Posted in Crafts, Sewing

The Big Stitch – Summer Spots Upcycled Shorts

Over the last month I had seen the adverts for the British Heart Foundation competition The Big Stitch (#TheBigStitch) and decided I wasn’t going to join in, simply because I had done some upcycling recently, as you can read here, and I have plenty of other sewing projects sitting in a pile waiting to be done…

The Big Stitch - Info tag as seen in store at the British Heart Foundation

Though, as you can probably guess, considering I’m sharing this post, I changed my mind!

What is it:

The Big Stitch 2018 Competition

The Big Stitch 2018 Clothing Upcycling

 Simply upload your ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures by   tagging the BHF on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and   using the hashtag #TheBigStitch. Alternatively, email     your photo to with the   hashtag #TheBigStitch in the subject line.

 Whether you’re a beginner or expert, showcase your   creative flair by upcycling an item found in any of our   BHF shops and be in with a chance of winning one of our fantastic prizes by partaking in The Big Stitch competition! Winners will be chosen and announced on 3rd August 2018.

So, why did I change my mind?

It’s quite simple really, all of this lovely weather continues; and I’m SO bored of wearing the same handful of summer clothes I own! (Let’s face it; the warm weather never usually lasts long enough to wear most of it!)

So, I headed down to my local British Heart Foundation shop to see if there was anything I could find that I could upcycle quickly, considering the competition ends midnight on Sunday 15th July.

While I was in store; I thought this would be a great excuse to share a quick and easy make here on the blog, so I decided to set myself a personal challenge – can I make something for under £5?

My “The Big Stitch” Project

I picked up these linen mix trousers for £2.99 I looked through, to see if I could find a shirt or something I could use too, but nothing took my fancy and allowed me to stay in-budget…

The Big Stitch - the linen trousers I upcycled

So I popped into The Works, and found a fat-quarter of bright coloured polka-dot cotton for just £2 and I was good to go! Total spend: £4.99.

The Big Stitch - Polka dot fabric in pink yellow blue and purple on a white background

The Big Stitch Upcycle – How To!

The first thing to do is decide on the length, and cut the trousers down. I didn’t feel too bad, as there was some random white stitching on one of the legs. 

The Big Stitch HOW TO - how I upcycled linen trousers to fun shorts

Then, measuring the leg around; cut the polka dot fabric to the required width; I needed a little extra as the length wasn’t quite enough. So, cut and ironed three strips, and Ironed them in half, the ironed edge would be the new “hem” of my shorts. 

I stitched the ends together to form a ring, twice, to attach to the bottoms of both legs of my shorts. I tried my best to pattern match, it’s not perfect, but not noticeably odd.

As the side seams were not level anyway, I lined up one of my seams to the inside leg, and made sure the second, where I had to add a small piece, was on the back of the leg.

I then pinned the new hem piece to the bottom of the shorts; so that when folded down, all stitching was on the inside, and so, totally invisible. This is the finished look close up.

As you can see the dots aren’t totally straight on the fabric, so it was quite an easy thing to sew up, I just had to stay on the white bit between the rows of dots.

For more fat quarter projects – check out this post.

To add a little embellishment; I cut a small piece of cotton to fit the “watch pocket” and hand stitched it in place.

I also really disliked the patch on the back of the trousers; and so cut and hemmed another piece just to hand-sew over it. It’s not perfect, but I can always do something else in the future.

To finish, I swapped out the buttons on the front, and added two decorative buttons on the back pockets; with buttons from my stash that matched the fabric.

In total this took around 2 hours, including all the pinning and hand-sewing.And here’s how they look!

The Big Stitch - Finished shorts

And the back.

The Big Stitch - Finished shorts (back)

I’m really pleased with these! I have another pair of shorts, that not only cost less than £5; but also meant I could have something unique, whilst giving to charity! And of course it was fun to make them.

I definitely think charity shops are a great place to find upcycling project clothes! and check out the # for the competition to see things others have made with their charity shop finds!

Have you upcycled any clothing? Share a link below, I’d love to check it out!

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