PANTS, my sheets ripped – or, how to repurpose fabric

Two months ago, one of my sheets ripped due to old age. And a month later, another sheet ripped. Pants! I had bought them at the same time, so they grew old together.

But my woes were not over yet, as a few of my older boxer shorts also ripped during this period! But, as the saying goes: if life deals you lemons, make lemonade. So I decided to make myself some new boxer shorts. I used an old pair of boxer shorts to make a pattern.

I made a front piece and a back piece. These is a very simple pattern, so I just used one piece for both left and right sides.

I then cut squares out of the sheets, making sure they would be large enough for the pieces plus a margin for the seams and a casing for an elastic band. I made sure to cut these from the edge of the sheets, where the fabric hadn’t worn yet. Then I could cut the pieces. Luckily the fabric was woven, not printed, and right side and wrong side were identical.

I sewed the boxer shorts on my gorgeous Singer 201K treadle sewing machine (on which I shall write another post in the near future). I started with sewing the short inside leg seams of the back pieces and the front pieces. Then I made the hem at the bottom of the legs. Next was the side seam, with my attempt at a small split. Or at least, that’s how I call them – after trying to find instructions on t’interweb I only found references to splits in seams due to wear and tear and how to fix those, so perhaps they are called something different in the sewing world? My two sewing reference books don’t have anything on that either!

Then I had to employ some fabric origami to make the fly. I just fiddled around a bit until it looked like a boxer short fly, referring to the old pair of shorts. First I sewed the long seam from the back to the crotch and then up to the fly, then graded the seam allowance and made a flat-felled seam. I sewed up the fly along with the flat-felled seam. Last but not least, I made a casing for the elastic band. I hadn’t taken the correct measurements, so the elastic was two inches too short for each boxer short, so I had to sew down the ends in the casing, two inches apart. I cunningly did this on either side of the fly, so it looks intentional.

I now have five new pairs of boxer shorts. Perhaps not entirely made according to the text book, but that’s okay. I think they look good at first glance, and only my partner will get to see them in close-up…

PS, if anybody knows where I can find instructions on how to make those split seams, I’d be ever so grateful!

12 Replies to “PANTS, my sheets ripped – or, how to repurpose fabric”

  1. They look pretty good. The split side seam looks fine.To make it you sew the seam to the point where you want to have it open, make sure it is fastened off then you fold back the seam allowance for the unsewn bit, sew it down and as you have done, make a bar accross the point of the split ( this reinforces the weakest point). So for not having instructions you did very well! Congratulations.
    Just for fun and in case you have no old ones to copy from, have you seen this
    Threadbanger has lots of good sewing advice.

  2. If you like boxers–you should check out this site (a cyber friend runs it) She has the best– the kind you’ll want the world to see!

    and its called a split (they are featured in Pencil (very straight) skirts all the time to allow for leg movement. Your’s look fine–but there are little detail that make them perfect–

    The same sort of things are called Vents when they are fitted jackets as in “fine, Italian fitted jacket, with 2 back vents” (vs a looser cut jacket with a single back vent) they are all over–(sleeves have them, too)

  3. I LOVE this post! Making boxers from old ‘dead’ sheets?! That makes my heart sing! So make do and mend. Massive congrats to you.

    Zoe x

  4. LOVE this post!!! making boxers out of old ‘dead’ sheets? That makes my heart sing. So make do and mend. Massive congrats

    Zoe x

  5. Sheets also make wonderful replacement pocket bags. I’ve replaced many of the pocket bags on my women’s pants just due to size issues (cause, geez, it’s like they think we don’t have anything to put IN our pockets!), and it’s awesome to stick your hands in and get the smooth texture of good sheets.

    Love the site and the mendings!

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