Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Sewing: Clothing » Baby Clothing » Re-purposing: Boy Pants into Shorts (with added Pocket)

Re-purposing: Boy Pants into Shorts (with added Pocket)

We all know it’s a bit easier to come up with girl clothing ideas and revisions.

It’s those darn dresses and skirts.  They come together so fast and simple….and they’re frilly and cutesy and addicting to make.


So, when a boy idea comes to mind, I have to jump all over it.

(I have another boy shorts idea coming soon.)


I was about to give away some of my little boy’s pants, because they were too short…..but decided to chop them off instead.

(Isn’t it funny how kid pants fit in the waist for like 2 years…..but they outgrow the length in like 3 months?  Kids don’t grow like weeds, they sprout up faster than weeds.)


So here are those old pants, turned into shorts…….with a little pocket on one leg.



Now this little nut has a new pair of shorts for the hot summer months.  And they cost nothing……..perfect.



I also added a few rows of zig-zag stitches here and there……..just for a more rugged look.  Use them or not.

(I’m sure my mom [hi mom!] is disgusted that I’m trying to make something look more rugged.  She doesn’t get the raw edge look either.  Oh, generations.  Funny how fast things change.  Hmmmmmm……I’ll probably hate rugged too in another year or so.  Ha.)



What a perfect way to use up some old pants.



And a perfect way to give my little dude a new look.



Want to alter your own boy pants?

To begin, find an old pair of pants that are too short for your little guy (or nephew/grandson/neighbor).


Then cut off both pant legs, about an inch longer than the length you’d like them to be.



Next, serge or zig-zag those raw edges.



Then fold under the bottom edge towards the inside and iron flat.



Now, sew in place with two seams or use your double needle for a nice even look. (More on the double needle here.)



Now, grab your leftover pant leg that you cut off, and cut out a nice sized square for the main pocket piece.  I made mine the same exact width as the leftover pant leg and then just as tall.  I kept the bottom hem of the pant leg for my pant leg……but you don’t have to (It makes it harder to have too much bulk for the big pleat, so you may want to cut it off if it’s a thick hem.)



Now, serge or zig-zag the raw edges.  Fold over the top edge a 1/4 inch and then sew in place.




Now make a pleat along the length of the square, like shown below.  Also, fold under the the side edges a 1/4 inch and iron everything nice and flat.



Next, cut another piece out of the leftover pant leg (about a 1/3 of the height of the pocket), to make a pocket flap.  I made mine wide than my actual pocket, but that’s up to you.  I also used the pant leg hem again to save me on hemming for the pocket.  Serge the side seams and fold under a 1/4 inch.




Sew the side edges in place and then serge or zig-zag along the top edge.



Next, attach a piece of velcro to each piece…



Now, attach the pocket to the front pant leg with pins.  It also helped to pin the pleats closed while sewing, so they would stay in place.  Sew the pocket in place along the bottom and sides.



Lastly, attach the pocket flap to the pants, right above the pocket, with right sides together.  Sew near the bottom edge of the flap.



Then fold the flap down and sew 2 seams near the top edge of the flap, keeping the flap in place.  Use your double needle again to create even seams.



And to finish off the pants, I added little zig-zags in random places on the pants.  Just for fun.



And that’s it. All done.


From old to new.

My favorite.




Ashley Johnston
  • Save

Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
IMG 4201
  • Save


  1. Emily N. says:

    I liked the idea of adding a pocket. I’ve made plenty of shorts from my brother’s too short, holey jeans before, but never thought of a pocket. Like Colleen was saying, I did have a hard time sewing the pocket on without sewing onto the other side of the leg. But I was doing it on size 11 slim fit jeans, so that probably added to the trouble. I’m thinking maybe that it’s easier to add pockets on smaller sizes!! I had been wondering why you’d sewn the pocket so far down on the leg!!! Now I know.

  2. MW Handmade Designs says:

    Very nifty!!!

  3. Shannon Haymore says:

    Have to tell you as soon as I saw this when you posted it a while ago I was giddy with excitement! I have an 8 year old who has ruined a million pairs of pants!!!! Now guess what I have one awesome way to make them into shorts. Thanks for your continued creativity and help:)

  4. Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE says:

    Fabulous! I love that you added the pockets, now they don’t just look like nicely done cutoffs, they look better than before!

  5. Angela says:

    Yay for little boy ideas! I’ve got three of them and no girls to do projects for!

  6. Kristina says:

    Lol. I know I’m commenting a lot, but I just think you and I could totally be friends if we lived nearby. We call our son our “little nut,” and my mom totally doesn’t get the raw edges and seams inside-out stuff, either. Lol. And btw, I was inspired by you recently to chop off the arms and legs of my little guy’s pajamas for summer rather than buying new ones. I honestly feel like all the wonderful stuff I’m learning from your site is changing my life for the better! Thanks again!

