Recycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos

Recycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos via
T-shirt pants have been around forever right up there with pillowcase dresses. There are so many tutorials out there. I have a few friends who are just starting to sew so I thought I’d post my own tutorial with updated measurements and tweaks that I’ve incorporated into the PERFECT t-shirt pants. (disclaimer: perfect for me, maybe not so perfect for everyone else)
Recycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos cut via
I call them “gauchos” now because as your child gets taller you’ll find that you start to lose the length because t-shirts are only so big! These little pants/gauchos are so easy to make and have endless creative possibilities! My tutorial is at the bottom of this post and is easy to download and print!
These were my favorites by far that I made when Sienna was a year old. I made them from one of my t-shirts that featured a cupcake on the front. I attached the cupcake portion using an applique technique on one of the pants legs before sewing the pants together (see my applique tutorial).
Recycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos 2 via lilblueboo.comRecycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos 3 via
These cute little pants were made from a white undershirt and the detail was done using reverse applique. I made a matching t-shirt as well. You can see the detail of the pants here. My reverse applique tutorial is easy to follow as well!
Recycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos 4 via lilblueboo.comRecycled T-Shirt Toddler Pants & Gauchos 5 via
The pair below was made from a black Superman shirt. I cut out the Superman logo and sewed it onto one of the legs before I sewed the pants together.

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These gauchos were made from an old Carolina Panthers t-shirt. I originally started making them for a friends son but the length wasn’t long enough. They are now Sienna’s lounge pants!

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Sienna loves comfortable clothes!
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A few tips:
1. If you are going to add applique or other detail, add it AFTER you cut the pants out but BEFORE you sew them.
2. Measure your child’s inseam first and adjust the length of your pattern to match. You can make shorts, capris, pants…. endless possibilities!
Email me if you have any questions! I’m glad to help in anyway!


I love recycling t-shirts…..

…..I don’t really wear them but I love recycling them into different things! I think the majority of Sienna’s wardrobe is from something that used to be mine or my husband’s! I made Sienna a skort this weekend. It is so hard to find skirts for her that come with bloomers (she still wears pull-ups) so I really love when the shorts are built into the skirt.
I’m working on refining the pattern for this skort as well as the pattern for the little halter dress. It takes so long to write it all out with photos and details! I just need more hours in the day….and more sleep.
I love recycling t-shirts via
I love recycling t-shirts 2 via
Sienna loves how soft, comfy and twirly they are.
Update: I am so excited to introduce my Recycled T-Shirt Ruffle Skirt/Skort ePattern (6M to 5T) now available at my Lil Blue Boo Etsy shop! It is a 20-page PDF complete with 41 images and drawings to walk you step by step through making your own ruffle skirt or skort out of a men’s t-shirt.

Lace Detail on Shorts

I made these cute little shorts but they seemed so plain that I added the little lace border at the bottom.  I love the lace so much I’m going to have to find more! Don’t you think the shorts look dainty now?

The pink fabric is from the line Swanky by Chez Moi for Moda Fabrics. I used my favorite little short pattern I picked up at Joann’s Fabric: New Look pattern #6689

Lace Detail on Shorts via
Lace Detail on Shorts 2 via
Lace Detail on Shorts 3 via lilblueboo.comI made a cute little applique t-shirt to match using several layers of the same fabric sandwiched around the blue version of the same. I left the edges of the flower ragged to give it some texture.

Lace Detail on Shorts 4 via
This is a gift for a friend but hopefully she won’t read my blog today. I needed a post!

Afternoon Clothes Recycling

Spent some of the afternoon sewing and came up with a cute toddler halter dress recycled from an old boatneck t-shirt of mine.  I’m working on the pattern so stayed tuned for all the instructions! It was a quick sew.

Afternoon Clothes Recycling via

Original boatneck t-shirt

Afternoon Clothes Recycling halter dress front via

Front of finished dress

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Back of finished dress
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Sienna wearing her new dress (she doesn’t pose for cameras unfortunately)

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The back of the halter dress
I’m not that happy with the direction of the stripes on the top…I wish I had made them horizontal. Now I need to go dig up another shirt to make a new dress from!

Intentionally Mismatching Fabrics (on an Evelyn Skirt)

My friend Shari (see Happy Chickadee) and I were discussing fabric the other day and my “made-up” advice was that if you coordinate a bunch of fabrics that don’t match, sometimes it works, because it looks intentional.

Intentionally Mismatching Fabrics (on an Evelyn Skirt) via

This is another Evelyn skirt I made last night. The fabrics coordinate just enough. This is a gift for my friend’s daughter Beaux. Happy Birthday Beaux!

Intentionally Mismatching Fabrics (on an Evelyn Skirt) 2 via

I attached matching yo-yos to a store bought t-shirt. Sorry for the long shadows… was really early morning when I photographed it!

