Jeans are one of my favorite things to upcycle.  Denim is a versatile sturdy fabric and can be used to make anything from accessories to house wares. Checkout some of my other denim upcycle projects.

One of the first things I made with an old pair of jeans was shorts, and I’ve made many since. The simple versions are only shortened with embellishments.


This year to revamp my collection, the objective was to make a pair of comfortable and presentable shorts (not sloppy) that I could wear in the city too.  I chose a pair of old Levi’s I had in my stash that were in perfect condition, but that I could no longer get in to.  So, additionally I had to make them larger.

I have done this in the past, but the simple way since they were intended for kicking it around the house on the weekends.  I simply cut straight down the sides and added denim strips that I embellished with trim that were on the bottom of the pants legs.  Alas, at the time I didn’t think of taking a before & after pic of the jeans, but this is the what they look like.

Upcycled Jean Shorts Upcycled Jean Shorts - side view




I still wear these shorts,  which are super comfortable, I even managed to put holes in them, so I fixed them 😉 It’s very hard to give up a pair of comfortable jean shorts.

Anyhow, back to the task at hand, making a pair comfortable, yet city worthy jean shorts.

First ,I cut the jeans legs to the length I wanted plus 2,5cm for the hem. I opened the side seams with a seam ripper, and cut the waist band. (There’s no way around that if you want to make them large and keep the existing waistband).

I used this pretty striped cotton fabric, which reminds me of a Mexican Serape, and I applied fusible interfacing to it to reinforce it, since it was a light weight cotton.

I cut the striped fabric to 6cm for each side including a seam allowance of 1cm for each side and making sure to leave a longer end to fold over for the new section of the waistband.  I sewed it to the side seam of the jeans, starting with the back and serged the finished edges to avoid fraying.

I hemmed the shorts.

The waistband was a little more difficult.  Since my fabric wasn’t heavy I added a strip of denim on the inside of the waistband to reinforce it.

Finally, I topstitched the fabric on the side seams to give the shorts a clean finish using a sturdy jean thread.

I think they turned out great!

These are now my go to summer jean shorts. Comfortable, but not too baggy 🙂



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