Retro Racer Shorts

I love the look of retro 80s running shorts.
But I had a feeling Casey wouldn’t approve the Richard Simmon’s length on Owen. So, I used the longer Flat Front pants/shorts pattern, rounded off the edges and bound it all with…..bias tape! Yep, just one more project for our favorite little trim.

These shorts are made using the KID SHORTS Pattern, which comes with many variations for Boys and Girls. Read more about that HERE.

Of course these can be shortened and made into girly shorts as well  (as seen HERE), but today we’re celebrating the boys. Try them with the basic gathered front (brown), or the flat front (gray).
They’re super comfy, easy to sew, and they put a good spin on our growing shorts supply.
These Racers are made of soft cotton twill and medium-weight corduroy. But the style can easily be sewn with swimsuit fabric and used as swim trunks as well! So many options.

It’s good being a boy…..and having a sister to coordinate with on the 4th….
(striped shorts info HERE)

Let’s get sewing.
Start with either the basic shorts version or the flat front.
* Shorten the length of the pattern by 2 inches since you will not need to hem the shorts.
* Use a bowl or cup to draw a curve around the outer part of each leg and cut off the curves.
You end up with two pattern pieces like this:
Pattern Note: the brown shorts were done with the Basic pants pattern while the gray shorts have a flat front. I now wish I had done a flat front on both–it just looks more polished and less bulky with the corduroy fabric.

Select your fabrics and cut out the pieces (refer to KID Shorts tutorial for step-by-step info)

* the Gray fabric is a medium weight cotton twill (twill has subtle diagonal ribs across the fabric face)
* the Brown fabric is medium weight corduroy.
You need about 75 inches (a little over 2 yards) of 1/2 inch wide, double-fold bias tape. One store-bought package will cover it, with some leftover. If you’d like to make your own bias tape please read our tutorial Here.

With cut fabric and bias tape, we’re ready to sew!
Sewing Note: There are other methods for making these shorts.  I’ll share the simplest method here.  But for another option, check out my Part 2 Tutorial HERE.

Okay, here we go…

* Sew the shorts just as outlined in the Kid Shorts tutorial and stop before you sew up the side seams.* For added style, top stitch down the crotch seam and the inseam with a contrasting thread color. Then sew another parallel line 1/8 inch over from the 1st line for a double-stitched look.
Now we’re going to add the racer stripe.
* Open the shorts up so you can see the front and back of the same leg. It’s easy to tell because the curves will be on the outside, connected by a seam in the middle.
* We’re going to sandwich the entire edge of the leg with bias tape. Start at the top of one leg, go down, all the way around, and up the other leg, pinning the tape in place. Make sure that the shorter side of the bias tape is face up (for more info see the Bias Tape Tutorial)
Then, sew the bias tape onto the shorts from one side of the leg all the way around to the other side–1/8 inch over from the edge of the tape.
Do this for the other pant leg as well.
And look at that! When you fold them, you can see it all coming together.
Now we’re going to sew the racer stripes together at the side seams. Overlay the front side seam on top of the back side seam and pin them together all the way down. When you get to the curve, allow the shorts to naturally tulip open.
Then sew the side seams together, right on top of the bias tape, 1/8 inch from the edge of the bias tape (over the same line where you sewed the bias tape to the fabric above). Now because the shorts are mostly sewn already, be careful as you’re sewing that none of the fabric layers get caught in the needle as you go. It’s easiest to start at the top of the shorts and sewn down to the bottom of the leg. When you get to the leg, carefully maneuver it open and continue sewing down (see below right photo)

Go back up to the top of the shorts and sew a second line on the other side of the bias tape, 1/8 inch over from the edge of the tape to secure the seam on both sides. Do this for both legs.

Almost done. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to hem?? I’m extremely happy.
Iron over to create a waistband, string the elastic through, and sew the casing closed!
You’re done!
Two simple pairs of Racer shorts for my active little guy.
When Lucy saw them she exclaimed, “Cowboy shorts!”

So, we’ve got options.
“They’ll do Mom.”
The teenage years are on their way.

  1. erkek bebek ve çocuklar için fazla kıyafet modelleri yok … ama bu model çok güzel tebrikler very nice ((:

  2. 2) Shelagh

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time and did not know you had a tutorial for these shorts. I found it through google! Should have known. Perfect for the 2012 Olympic outfits I’ve been scheming over.

  3. 3) Danielle

    Have made my boy 4 sets of these for summer!! Get comments every time he wears them if people know I have made them. I have just linked this page to my facebook page!! You are so generous sharing your tutorials with us all 🙂

  4. 4) Claire

    Thank you so much for those tutorials and wonderfull website! My boys (twins, 4 yo) will wear those shorts and run very quick on the beach in South West of France, where we’re living! Thanks a lot 🙂

  5. Merci beaucoup pour ce tuto !
    I had made one for my son.

  6. Bonjour,

    Si vous souhaitez faire davantage plaisir à votre bout de chou, vous pouvez coller des transfers sur le tissu, des transfers de leurs idôles préférés 🙂

    If you want to do more fun to your little one, you can paste on fabric transfers, transfers of their favorite idols 🙂
    Have a nice day.

  7. 8) Franzi

    Wow! It is great!
    But the Pattern Links doesn´t work.. 🙁

    • 9) Dana

      Sorry about that!
      I just fixed all the links!

  8. 10) Theresa Langton

    These a. Still my favorite ever shorts pattern and I have made lots as gifts in funky Xmas fabric for little boys in our life ( Aussie Xmas’s need shorts!) but my little man is not a rather big teenager. Did you ever make them in adult sizes at all.

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