Upcycling Leggings into Children’s Harem Pants Tutorial

Upcycling leggings is an excellent way to get some extra life out those leggings you never did end up wearing.  I was given this pair and Hannah loved the look of them. They were much to big for her and too small for me not that I thought I would wear them anyway.

Upcycled Leggings into Children's Harem Pants Tutorial

After I was given these leggings to upcycle I had a brain wave for a quick and easy upcycle idea. Since these leggings are quite small and a nice floaty knit fabric (viscose elastane) I thought they would make great Harem pants for Hannah.  The only things I need to alter is the waistband and the length. Let the Upcycling Leggings project begin!

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Adding Sleeves to a T-Shirt Tutorial

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For some reason Harry has an entire drawer crammed full of short sleeve T-shirts, but only four or five long sleeve tees. Since we are going into winter on this side of the world (bottom really!) I think a few more long sleeves will come in handy.  So I had a light bulb moment and thought why not add sleeves!  Harry has a couple long sleeve tees that look like short sleeve tees with long sleeves underneath, but are in fact only one layer.  So why not add sleeves myself?  With a tutorial for you all of course!

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My kids seem to be forever growing out of their clothes. Sure plenty get worn out too, and it’s not all bad there are plenty of grateful nieces and nephews to hand them down to!  Hannah is very lucky and gets plenty of hand-me-downs from friends and family. Harry on the other hand not quite as much, it’s not that there aren’t as many bigger boys but I think they must just ruin their clothes more often! So I love a little upcycle that can get a little more wear out of something we already have.

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I like ticking things off my to do list permanently so I did six T-shirts all at once.  A little tedious yes but at least that is a job completely finished! I wish I had some pictures of Harry wearing these but alas school has started back today.  The kids and I have had a great two weeks of holidays, and I didn’t want to keep you waiting till he was home after school today.  Keep an eye on my Instagram I am sure he will pop up there wearing one of them soon!

What you will need

  • Short Sleeve T-Shirts to add the sleeves on too
  • Fabric for the sleeves
  • Matching/contrast thread
  • Sewing machine, pins, scissors
  • Overlocker (optional)
  • Pencil and paper to make your pattern – full instructions below!

Step 1 – Making Your Sleeve Pattern

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Take a long sleeve tee your already have that is the right size, and lay it flat on a table. Lay the t-shirt you are wanting to add sleeves to on top of it, lining it up at the shoulder and under arm.

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Draw around the sleeve to create your pattern, use a ruler it will make it much easier and ensure the folded edge is straight.  I added an inch (2.54cm) at the top seam and at the cuff, this is quite a small cuff if you want a larger one add a little more.  The top will be on the fold so you don’t need to leave a seam allowance there. For the under arm seam (the long side) I added a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance as I will just be overlocking this seam.  It is better for the sleeve to be slightly smaller than the opening, as they are both stretch fabrics there is quite a bit of give so don’t panic!

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Once you have drawn your pattern you can cut it out and cut your fabric!  Your fabric will need to be a stretch fabric, the grainline will run parallel to the folded side and the stretch in the other direction (see arrows in the photo above).

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You will need to cut two pattern pieces per T-shirt, both sides are exactly the same.

Step 2 – Sew Sleeves

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This is a nice and simple step!  Just fold your sleeve with the right sides facing each other (inside out) and sew the long side together.  I have overlocked mine for speed, but since we are using stretch fabric is shouldn’t fray so can just use a regular straight stitch, or a zigzag to sew this seam too.  That’s it the sleeve is sewn together…told you it was easy!

Step 3 –Attaching Sleeves

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I am going to show you two ways to attach the sleeves.  This first one will only work if the sleeve is big enough to fit around your machine (you are not using a flatbed sewing machine!).

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Tuck the sleeve into position both with the right sides facing out.  Make sure you line up the under arm seam!

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Pin in place, I used the stitch line on the t-shirt to make sure it stayed even and that I would catch it when I sew.  I lined mine up with the second stitch line and will sew close to the first.

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Feed the sleeve onto your machine taking care that the sleeve doesn’t roll up on the underside.

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Zigzag or straight stitch right the way around.  This is the only one I zigzagged, the others are all straight stitch but either works fine.  Now repeat on the other sleeve!

