Front Pocket Shorts

Welcome back to our KID Shorts series.  Today we’re adding more details….pockets!

This post is one of many tutorials that accompany the KID Shorts PATTERN, which you can purchase HERE.

Here are other KIDS SHORTS VARIATIONS you can try (click a link below):

Of course you don’t need our pattern to sew these shorts but it’s recommended.
If you’re using a different pattern, or if you’ve created your own pattern, follow along with the instructions and make shorts with us!

Today we’re adding simple Front Pockets, which will work with any of our shorts styles.  They’re sorta like pork chop pockets, sewn right on the outside of the shorts and incorporated into the top waistband and side seams. I’ve also done this with KID pants which you can see here.

YOU CAN WATCH MY VIDEO for this project by clicking the play button below (or on my channel here):

Or follow along below with my step-by-step tutorial…

And when it comes to sewing shorts for my kids…this might be all-time favorite combo:
Flat Front + Front Pockets

With little added effort you get really cool, store-bought looking shorts, that my kids love to wear.  Plus they’ve got somewhere to stash those little rocks and acorns from our park adventures.

Let’s get started!
Use a 3/8 inch Seam Allowance for this tutorial (except where indicated for the pocket)

Along with printing and cutting out the shorts pattern in your desired size, print the pocket pages as well (refer to the pattern for details).  Fold your fabric in half and lay out your pattern, with the grainline parallel to the selvage and cut out your pieces.

For the pockets, you’ll need 4 pieces—2 Main pieces that will be on the outside of the shorts and 2 Lining pieces for the inside of the pockets.   You can use the same fabric for all 4 pieces OR cut the lining from different fabric.  It all depends on fabric weight and look.  For these particular shorts,  I’m using orange denim which is on the heavier side.  So I chose a light-weight flannel for the lining pieces.

And though you won’t totally see the lining fabric on the finished garment, bits of it may show
at the pocket edge and I like that tiny bit of contrast:

Okay, you’ve got four pattern pieces cut:

• Place right sides of the Lining fabric together with right sides of the Main fabric, and pin the pockets together.
• Sew along the two curved sides of the pocket with a 1/4 inch seams allowance (this is the only time we’re using a 1/4 inch SA.  A smaller SA will make the pocket edges less bulky when we turn them right-side out)
• When you’re done sewing, clip little lines in the curved portions of the seam so those areas have more “give” and will lay flat.
• Turn the pockets Right side out and iron them to remove the wrinkles.

And look!
You’ve got pockets!
They look sorta long and skinny, but remember, they’re going to be incorporated into the waistband and much of that neck will be folded down…..

… that they look like this:

Now.  Let me mention some other options.

If you don’t like the look of pocket tops folded into the waistband, you could finish off the top of the pocket pieces and sew the pockets below the waistband like this:

You’ll need to trim the top of the pocket down (place them on your shorts to gauge the placement and to determine how short you’d like the pocket tops to be).   Then, while sewing the Main pocket to the Lining pocket, sew around the top of the pocket as well, as shown by the red dotted lines below:

• Another fun option is to play with the fabric pattern and direction of your pockets.  With striped shorts it’s interesting to cut the pockets so the stripes run horizontal, (contrasting it with the vertical stripes of the main shorts–like the blue fabric above).
• You could also use a contrasting, completely different fabric for your pockets.
• Or…. with gingham, you might try cutting the pocket on the Bias so the little checkers are now diamond shaped:

Cutting on the Bias, means you’re cutting the fabric on a 45 degree angle, relative to the selvage (read more about Bias here).   So place and cut your pocket pieces like this:

Let’s talk about pocket placement.

Note the small dots at the top of the Front pattern piece.  This is where the edge of the pocket should be placed, with the top of the pocket flush with the top of the shorts.  Use a marker or pen to place a small mark on your fabric, indicating this spot (the marked area will never be seen in the finished garment, since it will be folded into the waistband).

