DIY shorts tutorial

Elaine from the CMN list asked me to post a shorts tutorial, so here it is.
These hot pink knit shots are my starting point for my new pair of shorts. They are a size XXL girls shorts. I use them as sleep/work out shorts. the fit is a little funny, they are a little short and the riseis also not quite long enough for my adult sized body.

I’m using a length of tubular grey cotton knit from my stash.I think a fabric store owner threw it in when I bought a large amount of fabric. It has a damaged area which means that I have to be careful about how I cut out the shorts.  It’s a pretty ugly fabric with a design of perforated stars, but I’m making these shorts primarily for educational purposes.

So this is how to make a pair of shorts with an existing pair as a starting point.  I have folded the shots in 1/2  and will begin by figuring out the back of the shorts. I usually don’t make a paper pattern but just cut directly into the fabric. given the cost of this fabric,( free or nearly so ) , I’m not worried about messing up a beautiful and expensive fabric. if you prefer to make a paper pattern first, go right ahead.
shorts tutorial

I aligned the shorts with the grain of the fabric, and to make things more clear for you, I have drawn my cutting lines.  I have made the shorts longer and wider and made a taller rise. Before I marked the waistband, I stretched the elastic fully so I can see how to draft the top of the shorts properly. since this is the back of the shorts, I raised the center back a bit to prevent the dreaded plumber’s butt. I curved the center of the front waist down a bit for a more flattering look.  You can adjust your shorts in any way that you need, think about how the fit of the starting shorts varies from what you want and draw the cutting lines accordingly.
shorts tutorial (1)
  I did the same  for the front panels ( fold your shorts the other way so you can ger the proper contour for the front) of my shorts and then I began to cut.  Figuring out the placement of the shorts fronts was tricky because  of the damage in the fabric. After you cut the backs, cut out the fronts.
shorts tutorial (3)

Stack each front with  a back. Do this before you forget . Please remember not to flip the pieces or you will have a pair of wonky shorts with the fronts and the back mirror image of one another. I only warn you because this is where I too often mess up.
shorts tutorial (4)

Sew up each shorts half. Start with the short inseam, then the hem followed by the outseam. here you see both halves of my shorts ready to be turned into one pair of shorts.
shorts tutorial (5)

Take one of the halves, turn it inside out and place it inside the other shorts half. Line up the crotch seam ad sew from crotch to waistband. then go back and sew from crotch to waist band going the other way. I know it’s more elegant to start at one waistband down to the crotch and back to the other waistband…doing the less elegant way means that your crotch seams line up properly.
Here you see my shorts completed, except for the elastic waistband.
shorts tutorial (6)
Elastic ready to be sewn into shorts waistband. There must be  100 ways to sew in an elastic waist band.  Use  any method that makes you happy.  I serged the waist band edge.  I quarter marked the elastic and then sewed the elastic to the shorts  vertically lining up the quarter marks with the seams. I then stretched the elastic between the vertical stitching and sewed in place.
shorts tutorial (7)

Here are my shorts ready to wear.
shorts tutorial (8)

Clearly you can add on seam or patch pockets or a fancier hem, or extend the shorts into pants of any length.  These shorts, fit me a whole lot better and more flatteringly than the pink ones do.


Popular Posts