So…you want to make a matchy matchy set of outfits for your boy and girl? Or just use some shirt sleeves to make shorts for someone? Have I got a tute for you! This is totally forgiving….so just go with the flow on this one. First, make a pattern for a pair of pants. If you need help doing that, go here. Basically, trace a pair of pants that fit well onto either a piece of stiff paper, or directly onto your fabric.
This project was inspired by a tutorial over at KoJoDesigns.) Since KoJoDesign’s first pants tutorial last year, I’ve made at least half a dozen pairs of pants for various and sundry kiddies. Today, we’re taking it to the obvious next step – shorts! (The KJD tutorial will tell you to trace a pair of pants onto your fabric. I’m making so many pairs lately, I found it a lot easier to trace my pants onto a piece of postal brown paper and make a real pattern. I bought the 25’ roll for a dollar at my local discount store. You can also find it at office supply stores.)
Instead of lining your pattern up so that the entire leg will fit, I used a short sleeve from a button down shirt my husband didn’t wear anymore. Line the waist of your pattern (with casing ease already built in) with the shoulder edge of your shirt sleeve. To make things easier for myself, I lined the straight edge up with the southern edge of the sleeve. One less seam to sew! You can see that the other side of the pattern almost matched up with the northern edge of the sleeve. I fudged a little bit there, and only cut the curved section from that edge of the sleeve down the slope to the waist band. One more seam I don’t need to sew!
On my pattern, I had marked where the “top” of the pants were, so I would know how much was left over for the elastic casing. Make sure to mark this on your fabric for later.
Here are my two pants legs, all cut away from the main shirt.
Here’s where it gets a little hard to explain, but bear with me. Since three of your seams are already sewn, you’re going to need to match up the rounded parts that aren’t already sewn. I did this by turning one pant leg inside out, and leaving the other one right side out. Then, I nested them together, like so:
Make sure that your right sides are together! That would mean that your right side out leg is inside your inside out leg. You still with me? Just stick the right sides together, and you’ll get it.
Now, you’ve got all your seams matched up…just sew them up! Right sides to right sides, you’re going to sew one long curved line from one end of the rainbow to the other.
Just trust me on this! It’s like magic. As long as your right sides were together, and one leg was nested inside the other, when you turn that inside out leg back to right side out…you’ll have a pair of pants!! Neat, right?
All that’s left to do is fold over the top to make your casing, and sew it up. You can check out the KoJoDesigns tutorial above for ideas for slick drawstrings, but I used a grosgrain ribbon I had in my stash. (As it turns out, my one year old son is now fascinated by bows….and spent all morning yanking on this one, either untying it or simply pulling it out of the shorts casing. *sigh* Shortly after this picture was taken, I replaced the ribbon with a length of elastic. Yes, the elastic shows through on the front of the shorts, as it is outside of the pants in one spot, between the two holes I had cut for the drawstring, but…if it really bothers me, I’ll make a little bow and sew it onto the elastic to hide it. Luckily, I’m not really bothered by things like that!)
There you go! Shorts in a flash. I swear, once you get all your materials lined up…making a new pair of shorts for your Littles might be faster than doing the laundry.
But don’t let that give you any bad ideas…..
These shorts are, obviously, super wide. (In fact, they’re as wide as a man’s shirt sleeve!) These would probably fit my three year old daughter just fine…which means that I might be making a few pairs for her, as well, to wear underneath all of the summer dresses she loves to wear!