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Sleeve didn’t fit?  Don’t worry there is another way! Turn your T-shirt inside our and feed it inside the sleeve.  Your sleeve needs to be right side facing out.  You want to end up with the sleeve and the upper sleeve opening lining up.

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Again use the stitching as a guide and pin your sleeve in place (remember to line up the under arm seam).  You want your short sleeve to stick out a little from the sleeve.

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Sew in place using a straight stitch and follow the stitching line on the sleeve.

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It should look like this once it is finished.

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And here it is turned around the right way.  The short sleeve may want to curl up depending on your fabric types.  You can press this with your iron to hold it down or you may like to hand stitch it in place.

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Since mine fits around my machine I sewed around mine again, following the second line of stitching to hold it flat.

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If you are a bit of a neat freak or perfectionist (I’m working on it!) this method does give a lovely neat finish on the inside too!

Step 4 – Finishing Cuffs

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I went very basic with mine and just folded them over by 1/2 an inch and zigzagged them in place. I only pinned the one to show you, the others I just held in place as I sewed.  A very quick way to do finish it…especially when you decide to sew six at once!

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You could use any stretch stitch you like or even add cuffs, like on these baby leggings.

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Enjoy getting some more use out of those short sleeve tees!

Upcycled Washandjes…way cooler than Face Cloths!

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Growing up we had ‘washandjes’ which translates to washing hands.  These were so much easier to hold on to and the absolute norm in The Netherlands!
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I must have been about 10 years old when as part of my birthday present a friend gave me a face cloth.  A very pretty yellow one with flowers on it…I had to ask what it was!  Just in case I believe face cloths are also called, wash cloths, face washers or flannels.
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I have never made washandjes before I can’t really think of a good reason why!  I have an old favourite towel given to Hannah by my Aunt visiting from The Netherlands when she was 4 months old.  It has the cute fabric softener bear on it, huggie, snuggle or Robijn depending on where you are!  Hannah has loved this towel over the years and after a trip or two to the beach, river and swimming pool it has a few marks that won’t come out.  But I just couldn’t bear to throw it out.  Even working around the marks I managed to make eleven washandjes out of one towel!

What you will need to make your own Washandje

  • A towel (or towelling fabric)
  • Ribbon or Cord (for hanging loops)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine – You can overlock if you like but definitely not needed!

Step 1 – Measure and Cut

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It just so happens that a piece of A4 paper is just the right size to make a large washandje.  Line up one long side with the finished edge of the towel, and cut out.  It doesn’t matter if it is a wide or narrow finished edge.
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You won’t need to hem the top edge this way.  I will show the steps to finish the top edge too, check out Step 5.  If you are not familiar with A4 paper it measures 21cm (8.3”) x 29.7cm (11.7”), it is a little longer and narrower than letter paper.

Step 2 – Fold, Pin and Sew

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It really is that simple fold in half with the right sides facing and pin in place.  Sew using a straight stitch using roughly a 1/4” seam allowance.  I just use the edge of my presser foot as the guide.
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Go around the raw edge with a zigzag stich to prevent them from fraying.
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Step 3 – Turn and Finished!

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Yep that really is it!  All you need to do is turn it around the right way and you are finished!
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These make great gifts and are nice and easy to use especially for little hands.  With your hand inside it is much easier to wash then trying to hold onto the face cloth at the same time.  To get a little more creative you can make these into animal shapes or make them with two different colour towels…who doesn’t love colour blocks!

Step 4 – Adding a Hanging Loop

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You can also cut a piece of ribbon or cord for the hanging loop.  This needs to be about 10cm (4”) long.
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This will need to lay inside the folded fabric so it ends up on the outside of the washandje.  Pin in place and sew as normal.
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Step 5 – Finishing top raw edge

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To make without using a finished top edge you need to leave a little extra at the top for folding over.  I left about 2cm (4/5”) and that was plenty.
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Zigzag the top edge (one of the long sides).  You can overlock if you like…mine had black thread in it and I couldn’t be bothered re-threading it!
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Fold over the zigzagged edge and pin in place.  Mine is folded by about 1cm (3/8”).
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Again I used the presser foot as a guide, sewing over the zigzag stitching near the edge of the fold.  Make sure you are catching both layers!
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And there you have a finished edge for the top!  The rest sews just the same so follow the steps above.
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Enjoy your washandjes!

