DIY Bag made with Shorts

Last year I was looking for a shortcut to not have to make pockets for insides of a bag. What has a lot of pockets that are already assembled? Shorts! Men’s bermuda shorts (or ladies) have 4-5 pockets and a lot of material to work with. They are usually neutral in color, or have subtle stripes. So I decided to buy a pair really cheaply, and get to work. First I needed to come up with a plan…

shorts pattern

I opted for a shoulder bag, big enough for a magazine or two, maybe a tablet, some pens, and whatever else. I wanted the back pockets to be the inside, which left me with the front pockets and extra fabric for the inside flap and sides.

shorts pocket before

My measurements were 11″ tall x 8″ wide. I cut two pieces with the back side for the insides of the bag. I made the depth 4″, wide enough to put a cell phone in the sides of the outside.

shorts before 3

I also undid the hems to give myself more fabric.

shorts before 2 bag inside

I got so caught up in making a bag I neglected to take too many pictures, but I didn’t intend to make a tutorial, just show the readers what you can do with re-purposing!

bag inside flap pockets

I used the front pocket to make some storage in the front of the bag. Perfect for pens, toiletries, or anything really.

bag after collage

I used a piece from the bottom for a side pocket, and the tiny pocket from the front on the other side. I even found a matching belt for the strap!


The finished messenger! I had the blue canvas as a gift from a friend, and the leather was a scrap piece. The only thing I bought was the buckle. The button even came off of the shorts! The finished product is on my Etsy store. Think of all YOU can do with a pair of shorts or an men’s shirt?

Happy re-purposing!


Home Made Sweat Shirt Re-Do

Some of you may remember the last post I did about a sweat shirt re-do I did about a year ago. I didn’t post a tutorial about it because I just saw an inspiration picture that I wanted to make, and went ahead and did it. Most people that left comments wanted a tutorial, and I went ahead and made another, trying my best to take pictures along the way.


The finished product! I will show you how we got here. You need: One sweatshirt that’s too big for you. And a half yard of accent fabric. You can use any light weight cotton fabric. You also need 5 of the buttons you cover with fabric, you can get them at your local craft store.


This is an unflattering photo of the sweater before, when I got it.


Here’s a side shot of the sweater before. It’s a jansport and came from an outlet mall for about $15. It’s REALLY soft on the inside, so I knew I wanted to use it for this project.


It took me about 45 minutes to take the pocket off carefully. There were a LOT of seams, and the entire bottom band had to be separated from the rest of the shirt. That’s ok, you’ll need it to be done for later. And save the pocket, I put mine back on later.


This is Bogey. He loves to help.


Yes this shirt is covered in cat hair. Yes I have a cat and he loves crafts, as shown above. So, the next step was to put the shirt on to figure out where to take the sides and the front in. The bottom band fit perfectly, but it was very flying squirrel like around the mid waist and armpits. I took some of the fabric from the front of the shirt, and separated it visually into thirds. I took it and folded it over onto itself to create a little seam, to later sew fabric into, and pinned it over. You can see that in the picture above. You also see where I took the excess side fabric and pinned it to know where to sew the sweat shirt to fit.


You want to do the same to the sleeves. DO NOT pin right up to your arm. You will have a hard time getting into a sweatshirt that’s too tight. Leave yourself a little room You can always make it smaller, but not bigger. Carefully take the shirt off without poking yourself with the pins.


Next I cut about a half inch over from where I pinned on the side. Do the same for the other side. You can omit from having to pin both sides by taking the piece of fabric you cut from one side and laying it over the opposite side, and cutting around it.


I then looked at where I had pinned up the shirt in the front. I cut at the fold, (shown above) then once I had cut along the fold, I cut the sweater where the fold touched the other side, because I knew I was sewing it together anyways. When you’re done cutting those two slits up the sweat shirt, it looks like you have a really tall thin football shaped piece of fabric left over. You can keep the sliver of fabric that comes out after you had cut it and save it. I will tell you what for later.


Go ahead and turn the sweatshirt inside out and sew the sleeves together.


Cut a piece of your fabric you will use for the inside trimmings and cut a 1″ wide piece by the length of the sweatshirt. Lay it right side facing right side on the opening of the front of the shirt. You will end up tucking it in when you sew it together. I will show you.


Starting at the top, sew the patterned fabric to the slit in the shirt.


After you’ve sewn it all the way down, fold it inward, so you see just a little bit of the fabric. pin it to the other side of the front of the shirt. You can just overlap onto the raw edge of the other side. It doesn’t have to be neat from the inside, mine isn’t.


Go ahead and sew the front shut again.


I sewed mine from the bottom to the top, it was easier that way.


Once I had sewn the accent fabric in, I went ahead and sewed the bottom band back together.


This is the point where I put the pocket back on. I made the pocket a little smaller, and then put it on upside down, because the openings were bigger at that side once I narrowed the pocket down a little bit.


Next I had to look at the hood. I wanted to line it with my accent fabric so I took that fabric, and laid it on top of the hood, and traced it. I traced two side pieces and one middle piece.


This is what the top of the hood looks like from the outside.


I sewed the three hood lining pieces together then pinned them into the inside of the hood so I could sew it around the brim, and the back.


