If your daughter is anything like mine, she’ll go through a “dresses only” phase at some point. We’ve bee in it for well over a year (maybe even closer to two years). Addie is four and a half and it’s nearly impossible to convince her to wear pants. Since she’s usually in a dress (or occasionally a skirt) and always on the move, she wears a pair of leggings or bike shorts underneath. After a few months of constant wear, most of her leggings wound up with holes in the knees. I had a big stack of them that I wasn’t sure what to do with.
Around Valentine’s Day, I decided to put some cute purple heart patches on the knees of her black and white striped leggings. But it’s nearly impossible to machine sew a patch onto such a narrow pant leg. I ended up hand stitching the patches, but they stitching started to come loose after a few minutes of wear. Cute idea, but not practical.
A few months later, I came up with a new solution – turn all the leggings into bike shorts! I knew this was an answer that could definitely work long term. Bike shorts usually aren’t expensive, but I figured this would give her a few more pairs to wear without costing me anything. Plus her new bike shorts are in much cuter patterns than plain black shorts. I’m not an expert sewer, so it probably took me about 30 minutes to make one pair. Here’s how you do it.
Leggings —> Bike Shorts
- Leggings with a hole in the knee
- Sewing machine
- If you have a pair of existing bike shorts, use that as your template (it’s fine if you don’t – just cut off the leggings right above the hole in that case). Lay out your leggings with the bike shorts on top. Cut off the leggings above the hole, using the bike shorts as a guide to keep your cuts straight. I usually aim for about 3/4 inch below the length of the existing bike shorts to allow for seams, but you may not have that much room depending on where you hole is. It should be fine if you need to make them a little shorter. Set aside your bike short template.
- Turn the new bike shorts inside out. Fold the legs up about 3/4 inch. Pin in place.
- Machine sew a straight seam about 1/2 inch up from the bottom of each leg. Stretch the fabric as you sew to allow for the bike shorts to stretch once they are worn. Overlap starting seam about 1/2 inch to reinforce. Cut off strings, leaving a little length to bring all strings to the inside. Double knot and trim strings.
- Sew another straight seam about 1/8 inch above the other seam to reinforce (or if you have a serger, you could use that). You’ll now have two straight seams along the bottom of the leg. Bring all strings to the inside, knot and trim. Repeat for other leg, remembering to stretch the fabric as you sew.
- Flip right side out and try your bike shorts on your little girl. Enjoy her cute new shorts!
I’ve made four pairs of these bike shorts now and they hold up great to washing and wearing. If your bike shorts are knit, they shouldn’t fray at all where you cut them off. Addie was so glad that we didn’t have to throw out all her old leggings. Now we’ll just need to buy some new ones next winter if the dresses only phase still continues 🙂
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