Upcycled Toddler Sleeping Bag

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You know all those blankets or flannel wraps etc that you have for your baby?  Once they grow you don’t use them anymore…turn them into baby sleeping bags!  The easiest way to keep the blankets on ever!

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I have used baby sleeping bags for both my kids and absolutely love them.  No worrying about your child getting cold when they kick their blankets off, which mine were both excellent at!  The fleece one above is one I made for my Niece earlier this year, and they love it.  So I will be using that pattern again this time.  I have altered it to allow a little more room for the woven (non-stretch) fabric.

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What you’ll need

  • Baby blanket/wrap in appropriate weight, if you are making a winter weight sleeping bag you can use two layers.  I am using cotton flannel wraps for a summer weight bag.  It will need to be at least 1m x 1m (1.09yards).  As long as it is this long on one side you can always make the front or back out of different fabric.
  • Bias Binding for single layered bags (optional for double layers)
  • Domes or Velcro
  • Pattern – Toddler Sleeping Bag Free PDF in size 12m – 24m


Step 1 – Print Pattern

Print your pattern in ‘actual size’  or make sure the ‘scale to fit’ box is unchecked depending on what software you are using.  This pattern has the front and back on the same pattern, so you will need to print two copies and cut one for the front and one for the back.

Step 2 – Cut Your Fabric

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Depending on the size of your blanket/wrap you may need to up-pick the seams to get all the additional room you can!

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I then washed and dried the fabric after un-picking, to help wash out the creases and it also gets rid of most of the cut thread.  Who doesn’t like a shortcut!  This pattern is cut on the fold, you will need to cut one front and one back.

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You should have one front piece and one back piece.


Step 3 – Sew the sides and bottom

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With the right sides facing (inside out) pin and sew or overlock from one armpit all the way around to the other.  If you are sewing you may need to zigzag the raw edge if your fabric is going to fray.

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Step 4 – Reinforce dome area

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I like to sew pieces of folded out bias to the area where the domes will sit.  This will prevent them pulling out as the flannel fabric alone is not strong enough to hold the domes.

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Pin the bias pieces onto the inside of the fabric, just a little down from the top.

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Sew in place and trim off the excess.  You won’t see the raw edges at the sides as the bias will cover that soon!


Step 5 – Bias Binding

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Add your bias binding starting with a folded over edge at one of the underarm seams.  Pin all the way around until you are back in the same spot!

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If you need more instructions for this step you can check out the start of the Bandana-ish Baby Bib Tutorial.  I have sewn the folded over bias slightly differently this time but either way would work fine!

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Sew in the crease closest to the raw edge, starting from the folded over piece at one underarm.  Sew all the way around then overlap the end over top of the folded edge and lock stitch.

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Your bias will sit up like above.  Time to fold it over!

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While you are folding it over pin in place as you go.  It will not sit perfectly round all those curves just yet but a good press after you have sewn it will work wonders!

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And here it is sewn in place!


Step 6 – Add Domes

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You can add the first domes on the shoulder tabs, making sure that they go through the small piece of bias you attached earlier.  I have a tutorial with all the dome instructions here.

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As this fabric doesn’t stretch I like to add a dome 2.5cm (1”) in from the side seam to be able to take in the armholes, but still leave plenty of room to get the sleeping bag on or off.

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In the above photo the sleeping bag is inside out, the smooth parts of the domes are on the inside of the seam.  That way if you have them left open when the child is bigger it will still be comfortable.


Step 7 – Complete!!!

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My model is a good sized 13 Month old and you can see there is plenty of room for movement and growth.  So it will be large on a 12 month old but a bit of room to grow is always a good idea!

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Congratulations you have finished!  Hopefully you will get much more use out of all those blankets and wraps now!

Upcycled Twirly T-Shirt Dress

What’s better than a twirly skirt?  A twirly dress!  Not having to decide what to wear with it, just pull it on and twirl your way out the door.   Well if you are 7 anyway…the neighbours might think I’m a little odd LOL!

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You just start with any T-shirt you like, you could use a singlet or tank top too.  For fair little strawberry haired girls sleeves are always a good idea, protects the shoulders and one less place to have to put sunblock! 

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It pays for the T-shirt to be well fitting, too loose and the twirl won’t work as well.  But since you are cutting off the hem anyway it’s pretty simple to take in the sides if needed.  You can add a waistband too if you like.