Intentionally Mismatching Fabrics (on an Evelyn Skirt) yoyos via lilblueboo.comIntentionally Mismatching Fabrics (on an Evelyn Skirt) yoyos 2 via

See my previous Evelyn Skirt post for pattern info and yo-yo tutorial links! This is such an easy pattern and great for beginners.

The Evelyn Apron Skirt

My favorite pattern right now is the Evelyn Apron Skirt by Jona Giammalva. The original pattern has a little apron on the front of the skirt, but I left it off the one shown in the photo (I didn’t have a light enough fabric in my scraps). This is such an easy quick sew.

The Evelyn Apron Skirt via

The little green accent strip is by far my favorite part of the skirt. But I also love how “twirly” it is.

The Evelyn Apron Skirt accent strip via

I made a few little yo-yos out of leftover fabric scraps and sewed them in a cluster onto a little white tank to make a complete outfit. Heather Bailey has a great yo-yo tutorial on her blog.

The Evelyn Apron Skirt yo-yos via

You can purchase the pattern for the Evelyn skirt at You Can Make This. Jona also has a great blog and fabric website called Fabritopia. Very talented woman!
I really need to update my fabrics…there are so many great combinations you could put together for this pattern. Seriously, will someone please open up a huge fabulous fabric, ribbon, button store within 100 miles of Palm Desert?!

Swamped but just can’t stop sewing!

I’ve got a lot of projects on my plate right now which is exciting but boy am I tired (Sienna was up until 3:00 am last night with a fever and then up at 6:00 am ready to start the day all chipper and energetic!) I’ve got a couple projects I can’t talk about yet (but can’t wait to share), and I am also finishing up some new nursery paintings, starting some new samples, working on some mural sketches and waiting to hear back on some faux painting jobs. Phew…I’m already on my 4th Diet Coke of the day and it is only 11:30 am as I write this. If you don’t see any posts in the next few days it is because I am scrambling to get things done!

Anyways, I just love making these cute Faith tops by Sew Sensible (see my recent spring sewing post for pattern info)! I love experimenting with different fabric combinations. I can’t wait to try some new Heather Bailey prints soon… they are scrumptious. This pink print on the top shown below is from the line Swanky by Chez Moi for Moda Fabrics. This top was made for my friend Lisa’s daughter Elle. I threw in some cute little matching shorts too so she wouldn’t have to find something to match it. If you haven’t checked out Lisa’s adorable line of ElleBows you must! I am sure she already has the perfect little bow for Elle to wear with her new outfit.

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Swamped but just can't stop sewing 2 via
I am just in love with the cute tied bow in the back… also makes the top very adjustable so it keeps growing!

Reverse Applique Tutorial

Reverse Applique Tutorial via
Here is my easy tutorial for adding reverse applique to clothing.  I am using my daughter’s pink pirate tank top as an example. I started with the below tank top and skort set that I bought at Target for around $8.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 1 via
First, I sketched out a design. Tip: If you aren’t a skilled freehand artist there is an easy way to come up with a unique drawing. Take items with similar shapes to what you are looking to design and use them as your drawing guide. I used a roll of tape and an candy tin to design the skull:
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 2 via
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 3 via
You can download my template for the pirate skull and crossbones below:

*Copyright © 2009 by Ashley Hackshaw. All rights reserved. This applique is for personal and home use only. A limited commercial license may be purchased for limited production. Please email me at ashley (at) for more information. Thank you for respecting my copyright!
Next, you will need fabric for your applique.  To make my fabric easier to sew I first stabilize it by ironing a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon brand) to the wrong side of the fabric.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 4 via
Then I drew my design on the wrong side of the fabric using a disappearing ink pen (you will actually be drawing on the fusible interfacing you just ironed on).
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 5 via
I cut out the skull leaving about 1/4″ border. I turned the tank top inside out and pinned the skull to the shirt.  The right side of the skull fabric is against the wrong side of the tank top.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 6 via
I sewed the outside line of the skull first.  I sewed all the way around it twice.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 7 via
Next, I moved to the inside shapes and sewed all the way around each twice. Each shape is sewn separately (i.e. I am lifting up the machine foot and moving to each shape so that they are not connected by a sewn line).
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 8 via
Below you can see my entire design has been sewn onto the tank top.  I am an impatient seamstress so my stitching starts to look a little messy but since I am sewing every line twice I almost prefer it that way so that it looks intentional.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 9 via
Turning the tank top right side out again this is what it looked like:
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 10 via
This is my favorite step of reverse applique:  I took my small detail scissors and cut out the portions of the tank top where I want the fabric below to show through. I left about 1/8″ border outside of the stitching where I cut.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 11 via
Here is the finished cutout.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 12 via
Tip: I like to take a tiny paint brush and apply a small amount of Dritz Fray Check around the 1/8″ border of left to keep it from unraveling too much in the wash.  It just reassures me that my applique is going to stay put.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 13 via
To complete the outfit, I added a matching crossbones to the skort. I cut a small felt pink bow and hand-stitched a border with black dmc thread.  I attached it using Dritz Stitch Witchery to the side of the skull to make sure everyone knows it is a “girl” pirate skull!  For the last step I added a few rhinestones to the skull teeth and around the crossbones.  I used Tulip iron-on glass crystals because they glue directly to the fabric and nothing is inside the shirt to make it itchy.  You can find them at most craft stores.
Reverse Applique Tutorial finished via

Pink Pirate et al

I just finished this Pink Pirate outfit for Sienna. (click for tutorial here) I usually don’t do skull and crossbones (it upsets my mom) but I had this cute Michael Miller Goth Baby fabric laying around that I picked up at Mary Jo’s in NC this past summer. I am working on putting together a tutorial for it and should have it up in the next day or so.  I made it from a tank and skort that I found at Target and just added some reverse applique and rhinestones.  Reverse applique is so easy and anyone can do it.  I am such an impatient crafter…..I want everything done pronto. Yours will turn out a lot better if you sew a little slower than I do ;)
Pink Pirate et al via
Close-up of reverse applique on the tank. I added a little felt bow with hand-stitching to the head.
Pink Pirate et al 2 via
Close-up of the skort.
Pink Pirate et al 3 via
Since I am on the topic reverse applique I thought I would post some photos of another project I did a while ago.  I made the below t-shirt pants out of a plain white men’s undershirt for Sienna when she was a year old and added the reverse applique using remnants of a black t-shirt.  I made a matching shirt as well.  It was a cute outfit. The design was from part of a wall stencil I had.
Pink Pirate et al 4 via
Close-up of reverse applique on the pants:
Pink Pirate et al 5 via
Another close-up of reverse applique on the pants:
Pink Pirate et al 6 via
Close-up of reverse applique on the shirt.  I added a spade shape under part of the wall stencil.
Pink Pirate et al 7 via

Recycle your t-shirt…..into a toddler skirt!

Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) via
There is nothing better than a vintage t-shirt that has been washed to its ideal softness. I love taking these old t-shirts and turning them into clothes for my daughter.
Here is a skirt I made with an old Pepsi-Cola shirt. It has cute little fringed hearts on the front and back that I made with the leftovers. The best part is that it is the softest skirt ever and so comfortable. I only wish I could have made it in my size.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 1 via
Here is the entire outfit. I took a white tank top and added a large fringed heart to the front with the extra t-shirt scraps. I love the little fringed edges of the heart and how they curl.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 2 via lilblueboo.comRecycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 3 via
Here is the t-shirt before I started. It is a little fitted and curves a little at the bottom which gave me the “vision” of the skirt to begin with!
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 1 via
Sienna is between the sizes 2T and 3T right now so hopefully that will give you an idea of the skirt sizing. I measured 11 inches up each side of the t-shirt and cut it across to each of those points. The bottom portion will be the main piece of the skirt.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 2 via
I used the remaining upper portion of the t-shirt as fabric for my heart patches. I made a small paper heart template and used my disappearing ink pen to draw a bunch of them over the logo. I ended up cutting out four of these and setting them aside.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 3 via
To help stabilize the fabric before I sewed the heart patches on I cut a rectangular piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon brand) and I ironed it onto the inside of the skirt. This interfacing is much larger than needed and as the skirt is washed it will slowly start to come off….then I’ll just trim it off around the hearts. I personally think this is much easier than trying to cut a bunch of pieces of the interfacing to fit the patches on the opposite side.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 4 via
Here is the skirt turned right side out again and I laid out the hearts where I wanted them and pinned them to the skirt.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 5 via
Next I sewed each heart to the skirt leaving a 1/2 inch border.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 6 via
After sewing on the heart patches, I used my detail scissors to cut small slits into the 1/2 inch border of the hearts creating fringe.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 7 via
Next I started working on the waist band of the skirt. I turned the skirt wrong-side out and folded the waist band down 1 1/4 inch all the way around. Tip: t-shirt fabric starts to curl when it is cut so I use spray starch to stiffen the fabric edges. The starch also makes it a little easier to sew.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 8 via
I sewed 1/4 inch seam all the way around the top of the skirt leaving about an inch gap to thread the elastic through. Before threading the elastic through I stitched another 1/4 seam all the way around the top of the band leaving a 3/4 inch casing.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 9 via
Next, I threaded an 18.5″ long elastic band through the casing……

Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 10 via
…..and sewed the elastic together with a few rows of stitches.
To keep the elastic from shifting inside the casing I like to sew a line of stitches at various points around the waistband. Optional: I also like to stretch the waistband out so there is no gathering and stitch down the center all the way around….keeping the elastic in place all the way around.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 12 via
The finished skirt!
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Here is Sienna wearing her new outfit! So cute!
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) finished via
Let me know if you have any questions! Send me photos of your t-shirt skirts!
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