Boys knit shorts with shirred waistband :: Sewing Blue

A child’s imagination is one of the sweetest gifts the world is given. It’s been a week since making the cow costumes for Chick-Fil-A, and they have already asked several times to wear them so they can be cows. Once properly attired, they run around on all fours mooing their little hearts out. My heart melts whenever I see them pretending together like this!

To make the costumes, I had to first make white shorts for Mr. R, as he was lacking in any white bottoms (though if for any reason he had white pants they would have been chopped into shorts immediately – 90 degree weather plus Alabama humidity can’t ask for anything more!).  Because the shorts are made from a larger t-shirt and require no hemming at the bottom, they take less than an hour to make. They’re kind of fun to make too since they use elastic thread instead of elastic. In addition, they’re super comfy! I mean, jersey knit shorts? Yum to your skin! Your kids will love these. If you’re not using them to make cows, choose any color to elicit endless entertainment: pink for a pig, stripes for a pirate, or like I am planning on per Mr. A’s requests, green for a frog! Heck, they’re so simple I’m tempted to make myself a pair.

Boys knit shorts with shirred waistband :: Sewing Blue

Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the instructions, shall we?

You will need:

  1. A pair of shorts that fit your subject to base the pattern off of
  2. A large t-shirt, wide enough for the shorts to fit on, plus a little extra for seam allowance (*if you don’t have a t-shirt that’ll work, use regular knit fabric instead – you’ll just have to hem up the bottom)
  3. Thread matching the color of the t-shirt
  4. Elastic thread, color doesn’t matter (**never used elastic thread before? It’s super simple, you just wrap it around your bobbin and use it as you would any other bobbin thread)

Follow the instructions below, matching the numbers up with the picture in the diagram.Boys knit shorts with shirred waistband :: Sewing Blue

  1. Lay the large shirt you are making the shorts from down flat. Fold the jersey shorts in half, and put the edge of the shorts on the edge of the shirt, the bottom of the shorts on the bottom of the shirt. Cut around the shorts, leaving 1 1/4″ extra on the top and 1/2″ extra on the sides. Flip the shorts over to the other side of the shirt and repeat. Now you have a left and a right leg. (*cutting straight from knit fabric? Just fold the fabric in half along the grain, line the edge of the shorts on the fold, then cut around the shorts as just mentioned. Do this twice.)
  2. Open both legs and place them right sides together. Stitch from the top of the shorts to the crotch on both sides.
  3. Position the legs so the stitches you just made line up in the middle. Now sew the U-shape between the front and back together, separating the legs.
  4. Now’s the time for the elastic thread. I love the instructions Ashley gives at Make It and Love It. If after reading that you’re still lost, leave me a comment and I’ll help you out. Wind up your bobbin as she says in the instructions and set your stitch length to the longest it will go. Turn the shorts right side out. Fold the waist under 1 1/4″ and iron it down so it will stay in place as you stitch. You can also pin for extra support… I usually skip this cause I’m lazy and I find that ironing suffices. Now with the shorts right side out, sew along the bottom part of the waist, about 1″ from the edge, making sure the bobbin side is on the wrong side of the shorts. It won’t shirr too much from this, but repeat this stitching at least two more times (I ended up making 4 rounds total), each time 1/4″ closer to the edge than the last, and it’ll shirr up nicely at the end. Iron the waist by lifting and overlapping the last spot you ironed (as opposed to sliding the iron) and you’ll get extra shirring power!
  5. If you cut from straight knit fabric, hem up the bottom of the shorts using either a zig-zag or double needle. And… that’s it! You just created jersey knit shorts in under an hour (unless swarmed by children, then it always seems to take much, much longer). 

Let me know what creations you made with this by commenting below or sending me an email. Also please let me know if you have any questions on this, as this is my first sewing tutorial online and I’m sure there’s probably room to improve. 🙂 I’d love to hear from you!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go turn my son into a frog.