Lace Embellished Shorts

It’s been a long long “spring” here, by which I mean we were still seeing snow in early May. Thank goodness the warm weather has finally arrived, and I thought it high time to celebrate with a warm weather upcycle! Lace accented shorts are a trendy look this season, and I thought as well as adding some fabric lace touches, why not stitch some of our own lace directly? A new snip to an old pair of jeans and the magic of embroidery and we’ll have a chic new look for the warmer temps...

So, let’s start with the supplies. To make your upcycled lace shorts, you’ll need:

  • an old pair of jeans
  • lace fabric
  • Black Rose Choker freestanding lace embroidery design
  • heavy duty water soluble stabilizer, such as Sulky Ultra Solvy, Vilene, or Badgemaster
  • scissors and pins
  • seam ripper
  • cotton thread (for the lace)
  • if you wish, a printed template can help with placement

It’s best to use a pair of jeans that can really really use a new lease on life. These fit, but boy, were they a little rough around the edges. It’s time for a transformation.

Let’s start by turning the jeans into shorts. This is the easy part. Just grab your scissors and cut them to your desired length.

If you like a rough edge, now is a good time to fray the edges, as it will change the length of the shorts a bit, and we use the edge to place the lace design. I didn’t quite have time to properly fray these, but I hear a round through the wash does it well.

Use your printed template (if you don’t know how to get one, click here) to help with placement. We’re turning this freestanding lace choker design upside down and using it as a lace edge accent on the side of our new shorts. If you want, you can cut a bit of a notch in the shorts to let more open lace shine through.

We want a little bit of the lace to overlap the jeans, and some of it to go off the edge so we get the lacy look.

You’ll prep your lace for stitching like so...

Start by hooping up a piece of heavy duty water soluble stabilizer, taut like a drum. Next, place the side of your jeans flat on top. Pin the two edges flat to the stabilizer, but away from your embroidery area.

When the top is pinned, take care to pin the back half of the shorts out of the way as well, so they don’t get stuck underneath the design as it’s sewing out.

Double check your design placement with your template. I wanted the design to just hint off the edges, with a little of the lace showing through.

Start your machine sewing! In order to keep the appearance of traditional lace, and match the fabric lace I chose, I decided to stitch everything in white. You’ll notice some of the time your design will stitch directly on the denim, other times it will stitch into the stabilizer. This means your lace will be attached seamlessly to your shorts.

Here’s the design all finished! The lace delicately hangs off the edge, with a little bit of flourish to add some romance to your shorts.

Once you’ve unhooped your design, cut away the excess stabilizer and soak according to your package directions.

Repeat this on the other side!

OK, we have two lacy stitched edges now, but we need a little more lace to really bring the whole thing together. Grab your seam ripper and remove one of the back pockets on your jeans so we can give it a new lace look!

Fold your lace over the top edge of the pocket.

And stitch the lace in place at the top. Be sure to fold the excess lace in at the sides when you stitch the beginning and end of your seam.

Fold the rest of your excess lace around the pocket, and pin the pocket back in place. Sew a seam around the three sides to secure it back on your shorts.

Where else can we add lace? Well, it’s also a great way of “patching” up holes in worn out jeans. Just tack a piece of lace behind bothersome holes to add a classy peek of something behind the raw edges.

You can also use it as trim! I tacked this little piece of lace inside one of my pockets, just to add one more fresh accent.

Your new shorts are ready! Both raw and refined, the torn edges mixed with the lace bring a whole new life to what was once a dead pair of jeans.

The fanciful lace edging on your shorts will be safe and secure as it’s stitched right in place! It’s an inventive new way to add decorative lace edging to clothes.

Most things in the back of your closet can have new life with a few snips and stitches. So rock your new warm weather duds with style!

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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Black Rose Choker (Lace)_image
Black Rose Choker (Lace) $4.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 6.85"w x 2.95"h