Basic KID Shorts

Welcome to the first part of our KID Shorts series!
This is a series of tutorials to companion the KID Shorts PATTERN, which you can purchase HERE.

If you’ve never sewn shorts before, it’s easier than you think.  Shorts are the perfect project for a beginner to tackle.   And if you’re a seasoned sewer then you know just what we’re talking about!  In little time (and for little money) you can cut, sew, and whip up a pair of shorts your kids will wear all summer long.

Check out all variations we’ve done by clicking a button below:

But today we’re starting at the basics, with Basic Shorts.
They have an elastic waistband, come in varying lengths, and might make you do a little jig.

They’re that fun…because basic doesn’t have to mean boring!  With some cute fabric and the right pattern (wink wink), you’re set!

You can watch the video version of this tutorial by clicking the PLAY button below.
Or if it isn’t showing, you can WATCH IT HERE.

And here is the standard photo tutorial version…

This tutorial is part of the companion instructions for our KID Shorts Pattern, which you can purchase HERE.  The pattern comes in 11 sizes, from ages 12 months to 10 years old, for boys and girls.

You do not 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!

• Prewash and dry your fabric before getting started
• Print the proper pattern pages for your size (use the chart in the pattern to determine which pages).
• Cut and piece the pages together and we’re ready to cut fabric.

You can use a variety for fabrics: Standard cotton, quilting cotton, seersucker, linen, flannel, lightweight corduroy, knits, and more!  For this basic pair of shorts I’m using a light-weight cotton fabric, from Joann fabrics and there is no “right” or “wrong” side to my particular fabric because both sides of the fabric look the same.  But remember when sewing most fabrics that the “right” side is the good-looking side, the side of the fabric that will be on the outside of your clothing.

 • Fold your fabric in half, selvage to selvage (refer to the photo below).
The selvage is the finished edge of the fabric that typically has printed words and markings.  The cut edge is where your fabric was cut at the fabric store. And the grainline refers to the direction the fabric threads are woven.  That sounds technical.  All you need to remember is that typically, it runs parallel to the selvage edge.  So when you’re laying out your pattern, make sure the grainline marking on the pattern runs parallel to the selvage as well.

Annnnnd of course, there’s always room for breaking the rules.  So if you’re having a “make it work” moment with a small cut of fabric you found in the bottom of your stash…you can also cut the pattern parallel to the Cut edge (just be careful that printed images on the fabric will match up).
OR….you could even cut your fabric on the bias! (45 degree angle) to give checkered fabric a diagonal look.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here…..

• Lay your shorts pattern over the folded fabric, with the grainline mark running parallel to the selvage and cut out your pieces.   Because the fabric is folded, you end up with two FRONT pieces and two BACK pieces.

Now let’s talk about basic shorts (and pants) construction.
There are various ways to sew shorts and various patterns.  Some patterns only use 2 pieces, where the front and back of each leg are cut in the same pattern piece.  Some patterns even use the same pattern piece for the front and back of the shorts.  I prefer separate pieces for the front and back because you get a roomier fit in the back for a kid’s bum, and a lower rise in the front for the tummy.

I also prefer 4-piece shorts, where there are 2 Back pieces and 2 Front pieces.  This makes it easier to mix-up the pattern down the road and turn them into racer shorts, to add pockets, etc.

But both methods of shorts construction are great and useful and serve different purposes.

The diagram below shows the various parts of your pattern pieces.  The pieces shown are the two FRONT pieces.  They come together at the crotch seam.  And when sew to the BACK pieces, create leg holes!  Easy stuff.
Ready to sew?
Let’s do it.

1. Sew the Crotch Seams.
With right sides of the fabric together, sew down the crotch area of the two Front pieces and then sew down the crotch area of the two Back pieces.
–Use a 3/8 Inch Seam Allowance for this entire tutorial–

Then iron out your seams.
Ironing is key to make your clothing look professional and less homemade!….so always iron between each step.  When you get to the curve of the crotch, pull the fabric with your left hand to get the iron smoothly down the seam.  And I prefer ironing my entire seam to one side.  You can also iron the seam down the middle, it’s just personal preference.

Typically when I sew garments, I finish each seam because—depending on the type of fabric you’re using—the seam edges will fray over time and with washing. Woven fabrics will always fray (knit fabrics will not), but depending on how tight the weave is, some fabrics will fray more than others.

Options for finishing the seams are:
• Serge them with a serger machine (overlock machine). You can also use a serger to sew the shorts instead of using a standard sewing machine. OR, you can sew with your sewing machine first (to make sure there are no mistakes, or spots you need to fix with a seam ripper) and then serge off the seam edges (this is what I prefer actually. It leaves more room for error)
• Zigzag over the seam edge or use any type of overlock stitch your machine comes with
• Trim the edges of your seams with pinking shears (those zigzag scissors).

