Sunday, July 8, 2012

How To Alter Your Shorts To Make Them Bigger

Here's a tutorial for how to (attractively) make your shorts bigger.  I have seen a lot of tutorials for how to do this, but the end results are often hideous (sorry!).  So here's one way to discreetly or stylishly increase your shorts in size.

  • Shorts that are too small (but that you really want to wear!)
  • Pretty or matching fabric
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

First, look at the seams on both sides of your shorts.  Remove any buttons, etc, along the seam area.
 Turn your shorts inside out.  Take a look at the seams on the sides.
Take a ruler and follow the fabric folded on the seam line.  Draw a pencil/chalk line.
 Use scissors to cut along your line neatly.
 Fold your chosen pretty fabric in half.  Measure out fabric in the width that you need to expand your shorts.

Don't forget to allow for 1/2 inch seams (add one inch width to each strip).  It is better to have too much fabric than too little so be generous.

Guideline:  if you want to expand a pair of size 24 jeans up to size 26, cut 2 strips of fabric 3 inches wide each.
 Make the strips of fabric a lot longer than your shorts length.  This allows for neat ends later.
Pin the fabric to your shorts with the wrong side up.  The good sides of both the shorts and the fabric should be facing each other.
 Sew along the edge.

Tip:  Backstitch the beginning and end to lock in your stitching.
 Now align the two edges of the shorts to where they used to connect.  Center them to each other.
This ensures that you are sewing the new fabric at the correct angle with the loose edge of the shorts.

 Pin the loose edge of the pretty fabric to the remaining loose edge of the shorts.  Again, good sides of the fabric should be facing each other (wrong sides out). 

Sew the edge together.
The inside will look like this when you're done.

 The outside will look like this - a neat new strip of colour. 

Tip:  Put the shorts on now (if you can).  See if the new completed leg is big enough.  If your leg cannot fit into the new shorts hole, it is too small!  You will have to use a seam ripper to undo the sewing you did and insert a new, wider strip into the hole.  

See?  It is better to have too much fabric than too little.  I learned this this the hard way because I thought adding such a wide strip was ridiculous (I'm not that fat!!!!)  Sadly... I forgot to account for seam allowance (and pride). 
 Go ahead and sew a strip onto the other side using the same method as earlier.  Put on your shorts to check that your measurements were correct.

If they are too big, you can either undo one side of stitching on each leg and trim the strip smaller, or (more easier) just sew a little deeper on your seams.

When everything looks good and you are happy with how your shorts fit, go ahead and zig-zag stitch the edges of your new seams.  This prevents fraying and makes your shorts look more pro.
 Now to take care of those long strips of fabric ends!

Fold your fabric up twice to create a neat edge on the inside.  Keep the sides tucked in neatly.  Pin it into place.
 Use a needle and thread to hand-sew the loose edges of the folded fabric to the seams of the shorts.  Only do this where the fabric is more than one layer.  Then you won't see stitching on the front of the shorts.

 Here is how the completed side of the shorts look with the new fabric added.  Make sure to sew all the buttons, etc that you removed earlier back into place securely.
 Here is how the shorts look if they were in motion.  They look pretty cute  :)   If I wanted to make these shorts even cuter, I could add a little matching belt like the pair of shorts below has.
 Here is another pair of shorts that I have altered.  I opted for a simple, satiny black stripe on the side.  It just makes them look slightly sportier.

I'm so happy that I altered this one because they are such cute shorts to begin with!
For this pair of black shorts, I added the same satiny black material.  Since they are both black, the strip is not that noticeable.  At the same time because of the different texture, the added strip looks intentional.  This makes this pair of shorts more versatile.

So, there you have it!  A way to make your shorts bigger without looking ridiculous.  You can finally put those favourite shorts back into use.  I think I haven't worn these shorts for almost 10 years now, but I kept them because I thought I would (magically) lose weight and fit back into them again.  Unfortunately, I think I purposely bought them a bit too tight when I originally bought them (oh, vain self!).

Oh well, now they are back in use!  I considered doing this to quarter length pants but I don't think I could do this as well as I can do this with shorts.  Shorts are easy!

Oh, another tip, the key to making this look good is to pick good fabrics to add in.  Choose wisely!

Happy sewing!


Chrissy P. said...

Thanks! After my first year of marriage, I might actually need to use this!!! HAHAHA!!!

Great, fun solution that looks nice!

Anonymous said...

great idea! now i have to scrounge around to see if i can find any fabric that goes with denim ;)

Anonymous said...

I did this for my denim shorts, using white lace. Very cute, thanks for the tutorial! said...

Denim and white lace sounds like an excellent combination! Post pics! said...

Denim and white lace sounds like an excellent combination! Post pics!

Anonymous said...

I used your instructions to widen a pair of shorts for my husband. my daughter brought him a kimona style two piece pajama set from her trip to Japan. The pjs were so cute and sexy I wanted him to wear them and now he can. Thanks so much! the pjs were a navy pinstripe material and I put in strips of soft lightweight denim.

Anonymous said...

Totally gonna do this! The only hard part is finding a piece of fabric to match black floral...

dss0400 said...

This is such an easy tutorial. Thank you!! You have saved me.

Alex Reynolds said...

is there a way this can work for balloon shorts?