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Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

The summer shorts pattern is finally available for download!
This post will include a FREE download and a tutorial with plenty of pictures. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

First, get your materials ready. You will need:

- 1/2 yard of fabric. These shorts are great in woven fabrics such as quilting cottons, denim, linen and seersucker. Just use your imagination and go with it!
- Matching thread
- 1 inch elastic. I like to use the no-roll kind. To find the right amount of elastic, measure around your child’s waist where you want the shorts to sit and add one inch to that measurement. (I use a 19″ piece of elastic for Abby’s shorts and she wears size 24mo or 2T).
- A safety pin for threading the elastic.

Now you need the pattern! The pattern I have provided was made for my two year old daughter and is sized for a child roughly 2 years old. Her waist measurement is approximately 18″, and these shorts should fit any child with up to a 20″ waist.

Before you print, please note the following: For the 2T size you need to print this document at 103%. For some reason that I can not figure out (although it is driving me CRAZY) this pattern is too small when printed at 100%. I’ve tried fixing it so many ways that my head has started spinning. So. You get the pattern as is. I hope this doesn’t cause any confusion!

Let’s use this little snaffoo for our benefit, shall we? It gives us a chance to talk about sizing issues. If your child is too small or too large for this pattern, you can alter the print sizes as follows:

For size 18 months, print 100%
For a smaller 2T, print 103%
For a larger 2T, print 105%
For 3T, print 110%
And so on. You can play around with the settings a bit to get the perfect size your child. I hope the information I’ve provided so far helps you with sizing.

Click on the link below to download the pattern. It will take you to a separate website where you need to click on another link (it’s really obvious) to download the pattern to your computer. Open it in your PDF reader (Acrobat is best) and print 103% or whichever size you choose. The pattern will print out on four sheets of paper and you will need to align the pattern pieces and tape them together.



Always wash, dry and press your fabric before getting started.

Lay the pattern pieces on your folded piece of fabric like this. FYI, I am using the shorter version of the pattern here. It’s labeled the “hemmed shorts” length on your pattern. Oh, and please excuse the rumpled, hand-written version I’m using for these pictures.

Cut two of each pattern piece. You should have four pieces.

It’s time to start sewing your center seams together. With right sides facing, stitch the center seam of each back piece together and each front piece together using a 3/8″ seam allowance. These are the large curved seams (the crotch seams, but man, do I hate typing that word).

Finish your seams on the serger or with a zigzag or overcast stitch on your sewing machine. I usually sew curved seams on my sewing machine first and finish them on the serger after, but you can do the whole kit and caboodle on your serger if you like.

Take your pieces to the ironing board and iron the seams flat. (You don’t need a picture of that, do you? Mine didn’t turn out so I don’t have a pic for this step. But it’s pretty simple, and you’re smart).

Now pin your center leg seams together like this, with right sides facing.

Take it to your machine and stitch that baby down, using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Finish the seam on your serger/sewing machine.

Now sew the outside leg seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance and finish them on your serger/sewing machine. If you want to serge the waist or leg openings, now is the best time (FYI, this is not necessary, so if you don’t have a serger, don’t worry). Your shorts will now look like this:

Turn your shorts right side out and take them back to the ironing board. Fold the waist opening down 1/4″ toward the inside of the shorts and press all the way around. Now fold it down 1 1/4″ and press all the way around. I like to use a seam gauge to help with this step. PLEASE IGNORE THAT MY SEAM GAUGE SAYS 1″ IN THE PICTURE BELOW.  I messed up and sewed these shorts with a 1″ waistband and had to use 3/4″ elastic, but the pattern was designed for 1″ elastic. Don’t copy my mistake: make a 1 1/4″ waistband for the elastic!

Now create the leg hem. Fold the edge of the leg openings 1/4 to the wrong side of the fabric and press all the way around. Next, fold it 3/4″ to the wrong side and press all the way around.

Make sure the legs are the same length.

Your shorts will now look like this:

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

At this point I like to add a piece of twill tape or ribbon or something to act as a tag in the back. This way Abby (and Daddy!) know which side is the back. I use something very soft because Abby is on the rampage against all scratchy tags in her clothing.

Now top stitch along the inside edge of your waistband. Start before the “tag” and stitch all the way around. Leave a 1″ gap for threading your elastic through.

Stitch your leg hems down, too, and your shorts will be almost complete:

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

Don’t worry if the top looks a little bunchy. This is because the back is higher than the front, but no one will ever know the bunches are there, because you are about to add elastic.

Grab your 1″ elastic (I like to use no-roll). To find the right amount of elastic, measure around your child’s waist where you want the shorts to sit and add one inch to that measurement. What if your child isn’t handy because you’re sewing these in the middle of the night? (Yeah, I’ve been there). Here’s a reference point: Abby is a slender 2 year old and I cut 19″ for her waist.

Using a safety pin, feed your elastic through the waistband.

Overlap the ends by 1/2″ and sew them together using a zigzag stitch. Tuck the elastic inside the waistband and stitch the opening closed. And voila! You have a beautiful new pair of summer shorts.

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

Try them on your darling boy or girl and admire your handiwork. Yes, you are amazing. And yes, you rock!

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial

Summer Shorts! Free Pattern and Tutorial


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