How to Upcycle Shorts Into a Fanny Pack

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
5 Materials
1 Hour

The 90s are back in style, including fanny packs ... but in 2022, they have a new name - bum bags or belt bags.

Today's upcycled fashion tutorial will show you how to turn any pair of shorts into a trendy and functional bum bag in less than an hour. This project uses a free sewing pattern, and I'm going to bet you already have everything in your hands to make it. It's a tremendous no-cost DIY upgrade to your wardrobe with things you were about to throw away.

Let's get started…

I found these Adidas shorts at a thrift store a while ago and bought them before realizing the logo was printed on the back instead of the front. I'm guessing that's why they ended up in the thrift store in the first place, so I needed to make something new to get good use out of them. 

I found a free fanny pack pattern online ... with some very detailed sewing instructions, including a very easy-to-follow video.

This bag has a lining and is surprisingly simple to make very quickly, and it's a great beginner sewing project. All you have to do is download the pattern and print it off. It is meant to be cut on the fold, which means these are half pattern pieces, and I printed it twice and taped the identical pattern pieces together to form whole pattern pieces. 

I first needed to figure out how much material I had to work with for this thrift flip. I wanted to use those iconic Adidas stripes and the logo on the side of the shorts as the front of my fanny pack. To cut out my pattern pieces easily, I snipped open the crotch with scissors. That allowed me to lay the shorts' fabric flat and see exactly where I wanted to cut. 

Have some fun with picking what pieces you will use where. I made the stripes slightly off-center on the front of the bag vertically. My goal was to make the result look like Adidas created it as a belt bag in the first place. 

I also cut the entire waistband off and kept it somewhere safe because I needed it to create my Strap. When I cut the band off, I made a point to leave a bit of extra fabric on that raw edge -- I'll explain why in just a bit. 

The pattern calls for a lining, which is also really easy to upcycle using any clothing or textiles that you no longer wear or want. I decided to recycle this white T-shirt; all I had to do was cut three pattern pieces out of it, and I'm saving the extra for another DIY project. 

When I was doing cutting, I had six pattern pieces -- three pieces from my shorts for the outside of the bag, and three pieces from the white T-shirt to form the lining. 

I just needed a 7-inch zipper. For a pop of color, I pulled out this mint green vintage deadstock zipper from my sewing stash. If you don't know, you can often find zippers at antique stores for much cheaper than in modern craft stores, and they're second-hand, which means this bag is sustainable, repurposed and eco-friendly. However, if you need a zipper, they are inexpensive on Amazon and you can find some really colorful and cute options!

From there I simply followed the easy pattern instructions.

I did deviate from the pattern to make an upcycled strap. I took out that waistband I cut off, snipped away the size tag, and split the band by cutting directly into the seam to preserve as much length as possible. 

Once I had one long strip, I folded the excess raw edge under the inside of the waistband, clipped it into place, and then just sewed a long straight stitch with a long stitch length down to tack it into place. 

Once finished, I clipped one end to the front upper corner of the bag on the right side and did the same on the opposite corner, ensuring it wasn't flipped or turned. I sewed both sides only to the exterior fabric pieces with a zigzag stitch using my new heavy duty sewing machine.

I wore this for several days on a recent camping trip, and it's holding up well. You don't have to make this with gym shorts, and you could do this with any shorts or a skirt with a waistband. The options are endless. 

Let me know what kind of shorts you make a fanny pack out of, I would love to see the end result! Don't forget to connect with me on Instagram and Youtube to see what I'm going to be working on next!

If you'd like to see more easy refashioning ideas, please visit my YouTube channel,    Sew Much 2 Wear.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Suggested materials:
  • Shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Zipper
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