What you will need,

  • T-Shirt top (Singlet, Tank etc) or you can make your own if you like.
  • Fabric for the Skirt Piece – I used a 71cm (28”) square
  • Matching or contrast thread
  • Overlocker is easier but you can use zigzag stitch on your regular machine.

Step 1 – Cut your T-Shirt (Optional)

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As you can see this lovely hand-me-down had a rather large stain on the front.  Luckily it is low down and I can cut it off!  I love the green stripes, and this T-Shirt came from my Oma in Holland (for my Niece originally) so I like to hang on to these things that no one here has.  Trim your T-shirt to the length you want the skirt to start at.  (Add roughly 1cm (3/8”) for seam allowance.

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If you are not sure how long to make your skirt piece, get the child (or adult!) to try it on and measure down from the cut edge of the top.  Or if like me they are at school (and I have no intention of waiting for her to get home!) then you can use an existing dress as a guide!  Lay the dress on top of the T-Shirt lining up the tops of the shoulders, and again measure from the cut edge down.

I want this dress a little shorter than the spotty one, as she always wears tights/leggings under her dresses anyway.


Step 3 – Measure for Circle Skirt

Cutting a circle skirt can be very easy!  First up measure the bottom of the T-Shirt and multiply by 2.

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So in my case 30.5cm (12”) x 2 = 61cm (24”)

Now head over to this link to use their Circle Skirt Calculator!  This is from By Hand London and is very simple to use.  Here is the screenshot from the calculator.

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Select Centimetres or Inches, and the Full option.  Ignore the length section, the important part is the waist measurement.  We will measure the length separately.  Select your waist size (the measurement from the bottom of the T-Shirt), and hit ‘Do the maths, please!’.


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After that you can scroll down and see just below the ‘Do the maths, please!’ button is the waist radius.  This is the number you need.

Step 4 – Cutting the Skirt Fabric

I find the easiest way to do this is to first cut one large square.  To calculate the size of your square, take your radius measurement 3.5” and add on the desired length 8.5” = 12”.  Then add 2 inches for seam allowance is 14” (*You will use this number for the length measuring soon too!).  The last step is to multiply the total by 2, totals 28” as I like to cut the whole circle in one piece.


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Here is my square of fabric it is 28” by 28” (71cm x 71cm).  Fold the square in half once to make a rectangle.  Then fold in half again in the opposite direction to make a smaller square.

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Using a ruler or measuring tape mark the 3.5” arc for the waist.  This is done on the corner with NO raw edges (the centre of the original square).

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Do the same for the length of the skirt.  Measure from the same point and use the figure you calculated before by the * mine was 14”.

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Then you can cut along the dotted line in both places.

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Once you fold it out you should have a giant donut!

Step 5 – Attach Skirt to T-Shirt

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With both fabric right sides facing out lay the folded in half skirt slightly over top of the top.  Using pins to mark the folds.

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Fold out the skirt over top of the T-Shirt.

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Pull the T-Shirt bottom through the opening.

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Pin the side seams of the T-Shirt to the folds you marked with the pins earlier.

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You can lay it out like above to make it easier to pin the rest.  Starting with the centre pin the rest together, all the way around.

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Overlock (or zigzag/stretch stitch) together.

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Step 6 – Topstitch (Optional)

If you’ve read a few of my tutorials you might have noticed I have a bit of a thing for topstitching!  I just love the look it gives and the flatness it brings to a seam.  On a side note my kids are ruffians and any extra strength in a seam is a great advantage!

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Press the seam all in the same direction.  This can be either up or down depending which fabric is heavier.  There is almost always one way that it wants to go.  I just go with it, I like the top stitching on either the skirt or top so it doesn’t worry me!

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Topstitch along the seam using zigzag stitch, any stretch stitch or even double needle.  More on the double needle soon!

Step 7 – Hemming Skirt

Now all that is left is to hem the skirt.  I decided to use a double needle for this, as it is nice and stretchy and a great way to get a professional finish.  I chose to use a green and white line of stitching for extra detail and to tie into the green/white stripes of the T-Shirt.

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First up press (iron) and pin the hem in place.  You can make it any width you want, but mine is roughly half an Inch.