  7. alisa says:

    Love this! A few of ours were in the pile to do just this. And I love the fact that my mom isn’t the only one who cringes when I admire the distressed jeans!

  8. Shayla says:

    Loved this so much I had to do a pair for my son!! They turned out great :) Thanks for all the boy ideas and keep ’em coming!!

  9. jen says:

    Wow, great job.I love how and what you did the pocket is awesome.

  10. Tiffany says:

    Dangit! I just cut off a bunch of jeans like 2 weeks ago and made them into shorts. They don’t look too back but they might have looked cooler with pockets!!

  11. Mollie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I just put a pair of my son’s favorite pants in the DI pile today…gotta go dig them out. I was being lazy, but you’ve inspired me:)

  12. Colleen says:

    I’m trying to figure out how you sewed the top of the pocket on without sewing the pants shut! I wish you had included a picture of how you manuevered all that fabric out of the way….I’m assuming you didn’t rip out an in or outside seam?

    Either way, great idea!!! I’m saving this one too!

  13. Lacey says:

    I am SO glad you posted this, I have so many jeans my boys can’t wear because they’re floods. Now they’ll have shorts for the summer!

  14. Angela says:

    Love this idea…I already started it with some of my son’s jeans that had holes in the knees but I never did get it finished because I ran into a problem – when I cut off at the hole, it didn’t make enough room to sew a seam without the shorts being too short (at least for a 6 year old). I thought I might be able to just cut out the section with a hole and sew the bottom portion back on doing a cargo look, but the widths are different and it doesn’t match up correctly. Any suggestions on how I can still turn those worn out jeans into shorts?

  15. sangeetha says:

    OH my gosh I cannot believe this! I just did it this weekend too. My little guy has rips right at the knee on many of his pants – due to his goofiness, so I cut them out and made the summer shorts – great minds think alike huh!

  16. Danesa says:

    Genius! I can never think of anything fun to make for my son. This is perfect I have some old jeans that I can convert to shorts now! Yea! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Rachelle says:

    Thank you, Thank you! This was a great reminder — I have a very tall and slim 5 yr old; and now I’m going to rummage through that mending pile that never gets attention. I’m sure there’s a pair or two waiting for new knees that could be shorts instead! Thanks again! (and have I mentioned that I LOVE your blog’s new look? so fresh!)

  18. candy says:

    As usual this was a great idea and a great tutorial!

  19. S and family says:

    I love finding great ideas for boys! THANK YOU!
    Like you mentioned, my boys don’t grow in the waistline the way the length of their legs grow. This is perfect, and the pocket can even strategically hide a hole or other flaw.

  20. Emily H says:

    That is a way cute idea! I love it when you post boy ideas (since I’m the only girl in my family!). Thanks! :)

  21. marisa says:

    Thank you for this! Gonna grab the big bag of pants ready to go to donation!!

  22. Emily says:

    Awesome! Love the new pocket. :)

  23. Heather says:

    I love these and have bookmarked this post. My kids (both boys) are quite hard on their clothes and their pants from fall by this time of year are either too short OR worn out, my youngest in particular is VERY hard on pants. So this is perfect. One question that I’ve been wanting an answer to for a while…anyone? I’ve been reading about the double needle a lot lately and I wonder, is this something that your particular machine needs to have the capability of doing, or is the double needle something that can be used on any machine?


  24. Amy says:

    Those turned out really cute! The pocket is perfect, I thought it was on the pants to begin with and the zig zags are great!

  25. Laura says:

    Thank you for the BOY ideas!! When you look at any and all craft blogs you’d think the earth was 90% girls!!

  26. Melissa says:

    I love this idea, my son hit a growth spurt in the last stretch of cooler weather and we had to restock his pant supply, and now it’s too hot for them and he wont fit them anymore by fall, I was going to just hem into shorts, but this will be way cooler, thanks! Max will love it; he’s been stuffing everything he can find outside into his pockets: leaves dirt, rocks, twigs, you name it! :)

  27. Fernanda says:

    is an excellent idea, I also made shorts for my son when he was little.

  28. Sonal says:

    OMG! I donot believe I came across this tutorial on my google reader….I have been thinking of doing something like this for my daughters long sleeve t shirts to use them for summer(as she still fits in them) at the same time I was wondering how I will sew it…this tutorial is going to be so helpful….Thanks for sharing,

  29. Missy says:

    Happy day! My oldest son is so skinny and tall that we have the hardest time finding pants that fit. Now all his pants that fit in the waist are getting too short. Making them into shorts is the perfect solution. (saves me from having to find shorts that fit in the waist…) Thanks!! Love the pocket. It makes them look a little less homemade. :)

  30. Erin says:

    I love this! Such a serious shortage out there of great ideas for boys. So thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

Back to Top
Share via
Copy link