How to Sew Shorts

How to Sew Shorts

I can’t buy shorts. Most women’s shorts are so short they’re actually just denim underwear in disguise, so I don’t usually find any in the store that I like. Even if I find shorts that I like, I can’t afford to pay $25 for an article of clothing that requires so little fabric, and I’m only going to wear them for a few months out of the year. You can make shorts on your own. I got to pick out my own fabric, and I made them as long as I wanted them to be.

If you are new to sewing, this project can be completed in under an hour. If you have kids growing out of their clothes fast, this is a great project. It is possible to sew shorts for a few dollars a pair, which is great for kids who only wear them during a hot season. If you learn how to sew shorts this summer, you’ll be happy.


  • There is at least 1/3rds of a yard.
  • Matching thread
  • A marking pencil
  • Elastic
  • Cord or drawstring
  • Sewing machine and notions
  • An existing pair of shorts to gauge sizing

The size of your shorts is the first step. You can fold a pair of shorts in half if you like the fit. To trace the outline of the shorts on the back of the fabric, you need to lay it out right-side down. You want to leave a quarter inch tie dye yoga clothes on all sides. The outline is 2 inches above. The fabric can be folded over the waistband. If your shorts have an elastic waist, you can stretch them to determine the actual dimensions of the fabric.

Cut it out after you traced it. This is the template for the three other pieces. There are two pieces facing the same direction. Attach the first piece to the wrong side of the fabric.

When I cut my template piece, I put my shorts in a boxier style.


Lay it right-side up. The left-facing piece should be on top. Pin along the curved portion and sew along the pinned line. Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch if you are using knit or stretchy fabric.

Continue for the other pieces. You have the front and back of your shorts.


The second piece should be on top of the first piece. The front should be pinned to the back. Attach the pinned line with a triangular line.

Pull up the shorts. There is a pinned line. Your shorts should be starting to form.

The bottom of the legs should be folded up 1/2 inch.


Next to the crotch. To find the length of your elastic, hold it around your waist. To find out what is comfortable, pull on the elastic. You don’t want the elastic to be tight, but not to be squeezing your hips in a weird way.

To fit the elastic inside the fold, you have to fold the fabric down far. I folded my waistband down to use 1/2 inch elastic. The pant legs should have a 2 inch opening in the hemline.

The elastic should be fed through the opening It is easier to get the elastic through if you attach a safety pin to one end and use it as a shuttle. If both ends of the elastic meet again, sew them together


The part is optional, but it only takes a minute or two to add a drawstring. Only the top piece of fabric should be cut through the two small holes in the middle. Attach a safety pin to the elastic and feed it through one of the holes. The ends of the string should be tied together. How easy was it to make shorts?

When I made my shorts, I realized how beach-y it looked because of the bold pattern on the fabric. They are perfect for all the trips I take to the ocean. Happy sewing and summer!

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