Thrift Flip: How to Upcycle Pants to Shorts

Julia Rafael
by Julia Rafael
5 Materials
1 Hour

I found these wool pants in a thrift store for 70 cents. With such a low investment, I knew I had to try and make something out of them. Join me for this pants upcycle and let’s see what we can do for 70 cents!

Tools and materials:

  • Wool pants
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
How to upcycle pants

Measure your size

The first thing I did was measure my waist. Mine ended up being ten centimeters (or about four inches) smaller than the waistband. To fix this, I marked off five centimeters (or two inches) on each side of the pants. I placed pins in a diagonal line from the marking until the edge of the pants - making sure not to go through the pockets but around them. I then repeated this on the other side and sewed it down. Make sure the pants are inside out for this whole process. 

Pants upcycle

Shorten the pants 

With the pants still inside out, I folded them in half so that one leg laid over the other. I then used a measuring tape to measure 20 centimeters (or about eight inches) from the crotch. I then pinned the legs together across that line and cut beneath it to shorten the pants. 

Upcycle thrifted pants

Shorten the lining 

The next step is to remove part of the lining so that it doesn’t show from the bottom of the pants. I seam ripped the side seams and cut part of it off. 

DIY pants upcycle

Hem the pants 

I turned the pants right side out and double folded the bottom. Next, I ironed the folds to keep them in the right position. I pinned down the sides of the fold and sewed them using a straight stitch to secure the folded parts. Repeat on both sides and the shorts are done! 

Easy pants upcycle

This was a quick and easy thrift flip. I’m happy with how the shorts turned out and you really can’t beat the price. I hope you guys liked this tutorial on how to upcycle thrifted pants and maybe you’ll be inspired to attempt some thrift flipping of your own!

Suggested materials:
  • Wool pants
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Ann A. Jones Ann A. Jones on Feb 17, 2021

    You can make a bag with the legs, too!

  • Pamela Pamela on Feb 17, 2021

    Men's slacks are often such great material that it is super if you can "upstyle" them into women's pants or shorts. 70 cents!!!!! WOW.