Now all of that being said, you don’t need to finish off the seams unless you’d like to!
Typically I finish off my seams with a serger.  But while creating this pattern, I purposely did not use a serger, nor did I finish off my seams on about 15 pairs of shorts that I sewed for my kids. I did this so I could create them just as the average sewer would be making them. And honestly, as the kids have worn them and as I’ve washed them, the seams are totally great….very little fraying.  Hey, I may stop using my serger!  The waistband and the hems on each leg will be finished off nicely (in further steps below) which I think really helps hold everything together well.

Okay, your shorts should look like this (BACK and FRONT pieces):

Now before the next step, I recommend marking the bottom of the shorts so you can keep track of which end is the top and which is the bottom.  It sounds crazy, but once you sew the crotch closed and you’ve ironed out the seam and you’re folding the shorts back up together, it’s very easy to forget which side is up and which side is down because they both look similar.  I’ve done it.  Multiple times.  But only with the boy-length shorts.  Girl shorts are easier to differentiate.  So, use a pair of Pinking Shears (those zig-zag scissors) to trim the hemline or simply place a sewing pin in the hemline to remind yourself.

Now with right sides of the fabric together, pin the Back and Front of the shorts together at the crotch.  First match up the crotch seams and then continue pinning all the way down the inseams.

2.  Sew the Inseams
In one line of stitching, sew up the inseam of one leg, around the crotch, and down the other inseam.  When you get the middle crotch area, pause, leave you machine needle down in the fabric, and lift your presser foot to pivot the fabric as needed.

Finish your seams (if desired), iron out the seams, and then fold the shorts back together, with right sides of the fabric together.

3.  Sew the Side Seams.
Match up the side seams of the Front and Back.  The Back leg pieces are slightly wider, so simply pull the Front sides over till they meet the Back sides.  And pin down each side.

If you have a small side tag/label, now is a good time to insert it, about 3-4 inches from the hemline.  If you don’t have personalized labels you could insert a small piece of folded ribbon (just for a fun look) or make some with twill tape and a stamp (more info on my labels here).

Sew down each side seam, finish off the seams (if desired), and iron out your seams.

And just like that…..

Okay. Just two more steps.

4. Sew the waistband. 
In this tutorial we’re sewing a full waistband, with elastic strung thoughout.  In the next tutorial we’ll sew Flat Front Shorts which only have elastic in the back of the shorts.


Iron the edge of the waistband under a 1/2 inch, then iron it under another 1 1/4 inches.  This is wide enough for 1 inch-wide elastic to pull through the casing.

We need to leave an opening in the back of our casing when we sew, so we can string the elastic in and out.  So place a pin to mark a “start” point in the casing, then place another pin 1 1/2 inches over to mark a “stop” point.  Sew from start point to stop point, about 1/8 of an inch from the folded fabric edge.

Cut a piece of 1 inch-wide elastic the proper length for your shorts size (use the chart in the pattern).  In a nutshell…cut the elastic the length of your waist (or the area where the shorts will hang) and add an extra 1/2 inch for overlap.

When it comes to purchasing elastic, I prefer Knit Elastic because it doesn’t curl up inside the waistband the way Braid elastic can sometimes do.  If you’ve had this happen you know what I mean. You can find Knit elastic in most fabric shops.  Or if you think you’ll be sewing tons of shorts (I am!) look on ebay for great deals on 1 inch wide knit elastic.  I purchased 50 yards for only $15. Score!

Okay, with our waistband casing sewn we’re going string elastic through.  Place a safety pin on the end of the elastic, stick it through the casing opening and push the elastic through the casing till it comes out the other end.  Overlap the two ends of the elastic by a 1/2 inch (make sure the elastic is not twisted inside of the casing!)

Sew the elastic ends together with a zigzag stitch.

Then sew the casing opening closed by pulling the fabric slightly to make it taut as you sew.

Final step!

5. Sew the Hemlines.
This shorts pattern was designed with enough length to give you wiggle room on the hem (so you can make the hem as chunky or as narrow as you like).  The best method is to try the shorts on your child and mark exactly where you’d like the hem to hit (I prefer right at, or barely above the knee for boys).  Or just go with our recommended lengths here.

Iron the hemline edge of the shorts under a 1/2 inch on each leg.  Then iron it under another 1 inch on each leg.

Sew the hemlines in place, about 1/8 inch from the edge of the folded hemline.

Sew a personalized label to the back of the waistband (read more about my labels here).   This is purely optional, but the label helps my son remember which is the front of the shorts and which is the back when he’s getting dressed.

You’re done!

Can you believe it?  You just sewed shorts!
And they’re pretty stinking cute.

Enjoy your summer afternoon!
And come back tomorrow for our next KID Shorts tutorial.

You can purchase the KID Shorts pattern HERE in the SHOP.
KID Shorts PDF Pattern – $8

  1. Thank you so much for this pattern Dana! I love all of your tutorials! I have just recently started sewing and you have been such an inspiration I also started a blog 🙂

  2. 2) Kathryn Chavez

    I love this pattern, well all of your patterns! Thanks and I look forward to the racer tutorial. But two quick questions: 1. Do you sew your seams open for this or to the side? 2. Do you sew your side seams down?

    • 3) Dana

      The seams on the racer shorts are bound with bias tape and then the front side is sewn over the back side. Sorry that prob doesn’t make sense without a visual. I’ll have the tutorial on that soon!

