Thursday, 7 October 2010

Vroom! Upcycled cycle shorts

Last weekend was the 3rd annual Brompton World Championship.  Just in case that means nothing to you, it's a folding bicycle race around the grounds of a stately home in Oxfordshire, with a dress code that includes 'jacket and tie' and 'no visible sportswear'.  My husband was taking part, dressed in green to match his bicycle, and I had planned to take all the little runcibles for a picnic next to the track so we could cheer him on. But we are fair weather supporters and the weather was not fair at all. The torrential downpour made it look a lot more gruelling and less cucumber-sandwichy than last year (at least on the you-tube version of events, which was as close as I got this year).

Anyway, as I wasn't there for the actual race I thought I could show my support instead with some upcycled cycle shorts for son#2, aged 5.  There's something very satisfying about a bicycle-themed upcycle.

This isn't a tutorial, as such, because there are so many better ones out there. My favourite is at Make Baby Stuff, and includes patterns for baby sizes. This is just larger version using a current pair of shorts as a template, and tweaked slightly to make the most of the 'vroom' T-shirt...

Here's the original T shirt, from last year's Bike to Work day...

... and here it is again, with two leg pieces, each cut on the fold using an existing pair of shorts as a template, and two pocket pieces, which look upside-down in this picture - this means the straight, top sides of the pockets are cut from the hemmed lower edge of the T-shirt, so there's no need to finish them later.

Does that make sense?

Here's another picture which might help...

All the pieces opened out and ready to sew.

This is my favourite bit - the 'vroom' logo from the T-shirt cut out and appliqued onto the front of the left leg piece, using bondaweb and a zigzag stitch around the edge.

The pins are marking the sideseam, and the places where the bottom of the waistband and the seamline at the back will be, to allow the back pocket to be placed centrally.

The pockets are hemmed at the top already (from the T shirt hem) and won't unravel as they're made of jersey, so I just stitched around them with a short zigzag as well. This is the left leg - the right is just the same but without the applique.

Here's the left leg folded right-sides-together and pinned ready to sew the inside leg seam, and the right leg, once again, is just the same.
Here are the two legs ready to be joined together - the right leg turned right-side-out and placed inside the left leg which is still right-side-in. The two pieces are joined along the crotch seam with a stretch stitch.

I've only recently discovered the stretch stitch on my machine (after 25 years I decided to read the instruction booklet) and am very excited that I can now sew jersey fabrics!

Not sure how useful this picture is! The shorts have been opened up but are still inside out. This is the waistband hem, folded over about 3/4 inch to create a channel for 1/2 inch wide elastic. The photo is supposed to show a zig zag stitch just covering the raw edge. The zig zag goes almost all the way around the waist, leaving a 1 inch gap to thread the elastic.

 I measured my elastic by holding it around son#2's waist, then threaded it through the channel, overlapped the ends about 1/2 inch and sewed them together and closed the gap. The waist is just tight enough to keep the shorts up, but still nice and comfortable.

Hooray, Vroom shorts completed!

And this is the back view with pockets.

The fit is more circus short than cycle short at the moment, but son#2 loves them.

Perhaps he can wear them to the 2011 world championship (weather permitting)...

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