Upcycle an Old Pair of Jeans Into Super Trendy Lace-up Shorts

by Recreateful
11 Materials
3 Hours

A great way to upcycle jeans when you’re sick of them is to turn them into shorts. Sometimes, though, you want to add a little bit of flair to a refashion project. That’s what I did with these shorts, by removing the zipper and button and making them lace-up shorts. I personally love how this turned out, so keep reading to learn how to do this yourself.

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Seam ripper
  • Pliers
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Marker
  • Child scissors
  • Eyelets
  • Hammer
Lace-up shorts
Determine the length of your shorts

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how long you want your shorts to be. So put on the pants, and mark where you want the shorts to end. Then use your ruler to mark 6 cm (2.3”) down from the first marking. Now take your scissors and cut out the shorts at the second mark.

DIY lace-up shorts
Fold up the hem

Take the edge of the shorts and fold them up twice, until you hit that first mark. Then sew the fold at the already existing seam on the sides of the leg so that the hem stays in place.

How to make lace-up shorts
Take apart the front

Using your seam ripper, take apart the seam at the front of the jeans. Then use pliers to cut through and remove the button. Now go back to the seam ripper, and take apart all the seams that attach the zipper to the jeans, until you’ve managed to remove the zipper. This will leave you with an opening where the zipper was, so reattach that flap to the jeans.

How to sew lace-up shorts
Determine the measurements of the new closure

Now grab your ruler and figure out how wide and long you want your new closure to be. For me, that was 4 X 19.5 cm (1.6” X 7.7”). 

Lace-up shorts tutorial
Create the closure

To create the closure, take some of your leftover fabric and draw a rectangle on it in the measurements you chose. Then measure 3.5 cm (1.4”) from the bottom on the outer line and place a dot to mark it. Now connect that dot to the outer corner to create a diagonal line. Then add a 1 cm (0.4”) seam allowance all around the pattern. Cut out the pattern and place it wrong side onto your remaining fabric so that you can cut out a mirrored second piece.

Jeans to shorts upcycle
Add the pieces to your jeans

Cut out the edges of the two pieces you just cut out to make it easier to fold over. Then fold over the edges and iron on the folds to make it easier to sew. Then attach the two pieces to the front of your jeans so that they are mirrored. 

Jeans to laced-up shorts upcycle
Insert the eyelets

Using your ruler, mark where you want to place your eyelets onto the pieces you just sewed on. Make sure that they’re spaced out evenly. Then use child scissors to poke holes through the fabric where you marked, and make the holes a little bigger. Then you’re going to insert the eyelets by following the instructions they came with. 

How to upcycle jeans
Cut out strips

Next, take your remaining fabric and cut out three long strips. You’re then going to sew them together to create one very long strip. First, diagonally cut the ends of the strips, then sew them together at an angle. This will prevent bulkiness. Then you’re going to fold over the long strip, right sides together, and sew all along the edge. Use a safety pin to flip it right side out. 

Jeans to shorts refashion
Lace up the shorts

Take the strap you created and lace it through the eyelets. When you get to the top, you’ll have to poke a hole and use a safety pin to feed it through the last hole from the inside. Then just tie the ends and your shorts are done! 

Lace-up upcycled shorts

Oh man, you guys, I am obsessed with how this came out! They’re so cute and I just love the way they look! I’m so happy I did this project; what an amazing way to upcycle an old pair of jeans! My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner because summer is pretty much over, but I am very much looking forward to whipping these out as soon as the weather allows it! 

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
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