Now before I even start sewing my shorts together, I like to play with the pockets a bit to see if I have the look that I want.  Sometimes I don’t even know what look I want….so this process helps.   Note that my shorts are not sewn together yet, I’ve simply pushed the two Front pieces together at the crotch seam, placed the pockets on top, folded the waistband down, and now I get a sense for what the finished product will look like:

You can flip your pockets over to see if maybe you like the lining fabric on the outside instead??

And then play with thread colors.  We’ll be sewing a Topstitch on the pockets, which is simply a visible stitch on the outside of the fabric.  So it’s fun to use a contrasting thread color, to give a small pop of color.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted yellow or blue, so I laid both on my pocket…and in the end went with blue.

When you’ve selected a thread color, sew along the curved pocket opening, about 1/8 inch from the sewn fabric edge.

Set the pockets aside for a moment and Start sewing the shorts together (as outlined in the Basic Shorts)
• Sew the 2 Front pieces together at the crotch seam
• Sew the 2 Back pieces together at the crotch seam
—-and iron out your seams—-

Now let’s sew pockets to the Front!
Line up the two pockets with the small marks you placed on the top of the shorts:

Space the pockets evenly on both sides of the shorts and pin them in place.

NOTE that the sides of the pocket will hang over the sides of the shorts a bit.  I designed the pocket this way—with a bit of overhang—to give you some wiggle room with pocket placement.  If for some reason you want the pockets closer to the center of the shorts, just move them in.  Or if you want them spaced further out, you can do that too.  When sewing the Flat Front version of the shorts, you’ll have even more pocket overhang on the side seam because the flat front pieces are cut more narrow.

ALSO NOTE: If you’re sewing GIRL Shorts with Pockets, I recommend placing the pockets about an inch above the waistband edge.  This gives you more room for sewing the hemline on each leg, since the Girl Shorts are a shorter length:


With the pockets pinnined in place, sew them to the Front of the shorts.  Use the same contrasting thread color we used above.  Start at the top of the pocket, sew about 1/8 inch from the fabric edge, sew down around the outside of the pocket, and sew along the side of the pocket.  Do NOT sew pocket opening!

Trim off any pocket fabric overhang:

Now continue sewing your shorts as we did in the Basic and Flat Front Shorts
• Sew the inseams together and iron
• Sew the side seams together and iron

Then iron the waistband down.  This can feel awkward when ironing the front where the pockets are, so do your best to keep the top of the pockets flat as you iron.

I recommend pinning them in place once they’re ironed.

Sew your waistband in place and string elastic through, as outlined in our other tutorials.
Then hem the two legs.

You’re done!
Sweet looking shorts, with sweet little pockets.

Come back next time and we’ll add pockets to the BACK pockets as well.
So many options!

Have a great weekend!
You can purchase the KID Shorts pattern HERE in the SHOP.
(and you can read extra pattern details HERE.)
KID Shorts PDF Pattern – $8

  1. cute! I love the bias gingham pockets. Looks great!

  2. 2) Marilyne

    Bonjour Dana,
    Merci beaucoup on these tutorials. I have send all my friends to come to your website … but they do not have a level of English that would enable them to pick up your tuto! I have to say that even in french…sewing is not so easy but youu have to know that you make it sooooooooooo simple for me to do!
    Merci Merci Merci!

  3. 3) Manu

    Just perfect! Dana, this pattern/tutorial is so great, I just made a pair of flat front girl’s shorts with front pockets for my friend’s 2-year old and I wish I could wear them myself. They are just too cute. Thank you for sharing your ideas and putting so much effort into your tutorials!
    Greetings from Switzerland 🙂 Manu

  4. 4) WendyP

    I’m looking forward to making these.

    Question, because I’m really curious: why *are* girls’ shorts shorter than boys’ shorts? I’m not a complete prude or militant, but it’s really bothering me. I don’t want past knee length baggies like so many boys have, but honestly…in the stores, shorts for my almost three year old don’t protect her thighs from a hot slide or a toasty carseat – they don’t even cover her pull-ups properly. Am I shopping in all the wrong places (Target, Costco, Carter’s)? Is this a battle I’ll be fighting all her life – starting at age 2?

