Saturday, February 18, 2017

DIY: Converting a Jumper Into a Short Set

There's nothing worse than finding the perfect print and finding that it's a little too short. Or not practical in real life.

Thankfully if you have a sewing machine and you like being creative, you can almost always salvage a poorly conceived clothing item by reconstructing or reinvisioning it.

Detail of the finished ruffled lace shirt and short set.


What's your favorite reconstructed clothing project?

Much of the clothing designed for women or children is impractical. For example, a jumper that has a button closure at the neck that requires assistance to open or close. Just how did the designer think a child would be able to use the bathroom on their own?

Gates mixes and matches her new shirt with a pair of vintage shorts.


So whenever possible--especially if Gates loves the print--I head to the sewing machine to improve the wearability of new clothing.

Pin the front of the gathered ruffle to the front of the shirt.


Our latest project was changing a couple of jumpers into matching shirt and short sets that coordinated with other separates in Gates' closet. From start to finish the project took about half an hour.

Gather the lace and place where the the ruffle is joined to the shirt.


Supplies and Materials Needed for Converting a Jumper Into a Short Set

To complete this project, you'll need:

  • A jumper (or a shirt you want to lengthen by adding a ruffle to)
  • Fiskars 8 Inch Pinking Shears(*affiliate link)
  • Dritz Tomato Pin Cushion(*affiliate link)
  • Singer Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins, 120-Count(*affiliate link)
  • Thread that matches your fabric
  • Material that coordinates with your fabric and is at least one and a half times longer than the bottom of your shirt
  • Lace that coordinates with your fabric and is at least one and a half times longer than the bottom of your shirt
  • 3/4 inch or 1 inch ribbon that matches your fabric
  • Sewing machine (I use a Bernina Bernette 70 which is no longer sold.)

Pin a ribbon over where the lace is attached to the shirt. Stitch down along the top and bottom edges of the ribbon.


Step-by-Step Instructions for Converting a Jumper Into a Short Set (half an hour)

  1. Using pinking shears, cut the jumper a 1/4 inch above the tie string waist until you have a shirt and a pair of shorts.
  2. Hem a 2 1/2 to 3 inch strip of fabric that's one and a half to two times the length of the bottom of the shirt. (I used material that I had cut from a pair of sweat pants that I'd shortened so I already had a hem.)
  3. Seam the strip of fabric together.
  4. Leaving a three inch tail of thread, baste (wide straight stitch) half of the strip of fabric along the top edge. Do the same with the other half of the fabric strip.
  5. Using the thread tail, gently pull to gather the fabric strip until it is the same circumference as the shirt. Make sure the gathers are evenly spaced.
  6. Pin the shirt to the gathered fabric ruffle so that the front of the shirt and the front of the ruffle are facing each other.
  7. Stitch the shirt and the ruffle together right below your basting.
  8. Optionally, repeat steps 2 through 5 to add a layer of lace that is one and a half to two times the length of the shirt hem to the front of the shirt. Baste the lace to gather it. Then pin the gathered lace to the front of the shirt above the ruffle and stitch above the ruffle and shirt seam.
  9. Pin a 3/4 inch or inch ribbon so that the ruffle and shirt seam is centered below it.
  10. Stitch the ribbon to the front of the shirt along its bottom edge. Then finish stitching the ribbon down along its top edge.

Detail of the finished ruffled lace shirt and short set.


Instead of one outfit, Gates now has many!


What do you think of the finished project?

Gates is over the moon with it and couldn't wait to try the top on with all of the shorts in her closet. Now she can't wait for the weather to turn sunny and warm so that she can once again wear shorts.

genuinely eden


Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. All opinions presented are my own.
The Road To The Good Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. - Eden

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