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Blog + Tips




Sewing Summer Shorts from a Pants Pattern

Christine Jonson Patterns

You have a great fitting pants pattern. One that you've made several times, it's a TNT (tried 'n true) pattern for you. So why reinvent the wheel? Use it to make shorts!

For this example, we'll be using the super-easy and very basic #1010 Trouser Pants in our collection. This pant is so simple! It has a front piece, a back piece and a facing for the front and back. It has a back zipper so you don't have to worry about setting a fly zipper for your first time sewing shorts. And you can customize the length - from Bermuda (just above the knee) to short-short at 3" inseam.  If you want to wear them with a blazer (a trendy, youthful look), or a long draped vest, as long as the jacket or vest is open, you can let the jacket or vest hem dip below your shorts (note, we changed this recommendation since last year! It seems longer sweaters with shorter shorts are all the rage.)

Some of these shorts have some fun details - try rickrack in the seam allowances for the top waistband, and sew it to the underside of the shorts hem to let the rickrack peek out. Sew a custom belt and add belt loops, or create an elastic waist using our Wide Leg pants. You can also make shorts from a heavier knit fabric, such as ponte or ITY, or from a stretch woven fabric.

Sewing your own shorts from a pants sewing pattern

1) Measure your ideal inseam depth - find a pair of shorts you like and measure those, OR pick a spot where your thigh starts to taper toward your knee. 3", 5", 7" and 10" are standard ready-to-wear lengths. 

2) Mark from the inseam on the pattern down to the length that is ideal for you

3) Decide if you want a cuff or not. If you do, add 3.5" to allow for a 1.5" finished cuff.

4) Trace your pattern off onto your fabric with kids' chalk,  stopping at the new hem mark on each sideseam. Connect the sideseams with a horizontal hem line using your chalk.

5) Sew shorts as you would sew the pants

6) Put on, admire your legs in a mirror and enjoy!