  3. these are so cute! I am going to have to make some soon! you make me just want to go home, open the blinds and sew all the live long day! i love your tutorials and your patterns! They are so easy to follow and give such great pictures! THANK YOU!!!!

  4. yaay! I love these shorts– they are so easy to make– and they are one of those garments that can really save you money in your kids wardrobe!

  5. Awesome tutorial and pattern Dana! I just have to say that Lucy looks so grown up in that photo at the top of your post. Such a cutie with those braided pigtails. And I love the color of her shorts. I don’t even have any kids to sew for, but I want to make a pair.

  6. Dana, I love love love the pattern!
    I just don’t get this part:
    “Now before the next step, I recommend marking the bottom of the shorts so you can keep track of which end is the top and which is the bottom. It sounds crazy, but once you sew the crotch closed, it’s very easy to forget which side is up and which side is down. I’ve done it. Multiple times. But only with the boy-length shorts. Girl shorts are easier to differentiate. So, use a pair of Pinking Shears (those zig-zag scissors) to trim the hemline or simply place a sewing pin in the hemline to remind yourself.”
    Isn’t this the problem BEFORE you sew up the crotch because the four parts look almost all the same? Once I’ve sewn the crotch part there’s really only one way to do the rest, no?? *confused*
    Or did you just write it in the wrong place in the tutorial??
    I just can’t wrap my mind around it!
    I hope you know what I mean…;-)

    • 8) Dana

      No. What happens is that after you iron out the crotch seam and start to fold the shorts back together to sew the side seams….there are times that I’ve gotten confused and put them back together the wrong way, so that the hemlines are now at the top.
      It sounds confusing until you do it once and they’re you’re like…oh shoot. Which way is the top?
      Hope that makes sense!

    • 9) Jackie

      I’ve done this. So now when I sew shorts, using Dana’s pants pattern, I mark all four pieces: 2 with an “F” for front and 2 with a “B” for back with a water soluble marker. That way I always know which two pieces go together and where the top and bottom is located.

      • 10) Dana

        haha. glad to know I’m not the only one!
        Sounds like a good method you’ve worked out!

  7. 11) amy v

    Dana, I’m in love with Lucy’s flat-front shorts with the big buttons! They are to die for. Can’t wait to try out the pattern.

  8. You did such an awesome job with the pattern. I love the pictures, instructions etc. just got mine and will be trying it out soon.

  9. 13) caroline

    Just purchased these – would you ever consider doing a women’s pattern? I love the sailor front pair and would love to make some to match my baby girl.

  10. 14) Beccy

    Hi Dana,

    This is great! Thank you for making this pattern. I made my first pair of basic shorts for myself when I was just 13 so have always found the basic shorts a good and easy project. I have been looking for a good shorts pattern to make for my kids so I cant wait to try yours, including all the future tutorials. I have had trouble with making shorts with the elastic just at the back so Im looking forward to seeing that tutorial which I think will be easier to understand than previous ones I have brought.

  11. 15) Sarah K.

    Looking forward to making some shorts this weekend! The pattern looks great – I’m excited to try out all the variations! Thank you!

  12. 16) jodie

    hi Dana, cool pattern, just purchased it so i can make shorts in winter, love it! its great that the sizes range from bub to big kid, perfect for my team.
    mind you they will be wearing it with beanies, scarves and gumboots……hehehehe
    cheers jodie

  13. 17) Alison

    I’ve totally mixed up shorts before, too. So, so frustrating! I’m definitely buying this pattern. I’ve made your free pants pattern many times for my daughter and son, but they are much too big for it now and I’ve been wishing for the pants in bigger sizes. I can see myself making many pairs of shorts the next few summers!

  14. 18) Rebecca

    Am wondering what is the difference between the boys and girls shorts other than leg length? My daughter is a total string bean, about Lucy’s height but only 4yrs old, and starting Kindergarten this fall. Her school is very conservative and shorts need to be no more than 2 inches about the knee, which looks more like the length of Owen’s shorts. My daughter has very long legs. So would it be better to sew the girls pattern and increase the leg length or the boys pattern? My daughter has absolutely no butt so I am thinking the boys pattern might just work as well.

    • 19) Dana

      You’re totally right, the only difference between the boy and girl shorts is the length.
      So you can definitely sew a pair of boy length shorts for your daughter. You may want to sew the side seams in a bit or taper them slightly toward the hemline for a slimmer look.

  15. 21) Bailee

    I just bought the pattern about 30 minutes ago, and already made a pair of these shorts for my little girl. I just have to say, I am impressed! The fit of the shorts is amazing!! I LOVE this pattern. I also love that it has so many sizes, and boy sizes too! I will definetly be using this pattern for years to come. I whipped up a pair of the basic shorts. Although, I like the racer shorts and the flat front shorts these are adorable too. Can’t wait to make more 🙂 Thanks for all of the hard work you put into this pattern Dana.

