How to resize men's board-shorts for boys.
Just to preface, Paul convinced me that re-sizing board-shorts might be of interest to somebody. It's especially handy if you have kids that are of an age when wearing brand name clothing becomes a big deal, and the stuff you used to buy from Target just doesn't cut it anymore (even though they are, in all probability, from the same factory floor). In any case, I certainly wasn't going to do a tutorial on this subject, (it just seemed too mundane), hence the lack of clear photos, and in the case of some steps, the lack of any photos. Sorry! If there are any steps that need clarification by way of a diagram or photo, let me know. Those of you that have basic sewing skills will know where I am going with this, and will hopefully be able to make sense of this pigs-tip of a tutorial. Anyway, enough chit-chat from me, let's get started.
Cameron needs some new swimmers and children's surf brand board-shorts cost upwards of fifty dollars to buy new. What a rip-off. No thanks. Time for some cunning fakery.
Take yourself down to your local op-shop and have a riffle through men's shorts. Depending on how big your child, find some shorts that you can salvage enough fabric from to make your child size boardies. I was lucky and managed to score these huge ones at the Red Cross shop a few weeks ago.
They even came with this mysterious and pointy plastic thing attached with elastic in one of the pockets. Nup, no clue.
Even six dollars is a bit more than I'd usually pay for secondhand clothing. But this is for my boy, so I splurged.
Find yourself a pattern you can use for elastic waisted shorts, one that you know will fit your little man and is the right length. I use this pyjama pants pattern (the long version) and adjust the leg to the length I want (Cameron is tall for his age and is something of a sway back pot belly, so I have to make a zillion alterations to get his clothes to fit).
As usual I trace my back and front pattern pieces on to tracing vilene so that I can make my alterations without ruining my original pattern. My pattern includes a waistband to fit 12mm elastic, but I think this is too narrow for swimmers. They are more likely to float right off of your child, especially if he or she is a mad kicker. I like a wider elastic, about 2mm, and adjust my waistband casing to suit. Check your pattern and see what your elastic width is and adjust the waistband casing if necessary. Of course, you don't have to, but don't be surprised if you see your child's new board-shorts bobbing about at the opposite end of the pool instead of on your child, or, if your beach-goers, floating into the distant horizon. Just saying.
Now you've made your waistline adjustments, cut out your back and front pieces and join them with tape, down the side seams. Overlap by whatever seam allowance your pattern instructions specify (generally 1.5 centimetres or 5/8 inch). Now you have just the one big pattern piece. Fold up the hem allowance of your new gigantor pattern piece.
Now to carve up your boardshorts. Cut along the inside leg seams, and then along the seam that runs from the back, around the crotch and upwards to the front waist. If there's a velcro fly or placket just cut neatly around it as close to the middle seam as possible (or if you're like me, just mangle your way right through it and bust your scissors). IMPORTANT!!! Do not cut along the outer side seams!!! Cut along any darts in the waistline to release the fabric and help it to lay flat. If you have followed the instructions correctly, you will have two pieces of boardshort fabric.
Now, just use your board-short fabric as you would any fabric to cut out your pattern pieces, using the following guidelines
- Cut one leg- piece at a time (right side of the fabric facing upwards), remembering to flip your pattern piece over when you cut your second piece.
-Place the pattern pieces on the fabric with the front and back of the pattern facing in the same direction that the front and back of the fabric is facing. Does that make sense? So the back crotch of your pattern piece should be placed pointing in the direction of the back crotch of your fabric.
-Make sure the pattern piece's side seam (where you overlapped it) runs along the outer side seam of the shorts' fabric (if there is one. If not, there is probably a pocket or some other feature that will help guide you.)
-Place the folded hem edge of your pattern piece along the commercially made hem of your boardshort fabric (this incorporates the original hem so you don't have to sew one).
-Commercially made board-shorts generally have features like brand logos and velcro pockets along the outer legs that you can incorporate into the shorts you are re-sizing, which is why we taped the front and back together. Of course, you can't do much with any of the fabric at the waist, but if there are any buckles, buttons or company logo patches you can salvage for use for another project, hack them off. I scored a tie up lace which I just sewed on to look like a drawstring.
Once your pieces are all cut out, sew up your pants according to your patterns instructions and you're done.
Six bucks and about half an hour's worth of stitching is not bad for a pair of swimmers. I can't even get new ones from Target for that price. And Cameron tested them out at the Aqua Jetty tonight and I'm very pleased to report that they didn't float away. Bonus!