Turn Old T Shirts into Boys’ Underwear

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

Turn old t shirts into boys' underwearIn Italy young children can start public preschool if they will have turned three by the following May. Which means that some kids start when they are only 2 1/2, like my little Nicky did (toting along with his special backpack, of course). And of course they have to be fully potty trained by then. Seeing as we were leaving for our vacation to Sardinia mid-July, I wanted to try to get him potty trained before that, to avoid bringing our cloth diapers along with us. Despite what I’d heard about boys taking longer than girls to master the art of toilet use, it was actually pretty easy going (much more so than with his sister) with hardly any accidents. Lucky me!

Little Olly boys briefs patternSo I needed some boy underwear. When Sofia ditched the diapers, I made some fun girly underwear for her (as well as a tutorial), but I honestly wasn’t sure how to go about getting the proper shape for a boy’s equipment. So I turned to Etsy and found a fantastic PDF pattern for boys’ brief underwear, sizes 2 – 7 years. What immediately drew me to this particular pattern (besides those awesome fabrics) was the fact that these undies do not have elastic in them that can dig into the child’s tummy, but a stretchy waistband. I was not disappointed by it; it is very clear and easy to follow, so I highly recommend it.

Upcycled boy underwearI had planned to use upcycled t shirts to make Nicky’s underwear, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to reuse scraps from a few old ones because the 2-year-old pattern pieces are pretty small, so I avoided cutting into “new” shirts in my to-refashion stash.

Upcycled boy underwearHere you can see how I managed to fold over the sleeves of some XL shirts to get all four crotch pieces in one cut. What a great way to use up these scraps!

Upcycled boy underwearAs for the waist and leg bands, I needed stretchy shirts with 3-5% elastane or spandex.

Upcycled boy underwearLuckily I was able to find a pretty good selection of used t-shirts with this little bit of stretchiness for 50 cents each at my town’s market.

Upcycled boy underwearI’m not going to go into details as to their construction because this isn’t a free pattern (although it really costs very little and is very useful, so I think it was worth every penny). Here’s just a token image of attaching one of the leg bands.

Upcycled boy underwearI admit that I made the mistake of using an old t shirt of mine for the waistband of the first pair. Unfortunately, this shirt was pretty stretched out, so the underwear was not properly gathered at the bands and fell right off of my skinny little boy.

Upcycled boy underwearThe body of the underwear looked a bit large for my little guy, so I modified the pattern… a little too much. Just looking at those tight undies makes me cringe!

Upcycled boy underwearWe soon discovered that they fit his sheep pretty well, though.

Upcycled boy underwearI continued to make modifications in both the body and the crotch pieces.

Upcycled boy underwearEventually I realized that for Nicky’s particular body shape, the pattern’s crotch piece had been fine in the first place, though the body needed to be made a little less wide and with the legs a little higher, and the waist band slightly less long.

Upcycled boy underwearWith my perfect pattern, I made a whole bunch more of underwear that fit my little guy perfectly. That pair above on the bottom right was an attempt to use the original printed t-shirt front on the crotch, but it didn’t come out very nice. I also realized too late that I didn’t have enough of any one of the stretchy shirts I’d cut up for the waist and leg bands, so I mixed them up. Let’s just say that that particular pair is our emergency pair. I am of course still using all those intermediate attempts, too, except the very small one (which now belongs to the kids’ stuffed animals) and the first very large one (which just needs new bands and then I can use that one, too).

Upcycled boy underwearI may not have used fancy new fabrics like the author of the pattern, but we love Nicky’s unique underwear. It’s always hard to get clothing to fit my skinny kids properly, but when I make my own, I can custom tailor them to their specific body shape. And if that weren’t awesome enough, they cost nearly nothing and reuse fabric that would’ve been difficult to upcycle in any other way. Long live refashioning and long live PDF patterns on Etsy!

12 thoughts on “Turn Old T Shirts into Boys’ Underwear”

  1. Thanks I collecting my old clothes and make some for my kids. And my little boy needs more underwear. I’m tired of the prices. So I’m sewing them. I already sewing my kids pants. It really does save $. And help me get out of debt. I not getting any more loans. I honestly tired of the debt. No more for me. That’s why I sewing my children nice clothes.


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