I sewed quite a few things from remnants last year. It always amazes me how much you can make from things you already have, once you think a bit out of the box … (aka are forced to do it because you’re broke). Plus, it feels so good to finally get rid of some long-hoarded bigger scraps and to make a garment that is basically free.

For these knit shorts, I almost only used material I had on hand. The pattern is an old Burda shorts pattern that I adapted to my needs, the outer fabric is some leftover from a sweater I made last year.


The fabric was kinda thin on its own, I underlined it in this wonderfully soft grey jersey. Underlinings are something I experimented with a lot lately and they’re turning into one of my favourite techniques. I just love the extra stability they give and how they make a garment look and feel so much more high-quality!

Drafting the pattern

As the pattern was a bit developed on the go, the part where the sides overlap is quite large. If you’re ever drafting a pattern for shorts like these, definitely try to sew the bias-bindings on top of each other. It looks so much nicer.

Combining knits and wovens

The bias binding was leftover from another project. It’s made from old bedsheets that I bought at least 7 years ago for dressmaking purposes. The dress never got made but I already used the fabric on these Burda shorts for example.

It is actually not hard to use a woven and a knit fabric in the same project – you just have to pay attention on the stretchy parts of the garment. In this case, finishing the hems and sides with woven bias tape worked perfectly fine, because the only part that needs flexibility is the waistband.

Dyeing fabric with tea

Speaking of which – the waistband ribbing was the only thing that didn’t come from my stash. I experimented with bleaching some pink one I had, but the result wasn’t satisfying. But a fabric store’s colour range is limited as well so I ended up buying a small amount of ugly piggy pink ribbing and dyed it with black tea to achieve my desired dusky pink hue.

I’ve dyed fabric like this before and it always worked out well. I used 1.5 liters of hot water, 2.5 teaspoons of salt and around 10 bags of black tea. After steeping the tea for 15 minutes, the fabric stayed in the dye bath for a total 5 hours. Afterwards, I rinsed and left it in cold water with a dash of vinegar for around 10 minutes to fix the dye.

The result turned out a little spotty (I met a friend while the fabric was in the dye bath, so I didn’t have time to occasionally stir it), but overall I am really pleased with the colour.

As the waistband was a little loose on it’s own I inserted some elastic to make it sit more snug.

So …

I love these shorts! They’re quick and easy to make and perfect for bigger scraps. I was a bit sad because I made them at the end of last summer, but they work just as well as pyjama shorts. I also love the inside with the grey and pink fabric. Maybe I’ll make another pair in these colours some day.

On a totally different note: I thrifted this top the other day and still need to shorten those straps. For now they’re knotted until I find the time to do it :-) It’s funny how by now my wardrobe is about 50% handmade and 50% ready-to-wear, yet almost any ready-to-wear garments have seen a sewing machine at some point in their life. I guess once you’re hooked on great fit, you don’t make any more compromises …