How to make a pair of fancy shorts – tutorial and free pattern


Remember these shorts that I made the other day? Want to make a pair? I bet you can do it in 3 hours today!

Below you’ll find the step by step tutorial. If you just want the pattern, just dowload the PDF here and print them normally on your printer. Connect them following the red, green and blue arrows. Keep in mind that the pattern is a size S and don’t forget to leave 2 cm sewing allowance.

Sorry for the low quality scan!

I strongly advise you to make a muslin first. You will see the fit and be able to correct it this way.

About the tutorial, if you never made a pair of shorts before, this is a good start. It’s not even necessary that you use my pattern. You can make your own pattern by using a pair of shorts that fit you loosely.

Last, but not least, if you fail, just have a drink and start again. And have fun!

First, cut your pattern, cut two backs (A in the pattern, drawn in red), 2 fronts (B and in blue in the pattern). When you cut, fold your fabric in two, good sides together and then cut. This will make it less likely that you end up with two left fronts :)

Now, measure your waist and divide it by four. Let’s say your waist is 66 cm/ 26 inches; cut two pieces of wide elastic of 16.5 cm/ 6.5 inches.

Cut four pieces of fabric with the same 1/4 of your waist length +2 cm sewing allowance on each side.

Now for the pleats, take the fabric from the first black arrow on the left and touch the marked spot. Pin. Do the same with the next arrow. The yellow arrow shows you how the pleat should look like after you’ve done this.

Over that pin the interior of the pocket or C2 – the brown line – in the pattern. Sew.

This is what you should have at this point. You can topstitch the edge of the pocket if you want.

Now, after you’ve turned the fabric rectangles into 2 tubes, insert the elastic into the tubes and pin. Before sewing, tuck inside the margins of the tubes.

Do this with both sides of the elastic. You should end up with a circular waist strap.

Now back to your pocket. On top of the back of what you just sewed, pin the hip part of your pants (or C1 in your pattern).

Note! In the picture it says A but, it should be B in your pattern, sorry!

Let’s check if this is what you have. Do we have pockets? : )

Now sew the center seam of your front.

It should look something like this.

And now sew the center seam of your back pieces.

If your shorts look like this, you’re on the good track.

Now, on top of that, good side down, place the backside of your shorts and sew the outside seams. Like this.

Now pin your waist strap to the edge of the pants.

Then iron the leg openings, fold once inside and one more time and sew.

You’re done! Go out and celebrate!

Hope you liked the tutorial. If you have suggestions of how it could be improved, or questions you know where to find me.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Later edit: action shots!

14 comments on How to make a pair of fancy shorts – tutorial and free pattern

  • vali

    I love !
    It’s great :)
    Bravo :)

    • Sky

      thank you very much, Vali :)

  • erika

    cool! im gonna try to make these

    • Sky

      how cool, i’d love to see them! and if you have any comments to improve the tute/pattern please do tell me.
      and let us make better pants forever :>

  • Hanneke

    how much fabric should i purchase before i begin sewing?

    • Sky

      Hi Hanneke,

      For this projects ( the pattern is for a S or an M) I used around 1.30m of fabric. I suggest buying a bit more though, just in case.

  • Kathryn

    Would these shorts look good on someone with relatively big hips? If so I’m willing to give them a try :)

    • Sky

      I’d say so. They are quick to make and you can always modify the pattern to fit you better.

  • Margerie

    When printing the pattern, how big should it come out on an A4 page?

    • Sky

      It should print on the entire page – don’t choose “fit to page”, print it as it is. If the margins don’t get printed, just trace the missing cm after you put together the pages of the pattern.

      • Margerie

        thank you so much, they are coming along nicely now :)

    • Sky

      Oh, how exciting! Could you send me a link of the finished shorts? And share your thoughts on how we could improve this pattern and tutorial?

  • Daphna

    This looks great!
    I don’t really understand at what point B and A parts come together.
    Could you help me a bit?


    • Sky

      Hey Daphna,

      Do the arrows help?

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