Sunday, October 16, 2011

repurposing: more shredded knees

After nearly forty years on this hurtling planet, I am finally coming to accept that there are holes-in-knees that can be salvaged, and holes-in-knees that cannot. Sometimes it's hard for me to let go; sometimes I just keep wearing my gaping pants for years, assuring myself that no one is noticing the pasty knees sticking out. But I'm am trying to learn to move on, to fix what can be fixed, and turn everything else into . . . something else.

I've been turning the kids' ripped pants into shorts for years, and am heartily grateful that their school dress code includes that option. In the fall we have new pants, over the winter we have thinned out pants with a pair of tights underneath (which also have holes in knees, more often than not), and in the spring the pants go to shorts.

The circle of sartorial life, rotating with the seasons.

For a few years I chopped off those lower legs and tossed them. Then one day my all-time favorite pants for the girls, those dark green cords with a gazillion pockets and ties, hit the end of their long-legged road. I pulled them out of circulation, cut off the legs at the rips, and turned to toss the extra ends into the trash, when suddenly I realized that the extra ends were actually cooler than the shorts. A big zippered pocket, an already hemmed opening -- can you get a better set-up for a quick purse/satchel/explorer's pouch? Two seams and an attached ribbon later, the new bag was hanging on my girl who was sporting the matching shorts, as she headed outside at a gallop.

So for today, shorts and a pair of purses.

I generally cut the legs off just above the hole in the knee. That way I can make the shorts as long or short as needed, with as deep a cuff as I'd like.

1. With wrong-side out, fold and press the raw edge of the leg 3/4 inch (or as desired), then fold over again and press 1 inch.

2. Stitch along the top of the fold.

3. And there you have it -- shorts.

Not too painful, right?

Purse/Satchel/Pouch/Bag: (names are very important to the girls around here -- "Mom, you don't take a 'bag' to the mall, you know.")

1. Right sides together, stitch the raw edge of the leg 1/4 inch.

2. Turn inside-out and press the seamed edge. Stitch 1/2 inch -3/4 inch from the edge (making sure to enclose the entire raw edge on the inside of your seam).

3. On what used to be the cuff of the pant leg, attach a strap (or a ribbon, or bias tape --whatever you would like). For this one I used leftover bias tape from another project. Turn the raw edge of the ribbon or tape under and stitch over the top. This will both secure the strap and give it a finished edge.

4. And, well, there you have it. At this point, you're welcome to spice up as desired. My girls like a little applique -- the five year-old prefers felt flowers, the ten year-old wants her initials. And for today's birthday girl? always a horse.

Happy birthday my girl. Eight is just so grown-up.

1 comment:

  1. You are awesome because you actually make your shorts-edges neat. I usually just cut!

    ...and have never thought to use the cut-off part! I love those little bags. ANd so would my girlies.