Monday, August 4, 2014

No-Sew Upcycle ~ Leggings to Monkey Bar Shorts

Every summer I face the same ugly reality....monkey bar shorts.  Is it just me or does every retail outlet out there have it all backwards?  No one cares if someone sees their 12 month old daughter's diaper, yet every skirt or dress comes with bloomers.  However, when we begin to worry more about modesty, as they get bigger, the coverings disappear.  I am notoriously on the hunt for those monkey bar shorts and I am not the mom who is willing to pay high dollar so they will look cute when my kid hangs upside down on the playground.  Well, this year I figured it out and I want to share it with you!

By show of hands please...  How many of you have leggings in the drawers that look like this?  I am so ashamed to think about how many pair I have thrown away.  Not.any.more.  This is going to blow your mind....not your wallet!

Here's what you do.

1.) Purchase this wonderful stuff pictured below called Stitch Witchery.  I found mine at Hobby Lobby but you can typically find it at any sewing goods store.

2.) Put the leggings on your child then measure and mark how long you want the shorts to be.  After marking the pants and removing them from the child, add about 1" for the turn under, as long as your Stitch Witchery is about 5/8" wide.

3.)  I fold the legs one on top of the other and cut straight across.

4.) Next, you will turn the cut edge toward the inside of the legging an inch all the way around.  Press with an iron as you go.  Don't skip that step!  Yes, I am aware that iron is a four letter word to some of you.  ;)

5.)  Now, simply cut a piece of stitch witchery the length to cover the front and another piece for the back or you can choose to work with one long piece.  It was easier for me to use two pieces, since this pair was somewhat small in the leg.

6.) After you get it in place, place your hot iron on top of the section.  The directions will tell you not to slide the iron.  They also tell you to place a damp cloth between the iron and the fabric you are working on.  I did not do that and mine turned out fine.  Here is what it will look like.

Now, you can just stop here and all is good in the world.  Some reviewers of this product say that re-application may be necessary after several wearings.  Others say it lasted much longer.  It will obviously depend on the wear and wash factor. 

IF you have a sewing machine, like I do, you may choose to reinforce this.  If you wish to do so, simply run a zig-zag stitch with a pretty good length on it, for stretchability, all the way around.  If you run a straight stitch they won't be comfortable around her leg and will have zero stretch.  Also, don't forget to change your needle to ball point since you are working with cotton.  Since my middle princess is very girly I decided to go the extra mile for her and put a "frill" on hers.

Sew there you have it!  A simple and (almost) FREE solution since we all have some worn out, too short, and faded leggings hiding in those drawers! 

Happy Monday! ~ The Sewing Mama


  1. Here I was looking for something similar for myself for an upcoming trip to Ghana to wear under my skirts, and I stumbled upon this! THANK YOU!

    1. Isn't it great when that happens? Enjoy your trip!


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