    • 22) Dana

      oh that is so awesome to hear! Thank you thank you thank you!
      Have fun sewing!….for years 🙂

  16. 23) Meg W

    This is the first pdf pattern that I have ever used and it was so easy to print and cut out the pattern! I love all the options. I do have a question about modifying the sizes a bit. I still call myself a beginner sewer so I hope this question isn’t too silly. My boy is not a skinny minnie, he has thicker thighs and a taller rise (but husky sizes fall off of him). I already know increasing the rise about 1″ to 1 1/2″ helps The size 6 (perfect length) and 7(too long) seem too narrow through the hips for him. Can I just increase the width of the pattern and not mess it up? Oh heck I don’t know what I should do? Print the size 8 and keep the leg length shorter? Help, I so want to make this work for my 5 year old. (Psst, I especially want to make the racer shorts, they rock!)

    • 24) Dana

      This is definitely a pattern you can cater to your needs, so don’t be afraid to alter it if needed! I would either widen the side seams a 1/2 inch or more…or like you said, go up to a larger size, shorten the length, and use the proper amount of elastic to fit his waist. I would sew a pair of basic shorts first since they come together quickly, to try out your new sizing and I’m sure you’ll easily work out any kinks.
      Hope that helps!

      • 25) Kate

        Hi Dana,
        When you say ‘widen the side seams by 1/2 inch or more’ is that both seams? i.e. the internal (crotch) seam and the outside leg seam? I have the same problem. Whipped up a pair of S2 for my 22month old but they are too slim for her (with undies no nappy). I was going to just widen the outside leg seam but then thought perhaps the internal crotch seam would still be slim along her leg. Thanks. Kate

  17. 26) Jane

    Kia Ora DANA!!
    Ive had my sewing machine for about as long as i have been a mum! just over nine months. I am work in progress but your web site is totally fantastic for improving my skills – its such a cool feeling when you get a comment on a piece of clothing and you can say – i made it!! woot woot 🙂 Ive just purchased your flip vest and shorts patterns. There is going to be a very cutely dressed New Zealand baby pretty soon! can t wait to get started. Thanks again – I take my hat off to you finding the time for all of this AND all of your family commitments – stunning work. P.S i’ll be adapting some of your patterns to sew with Merino wool fabric – warm and soft for our southern winter….

  18. 27) Marsha Gibbons

    I am sewing the basic elastic waist shorts, but I wanted to add the pocket. I wonder if I can do that? Love your pattern!!!

  19. 28) Nina

    Hi Dana – I was wondering if you could give me any tips on how you matched up your yellow chevron patterned shorts? I have pink and white stripes I would like to use. The stripes are wide so matching the strips would be ideal. Do I match from the top of the waist, the inside or the outside waist? Any words of advice in getting horizontal stripes to line up. I look forward to making shorts for my two little girls. As always, you have a great blog and the pattern is great.

  20. 29) victoria g

    Hi! This is also the first time I have sewed from a pattern and the shorts turned out awesome! Thank you SO MUCH! Maybe someone could answer this question for me though: I lay the pattern out on my fabric and want to reference the smallest size that the pattern has on it (for example: the 12 month size) Should I be cutting off the bigger sizes of my pattern?? Making a little mark on my fabric, remove the pattern, and then eye-balling it?? Using tracing paper?! These are all my verrrry beginner sewing questions- I looked around to see if Dana had a Q&A on this sort of thing & maybe I missed it?! Thanks so much!!

    • 30) Kristi Andres

      Victoria… you could use tracing paper and trace a pattern for each size. On the pdf patterns that you print off your own computer I just cut out the size I need and then print a new one if I want a different size. Just preference I think. 🙂

  21. 31) victoria g

    OOooo another basic question: when it says “sew with 3/8 seam allowance” does that mean the pattern has already accounted for that 3/8th?? Or I need to cut 3/8″ bigger around my pattern?! Sewing for dummies here! 🙂

    • Hi, victoria. Just want to be of a little help. You don’t have to add extra 3/8″ seam allowance to your pieces if you use Dana’s pattern. Unless she stated that in her tutorial. I made my kid’s shorts with the pieces cut following the pattern as it is and it fits perfectly!

      • 33) Dana

        Yes, exactly. The seam allowance is already included, as it is with most patterns. So just cut out the shorts exactly along the pattern lines for your size!

  22. 34) Kristi Andres

    Thanks Dana, great pattern. My 8 year old just followed the tutorial and sewed up her own sleep shorts with the pattern! 🙂 She even taped the pieces and cut them out. Thanks for providing basic patterns that are great and easy to learn on.

  23. 35) Angela

    Hello! Thank you so much for your tutorial! I made a pair of shorts for my three month old brother. I am 12 years old and I really really think your tutorial if VERY helpful. I love sewing! Thank you again! My baby brother’s first pair of shorts is made by me! I will NEVER buy any shorts anymore because I can make my own and my family’s! My mother will also make a lot of shorts for us. Thank you so much! (again!) I love love love it! Keep up the good work Ms. Dana! 🙂

    P.S. You are my inspiration for sewing! <3 😀

  24. So cute! I just ran through this pattern quickly before using it with a small group next week. Your tutorial was great, the pattern was easy to put together– I’ll be back for something for myself.