    • Hi Wendy,

      Think it’s just a look thing. Personally hate super short shorts (if your butt cheeks are showing, then you’re not wearing shorts), but love the girls style here. If you want something longer for your daughter, how about turning some of her slightly too short jeans (especially skinny’s) into cutoff shorts that sit just on the knee. I’ve done this for my boys recently when they either get too short or come home with tears in the knee area. Rather than biffing, I’ve found it a pretty simple way of scoring another clothing item for them without spending a cent. They actually look awesome too. And yes. Fight for your daughters right to dress like a child. Rather than an exotic dancer. Hear hear.

    • 6) Dana

      Hi Wendy,
      You can make girl shorts any length you’d like. I simply use the terms “girl” and “boy” to categorize the suggested lengths. But please don’t feel like that’s a hard, fast rule. In fact I plan to do a tutorial, showing how to make Bermuda length shorts for girls to the knee…shorts that are bit more taylored and less baggy than the boy shorts.

      I agree that many girl shorts in stores are way to shorty-short. So I really tried to pay attention to that with my pattern and make the girl shorts a length that was feminine but not immodest.

      The best part about this pattern is that it’s customizable. So use to fit whatever size/length/needs you like!
      – Dana

  5. 8) Cristi

    I’m sorry if this has been asked already here, but are all of these options for the shorts included in the pdf tutorial in the pattern, or do you always need to refer to the blog?

    Thank youf for your time,

    • 9) Dana

      No, the pattern includes all the pattern pieces and instructions for printing and piecing the pattern together….plus pattern sizing, fabrics, to use, etc. It’s all the set-up stuff.

      For sewing instructions, you need to come here to the blog and click on Tutorials, then click a style you’d like.
      I set it up this way so I can offer you endless shorts tutorials, and go into more details on everything.
      Hope that works for you!
      – Dana

  6. Great share Dana. I love this type of pockets that seem to conform to little bodies without having that dog eared look. The checkered pockets on the solid orange is also incredible! I guess I need to get to work on finding patterns for my kids now. Thanks for a great post!

  7. 11) NiCaam

    Hi Dana,
    Thank you for this pattern, underpriced in my book.
    I’ve already made 2 shorts for my daughter, one was too small…I’m a novice and forgot to measure, just went by size. I’ve only been sewing since December but I’m loving it. All that said it does take some time to complete a piece of clothing and I do have the thought “Is it worth it?” I’m wondering, how long does it take you to finish a pair? I have three kids and would like to speed up the process a little. I was wondering, when you work on multiple pairs do make them piecemeal? Cut them all at the same time, then go through each step, or do you sew the shorts one at a time?
    Thanks again for a wonderful pattern!


  8. 12) Joanne Findlay

    Fantastic pattern, I’m having so much fun making these for my two girls. I wish summer lasted longer for us here in Scotland! Can’t wait for the back pockets tutorial, my oldest is desperate for a pair with pockets on both sides. Thanks for all your hard work Dana, you make sewing easy, stylish and fun.

  9. 14) Karra Grace

    I’m absolutely in love with the pattern. I’ve made 4 pairs in the last week. It’s great how versatile they are.

  10. 15) Chooka

    Thanks Dana for your awesome tutorials. I bought the shorts pattern a couple of weeks ago and made my first pair for my daughter yesterday. Simple and easy to follow. Thanks for your generosity in sharing these tutorials.

  11. Hi Dana!
    I’ve just bought your shorts pattern.
    I can’t wait to start sewing new shorts for my girls!
    Thank you for sharing all these great tutorials.

  12. I LOVE THIS PATTERN! I just finished making 3 pairs this weekend and love them! The sizes were perfect. I managed to somehow mess up the waistband on the first pair. I still had the shorts inside out when I folded the top in and sewed it like that. Oh well. Second pair was perfect and the third pair I added pockets and a flat front. Only took 1 hour with your easy to read instructions. Thank you so much.

