Project Seven: Play Shorts

Okay, this is going to look odd but they’re such cheap play shorts you won’t really care. A word to the wise however size matters.

You’ll need an old shirt, a pair of your kid’s shorts, or measuring tape, and elastic.

Seriously, you’ll need a shirt, you didn’t misread.


Either lay your child’s pants over top of the old shirt lining it up with the neck or measure them from the waist to crotch.  Once you have your measurement use a crayon to mark where the crotch needs to be.



Measure the width of the shirt to find the center and mark it down from the ‘crotch’ to the hem of the shirt.  Cut from the hem to the marking for the crotch dividing the shirt into legs.

Next remove the sleeves or if you want pockets sew the cuffs closed.


Pin the ‘legs’ closed and sew them creating the inseam. A word of warning for the crotch sew along a curve, if you don’t and instead decide to sew a straight line the fabric will create an odd tucked diaper look. It is most unappealing, play clothes or not.


Now if your child is obscenely thin like mine you’re done. They can slip the neck over their waist and it holds, but that means you had a shirt with a neck the exact size as your child’s waist and that doesn’t happen often.

Instead what you’ll need to do is determine how much room you do need for them to wear it. Once you get that measurement cut the shoulder to the correct length. Flip the shirt right side out (the side you’ll see when worn) fold down the edge of the new waist and pin it in place. Now you can either use elastic or a draw string. If using drawstring you can use actual drawstring harvested from something else or use cord, well anything really that does the job.


Sew the folded over area making sure you have enough room to put the elastic in leaving about two inches or so open for threading the elastic in. If using drawstring make sure that the opening is centered in the front for the ties.


Once the tube is sewn take a large safety pin and pin it to the end of whatever you’re using. On the other end use another safety pin and pin it to the shorts. Now this bit is annoying but you can do it. Push the pin and the subsequent elastic into the tubing. You’ll do this odd little inchworm thing with it, pushing the pin further into the hole while pulling the tube down the elastic. After far too long and about when you want to throw something the safety pin will come out the other end.


If you’re using elastic you need to stretch it out a bit and sew those two ends together making a large ring then you’ll sew the tubing closed sealing it in. If you’re using a drawstring or something similar you’re going to pin that to the shorts then sew the tube closed but only so far as to still be able to pull the strings.

If the shirt is too large for the child you’ll need to take the sides in. Measure how much extra fabric there is around the hip or ‘leg’ then add an inch back to that for the seam. Measure carefully and cut the determined amount of and sew it back up.


NOTE: make sure that if you’re using drawstrings that the knot is large enough that it won’t slip into the tube. Shirts with fun sayings or designs are some of my favorite to cut up.


Like this one.























Idea: If you have a little one running around then you know as well as anyone that play clothes are a must. Another must is keeping a horde of clothing on hand a few sizes too big. Growth spurts are never convenient and they like to happen at the worst possible time; between paychecks or when it seems as everything in their size is sold out.


I like to shop several seasons ahead on the clearance rack keeping a few pieces in various sizes. Despite this I still occasionally encounter the problem of him outgrowing clothing he’s never worn. If the offending garment happens to be pants or a shirt there is a quick solution. Assuming that the piece fits everywhere but in length consider if you can add a few inches by extending the hem or the sleeves. Find fabric that matches the color of your garment and is an ideal material for your purposes. Try and match your new, or reused, fabric so that they both require the same laundering care.


Simply measure the width of the opening, as well as the length needed to extend the garment. Cut out your new pieces and sew them closed lengthwise, right sides together. Next hem the bottom of your new extension. Finally attach the extension to your garment right side to wrong side.






























One thing is for sure: the boy has his own… unique fashion sense. I assure you the green cuffs were chosen after I had vehemently vetoed his more… unusual requests.



















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