  25. 37) Debbie

    This is so cute. Your tutorial is very helpful !. What Sewing machine are you using? I planning to get rid of my old machine and by a new machine !.

    Thanks !

    • 38) Dana

      I use a Bernina. They’re great!

  26. 39) Clarissa

    Hi Dana! I absolutely love your site. You are such an inspiration to me. Just wondering about the shorts pattern. I just purchased the pattern and was wondering if I extend the length of the shorts, would they work for pants or are they cut too narrow or too wide for that? Needing to make some pants for my little girl who is growing out of everything! I have seen other tutorials on how to make pants but hate how the front and back are the same. It seems like they are always to small in the rear and to big in the front when they are like that. So glad to have this pattern now. Thinking I could add a cute ruffle maybe to girl it up a bit? Thanks again for all of your hard work on this pattern and for being so generous to share all of your helpful hints and tips!

  27. 40) Simone

    Hi Dana 🙂
    I do love your site and am so happy you have made a pattern for shorts! I purchased it and made the size 2 boys with the front pockets, but am having a problem with the elastic – the waist seems a bit small for a size 2 and the elastic length is too long and doesn’t gather at all, in fact it’s longer than the waist circumference! Is this normal for the size 2? I followed all the seam allowances too!
    Thanks, appreciate your help!

    • 41) Julie

      Hi Simone, I had a similar problem, I made the size 12 months and there was very little gathering once I put the elastic in – therefore I took about 2″ off the elastic – but they do seem quite small – maybe more like 6 month size. Will be interested to see what the response is – maybe I’ve done something wrong??

      • 42) Dana

        Sorry the sizing seems off for you guys! I had many testers try out the baby sizes and they fit similar to retail store sizes. So I would just go up a size or two if it’s too snug and then cut some off the length when you hem the shorts.
        Also, the pattern sizing is meant for disposable diapers, not cloth diapers. Just want to point that out in case your baby wears cloth, because that will make everything more bulky under the shorts.

      • 43) Kate

        I have the same problem. They are WAY too small for my 22 month old in the 2Yr size, and thats with underpants not a nappy. She’s not a big kid either. Even the Size 3 measures too snug. I compared them to the shorts she’s got now and the only way they’d fit is if I sewed them with a stretchy fabric like a knit instead of plain cotton. Great pattern; I’ve made them wider off the pattern and now they fit perfectly.

  28. 44) Nili

    Hi Dana, any chance you can explain how you matched up the chevron print on those oh-so-cute shorts clara is wearing? Thanks!

    • 45) Dana

      I just did it very carefully when I cut the pieces, making sure the chevrons were lined up when I cut so that both shorts pieces matched. Then I lined up carefully when I sewed and pinned liberally!

      • 46) Nili

        Thanks for the answer! so you didn’t fold the fabric and cut two mirror pieces together?

  29. 47) shannon

    Hi there,
    I just did the shorts and they are very cute but the 18mths is much too small for my little man! 🙁 I should of checked first I think! oh well will have to try again 🙂

  30. I love the look of these, as well as the versatility! I just ordered my own pattern and linked to it on my blog. We are working on Little Shorts for Africa, and I wanted to find the best pattern I could. Thanks for the excellent tutorial!

  31. 49) Melissa

    I purchased this pattern and have not received anything? Can you please send the pattern through ASAP or refund the payment. Thank you!

    • 50) Dana

      Hi Melissa,
      You should have received an email with instructions for downloading the pattern.
      The email is sent to the email address attached to your paypal account.
      Please check that email address to see if you’ve received and if not, please let me know.

  32. 51) Rachel

    Hi Dana,
    I’ve just cut the shorts and have sewn the 2 front and the 2 back together, joined at crotch and I’m stuck. My shorts are completely different sizes and no matter what I do I can’t figure it out.
    They were cut at 2yr boys shorts. Please help!!!!!!!

    • 52) Dana

      Hi Rachel, you might have one of the pieces flipped upside down? When you’re sewing the boy shorts it’s easy to confuse the top and bottom of the shorts because they look so similar. It’s recommended in the instructions to place a mark on the top of your shorts piece so you can keep this straight. Hope that helps!

  33. I just want to say thanks so much, I am a photographer who started making things for my clients, because it makes the pictures look so much better. I am excited to get started. I want to thank you for your time. I also put on a lot of fashion shows, and I think I will make some things for my models to wear this time around! What a blessing you are.

  34. 54) Gabi

    Hi Dana

    Thank you so much for the patterns. I have made the 18m and the 2yr (and I did sew them at 3/8inch seam allowance) but they are both way too small. I cut the elastic at 18inches for the 18m size and the elastic was too much for the waist… Have you had issues like this before or am I doing something wrong? The baby I was making the 18m for has an 18inch waist – and according to the sizing chart it should be correct. Hopefully you can help me.

