Recycled Denim Shorts

Recycled Denim Shorts

For some strange reason I am loving shorts this summer and can’t get enough of ’em.

These shorts utilized the leftover denim from a wrap skirt that I made several years ago but since then deconstructed it and used some fabric to make this skirt.

I think it’s pretty cool that I was able to get two garments out of one!

The pattern was altered a bit from Simplicity 3850, an out of print Built by Wendy shorts and pants pattern. It is the same one I used for my first ever pair of shorts.

Recycled Denim Shorts

Changes I made from last time:

  • I made one size bigger but did some fitting like making the legs a little narrower and changing the crotch seam.
  • I moved the zipper from the front to the side and made it invisible.
  • Made the shorts longer. Super short shorty shorts are not my thing.
  • No pocket flaps on back. The flaps were faux anyway.
Recycled Denim Shorts 

Also, you’ll notice the inner pocket area is not denim. It’s leftover blue shirting that I used to make this failed tunic. I literally had no more pieces of denim big enough to even cover that tiny exposed bit. I even used the original skirt waistband as “bias tape” to wrap the bottom of each leg.

Since I was already using that blue shirting for the inside pockets I used it for that little peep of exposed pocket, too.

If I make them again I think next time I’ll make the front waistband higher. Ever since fashion began to gravitate towards low cut waists I think pant manufacturers compensated by bringing up the back of pants to avoid that unwanted coin slot flashing problem.

But then the front really is still low and makes for a really weird tilted side view, in my opinion, almost to the point where it looks like my gut is hanging out the front.

Recycled Denim Shorts

Because of that I doubt I’d wear these shorts with a top tucked in like I am here. This outfit is for photography purposes only. 😉

In the future I’ll cut the front waistband more consistent to the height of the back waistband which I think is a better look for me.

I have a really odd urge to make another pair of shorts in a bright color – maybe orange or green. Very summery! Have you ever sewn shorts? Do you even wear shorts? I never wore shorts much at all until last summer.

White raglan sleeve top – Simplicity 3835

Simplicity 3835

I made this top probably three years ago back when I first started sewing with patterns and was so excited about the Built by Wendy series at Simplicity (which is now all out of print, sad).

I packed this shirt away when moving almost a year ago and haven’t seen it until now.

I bought this fabric that already had little ruffles and pin tucks on it (so no, I didn’t spend all that time doing it myself!).

The only thing I didn’t really like about this pattern was the arms were too tight so I took out the elastic in the arm openings. It’s a great raglan sleeve shirt pattern and you could easily adjust it so that the neckline doesn’t need elastic.

It’s pretty fun to revisit all my old sewing projects again. It’s like discovering a new wardrobe.

Red Stripe Built By You Top – Simplicity 4111 (out of print)


I bought the pattern (which is now out of print, boo!) several years ago when I went a little wild and crazy with the Built By Wendy Simplicity pattern series. Back then I was bad at following directions, or at least fabric recommendations and this was before I realized I needed to make one size smaller than whatever the pattern suggested. The result of all of that mess was me making this pattern no less that four times.

The first time the shirt ended up too big, the second time the fabric was too stiff and heavy. This is the third attempt I believe but somewhere close to being finished I somehow accidentally clipped the fabric near the buttons and made a tiny hole.

At the time the only way I thought to salvage it was paint the hole with clear nail polish to keep it from fraying and fabric gluing a tiny patch behind it to keep it closed. Ha! You can still see the hole.


Because of that fail I made a fourth version but since then the elastic in one of the sleeves broke and I haven’t finished it.

I had forgotten about this shirt until I went through an old plastic bin full of clothes and random things that never got unpacked.


While I love the design in theory it just wasn’t working for me. I have that major problem many women have of looking fat and pregnant in empire waist clothes and the top is so low cut I can’t imagine anyone with a bust bigger than an A cup fitting in it without needing a tank top underneath. Very precarious situation. Somehow in the four times making this shirt I never learned that I needed to bring up the v-neck and make it narrower at the shoulders as well. I should have lowered the elastic empire waist, too, as it tends to rise up, I guess to compensate for the show a few inches above. At least my sewing technique improved quite a bit by version 3.


The more I pack for my eventual move the more I realize how many of my clothes (that I have made as well as bought) are missing – lost somewhere in my garage. I swear my garage resembles that big warehouse of crates at the end of the Indiana Jones movie!


I’m still chugging away at my muslin for my new dress. I think I’ve got the collar and front center fixed, still deciding what to do about the sleeves and sleeve cuffs. It’s slowly coming together!

New Sewing Book

Ah! I just discovered that Wendy Mulin of Built by Wendy is publishing another sewing book – this time it’s coats and jackets.

I love Wendy’s simple designs and her awesome clothing line (in fact I just bought a blazer from her website not too long ago. I love it!) and I own two of her sewing books (dresses and stretch fabrics) as well as many of her Simplicity sewing patterns. Most of the patterns have been discontinued now, unfortunately, but you can find them on etsy and ebay.

Her books feature about three basic designs and then variations on each that you can turn into your own creations.

The new Coats and Jackets book doesn’t become available until February 22 so I still have time to wait but now I think I finally know what I’m going to buy with my Amazon gift cards that I received for Christmas. I’m so excited!