D.I.Y upcycle shirts into toddler harem pants!

Check these cutie's threads!  I've been really eager to show you one of my latest.fun.easy. sewing projects.  Azriel is rocking out her new 'harem' pants made from one of my old t-shirts (a tourist token shirt from Venice).  You could also call them M.C Hammer. Aladdin. or Penguin pants i think....  Anyway, they were a hoot to make, and even more fun to watch her play in.

*Disclaimer: this does NOT mean I endorse the super lame use of words across girls' rears - especially in our 'lolita' culture of writing "eye candy" "sassy" etc on kids pants - c'mon please!

Sorry, just had to get that rant out.. what I do love is that these pants say "Ciao Bella"..  and I think that's pretty darn hilarious.
Ok, brace yourself, if you want to see my 'tutorial' on how to make these... you can continue to read this post.  Be warned... it's my first in depth tutorial.  Otherwise.. leave now and consider yourself free to chase frogs for the rest of the day.


Really?  You're still here?  Ok... let's do this!

1) Grab a t-shirt and cut along the entire top to open shoulder seams.

 2) Fold shirt with side seams now in the middle (to maintain any image on the front of shirt being on the bum side). If you're really sneaky - you can preserve the arm sleeves as 'pockets' for the pants! I did have a simple pattern to trace with.  If you want to find a template to use you can go here.

3) Lay shirt back out normally, but keep inside out.  Can you see it now?

 4) If you were able to spare the short.sleeves you can now sew them into 'pocket' shapes, while the shirt is still inside out.  Sew from top of shoulder to armpit.

5) Trim off excess (if you're like me, lots gets cut on my knee.)

 Ahh, yes. Take a moment for your assistant to get in on the fun. 

 6) Ok, I lied... not just one t-shirt, but two are helpful.  I stole the stretchy ribbing off the cuffs from this stripey shirt for the leg cuffs and waistband.  But you can make it work with any type of stretchy ribbing you have.  (Sweater cuffs are great for the legs too).

7)  Cut out the large square to fold into the waistband.

8) Cut out the smaller strips to make into leg cuffs. Sew each cuff (inside out)..along the seam.

 9) Tuck cuff (still inside out) up into the leg holes.  Gather leg material. Pin. Stretch cuff as you sew the seam.

10) Grab elastic waistband and thread through your folded.sewn. waistband.  I used around 20" for my daughters waist.  Stitch a large zig-zag line across waistband to hold elastic at top.

 11) Tuck waistband (inside out) up into top of pants.  Gather material. Pin. Stretch waistband while you sew a large zig-zag line to join it to pants.

12) Trim. Pull pants right.side. out.. and hopefully they look done!?

Bask in the wonder of upcycling a t-shirt into harem pants!  

And if you want a better tutorial on super simple baby pants from a t-shirt... just watch this:

Thanks for visiting here again. If you have any questions on specific details that I was too lame to address... feel free to ask!

Have a great day,
Mel :o)


  1.  Oh gosh, this is the cutest thing ever!!!

  2. Hi Kait.. and thanks... I'll assume you mean my daughter.. hehe.. no the pants are a hoot for sure! ;o)

  3. thanks for leaving such a nice comment and introducing yourself!...i loved reading through some of your posts-- you are SO talented...and in so many things!!  i love these pants-- they would be adorable on my little tiny niece.  thanks for a great idea!

    cheers! xo

  4. aw hey, thanks for stopping by here too!  Looking forward to 'following' you more :o)

  5. this is super neat. So great how you explain how to make stuff. I appreciate it. 

  6. too cute! I'm going to give it a go upcycling one of my five yr old's tee into herems for my 6 month old!

  7. oops *HAREM LOL

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  11. Thanks have been looking for this kind of tutorial forever!


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  18. Mel, you are soooooo clever. I have been wanting to make some pants like this for my grandys. Thankyou for sharing. Hopefully mine will look a 'little' like yours!!!

  19. Hello! I'm new to sewing and have a question around step 3. After you use the pattern to cut the shape, I see what would be the front of the pants (no design) needs to be sewn down the middle. Do my eyes deceive me? The finished product doesn't appear to have a seam down the middle in the front... (And you don't mention the step to sew that cut either). Thanks for any input. :)

  20. Hi there! Good eye - I'm sorry that step got neglected... yes the finished product DOES have a seam down the front (just hard to see with how the pants fold/gather). I would sew that seam FIRST, then sew around the legs... and carry on with inserting the waist band/ankle bands afterwards. Good luck! Thanks for catching that... ;o)

  21. Thank you for the clarification! It made sense to do that, but it Really looked like there was no seam in the finished pants she's wearing!! xoxo Thanks again. :)

  22. I guess I'm just confused! How do you get the harem shape? That video is just for a normal pair of pants! lol am I missing something?

  23. I would like to sew pants, but i like to have a seam down the middle in the back (i don´t like to have a seam down the middle in the front - step 3). How can i do that? Is it possible to adjust the pattern somehow? Thanks!

  24. hello! Not to sound silly... but just turn them around then - these 'harem styles' aren't really too different from front to back (so wearing them 'backwards' won't be noticed!) good luck!

  25. Thanks. :) I will turn them around then, but first of all i have to sew them ;)

  26. I can´t find the patttern you have proposed :( It is not the same. Or maybe I´m looking on the wrong web page?

  27. I have made them anyway! They are awesome! I have adjust the pattern :) Thanks :)

  28. hello... the pattern you used to cut the harem pants from ( the t-shirt one) Can i get that one? The one you linked is not like the one you used... and i like the one you used :)

  29. ...a similar pattern can be found at this link.. just print the pages off, assemble and sew the size you desire - good luck! http://tangerinesamurai.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Toddler-Harem-pants_tiled.pdf


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