  35. 55) Marlo Hartz

    This is the absolute BEST and easiest shorts pattern! I say this because i recently learned to sew and was able to make these!
    THANK YOU for taking the time to create this tutorial. You have certainly helped me create items that both my son & daughter LOVE! Also, several people have asked if I used a “pattern” for my shorts, and I was happy to say “No”, then direct them to this tutorial. 🙂
    I can’t wait to explore more of your tutorials and create other stuff!
    THANK YOU!!!

  36. 56) Jolandé Van Nispen

    Hi there, I’ve tried the kids shorts pattern twice for my son (he’s 5) – I took the measurements and made the size 4 as he is a little bit small in the waist, and it ended up being very small. I tried again (with the suggested seam allowance) to make a size 6 and we couldn’t get it over his hips – we tried it on after I sewed the side seams together, so no waistband yet. I’m not sure how to modify the pattern for his waist and hips, so not sure what to do. Please help if you can. 🙂

    • 57) Sharon

      Hi, are you sure you have printed the pattern correctly? Make sure the settings are not set to fit to page etc, the inch on the pattern needs to measure an inch on the tape measure. Mine didn’t but luckily I spotted it early!

  37. 58) Victoria

    Thank you so much for the explanation, I have a pattern and it did not make any sense the way they were explaining it. I am so glad I found your explanation as I was getting very frustrated.

  38. 59) Theresa

    Thanks for such a great pattern and detailed instructions! I made these for Little Britches for Africa and found it so easy to follow. Thanks!

  39. 60) Gaye

    Hey Dana just purchased your boy short pattern and I’m making my grandson a pair of chevron shorts. How do you match up seams with out notches?

  40. 61) Lenzy

    I was just wondering if you had the tutorial with all the options as a pdf file. I downloaded your pattern, but I like having a hard copy of everything so I don’t have to keep referring back to the computer.

    Thanks! Love your pattern by the way! I already made one pair of shorts, and have big plans for some more.

    • 62) Dana

      The instruction tutorials aren’t really meant for printing. This pattern is set-up a bit differently than my other ones that way—I thought it would be an easy way for you to reference everything online with quality photos. You can always try selecting text and placing it in a document to print for yourself. But I don’t offer than as an option here.

  41. 63) Courtney

    Hi, I purchased the pattern for these shorts and made a pair for my 8yo. She has a slightly protruding belly and these fit well everywhere except for the front. They tend to sag in the front if she moves at all. Any ideas for adjustments to the pattern?

  42. 64) Florence

    I love you!!!

  43. 65) Stacey

    Hi Dana,
    I’m a big fan of your tutorials as they are easy to listen to and follow, I’d suggest more videos please. I recently purchased your shorts pattern and I had a go at making them. For some reason the hemlines are uneven, any idea what I’m doing wrong?


  44. 66) Nicola

    Hi, this is the first pattern I’ve ever tried and I can’t even get it to print properly! I’m in the UK so am printing to A4, but no matter how I configure my print settings I can’t get the 1 inch line on the sheet to actually measure an inch across – can anyone give me any advice?

    Many Thanks

    • 67) Dana

      Sorry about that. I’ve had many customers print outside of the US, so I know we can get it to work for you! Make sure you don’t have “fit to print” or “scale to fit” or anything like that selected. You want it to print at 100% the size that it is.

      Hope that helps!

  45. 68) Jasmin

    what will I do if my sewing is wrong?

  46. 69) Jasmin

    LIke I sew the middle (straight to the end) and the hemline without v-cut on the end?

    • 70) Dana

      Hi Jasmin,
      I’m not sure what you mean…I don’t know what the V-cut out is?

  47. 71) rahainat

    tanks a lot. it was very helpful. I just made my son one.

  48. 72) Raylene

    hi all I am having a lot of trouble working these little shorts out!! I have made the boys 18m the total band measurement equal 18″ and the elastic used is 18.5″ take off one inch for overlap and have17.5″ so obviously not a lot of gathering nor will the little man get much use out his pants!! and I am now currently making girls 18m pant and the hem?? turn up 1/2″ press then 1″ press I will be sewing on the crotch line??? can anyone help I see now through these comments there as been issues with the smaller sizes and no real helpful replies!! quite disappointed atm I was planning on making pants for all my nieces and nephews for Christmas but not if the pattern cant be sorted and sorry I cant just keep testing sizes this is a waste of fabic and time that I just don’t have!!! so if someone can help me please?? btw I am not a beginner sewer I have been sewing for 10yrs mainly adult stuff TIA

    • 73) ally

      Hi, Im probably too late but like you (and a few of the other commenters) found that the waist measurement vs elastic measurement wasn’t quite right. All I can suggest (which is kind of working for me) is to size up 2 sizes for width (and one size for length, if need be), but use the elastic for the original size you wanted. e.g. for 12 month shorts, use 2 year pattern and 18 month length, with 12 month elastic. If I use the 12 month pattern for my 11 month old girl (who is still in 6-9 month clothes) I can’t get them on her! And she is in disposable, not cloth, nappies.

      It is a shame because the tutorial and all the options are so clear, so well explained, and awesome, I just can’t seem to make the patterns fit right unless I size UP UP UP.

