Monday, April 15, 2013

Easy Boys' Summer Shorts (size 6)

I whipped up a pair of quick and easy shorts for Heart yesterday morning. I was so excited because the fabric is Heart's favorite. The reason is hidden in this picture! :)

I love it because it is a great way to add a splash of color to a boy's wardrobe.

I referred to an awesome tutorial by the very talented Dana. I made some changes to the pattern but the basic steps were followed from her post. I greatly recommend her blog. It is a wonderful resource with a lot of fun projects!

So on to the summer shorts..

Things needed:

Fabric: 1/2 yard of Whales in Bright (Urban Zoologie designed by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman). I bought this from Crafter's Vision.  It was my first time shopping for fabrics online. It turned out to be great! 

Sewing notions: 3/4 inch elastic for waist, coordinating thread (I used white), scissors, iron, sewing machine

The easiest way to make your own pattern is to trace around a pair of shorts (or pants; see Dana's website for clear instructions).

Here is how I made mine:
  1. Tape two sheets of 8 x 10 together. This will be your pattern paper. (Or you can use the usual pattern papers)
  2. Take an existing pair of shorts (I used the pull-on cargo shorts that I had bought from The Children's Place). Fold it length-wise into half so that the front halves are facing each other inside the fold. So you have four pieces aligned together. Make sure to pull the crotch part all the way out. 
  3. Place this on to the pattern paper making sure to leave enough margin space around the garment. (If you are making bigger sizes, I'd suggest taping couple more sheets together).
  4. Trace around the folded shorts leaving at least 0.75" margin along both the long edges and the around the curve following the crotch part. 
  5. On the top leave a 1.5" margin for elastic casing and on the bottom leave a 1 inch margin for the hem.
  6. Once you have traced the basic shape, remove the shorts. Cut on the lines that you have drawn.Voila! Your very own custom pattern is ready!
  7. This pattern is for one quarter portion of the desired shorts. Once you use this to cut the fabric, you should have four identical pieces to make the shorts.
You should cut four of this to make the shorts

Time taken: 2-3 hours depending on your skill level.


  1. With the fabric folded into half and right sides facing inward, place and pin the pattern to the wrong side of the fabric and cut out two pieces at a time. You should cut on the line (or very close to it) because the pattern already incorporates the seam allowances. If you do not wish to pin the pattern, you can use a washable marker to trace the pattern out. The image below shows two pieces. Notice that the shorts get wider near the bottom.

    Fabric cut and ready to be tranformed!!
  2. Refer to Dana's tutorial for the steps. I didn't use a lining. I used less than 0.5" for seam allowances.
  3. Here is a pictorial journey:
Crotches sewn together; front pieces aligned together
In-seam of the legs pinned together (about to be sewn)
casing for the elastic waist band

Bottom hem finished. Elastic inserted and casing closed and sewn up. 

The finished garment measures 22" around the waist and is 16" long.


Heart was so surprised that I made these shorts after all, as I was initially concerned that half a yard might not be enough to make a size 6! But with the help of a pattern (this was my first attempt at drawing one) I used the fabric efficiently! Yay!

The colors looked so vibrant in natural light and screamed FUN!!

Heart's dad suggested that he saved this for a beach trip. But Heart wanted to wear it the same day!

So a few hours later, he wore the shorts to his most favorite place on earth - the Zoo! He had a blast  and declared, "I am going to wear this EVERYWHERE!"

What more do I want?! :) I declare this project an instant success!!

Note: This is my very first tutorial on the WWW. So please excuse the missing steps! I'd be happy to answer your questions!

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