Everyone please forgive me that this ooooold pattern is still branded Selvage Designs / Baste + Gather! xoxo
Okaaaaaaay, folks! I’m not gonna lie; I have an ulterior motive with posting free sewing patterns: I want to grow my blog! I would l-u-r-v-e for you to help me by following my blog on Bloglovin’, pinning this post on Pinterest, sharing on Facebook, clicking through my social media icons above (and following) etc. So please, if you want to keep seeing free sewing patterns (and I have quite a few in the works!), PLEASE help me out! Mmmmmmkay?! xoxoxo
I am super excited to release a free sewing pattern today – Summer Shorties! These shorts were originally designed to go under little girls’ skirts and dresses for added modesty on the playground when climbing jungle gyms and doing cartwheels, but I’ve found them to be a super versatile garment for playtime, dancewear and more! One of my testers (yes, I fully tested this pattern even though it’s free!) even suggested that they would make great boxer briefs for little boys. Perfect! You could even make them a size or two bigger than suggested by the size chart (while still using the correct length of elastic) to create a more relaxed-fit pair of shorts. Shall we?
Made with plush-back or fold-over elastic at the waist, these are easy to whip up in just a few minutes (yes, you read that right) and only require four pieces of paper to print. They come in sizes 12 months through 8, and you can choose to print just a size or two if you want! Like I mentioned before, this pattern has been fully tested and was created with the same attention to detail as my paid patterns.
So, I know you’re drooling over these fabulous knit fabrics, right? I KNOW. They were all provided by Wanderlust Fabrics – probably the hippest online fabric store I’ve found…um…EVER. So be sure to hop over there to check out their amazing selection when you’re done here. Or, you know, do it NOW because you are going to need some fabric for your million pairs of SUMMER SHORTIES!
We had a ball with this photo shoot…as you can see. Harper just loves all the fun prints! They are super soft and comfy, too.
So are you ready to make some Summer Shorties for your little girl (or boy)? Let’s get started!
First things first…here’s what you need to make a pair (or seven):
- 1/2 yard of stretchy knit fabric – 4-way stretch is preferred but not required. Just think about the fabrics leggings are made of. That’s what you want. Oh, and you can actually make two pair from a half yard of fabric…but you can’t usually get fabric cut with the selvage, so you need a half yard if you are buying some for these. Otherwise, you can probably get by with some small scraps from your stash.
- 3/4″ plush-back elastic OR 1″ fold-over elastic. You’ll need the length of your child’s waist measurement.
- Sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, iron, yadda yadda yadda. You know, the usual stuff.
And the pattern…duh! Here you go:
If you’ve ever sewn from a PDF pattern before, you shouldn’t have any problems. Just make sure you don’t scale your printout (set it to 100%), and check your scale square before you cut your fabric. There are four pattern pieces that go 1-2 across the top and 3-4 across the bottom. Cut along the outer border of the pages, and match up the little triangles to get everything just right. You can select only certain sizes to print by accessing the layers panel in Adobe Acrobat:
Next…let’s pick a size! CHOOSE YOUR SIZE BASED ON SEAT/HIP MEASUREMENT. These sizes are much like what you would find in RTW clothing at popular children’s clothing stores like Old Navy or Carter’s. If your child has a particularly rotund bottom, I recommend sizing up as the shorts are cut with negative ease and can be drawn in at the waist with the elastic. You might also size up if your fabric isn’t particularly stretchy (or down if it is). Please also note that these shorts do NOT include a diaper allowance. So if you’re sewing these for a kiddo still in nappies, you might want to increase the rise slightly. Harper (shown in the photos) is 35″ tall/28 pounds and has a 21″ waist/21″ seat. She is wearing the size 2 with the fold-over elastic cut to 18″ (17.5″ after sewing in a loop).
And now, let’s get sewing!
1. Press bottom hem up 5/8″ toward the wrong side. We won’t be sewing this just yet, but it will make it a lot easier to do so in a bit. You just want to make a crease there so we can see where to fold up the hem once the legs are loops instead of flat pieces. This step is not shown in the illustrations below.
2. With right sides together and using a stretch stitch or serger, sew front and back crotch together with a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance. Press seams open or to the back if serged.
3. With right sides together and using a stretch stitch or serger, sew the inseam together with a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance. You may sew a second line of stitching if desired to prevent blowouts! Press seams open or to the back if serged or sewn a second time.
4. Determine how long to cut your elastic by simply putting it around your child’s waist just below the belly button. Make sure it’s relatively snug (but not too tight) and overlapping by 1/2″. Cut the piece, and measure it so you can cut more for future Summer Shorties without having to keep bugging your kiddo! I also melted the ends of the elastic with a lighter to prevent them from raveling. Overlap the ends by 1/2″ (1.5cm) and sew them together as shown.
If using plush-back elastic, you might end up with a longer piece than if using fold-over elastic since it’s a little more dense and doesn’t stretch as much.
4. With right sides together (plush side of elastic facing away from fabric and toward you) and using a wide zigzag stitch or serger, sew the elastic loop to the top of the shorts with a 1/4″ (.5cm) seam allowance. Match the spot where you joined the elastic ends with the back seam of the shorts. You may also fold the elastic and shorts into fourths to mark the centers/sides for perfect matching, but it’s pretty easy to get them matched up properly without doing so. You may also pin the elastic to the shorts if desired, but I am lazy and skip this step!
5. Flip the elastic up. So pretty and comfortable-looking, right?! Turn the bottom hems up by 5/8″ (1.5cm) and sew in place. Remember how we creased those hems in the first steps? Ahhh, makes this part so easy. I recommend using a double needle or coverstitch machine if available. Otherwise, you may use a stretch or zigzag stitch.
6. If desired, you may choose to topstitch your elastic to the top of the shorts so it doesn’t flip out annoyingly. (Some of my testers did this.) Totally up to you.
So super easy and awesome, right? Now go put those Summer Shorties on a kid near you and cartwheel all summer long!
Special thanks to all my testers: Tonya, Alison, Shelly, Tammie, Stephanie, Alicia, DeNae, Lisa Marie, Karly, Laura, Emily, Jami, Kimberly, Rebecca, Angela and Ashley! I love you guys! xoxo
And of course, thanks to Harper for being a good sport, always!