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Sew on the right side of the fabric all the way around your hem.  Make sure you are catching the folded fabric underneath, I used my 3/8” seam allowance marker on the machine as a guide.

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Here is the front of the hem…and the back,

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You can trim the raw edge if it is too long.  This will stop it rolling down.

In hind sight I could have changed to the double needle for the top stitching too, but who doesn’t love a bit of zigzag!  Either way you are all done!  Another easy on summer dress for this crazy monster!

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Any great upcycling hacks you’d like to share?

Upcycled Merino Baby Pants!

I have a little Niece who’s been wearing plenty of pairs of pants I have made her, here are the links if you want to check them out! Upcycled Footed Baby Pants, Contrast Baby Pants & Baby Track Pants.  But I also have another Nephew coming soon ♥ Yay!!!

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I have made him a newborn pair of merino baby leggings out of one of his Mother’s old merino tops which had gotten holes in the sleeves.  With a second top of hers to upcycle I need to make another pair for him!

I didn’t share the first pair or even take a photo (might be able to get one of him wearing them soon enough!), so I thought I’d better make up for it this time!  I have drafted my own simple pattern in a Size 3 to 6 Months +, with a long leg length.  You can always roll the cuffs for a while, or make them shorter!  With merino being so stretchy I’m sure it will fit until it is too short, and this little one’s parents are rather slim and tall.

What you’ll need

  • Fabric – I’m upcycling a top but you can use bought fabric if you like.  It doesn’t have to be merino but it will need to stretch!
  • Elastic 25mm (1”) – 42cm (16.5”)
  • Sewing machine
  • Overlocker – not essential but does make it easier (don’t worry if you don’t have one I’ll give instructions for both!)
  • Pdf Pattern – Size 3-6 Months + – Here is the link to Download the free pattern!


Step 1 – Print and tape your pattern

As always make sure you print the pattern using the ‘no scaling’ or ‘actual size option’.  My patterns are based on A4 size but should work on any size paper if printed in actual size.  Measure the 2.54cm (1”) square to check whether it has printed correctly!


Cut out all your pieces and tape the bottom of the leg on.  The red lines indicate where they meet up.  The photos say it all really!

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Step 2 – Cut your fabric

If you are using new fabric skip these first few pointers and cut as normal!

For upcycling a top, first cut up the side seams, and all the way around the sleeves.  Cut as close to the seam as you can.

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This is what you should end up with.  Keep those sleeves!! I’m brewing up a plan for those, will add a link here when the blog post is up!

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Now you can fold the back of your top in half lengthwise to create the fold to cut the pattern on.  I leave the shoulders attached, but if you find it annoying feel free to cut them.

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Notice I have put the pattern as high up as possible, this is so that there is enough room at the bottom to cut the cuff pieces.  You will probably find that the back is big enough but front with a lower neck is not, so be careful and check before you cut!  Repeat this step with the front of the top to cut the other half of the pants.

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I prefer to use weights rather than pins, I find it soooo much easier!  No pins pulling at the fabric and it’s way faster…both big pluses in my book!

Cut your cuff pieces, making sure the grain line is running in the right direction, these need to stretch.

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I cut mine on the fold and cut them in half afterwards, you can cut them completely separately if that works better for your fabric layout.

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That is the cutting done!!!  You should have a front and back which are exactly the same (how much easier is that!) and two cuff pieces.

Step 3 – Sewing Sides and Inseam

These pants are really simple to sew, first of with right sides facing pin the sides and inseam.  Overlock (or sew with an overlock stitch/or zigzag), I have only allowed for a small seam allowance so no need to adjust it for overlock only.

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For a bit of a closer look

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Step 4 – Cuffs

Fold the cuff in half with the right sides facing and overlock (or sew a straight stitch is fine as you are sewing with the grain so won’t stretch anyway).

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Fold the sewn cuffs over to make a double layered tube, and with the pants around the right way place over the leg so all the raw edges line up.

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Line up the inseam with the seam in the cuff.  I do like to stagger the seams slightly otherwise it will get too thick in one spot.

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Spread the gather evenly (there should only be a small amount) and pin in place, then overlock (or zigzag/overlock stitch).

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That’s the cuffs finished!  Pretty quick!

Step 5 – Waistband

First off I like to overlock the waistband, if you are not using an overlocker you can overlock stitch/zigzag it.