      Still, hasn’t turned me off the pattern, as a somewhat newbie to sewing it is by far the best Ive come across and Ive learned a lot from it.

      • 74) Dana

        I’m sorry you guys found the pattern to run on the small side. I had many, many testers try it out in all sizes and never heard that as feedback. Of course I want you guys to be happy with what you’re sewing! Keep in mind that these aren’t meant to be baggy kind of shorts….but more on the “tailored” side, while still using elastic in the waistband (rather than a zipper fly, etc). You can always add a bit more room to the shorts by yes, going up a size, or by adding an extra 1/2 inch to each side seam (or more if you want a more baggy pajama short kind of thing).

  49. 75) Alison

    I have made the 12m and 18m sizes and they are both way too small for my averaged sized 12month old boy. I’m only new to sewing kids clothes and I have already had to alter the pattern, through much trial and error and time and fabric! And the elastic length suggested didn’t seem to fit either. To the width I added 1 inch at the top of the shorts and 1/2 an inch at the bottom. I’m now discouraged from making the larger sizes for fear of the same thing. I’m sorry to say I’m disappointed with the pattern which is a shame because it printed so neatly on paper and your tutorial was easy to follow.

  50. 76) Sarah

    Hi probably a daft question but can you give me an average recommendation for the length to cut the elastic for each age group. Obviously I can measure my 2 year old but I’m making gifts for older children and don’t want to have to measure them so an average would be great.
    Very easy tutorial by the way and great pattern

  51. 77) Julie

    I found this pattern to be very small I made a pair of size 6 that would probably only fit a 4 year old. If you use this pattern consider going up 2 sizes for the size you need..

    • 78) emily

      Did you have the printer settings correct? Thats usually what’s wrong when my sizing is off

  52. 79) Molly

    Bought this pattern a while ago, but taking measurements and hopefully fabric shopping today, and I’m so excited! Can’t wait to make some shorts for my little guys!

  53. 80) Angela Pitts

    Hi, I found that after pinning the crotch together, my leg hemline from front to back was about 1/2 different?? Am I pinning crotch wrong? Help 🙂

    Thanks, Angela

  54. Wow, I was having trouble with sizing, hemline, etc…I read back through some of the post and Sharon mentioned checking the print settings!! My was set “print to page” I unchecked and reprinted. The original 2T pattern was really the size of the 12M pattern after unchecking “fit to page” It really makes a 2 size difference!! WOW!


    • 82) Dana

      Oh good. Phew!

  55. 83) Tia

    The inseam of crotch is not very clear. It’s confusing.

    • 84) Dana

      Not sure what part is unclear.
      It helps once you’ve cut out the shorts if you place a mark somewhere at the top of the shorts, so you know which is the top side of the shorts and which is the bottom, so you don’t confuse the inseam with the crotch seam (as recommended in the tutorial here).

  56. 85) Kara Rogers

    DANA! I follow you on you tube and LOVE your tutorials. I am a very new sewer and am self taught… this stuff ain’t easy lol. I found a pattern for shorts on pinterest and cut out my pieces months ago and am just now getting around to sewing it. But the tutorial that came with the pattern was very vague and not helpful. So I searched your name and shorts and found this!! And boy and I glad. You are so detailed and explain everything so well. I really appreciate it!! It helps me learn and makes for super easy to follow tutorials. I can’t wait to get home and sew my shorts together using this tutorial! Thanks again!

  57. 86) Lisa

    Hi! To increase the size of the shorts, do I add inches to all 4 sides of the pattern (meaning both left and right sides of front AND back) or to any particular side. I tried increasing on all sides and there’s too much fabric at the crotch, so now I’m doubting that choice, but not sure if the problem is where I added, or something else?

  58. 87) tina stephens

    Just made these for my son for his upcoming adventures in Kindergarten on August 10th. They came out so cute even tho it was a little bit of a pain that the directions for the shorts with pockets was separate from the directions of making the shorts so I didnt see that you had to put pockets on BEFORE sewing the side seams shut so I ended up taking allot of extra time to sew them on anyhow on top without tearing the finished seams of the sides out. I just had the pockets end right before the seamline and still came out great. My son loves them and so do I. My husband even said they look great and he didnt even want me to make his clothes for school but to buy them instead. His thought is, is that handmade clothes look handmade and not good ( even tho most clothes in store are also handmade by someone right) so thank you for the awesome patterns and easy directions.

  59. 88) Kristin

    So glad I came across this! I just started sewing, and was looking for a very basic pattern to make many pairs of shorts for boys to send on a mission trip! With this pattern, I can use scraps of different fabrics and nothing will go to waste! Thank you so much for the easy step-by-step tutorial!
    God bless,
    Kristin T.

  60. 89) Holly

    Hi, I’m working on the 3Y pattern for my son and I’m stuck on the crotch seam step as well. When I pin it together, there’s 2 inches of fabric left on the back hems. I’ve checked my pattern pieces multiple times, everything printed at the correct scale, I cut correctly. I feel like maybe I’m missing something about sewing crotch seams that maybe a beginner doesn’t know? I’m just lining it up in the middle, then pinning down like the instructions say & there’s all this extra fabric that’s freaking me out. Luckily I left the length at 4Y, so it should still come out ok, but I seriously don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It looks like those extra inches belong up top but it’s not lining up that way. And I did mark the bottoms, so that’s not the issue.

