Pattern hack – shorts

Finally it is summer and time to wear shorts! If you have a trousers pattern you like, you can easily make them into shorts, but there are a few things to keep in mind!

I’ve made shorts for my baby using my pattern Fieldfare babies’ joggers and want to show the different steps here. The same principle applies to trousers for women, children and men.

I wanted a fold-up at the bottom edge so the wrong side is visible. To get a nice finish, I folded it in 0.5cm at the top and sewed it by hand.

How to make trousers into shorts:

1. Decide the length of the shorts

Either you measure yourself (or your child) and see how long the leg inseam you want or you can measure a pair of shorts you already have and like.

I drew the new leg bottom about half of the inseam of the current trousers. This trousers pattern has a wide leg cuff that also affects the leg length, so the shorts will be about 1/3 of the “total leg length”. I want the shorts to end just above the knee.

2. To get a smooth bottom edge

When you draw the new bottom line, you want a soft and smooth transition at the side seams, both on the inner and outer side seam. You can place the pattern pieces together and draw a smooth and softly curved line.

3. Draw the fold up and seam allowance

I wanted a 2cm fold up and a discreet edge at the top, so I added a 0.5cm as a “folded in hem”.

In order for the fold-up not to be too small in the sides and start pulling at the top, the fold-up needs to have same width as the trousers. Therefore, I have drawn a thinner line where the fold-up should end and then “mirrored down” that line and then get the lines for the fold-up.

Since I used a stretchy jogging fabric, I can “force” the fabric to be folded into a slightly rounded shape with the help of pressing/ironing with steam.

If you have trouble figuring out exactly what the angles of the fold-up and the small “fold-in” should be, you can try folding a paper and cut along the edge and then unfold and see how the angles.

4. Sew the trousers

After the trousers are cut you sew them with the same steps as the regular trousers. When sewing the bottom edge of the shorts, you fold and press/iron the small fold-in part and then the fold-up and either sew down the edge with a sewing machine or as I did, sew the edge by hand.

Of course, you can also make other endings on the leg as well. You can have a regular hem, sew on a separate fold-up or some other solution.

Good luck!

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