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Now you need to cut your elastic, if you haven’t already.  You will need 42cm (16.5”), and then zigzag the ends together.

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Finished it will look like this,

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If you want to add a tag then now is the easiest time!  Just pin in place and stitch on.  Remember that the waistband will be folded down so it will seem upside down.

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Pin the elastic into the waistband, I like to do this with the right side facing out pinning onto the inside of the band.  You want to pin it just under the edge so that the elastic is covered after sewing.  Here is what it will look like afterward pinning, followed by the steps to get there.  I often find it easier to see what it will look like finished, then the instructions make more sense!

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Pin the seam at the centre of the back of the pants, then fold the elastic in half to locate the centre for the front and mark with a pin.

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Repeat to find the middles of each side.  You want a little more gather at the back then at the front to allow for nappy room, so in turn you need a little more elastic at the front than at the back.  To do this evenly I move the side pins back a little to allow for this.  Yellow pin is the centre, purple pin is where I will match it with the side seam.

Merino Baby Pants m

Repeat that for the other side too.  Once the sides are pinned hold them together to work out the centre of the front of the pants and pin to the centre of the elastic.

Merino Baby Pants (36)

After that pin halfway between each two pins so that it is pinned in 8 places in total.  Stretch the elastic to match the pants and pin in the centre.  And there we are, hopefully they look like this!

Merino Baby Pants (37)

Sew elastic on close to the edge using zigzag.  I sew overtop of the overlocking.  You will need to stretch the elastic as you sew so that it matches the fabric.  I like to do this with the elastic underneath.

Merino Baby Pants n

That is the elastic secured!  Now it’s time to fold the band over and pin in place for the final round!  To start turn your pants inside out, and fold the elastic over, pin in place stretching as you go to make sure it is even.

Merino Baby Pants o

Again using zigzag and stitching close to the edge (on the overlocking) sew around the band stretching as you did earlier, to flatten any gathers before sewing over the area.

Merino Baby Pants p

And there you are finished!!  It seams like such a long tutorial for something so simple but at least the instructions should be thorough!!

Merino Baby Pants q

Working on some merino all-in-ones too, hopefully not too far away!

Upcycled Girls Print T-Shirt

I was given ‘hand-me-downs’ for my daughter a while ago which are all hanging in the wardrobe.  Last weekend we got them all out to see which will fit for this summer, and had a big try on in which every skirt had to be given the twirl test!  I think it might be high time I made that girl a circle skirt!  But back on topic, there were a few tops she loved but that were still too big for her.

Upcycled Print Tee (1)

She loved this one in particular.  I thought it was a bit of a waste to cut up a perfectly good long sleeve tee!  But looking at the print I decided she probably wasn’t going to want to wear this when she was 12 years old!  A sequin butterfly print is pretty cool at nearly 7 but at 12 I doubt it!  So out came the scissors!

Upcycled Print Tee (2)

I carefully cut off the sleeves as I wanted to re-use those, I did however cut off the white long sleeves.  They weren’t so white anymore, and going into summer short sleeves were probably better anyway!  I also cut up the side seams, but left the top of the shoulders attached.  The neckline wasn’t huge so I will re-use that too.  If you need to put in a neck band check out the Upcycled Singlet into Girls’ Tank Top Tutorial.

That is when I noticed it…

Upcycled Print Tee (3)

It had a little hole Grrrr,  AND since I had already promised I would fix this top for her there was not backing out now!  Not to mention it’s cut into pieces!

I could have just hand stitched it closed but since there was a bit of extra length in this top I decided to remove a stripe.

Upcycled Print Tee (4)

I folded it over so the hole was close to the fold (on it is great but for my stripes is had to be slightly over), and pin in place.  Overlock cutting of the fold with the overlocker.   If you are using a sewing machine you can just trim it afterwards!

Upcycled Print Tee (5)Once it is flattened out the stripes match up fairly well, and I’m sure that as long as the butterfly is in one piece she is not going worry about that!

Time to trim up the sides, I used a T-shirt of Hannah’s I knew fitted well but a little big so she will get plenty of wear out of it.  Place it on top and use it as a guide to cut around.

Upcycled Print Tee a

Pin up the sides and overlock together, remember to have the top inside out (right sides facing).

Upcycled Print Tee (9)

Trim up the arm holes, I don’t want to change the size too much as I am re-using the arm holes.  I just wanted to narrow the shoulders for a better fit.