  13. 18) Toni McNulty

    Do you have an example of boys racer with front pockets? I’m debating if this is a good combo for my first pair of shorts, but my boys LOVE pockets!

    • 19) Dana

      I haven’t made a pair myself, but I’ve seen some photos on instagram of readers who have tried it. And it looks cute!
      Are you on instagram? Check out the tag #kidshortsmade

      Go for it! 🙂

  14. so cute can’t wait to make a few of these shorts for my sons 🙂

  15. 21) Clare

    Hi Dana,
    Looking forward to making my first pair of shorts for my daughter! Just a thought; have you considered making the tutorials as down-loadable PDFs as well?
    Clare 🙂

    • 22) Amy

      I’ve just made a pair of shorts for my son and they were so easy, look great and fit perfectly. I’d like to make another pair of shorts for my nephew but can you tell me if the pattern for 2 year olds is designed to fit over bulky nappies or would I need to adjust it
      Many thanks,


  16. Oi quero dizer que você e seus tutoriais são fantásticos!! Gostaria muito adquirir seus padrões mais sou do Brasil e não uso cartão de credito como faço para comprar por boleto? Da pra converter em reais (R$)? beijos e obrigada.

  17. 24) Carolyn N.


    I am at the step where you iron the waistband down. How much are we to turn under the first and second time? I didn’t see any measurements given.

  18. 26) Tim Foster

    Thanks for this tutorial. I’ve only just started sewing and so far, from your pattern I’ve made shorts and linen trousers for my five year old daughter and my two year old son. (I also made lace undies for my wife for Mother’s Day too, but that’s another website).

    Thanks to these guides and your patterns, that are really easy to follow, I am enjoying making clothes and getting more adventurous with each item. Zips, flies, and jeans now please.

  19. 27) Tim Foster

    Oh, and I have my own labels too 🙂

  20. 28) Lindsey

    Dana – Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorials! I’ve been trying to teach myself to sew off and on for years, and finally in the past few months after stumbling onto your blog it has clicked and now I’m totally addicted. Love these short patterns. I can actually make things now that I’m not embarrassed to send my daughter out wearing in public! 🙂 So fun!

  21. 29) RAdka

    Dear Dana,
    Thank you so much for your tutorials. I am a complete beginner, but thanks to you I am now sewing shorts for all my boys (I have three) no problem :-). I love choosing the funky fabrics and experimenting with pockets etc. You make it look so simple and your explanations and patterns are so good and easy to follow! I have found a new hobby now! 🙂

  22. 30) Breea


    Love this tutorial, I make all my kids multiple pairs every summer. They are the best. This last year, though, I have been noticing my sons booty is ….well a little bit bigger than the pattern can hold, can you give me any tips on making the pattern bigger in the bum without losing the great shape? Any help is great.

  23. 31) Lorraine kokke

    Fabulous patterns and wonderful tutorials have made 4 pairs today xx

    • 32) Dana

      Awwwwesome! Yay!

  24. 33) Melinda

    Thank you! This is AMAZING!

  25. 34) EarleNE

    How do I get your pants pattern down loaded

  26. 35) Kerrie keefe

    I find it super annoying after printing the pattern to have to read a blog for the instructions. Luckily I’m experienced enough to whip up a pair of shorts so I guess I’ll wing it!

  27. 36) wanda Murphy

    I have made this 3 times and they are so easy to make . My grandson loves them

  28. 37) Helene

    I have now made 500 pair of shorts from the free pattern you sent me, Dana. They have all gone to Ghana and I continue to sew them. I put the pattern on cardboard so I can just quickly draw around and cut a hundred pair of shorts at a time. Then I get busy and sew them. I crochet hacky sacks for each pocket. Thank you for being so kind to me and 500 little boys in Ghana!

Leave a Comment