DIY · purposeful · Style · Thrifts

The Woolly Worm

It’s been a while since I’ve done a clothing refashion project. I have quite a few that were on my 31 Days: The Thrift Project list that I didn’t have time to complete, so I’m going to be PURPOSEFUL and finish a few of those this month. Because starting off the year with unfinished business just doesn’t feel very productive. Besides, my project today is made of wool, and I don’t think wool would have been very fun to work with in October anyway. So maybe I meant to wait until January to do these. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Speaking of wool, have you heard the old wives’ tale about the woolly worm? California friends, do you even know what a woolly worm is? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one out here. In Tennessee, people would talk about what the woolly worm looked like each fall to determine what kind of winter we were going to have. If the brown band was wide, we would have a mild winter; if it was skinny, it would be a long and harsh one. Of course, I always wanted to find some with really skinny brown parts so we would get lots of snow and have lots of school cancelled snow days.


So I think I thrifted these shorts last winter. (It could have been the winter before. I know, sad but true, my memory ain’t what she used to be. And apparently thinking about Tennessee make me say “ain’t”.) They were pants when I found them in the men’s section – too big but warm, thick wool pants that I thought would be great for some winter shorts to wear with leggings. I chopped the legs off immediately after getting home and set them aside to tailor at a later date. Apparently that later date never came because I found them in the same condition last fall.


I’ve altered pants before, but never the waistband. I tried them on (yes, in my guest bathroom – the only other large mirror I have is right outside the room Baby Girl was napping – no way I’m risking an early wake-up to snap a photo, so bear with me) and tried a couple of options for taking them in to fit. In the end I decided to take the excess material from the back seam. I love having a place for my phone and keys at all times, so I didn’t want to mess with the pockets. With the shorts on inside out, I used chalk to mark where the new seam should go.


I took off the shorts and got to work pinning the new seam. In order to get the seam lined up properly, I tucked one of the shorts’ legs into the other one, pulling the seam out to the side, making it easier to mark.


I know it is a little hard to see, but here’s another shot of one leg inside the other. I’m holding the leg opening of both shorts’ legs here.


I used chalk to mark where the stitches would go. I basically just followed the line of the old seam, moving in about an inch from the seam (which in effect cut about 2 inches from the waistband and backside of the shorts).


I was all set to start sewing when I realized I hadn’t tapered the seam to meet the old seam in the front; it would have looked really awkward if I had skipped that step – lots of extra fabric where it shouldn’t be – so I started up the seam a few more inches and stitched to meet up with the old seam.


After I sewed the new seam, I needed to press open the seams – it looks much neater that way. However, the new seam was inside the old seam, so I had to cut that part away to reach it.


I also had lots of extra fabric in the waistband that needed to be removed, so I cut that apart as well. I cut away all the excess and pressed open the new seam.


Those raw edges on the waistband were bound to get annoying, so I tacked them down on both sides to make the waistband more comfortable. (And I’m realizing as I look at these photos that I forgot to reattach the belt loop. Will do that next. Or when I decide I need to wear a belt with them. Maybe.)


Yay! Another project checked off of my ginormous to-do list! I’m very excited to wear these right away. There’s nothing I like to wear more in the winter than leggings and boots, and these warm, wooly shorts are perfect for that. Too bad there won’t be any snow days.



This post is part of a 31 Day series about improving my days by being more PURPOSEFUL.

You can read more about it here. You can find all the posts in this series here.


7 thoughts on “The Woolly Worm

    1. I just finished them yesterday (Wednesday), but I’m wearing them today. So far so good. Had to scrape my window before leaving home, and I didn’t freeze while I was outside. :)


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