dresses. Did I stress that enough? And almost as much as she loves wearing dresses, she also loves attempting cartwheels and twirls and crazy jumps off potentially too tall objects. In the summer, dresses and activity don’t always go hand in hand. Sure, I love seeing her cute little undies popping out from under her dress, but I’m not so sure the whole schoolyard wants to see it, and I really don’t want to have to get the dreaded “your child is a flasher” phone call from the school.
Every summer I buy her a couple of pairs of cotton bike shorts to go under her dresses. I waited too long this year, and it got hot out really fast. By the time I went to pick up my standard $4 jobbies, they were gone. I found other ones online that were between $6-8, but I have this frugal rebel inside of me who refuses to pay for things that seem ridiculous (like $8 for cotton bike shorts when I pay less than that for the H&M organic cotton leggings she wears all year long! I mean, it’s literally half the amount of fabric!!). And then I had an epiphany: why couldn’t I just cut her little leggings,the ones that will be too small by fall anyway, and make her bike shorts out of them for under her dresses! Genius!! (not that I’m bragging, but I so am!).
I grabbed a pair of her leggings that had a hole in the knee and cut ’em. It was cathartic. Like all those jean shorts I cut as a teen. cut. cut. cut. I was intending to, ugh, sew the hem, which involves pinning and thinking. The worst! Especially with stretchy fabric; it’s all puckery and stressful. But then I remembered something from somewhere in my life. I don’t even know where the knowledge comes from, folks, it’s just there buried under a bunch of other random stuff, taking up room, until I need it. I remembered that cotton t-shirt fabric doesn’t have to have a hem because you can just give it a little stretch along the hemline and the fabric will roll up a bit. Don’t believe me? Go try it. It works.
The end result: the shorts are perfect for her rough and tumble school style. They keep her undies under wraps and she can still twirl and dance and jump and do whatever else she puts her mind to!
The added bonus, of course, is you feel awesome about upcycling, reusing something that would otherwise go to waste, you save some money, and potentially save the world (hey, small steps matter!).
Here’s what I did:
No-Sew Shorts that take, like, 5 minutes!
Using a pair of shorts you already like the length of, measure them against the leggings, holding both by the waist.
Using sharp! scissors, cut a nice straight line along one leg, then fold the leggings in half and follow your cut to cut the other leg.
Grasp a leg opening with your fingers, with one hand at each seam, and pull away from each other. Not super hard, just a few little tugs should do. You should see the cotton stretch and begin to curl up.
Wash as normal! That’s it! (other than to put those sharp scissors away or else you’ll never be able to find them again because someone will steal them to use for paper projects or cutting wire or other such nonsense #askmehowiknow!)
Happy Summer Tumbles!