Create Your Own Awesome Overalls From an Old Pair of Pants

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
7 Materials
30 Minutes

I used to work at this Japanese restaurant called Karin that I really loved. The owners were so nice and it was a great experience for me. Recently, the owners’ daughter got in touch with me and said she wanted to know how to make overalls. So I found a pair of pants that I was willing to upcycle and turned them into a super cute pair of overalls instead. I love the way they turned out, so keep reading to learn how to make your own.

Tools and Materials:

  • Pants
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler
  • Fabric chalk or other marker
  • Cutting mat and rotary blade (optional)
How to make overalls
Cut down your pants

The first thing you need to do for your overalls is to cut your pants to size. The pants I was using already fit me around the waist, so all I had to do was cut the pants to the length I wanted. Once you cut one leg, fold the pants in half to ensure you’re cutting the same length on the other leg.

Hem your DIY overalls
Hem the bottoms

Now that your shorts are the right length, you’re going to turn them inside out and fold up the edges so that you can hem them. Pin the fold in place, then sew down the hem. In order to prevent fraying, I also recommend zigzag stitching the edges.

DIY short overalls
Determine the bib measurements

Now that your shorts are complete, you need to figure out the measurement of the top part of the overalls, known as the bib. So take a ruler and measure the width of the waistband of your shorts. Then you’re going to subtract 3” from the width, and that will give you the bib’s dimensions. So for me the width was 13”, meaning that my bib dimension was 10”.  

DIY overall fashion
Outline your bib

Grab one of the pant legs that you cut off earlier and turn it inside out. Then mark a 10”x10” square onto the wrong side of the fabric and cut out the square. This will leave you with two 10”x10” squares. 

DIY shorts to overalls
Cut out your straps

I definitely recommend using a cutting mat and a rotary blade for this step if you have it. Take the other excess pant leg and cut out 3” wide strips of fabric. You can also cut out extra fabric and sew it together to make longer straps, but at 22” my straps were long enough that I didn’t need to do that. 

How to turn shorts into overalls
Sew your straps

Fold your straps in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew the sides closed. Then sew closed one end, leaving the other one unsewn so that you’ll be able to flip the straps later, and snip off the corners.

How to make DIY overalls
Flip your straps

Now you’ll need to flip the straps. The best way to do this is to tuck in the closed end and use a stick (I used a BBQ skewer) to push the fabric until it is right side out. Then use the same stick to poke out the corners. Once the straps are right side out, iron them so that they’re flat.

Add straps to your DIY overalls
Add the straps

To add your straps, you’re going to place the side of each strap that is still unsewn at ½” from the corners of one of the bib squares. Pin them down in place.  

Sew your overalls
Sew the bib

Take the second square and place it face down onto the first square with the straps so that the squares are right sides together. Then pin them together on all the sides, but leave a gap in the middle of one side. You can place your pins in a way that will indicate your gap. Then sew the sides together, making sure to leave that gap. Once that’s done, snip off all of the corners and flip it inside out, using something pointy to unfold all of the corners

Sew DIY overalls
Sew your pieces together

Once your bib is ready, iron it so that it’s flat. Then place it in under the waistband of your shorts and top stitch them together using a zigzag stitch. 

Finish attaching your straps
Finish attaching your straps

Try on the overalls and make sure you’re happy with the length of your straps. If you are, go ahead and sew them to the shorts. Do this by placing them at 3” from the side, pinning them under the waistband, and sewing them. 

Completed DIY shorts to overalls

Easy DIY shorts to overalls

That’s it! I love how these overalls came out. Not gonna lie, they actually turned out to be even cuter than I thought they’d be. They’re super fun and absolutely perfect for summer. I especially love that it’s an upcycle and that these pants I used to love but wasn’t really so into anymore have been repurposed and given new life. I want to see all your different overalls, so leave me some pictures in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Pants
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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