The cyclist’s guide: Upcycling trousers

I have been cycling everywhere for about 3.5 years now. It turns out that, if you are a regular commuter who wears their normal clothes on the run to work each day, this is about the point where you start wearing out all of your trousers. One day you notice the fabric around the seat is smoother than the rest of the pants. This is the first warning sign. Corduroy, which is textured and lovely in the rest of the trouser, takes on a disturbing flatness around the arsal-region. Then, one day, you take them off at night and there you have it, usually a long, or series of long, worn tears in the fabric, where it could take the friction no longer.

Having dedicated myself to learning the Extreme Housewife arts in all of their incarnations, I have been learning to sew and so naturally I cannot throw these trousers away. Equally though, I am not convinced that cycle seat damage can be seamlessly repaired allowing the trousers to be worn again in normal life. So, in my musings I thought I’d put together a post dedicated to you cyclists who have found that inordinate wear in the crochal region leaves you with a whole load of trousers to repurpose. And we’ll see which ones I go with.

Picture linked from Diary of a Crafty Lady

The Bag

The bag is the classic way to upcycle trousers. This cuts off just enough of most of my trousers to get rid of the scuffed part. I like this tutorial from Diary of a Crafty Lady which has excellent instructions and pictures and is really easy to follow. Plus, this bag is a bit more blinged up with some nice complimentary fabrics, so has a bit more interest than a lot out there.

These are a great way to make sure that you can carry a favoured pair of pants with you wherever you go, even when there original trouser-based life is over.

Picture linked from Sew, Make, Play

The Skirt

Sew, Make, Play have another lovely clear tutorial on turning trousers into a skirt. 

This pattern equally has enough flexibility for you to be able to take out the worn parts but I really like the graceful way the pattern pieces are put together to give the lovely seam down the front.

Of course once the principle is in place then you can adapt the length to suit your needs, put some more panels in, add some embellishment, whatever you want.

So far none of my trousers that have worn out are actually jeans though, but the examples I have found are all denim. I wonder if I can find something to do with those corduroy’s I mentioned…

Picture linked from Laundry on the Line

Another purse!

So, trawling the net I just happened across this little lovely. I was hoping to give you a bit more variety but looking at this pattern from Laundry on the Line I think we may have a winner of exactly what I am going to be using my old trousers to make. 

There are some other gorgeous ideas on here as well including a jumper pig.

But I love the shape and form of the bag. This one is a creation made from an an earlier pattern, which is linked on the original blog page.

And finally.

So let’s wrap it up here with a couple more varied ideas for using up them trousers as a pouffe on Vicky Myer’s Creations, or perhaps a rag rug for softer fabric trousers as detailed on Hannah in the House, or finally why not create yourself a trouser oven glove from My Recycled Bags.

And there you have it. Sorting out your high friction crotch issues in one easy step.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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