How to Easily Upcycle Shorts to Make Them More Summery

Your Girl Maeia
by Your Girl Maeia
5 Materials
20 Minutes

Summer is on its way, and for me, summer means shorts season; I practically live in my shorts throughout the summer. I don’t want to wear boring shorts though, what could be worse? I want to wear trendy shorts that have some fun and funkiness to them.

Here, I’m going to show you how to upcycle shorts to turn them from plain to full of personality. Let's get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Denim shorts
  • Unused printed top/fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
Cutting up an old yellow t-shirt

1. Cut the fabric

Cut the part of the printed top/fabric that you’ll use for your design. For this, you can cut up old items of clothing that you no longer wear, or thrift some cheap pieces that you can cut up for this project.

Pinning the yellow fabric to the shots

2. Pin to the shorts

Next, place the fabric on top of your shorts where you would like it to go. With my design, I decided to cover half of the front. Fold the fabric to get the shape of the shorts and then secure it in place with pins. 

Sewing the patches to the denim shorts

3. Sew

Then sew it into place with a needle and thread. 

Upcycling shorts tutorial

4. Use the rest of the fabric

Now use the excess fabric for the other side at the front. Secure it in place with pins where you would like it to go. Then sew it. 

Removing the pockets from the shorts

5. Remove the pockets

Now for the back of the jeans, you’re going to cut out the center parts of the pockets. Goodbye, boring pockets! 

How to upcycle denim shorts

Now you no longer have pockets but instead this creates a really nice unique feature as the denim where the pockets was is darker to the rest of the shorts so this adds some funky contrast.

How to upcycle old shorts

That is the DIY done! How simple was that?

How to decorate shorts

I love how the bright yellow fabric adds a pop of personality to the shorts and really turns them into a unique piece.

DIY upcycled shorts

I also upcycled two of my other pairs of shorts. If you don’t want your design to be quite as bold as the first one, you can use fabric in dark or neutral colors such as this one here.

Upcycled shorts with a star pattern

This design reminds me of the stars in the American flag.

Upcycled shorts with a pink print

In this last design, I added fabric to both sides of the shorts and did it in a way that they’re not symmetrical but still very similar on each side. There are so many options with this DIY for how you can design your shorts.

How to upcycle shorts

How to upcycle shorts

Those are just a few ideas for how to upcycle shorts to make them more colorful and summery. Let me know what you think in the comment below. Thanks for joining!

Suggested materials:
  • Denim shorts
  • Unused printed top/fabric
  • Scissors
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation