HOW TO MAKE VINTAGE PANTS INTO A CROP TOP AND MATCHING SHORT SET
Disclaimer: I’m not gonna teach you how to sew perfectly or traditionally. I’m gonna show you how I make clothes really quick by using pins, measurements, and patterns as little as possible. It’s just a prototype, and there will be raw edges (hidden inside, of course) and it may be a little uneven…the key is to make it look like it’s perfect if you’re trying to finish this project in time to wear it tonight ;)
1). Start with a pair of pants. Fabric with texture or pattern will make something more interesting (and also hide any sloppy sewing errors…)
2). Cut the legs off- give yourself a generous inseam (I measured to 6”)
3). Try ‘em on in front of the mirror
4). Flip the cut leg up and away so you don’t accidently snip it. Measure the same inseam on the other side, or as a short cut just lay the cut piece from the first side on top of the second side and cut along top edge so they are symmetrical.
5). Try ‘em on, fold up the edge to hem them to your desired length. Here’s a LINK on how to hem pants.
6). Take the pant leg you cut off and rip the seam out.
7). Do both sides and lay them flat. Iron if you want.
8). Sew them together—this is now your “CF” (center front) seam for the top we’re making!
9). Iron this seam open so it’s flat and pretty.
10). Pleat the center front seam and pin it in place. Here’s a LINK to the definition of pleats. I did mine about ½” deep and ½” apart from each other.
11). Fold the excess fabric up and try it on in the mirror. It’s important to try stuff on as you go…
12). Measure how wide the CF seam should be according to your frame. Mine looks best at around 4”
13). Here I undid my pleats and this time pinned them with more care. Fold the top edge down about 1” to hide the raw edge inside. You can serge the raw edge, etc to prevent fraying, but I don’t really care about raw edges inside my garments (“tsk Naomi!” my teachers would say..ha! Whatever…)
14). Top stitch down your CF seam to secure your ~4” of pleats.
15). Give about 1” seam allowance below your last pleat and cut off the remainder of the fabric.
16). Here’s a trick- to make it even once you get to half way, fold the flap across to the other side and cut along edge.
17). This photo is of the inside of the garment- the top 1” seam allowance and bottom 1” seam allowance are being shown here- iron these down to make it crisp looking.
18). Now try on the top, holding the back secure or use a hairband to hold it in place. On your body decide where the SS (side seam) will go, and pin down the pleats as they wrap around your body so they look nice and pretty and even. Top stitch down these pleats as you did with CF pleats.
19). Give the side seams about ½” seam allowance and trim off excess fabric.
20). Take that excess fabric, fold the top edge and bottom edge down (seam allowances), and stitch the fabric back onto the side seam again (follow images).
21). This is now your back bodice panel piece, and we are going to stitch a loop at center back to slide a ribbon thru. Your back bodice piece should be about 6” long, measure your body to decide how long your piece should be. (Make it slightly smaller than needed so there’s room at CB for the ribbon to tie!) I stuck a pencil in my loop so you can see it a lil better. Fold the back panel fabric on itself so at CB it’s much narrower, about 1 ½”. Fold it back and stitch down to create the loop.
22+23). I added ¼” topstitching at my SS and CB loop seam to hold the seam allowances in place, then I trimmed the seam allowances short. They will fray eventually, but I don’t care. To prevent fraying, serge the seam allowances if you have a serger (I don’t).
24). I added a couple stitches along the front bodice piece by the apex to secure the pleats in place. This is not necessary but will keep it slightly more polished looking as you wear the garment out.
25). Tie a ribbon around the CF seam to hide your stitching and reduce the height of your seam a bit, this will make the top look more like a bra and less like a bandeau. You don’t have to do this step if you prefer the straight wide look.
25+). You’re done! Pics of front and back for you ;) (Also- if you’re wondering where my abs came from, its youtube pilates videos…try it!)