Upcycled Print Tee (10)

Pin the sleeves back onto the holes, with the top right side out and the sleeve inside out over the top. 

Note: I have left the overlocked edge on and will cut that off with the overlocker, you can cut it off if you like!  Mine is slightly gathered at the top of the sleeve most of this will come out while overlocking which I’m not worried about.  If you want to keep all of the gather stitch it in place on your sewing machine first.

Upcycled Print Tee b

Upcycled Print Tee (13)

Overlock the sleeves in place, making sure you catch both layers and that any seams are cut off.  Also if your hole and sleeve are different sizes to stretch the fabric as you go so it matches up.

Upcycled Print Tee c

Just the hem left to go!  If you have left your original hem on then you are finished!  If you need to hem it overlock the bottom edge and pin it over.  You can just leave the overlocked edge and not hem it, if you like the look!

Upcycled Print Tee d

Use a matching thread and zigzag the hem starting at one of the side seems.  If like me you have two colours I went with the colour the bulk of the hem was going to be sewn on, which was pink.


Upcycled Print Tee e

This is what it should look like!

Upcycled Print Tee f

All finished!!!  Now I’ll have to wait for school to finish to see what she thinks of it!

Upcycled Print Tee g

Upcycled Singlet into Girls Tank Top

I was given an cheetah print singlet to upcycle, which I decided to turn into a tank top for Hannah.  So I thought I had better share my quick and easy tank top upcycle with you!

I used one of Hannah’s favourite T-Shirts as pattern, lay it on top of the singlet both right sides facing out.  I like to re-use the bottom hem so I line up the T-Shirt with that.


Tuck the sleeves in for the tank shape and just go for it and start cutting!!!  Leaving a little room for seam allowance, it doesn’t need much as I’m only overlocking most of it.  Save the neck piece to re-use the collar later on.  Mine has a longer back than front and I have decided to keep it like that and re-use the original hem.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top

Fold the tank top in half and trim any uneven areas so that both sides are even.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top b

Do the same for the neck making the front a little lower than the back.  There are no rules, if you want a large neck cut the hole bigger!

Upcycled Girls Tank Top (6)

This is roughly what you should have.  Turn the pieces over so that the right sides are facing each other.  Pin and overlock (or zigzag) both sides, taking care to line up the bottom hem.  Leave the thread ends on the bottom if overlocking.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top c

With the ends you left on, thread them back up the overlocked seam on the underside.  This will prevent it coming undone later.  My kids are pretty hard on clothes so I like to topstitch the join to give it a fighting chance!

Upcycled Girls Tank Top j

Pin the shoulder tops and overlock together

Upcycled Girls Tank Top d

Time to sew the arm holes.  I like to overlock them before folding over and zigzagging.  This is optional but I find it easier to control the fold especially with lightweight knit fabric.  I use a small zigzag stitch setting.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top f

Nearly there!  It’s time for the collar!  Trim the old collar out of the singlet leaving a good edge which will be trimmed when overlocking (if you are zigzagging you can trim it after sewing).

Upcycled Girls Tank Top e

You only need one piece the length of your new neck line but you can use them for the arm holes too if you like.  Measure the collar piece on your neckline and trim.  Remember to allow a little for the new join, it usually sits nicer if the collar is slightly smaller than than the neckline.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top (21)

Line up the cut ends of the collar (right sides facing each other), and overlock (or sew) together.  Thread the end back up (like the side seam before) and topstitch the seam flat to keep it sitting nicely.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top g

Pin the collar to the tank top with the right sides facing each other.  The collar should be slightly smaller than the neck hole, make sure to spread the gather evenly.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top (25)

Overlock the collar to the neckline.  Stretch the collar slightly so that both layers line up.  Use the guides on the overlocker foot (or sewing machine!) to follow the edge of the old collar to keep it even, try not to catch the original seam of the old collar.  Check out the photos below!

Upcycled Girls Tank Top h

Topstitch the new neckline, as you can see above it looks a little puffy around the edge.  Topstitching will fix that, again use the small zigzag stitch to retain the stretch.

Upcycled Girls Tank Top i

And there you have it! All finished!  Will add some photos of it in action to the gallery soon ☺

Upcycled Girls Tank Top k