Sunday, August 28, 2011

Capris out of old dress pants

So, I went into this summer with no shorts but I had at least seven pairs of pants that I had gotten at clearance price.

So, I decided to take four of those pairs and make capris out of them. It's extraordinarily simple to do!

For this project, you will need a pair of good scissors, matching thread, a sewing machine, pins and a seam ripper (recommended). For measurements, I used a pair of capris that I had bought before instead of a measuring tape. If you do not have a pair then you will need a measuring tape.

To start off, I folded the old pants over and smoothed them out so that all edges were touching.

I did the same with the pair of capris. Then, I laid the capris over a pair of pants. I made sure that everything was smoothed out (I didn't want any uneven edges as I was cutting both pant legs at the same time). I cut the pants one inch below the finished edge of the capris for seam allowance.

Last, the only thing left to do is sew. I did a double seam (folded under twice) to avoid serging as I don't have a serger. I pinned the leg seam into place and made sure that it was straight. I sewed the seam down on the sewing machine then cut off any loose threads. Done!

Estimated time for this project: about 7 minutes to measure and cut two pairs of pants and about 7 more minutes to pin and sew up the legs (14 min).


  • I didn't iron anything but it definitely helps to press the seam before sewing for a nice, clean line.
  • I am pretty sure that my sewing machine has an invisible stitch function but I haven't found it yet so the seams are noticeable -- at least to me. No one else noticed that I had sewn these up myself and they thought that I had bought them. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
  • If you do not have a pair of capris to use as a baseline measurement, try the pants on before cutting and mark where you want for them to fit you after they are sewn with a dressmakers pencil. Or, if you have a willing helper, get them to take the measuring tape. Hold it at your waistline and get them to measure down to your desired length (probably between 19 and 22 inches). Mark with a dressmaker's pencil on both legs then move on with the cutting. 
  • You can make these shorter or longer depending on your taste. 
  • I made a lunch bag out of the leftover leg fabric. I will be posting that one shortly too.
  • Leftover leg fabric could also be used to make a purse, a pillow cover, pencil cases, a laptop sleeve, etc. It all depends on how much leftover fabric you have. It could also be used to make a skirt for a little girl.

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