Sew it around the inside of the brim, being careful not to hit the drawstring, if your sweat shirt has one.


It should look something like this when you’ve sewed the hood in.


You’ll want to buy a 5 pack of buttons you cover in fabric. The set comes with a button cover, backing, and the mold and press to make the button. Follow the instructions on the package.


Set your buttons aside.


Remember that little sliver I told you to keep? Cut it into a little rectangle, about 2″ x 4″ and sew the edges under and stitch. You’ll be using this as a little top accent piece.


Once you’ve sewn the rectangle’s edges over, sew it onto the sweater under the center of the opening of the hood.


Next add your buttons and you’re done! I added one on the rectangle at the top, and then the other 4 along the side.


Closeup of the pocket and side.


Another close up of the pocket.


No more bat wing!


This is what the side of the sweat shirt looks like. Yes I’m not wearing make up, but hey, I had a craft day. Who am I looking fancy for.


This is a close up of the top of the shirt.


My hand fits in the pocket perfectly.


I’m very happy with my new super cozy sweatshirt! Because I started with a large shirt, it’s long enough and the sleeves fit great, but it is now slim and flattering. I hope you are able to re-purpose some of your old shirts too! Happy sewing!

Closet Re-Do: Mustard Yellow Dyed Sweater

Remember how I said I was going go to through my closet and do one of three things: alter, donate, or toss the clothes in there depending on how they fit, or how fashionable they were? Well, I started, and found a white cardigan that I rarely wore due to the nature of it’s bright white-ness. It fit perfectly, and I loved the fact that it was cotton, and had chunky buttons. I decided I wanted a mustard yellow sweater instead, and went to the craft store to get me some yellow dye.

To make the yellow color I needed I had to get a pack of Yellow Rit and some Tan Rit Dye. I got the powder packets, which can be messy. I used mostly yellow, and added a bit of tan depending on how mustard-y I wanted the sweater. I followed the instructions for “sink dying” to dye my sweater in a bucket. You have to get some water almost boiling hot, and dissolve the dye in the water. I experimented with the color on an old t-shirt to get an approximate color, being that my sweater was also cotton. My mistake for not taking a before. I’ll paint you a word picture, it was white.

I let the sweater sit in the bucket for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly, per instructions. (Get your clothes fully wet before submerging in the dye or you’ll get splotches.)

After washing and drying (per instuctions) the sweater was a tad bit more Big Bird than Mustard. So, back to the dying again… Next time I added more dye, to make the color stronger.

Round 2: Much better!

I tried the sweater on with a new dress, and, it matches! But while I was in the altering mood, something didn’t seem right to me about my $7 Target find…

I wasn’t a big fan of the lace. I decided to cut off the lace, and re-attach the straps to the dress.

Much better! I could then move the dress up too, and hide the ol’ bra.

This is a picture from later that evening when I’m wearing my newly dyed sweater, and lace free dress! Just goes to show you don’t have to settle for the clothes you have, you can make them something better! More to come, I have a pretty full closet… Happy altering!

Project: Closet Re-do

I spend- wait, waste a lot of time getting ready in the morning. I try on shirt after shirt and every pair of pants I have and still only leave the house half happy with my reflection. I put together a board on Pinterest of the ideas of clothing and outfits that I like and use that to get ready in the morning, but still struggle. Maybe it’s not me, maybe it’s my clothes… Some shirts are too small, too big, not very flattering, to long in the back, to floaty. Some pants make me look like a rectangle, and some make me self conscience about the view from behind. I know what you’re thinking “Roxanne, try on your clothes before you buy them!” I have a bad habit of not doing that. Or I get them at a thrift store with the intention of altering them. Or I try them on, think I like them, and never wear them.

SO here’s my idea of a project. I’ll try on EVERY article of clothing in my closet, and turn it into something I LOVE or donate it. I’ll hem, let in, let out, widen, dye, add embellishments, or just plain get rid of it and let someone else enjoy it. And I’ll document the whole thing. Starting… Tuesday. Hey, it’s a holiday weekend. I’m going to enjoy myself!

Happy Altering!

Home Made Sweatshirt Idea

I saw this awesome Sweater on Pinterest, which lead me back to Etsy, and I thought, hey, I can do that! So I went out to the local Goodwill, and got myself an XL sweater with no front pocket or zipper, and got to work! I got some buttons that you cover yourself with fabric at the Hobby Lobby, and had some extra printed cotton at home, and that was all I needed.




My finished Product:

I didn’t have room to cut the sweater and sew pieces together like in the Etsy one, so I just sewed lines across the sweat shirt in a crooked fashion to achieve a similar look. The neck square is made from excess I took out of the front of the sweater when I cut it down to fit me. I also had excess fabric from the armpit area when I altered that to fit as well. Otherwise I would have had those “flying squirrel” wings you get with oversized sweat shirts.

And for $5 at Goodwill and $4 for the buttons, I have a cool crafty new sweater that is super soft on the inside. I love my new cozy sweater! Happy sewing!


UPDATE: I’ve just posted a tutorial on this shirt, see it here! I’ve got a whole Pinterest board dedicated to clothing DIY also, since I love to sew and create one of a kind pieces. You can see that board here.

Happy Sewing!