Thursday, March 10, 2016

DIY Bubble Shorts from Old Jeans

Baggy jeans or pants can be cut off and altered into ADORABLE bubble shorts for girls. It is a quick and easy alteration, and I will walk you through every step. 

My daughter has a few pairs of hand-me-down pants that aren't the skinny style that is so "in" right now. They are in great shape, but definitely don't look up-to-date and fashionable. One pair was some well-made Hannah Anderson jeans that would likely be too short by the fall, so I decided they would make cute shorts if done right.

Here you get an idea of the way the jeans fit. 
(We had just bought her a new swim suit the day I did this, and she didn't want to change it for this pic, so I didn't push--we choose our battles, right?)

1. With chalk, draw off where you want the shorts to fall on her thigh. I made these a bit longer than some bubble shorts because the jeans are roomy enough in the waist that they may fit her for two summers!

2. Use a ruler or measuring tape to make sure your cut lines are equal distance from the pockets and along the inseam.

 3. Cut off the jean legs.

4. Take one of the cut off legs, and cut along one seam. Lay it out flat.

5. Measure around the thigh of the girl who will be wearing the shorts. Add 2 inches to that measurement. This will be the length of the strips you will cut. 
6.Cut 2 strips from the flattened leg piece that are 3 inches wide by the above length. 

 7. Iron the two strips in half along the length of the strips, wrong sides together. Then fold each piece inward along the length in quarters. These are the bands to give the bottom edge of the shorts a nice, finished look. It could be super cute to do a contrasting fabric here, if desired. 

 8. Sew a gathering stitch around the base of each shorts leg, 1/4 inch from the edge. Pull the bobbin thread to gather the legs to the desired width. I had my daughter try them on at this point to make sure I was leaving plenty of moving room. You could also take the thigh measurement from above (#5) and add 1 inch.

9. Beginning along the inseam, pin the bands around the unfinished edges of each leg, leaving 1/2 inch at each end.

 10. To hide the raw edges of the bands, tuck one end into the other, and turn the edges of the end on top under. Pin carefully in place. (Sewing tip: My non-industrial sewing machine managed this, but I had to proceed slowly, and I started with my machine's presser foot up.)

 11. Sew a top stitch along the top edge of the bands (about 1/8" down).  Sew a vertical top stitch down the closing seam on the inseam (shown in #10). 

And you are done! Instead of raggedy cut-offs, you have stylish, tailored bubble shorts!


  1. I absolutely love this. I'm pretty sure we have some hand me downs like this! Great idea!

    1. Thanks! It really is an easy way to have "new" shorts!

  2. These are great! My two girls seem to have shot up over night and I have lots of pairs of jeans that are now too short. This is the perfect solution - so cute! (I've pinned it for later)

    1. Thanks, Sam, for the comment and the pin! I hope it helps you make some cute shorts for your girls!

  3. Well, aren't you crafty? I mighhhht be able to do these with my mom's help and her sewing machine! Thanks for linking up at the #HomeMattersParty !

  4. So cute!! And a great idea to get more wear out of those high waters!
    Friday Frivolity

  5. So cute and I love that you didn't push your daughter to completely change out of her swimsuit - it's adorable, so no wonder she was so excited about it. Thanks for linking up with us at #FridayFrivolity and hope you join us again this week!

  6. Great idea! We have some jeans that are too short that my teen is going to turn into shorts. Thanks for linking up at the Best of the Blogosphere Linky party!