D.I.Y upcycle shirt sleeves into toddler harem pants.

 Have a retro shirt?  Have a sweet toddler who needs pants?  Well you're in luck, since today we're upcycling shirt sleeves into funky harem pants for your stylin' child!  Azriel here doesn't even try to model... she's just that good at posing. :o)

You'll need:
One adult dress shirt/blouse.
Waistband elastic (or a stretchy shirt sleeve as I used)
sewing machine

*I used a coral coloured dress shirt that used to belong to my sweet (deceased) Grandma when she was a volunteer at the hospital.  The olive green short sleeve is used as the stretchy waistband for these pants (the rest of the shirt was used in a past d.i.y project).*

 1. Measure the length of your child's legs... and cut both arms off the dress shirt to match length.
I cut the shirt at an angle to leave room for the bum side of the pants.
2. If you have an adult stretchy short sleeve - it makes a perfect waistband.  Otherwise you could just thread some elastic through a hem you would make for the pants at the end.

3. Already you have the basic layout of these harem pants. I like the button detail on the sleeves to be lined up at the outside of the pants - at the ankles.
4.  Now you will cut 4" downward on the inside seams of the pant legs - this is where you will sew the 'crotch' of the pants together. 

5. Flip the sleeves inside out and bring the legs together where you cut the inside slits.  Sew this together to join the legs at the crotch.  A great time to use a serger if you have one, since I do not I just sew a straight stitch followed by a zig-zag on the outer edge for more support.

6. Tuck your 'waistband' sleeve down into the pants (right sides facing inside).
7. Gather the pants around the smaller waistband and pin.
8. Sew around the joining edges and trim off excess.

9. Flip pants back out and marvel at your latest upcycling adventure!

I hope that was clear and helpful enough to get you confidently sewing your own version(?).  I am not a skilled seamstress by any stretch.. and I sort of just 'wing-it' when it comes to inventing patterns and such. I'm sure that better tutorials exist out there - but in my mind - this is a random invention of my own "sew fast.stupid easy.cheap" approach to projects!
If you have any questions on it, just comment or email me.

Happy sewing friends!
Mel :o)


  1. LOVE this!! :) Totally pinning it on pinterest!


  2. hehe, thanks Steph! We should be pinterest friends! ;o)

  3. Totally just stayed up late to make these! Though instead of a dress shirt I used a long sleeve henley, not quite as poofy as yours, but I think they came out decently! I had given up the idea of actually being able to make pants for my little one, but this worked! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=854585935972&set=a.630878722022.2136058.20101337&type=1&theater

  4. haha... oh the creative muse is an insomniac here often too! So glad you found inspiration here for your lil' one!! Great job.. love the ankle details. :o)

  5. Hehe thanks! I made a dress earlier out of the green shirt and I kept the sleeve cuffs (with thumb holes) because I knew I needed them for something, so when I saw the button cuffs on yours they finally found a home!


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