I’ve been seeing a bunch of leather shorts on my fashionable friends, so I thought I’d share my recent DIY suede shorts project. The idea of DIY is always such a draw for me, but truthfully it only happens if it’s easy. And this project happened to be not only easy but also cheap.
Quote of the day: “Don’t let your previous choices set your future ceiling. The willingness to try new ideas allows you to keep advancing.” James Clear
The idea of DIY suede shorts or ANY shorts for that matter is brilliant because you can control the inseam length. If you are looking in retail stores for shorts, then you are limited by the length they have available. But the best idea is to find a pair of pants you like, and then make your own shorts from them.
Insider tip: Lesley even used this concept for a pair of culottes seen here.
And if you want to find a pair of suede pants, I happened to see many while googling them. I listed a couple of online thrift stores at the end of the post if you’re interested.
P.S. If you’re wondering why an older woman would want a pair of “winter” shorts in the first place, my rationale is it can be a wonderful alternative to skirts. Easier to sit modestly in yet you can still showcase fun tights or tall boots!
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It All Started with Thrifted Suede Pants
I found these tan suede pants while thrifting over 3 years ago. They were under $10 and fit around the waist and hips so well. When I first bought them, they were way too long, but because they are leather, I cut off the hem to have them be a good length for me as pants.
Insider tip: That is the advantage of suede and leather. The material will not ravel so you do not HAVE to hem the piece. The other advantage is that pet hair doesn’t stick to it which is why I loved the leather pants that I wore recently.
However, even when living in Denver, I never wore these tan suede pants. I loved the idea of them, but they never felt interesting. In fact, even in the photo above, they don’t look like anything special. They just look like tan pants which can be a tad frumpy at times.
When we moved to Arizona, I almost purge them thinking it would be too hot to wear them here. Luckily I kept them because when it cools down here, I can wear them with no issues. Yet even when winter came around, I still didn’t wear them.
Lo and behold, this winter season, I started seeing many of my fashionable friends showcase leather shorts. My first response was “I want a pair” haha!! But then I remembered these suede pants and thought I could make my own DIY suede shorts from the pants.
Join me as I showcase step by step how I created my own DIY suede shorts.
Is There a Seam Already?
Most leather pants I’ve seen have a seam above the knee. If this is the case, then it’s an easy place to start. Just rip out the seam to give you a great place to start with your DIY suede shorts.
Insider tip: Don’t throw out the leftover material from the legs. It could be used as a sleeve, or cut out into patches for other projects.
If your leather or suede pants don’t have a seam in the leg, then I would measure from the hem on where to cut off the extra material. How do you know the correct length? I like to try them on and see how they look. But you can also take a pair of shorts that you like and measure against them.
Then you want to cut off the lining. You will hem this later, but not until you know the exact length of the leather.
The Best Length for Winter Shorts
There are many factors for the best length for winter shorts. I have a pair that you’ve seen me wear here that I always wear with tights, so that’s why I can wear them even though they are so short.
For this DIY suede shorts project, I knew that I also wanted to wear them with my over-the-knee boots and still show a little leg. Therefore, after I ripped out the seam, I tried them on and compared them as-is versus shortening them (by tucking up the material).
This is the best way to make sure you like the length for any DIY shorts project. You can make the inseam 5 inches to 10 inches or anything in between. It’s all in your control.
Making the Cut For My DIY Suede Shorts
I measured up from the ripped-out seam and created a line on the inside of the leather with a pencil. This created my line on which to cut the suede for the correct length.
For leather and suede, you don’t have to hem the material because it won’t ravel. However, if you do want a tucked-up hem, I found a good no-sew option below.
This Sew No More adhesive (found on Amazon) is like magic and can create your hem for you. It can be messy, and I found that working in 4-inch sections proved to be the best practice.
I would put down a line of the adhesive, fold up the leather, hold it with my fingers for a good 2 minutes, and then set a heavy book on it to dry while I worked on something else.
After 10 minutes, I would come back to it, and do the same thing on the next 4-inch section until the hem was finished.
Then I hemmed the lining to be a half-inch shorter than the hemline, and tada, I was finished with my DIY suede shorts.
Shorts: Margaret Godfrey-thrifted~~ Sweater: Handknitted by me~~ Top: Banana Republic ~~ Boots: Report from Macy’s ~~ Earrings: Pam Neri
Want To Make Your Own DIY Suede Shorts?
When I was googling this exact pair of Margaret Godfrey suede pants, I found many options available on online thrift sites. Depending on your size, you too could find the same pair as mine and create your own DIY suede shorts. Or find a pair of black leather pants…the options are endless.
Or if you’d rather just buy a pair of leather or suede shorts, I found some of those for you too!
Other DIY Projects
I adore the idea of DIY projects even though I don’t blog about them much. However, there are a couple that I have showcased and all are very easy.
- Adding Color to Your Neutral Accessories–It’s easy to paint some accessories you already have. I talk about the reason you might want to and give a couple of examples.
- DIY to Make Your Ankle Strap from Buckle to Velcro–This makes my buckle shoes SO MUCH easier to get on and off. In fact, I’ve done this trick to over 2 dozen shoes now. And there is a YouTube video on it if that is your preference.
- How to Make Your Own Fringe Skirt–Do you have a longer suede or leather skirt that is frumpy? Here’s one way to make it modern.
- DIY Arm Warmers for Those Transition Months–You may not realize that arm warmers can be so helpful!! It’s one way to layer under another shirt but then can take these off without removing the outer layer!! Brilliant!!
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