Saturday, March 3, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Tiered Lace Shorts from Men's Boxers

For the past couple of months, I have been lusting after a pair of lace shorts:

I pin them on Pinterest all of the time, and I've looked on tons of websites- but I really couldn't find any that I loved, and if I did find a pair, the price was a bit ridiculous.  So I thought, why not make them?? It could be a fun project and it couldn't be that hard, right? Wrong. My friend Beth did this DIY with me, and we struggled and cursed and screamed our way through it.  I am going to be honest- this was the hardest DIY project I've ever done.  And I have done hundreds.  But if you love lace like me and are dedicated and patient, then stay tuned to find out how to create your very own pair of tiered lace shorts.

What you need:
a pair of white or cream shorts (I used white men's cotton boxers, my first big mistake)
lace, lace, and more lace. (I ended up using at least 14 yards!!)
a sewing machine (or fabric glue)
a seam ripper

I would have loved to find a pair of white or cream dress shorts with a side zipper for this project, but I had no luck.  So I decided to go with a pair of men's boxers that I found for $4 at Target.  I thought this would be easy, because I could just slip the elastic waist on.  However, I recommend not using a short with any stretchiness, because when you sew the lace on it is not stretchy and it makes it hard to get them over your hips.  When I figured this out, it was already too late.  Anyway, if you do choose boxers, you are going to have to alter the length most likely.  So, I hemmed the legs of the shorts and also rolled the elastic waist down one time to shorten the length of the crotch, and sewed along that line.

Double roll the shorts from the inside and pin down, then sew around to hem.

Remove the tag, and pin down this waist band from the inside.
Then sew around to shorten crotch length

 After you do this, remove the button (using a seam ripper) from the flap on the front, and sew that flap closed. Your shorts should now look a little bit more like women's shorts.
After alterations
Now comes the fun part (and by fun, I mean HARD.)  We bought our lace from Hancock fabrics by the spool.  The lace by the yard was much more expensive. I bought 4 spools of different kinds of lace first, about 8 yards worth, and that got me about halfway up the shorts.  I had to go back out and get 3 more spools- thank goodness it was 30% off so it was only 84 cents per spool!  The skinnier the lace, the more layers you will need. My lace was skinnier than Beth's and I ended up needing a ton more than she did.

At first we tried to glue the lace to the shorts with "Ok to wash" glue that we found at Hancock Fabrics.   It is possible to use this for the shorts, I just don't recommend it. We thought this would be easier since we had seen other tutorials using it, but it was a disaster.  You have to wait for the glue to get tacky, then it gets everywhere and sticks to your fingers when you try to put it on the shorts and it's just a mess.  After we fussed with this on the first layer for an hour or so, we decided to try our luck with the sewing machine.  

Placing the layers is all your own preference, you choose what layer looks best on the bottom and then on top of that, etc etc.  You have to pin one layer at a time, and I would recommend starting from the bottom up. I would pin the lace all the way around, and then make the cut to make sure the length was correct.  You also have to be very careful when pinning the layers to not pull the lace super tight, because this makes the shorts bunch up and become tight when put on.  I learned this the hard way and had to seam-rip the entire third layer and start over- and it seriously took FOREVER.
           You want the first tier to be the lace you like the best, because
 it hangs over your hem 
Pinning the first layer off of the leg of the shorts is
crucial to get right, so take your time.

After you get the first row done that goes around the whole body of the shorts and isn't on the actual short leg, it starts to get a little easier. (Not by much, but you just get the hang of it).  Continue to layer the lace in the fashion that you like to create the look you want, until you reach the top (this takes a lot of time, and a lot of patience).  I wouldn't recommend sewing on the actual elastic band because then it will no longer be stretchy, and they will be really difficult to get on and off.  To get to this point I had 8 layers on the front, and 9 layers on the back.  (That's a lot of pinning and sewing!)
They are quite pretty: reminds me of bloomers or a lace petticoat

At this point, I had to try them on.  I'm not going to lie- I wasn't completely thrilled with the results.  Because the lace we bought was already gathered at the top, it made the lace lay more 'poofy' than I would have preferred. So when I tried them on I felt a bit like I had a fancy lace diaper on.

Please ignore my tie dye shirt that I was working in :)
 I realized it might help if I sewed down the seams on the sides to help hold the lace in place and calm down the 'poofiness'.  I pinned down the seams and sewed a straight line.  Thank goodness, this helped a little.

Pin down the sides to make sure it gives the effect you want
...then sew that line when you're happy with it.
I thought about sewing seams down the front and the back too, to minimize the poof even more- but as of now I have decided against it. I still think they're a little too 'fru fru' but with how much work I put into them, I have to love them. With the right styling they make a super cute outfit!

The lace and the shorts together were about $11.  I spent $3.50 on fabric glue that I didn't end up using.  I already had all the other materials, so they really weren't too expensive to make. Anyway,  here's the finished product, I hope you all like them and maybe want to give them a try!

Finished product up close!
A cute way to style lace shorts:
A blazer, neutral top, and neutral heels!