    • 90) Holly

      Omg, that IS the issue. I sewed them wrong from step 1! You should change that part about marking the bottoms to go before cutting I think!!!

  61. 91) Lindsay Chalmers

    I have your kid shorts pattern and LOVE it! I wanted to know if you have any tips for grading it down to a newborn or 3 months size for babies. Maybe I can print it at a certain percentage (instead of 100%)? Please let me know, thank you! 🙂

    • 92) Dana

      If you look at the way the pattern is graded (which is how the sizes increase), you can measure and try to draw it backwards…to downsize a few sizes.
      Hope that helps!

  62. 93) micalei

    Sup ✌????️

  63. 94) Florencia Maceratini

    Hello there!
    I purchased your pattern for shorts and made clothes for poor people in the north of my country (Argentina). You can watch and interview that was made to us from one of the top programs in local tv.
    Thanks for making it easy for me.
    Warm regards,

  64. 95) Stephanie

    Thanks for the great pattern and easy to follow instructions! I have three daughters, all still very young. Over the past 2 weekends I’ve made 12 of these shorts in total! Now we are set for summer! And I love that with this one pattern there is a variety of designs to choose from and will last for the girls for a long time!

  65. 96) Lucy

    Hi there, thank you for sharing the tutorial you make it look much more straightforward than I thought it would be! Quick question, I plan you do french seams on the pegs because they will be for a present and I want a nice finish (i don’t have a serger) I can see that french seams would work on the outside leg seams, do you know if they would work on the crotch/inside leg? I guess i could just do it and see but i thought i’d ask. Thanks!

  66. 97) Elizabeth

    thank you! I really needed this step by step-pants/shorts are always confusing to me… 🙂

  67. 98) Sarah Perkins


    Loved the tutorial, I’d love to make these for my daughter but would need age 12-13, how would I go about doing that

  68. 99) Deb

    I loved this pattern and making these shorts for my son, however my son has grown up and I need a bigger pattern, any chance you would be releasing a teen/young man pattern anytime soon? Think 33″ waist, 10 yrs old, and quite tall!

    • 100) Dana

      Hi Deb,
      Thanks! I don’t think I’ll be releasing that any time soon, but since you know the steps for making them….You can use a pair of shorts that your son owns, and create a new pattern by drawing the lines out to where his current shorts are! It’s a bit of an adventure, but I’m sure you can make it work!
      Have fun 🙂

  69. 101) Shira

    Hi Dana, your site is beautiful!
    I bought this pattern and measured my kids today, but it didn’t make sense to me- my son is 6.5 and very skinny, and his waist is 23.5, which fits size 8… What am I doing wrong?

  70. 102) Christina

    Thank you so much for your tutorial! I watched your video and made a beautiful pair of shorts for my son! Thank you!

  71. 103) jordy

    I love this pattern of the short! So easy to sew and such a great result! What about the same for adulte?

  72. 104) Anna Shetler

    Do you have a pattern for the top you are wearing? The one you are wearing when showing how to sewing the basic kid shorts. Also, love making these shorts-have made 3 pairs.

    • 105) Dana

      Hi Anna, sorry I don’t have a pattern for the shirt. I think it was from Target. I’m glad you’re having fun making shorts!

  73. 106) Pippa

    I’m very happy with the pattern thanks Dana. It’s so user friendly. Also it gives a nice generous fit. I find that a lot of patterns don’t come high enough up at the back, which is a bit silly as you then find yourself always trying to pull the shorts up on the kid.

    • 107) Dana

      Oh good! Thanks Pippa!

  74. 108) Christina

    Dear Dana,

    Thank you for the pattern, one question only, that I cannot seem to find in the tutorial or the pattern.

    Do you use straight or zig zag stitch in your sewing machine? And if we use a serger is better to finish with the sewing machine after with straight stitch

    Thank you in advance for your answer!

  75. 109) BrandiAnn Pagano

    They are a cute pattern; however, when so many people are sharing your pattern, saying the pattern is free, it’s a little frustrating and discouraging when it turns out they are not.

  76. 110) marion haack

    i thought the pattern for the basic shorts was free I am trying to make a pr of little boys shorts for my great grandson

  77. 111) Barbara s Glick

    where is tutorial of boys shorts with pockets? not front or back but regular pockets? thank you

  78. 112) Shari Morin

    2T is not large enough for a tall skinny 18th old girl. Cut seam allowance down to 1/4 and it is still too small.
    Thank you for encouraging moms to sew for their little ones. I hope they are not discouraged by their first sewing attempts with your pattern.

  79. 113) Bonnie

    Hi, Dana.
    I bought this pattern several years ago and have made the size 5 and 6 for my granddaughter. These are the shorts she wears for school and loves them!. I am now making the size 7. They are easy to make and can be made in no time. I’m happy I still have a few additional sizes available. Thank you for a great pattern.

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