Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Family Fashion Week Day 2 - Little Shorts for Boy or Girl

Today is soooo exciting for two reasons:
First, you get an amazing tutorial about making shorts for your little princess or pirate,
and Secondly I am proud to introduce a new contributor to Sew Homegrown!!!
Let me introduce you to my dear friend Shannon!  She is one of The. Best. moms I know.  She has one little girl who is 5 and twin girls that are 4.  Yes she is a busy lady.  and SO talented.  She is an educator at heart - with an MS in Early Childhood Education, she has endless creative ideas for teaching children.  She also has mad sewing skills, works with polymer clay, felts, and makes all kinds of cute stuff.  I'm so excited to share her with you - you're going to love her.  She will be stopping by every Tuesday with something fun for us to do.  So welcome her with lots of sweet comments!!

Thank you, Jessica, for such a wonderfully overwhleming introduction. I am very excited to be a part of Sew Homegrown. I look forward to having alot of fun.

So, for today's Fashion Week post, we would like to dress out that special "Little" in your life.
We were inspired by these great shorts from GAP.

These are shorts for the boy but you can easily make shorts for the girl as well. You will be surprised by how easy this actually can be, I know I was. This is what you will need for this project:

1/2 to 1 yard of fabric (depending on size and length of shorts) I used 3/4 yard for size 2T short, but they were not as long as the inspiration picture
matching or coordinating thread
1 inch no-roll elastic cut to waist length
1 pair of shorts that fit your Little
Fabric marking pen
straight pins
sewing machine
Time needed: About 2 hours

First, layout your fabric right side facing up and then fold it in half. You should now have the wrong side facing out (I did not do this, so ignore my fabric). This will keep your marks on the wrong side of your shorts. By folding your fabric this way, when you cut your pattern pieces out, you cut two of each piece.

Now we are going to start to make your pattern for your shorts. Turn your shorts inside out and lay them flat.

I am right handed so, for you Lefties, just switch hands for this part. Place your right hand in the right leg of the shorts and reach through the shorts to the cuff of the left leg. Grasp the cuff of the left leg and begin to pull the cuff through the shorts and back into the right leg, folding the shorts in on themselves. Make sure that the shorts do not bunch.

Your shorts should now look like this. These are the front of my shorts.

Now arrange your shorts onto your folded fabric so that you have enough room to add an additional 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance, except for the waistband. You will only need to trace the shorts and NOT the waistband. If you are going to adjust the length, draw the length of your shorts first, and then add the additional half inch for your seam allowance.
Make sure your shorts are laid flat before your begin to trace the shape onto your fabric with your pen. The crotch of the shorts can be a bit tricky here, so take your time. Measure 1/2 in. from the edge of your shorts and make a mark on your fabric. REMEMBER do not measure around the waistband.
Continue to do this all the way around your shorts, making more marks where your shorts curve. Now connect the dots and you will have an outline of your shorts.
Now measure 1/2 inch away from the top of your shorts and draw another line. This is your seam allowance for your waustband.  Now you have your first pattern piece of your new shorts. Cut along your line, through both pieces of fabric to get the two front pieces of your shorts.

Now you need to fold your shorts in half in the opposite direction to get the back of your shorts. Lay your shorts on your folded fabric; again allowing for 1/2 in. seam allowance on all sides, plus additional length. Just as you did before, mark 1/2 in. out from your shorts and connect the dots. DO NOT trace around the waistband. Cut along your lines. You now have the two back pieces of your shorts.

Let's start stitching. Take one front piece and one back piece and place them right sides together. Line up the outside edges of the shorts and pin in place. Stitch this seam using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Repeat this for the other two pieces of the shorts. Press your seams flat (I didn't do this and it irritated me as I was assembling my shorts further on).

Now, place your two short pieces right sides together and line up the front seams and back seams. Pin in place, easing through the curved parts. Stitch this seam to the end of the curve and no farther. Press.

You should have a tube of fabric at this point; a front and a back to your shorts. Lay your shorts so that the full front side of your shorts are laying against the full back side of your shorts, folded at the side seams. You should be able to line up the crotch seams straight across and pin. MAKE SURE you line up the center seams exactly. Don't worry if you have more fabric on the back side of the crotch than the front side, this will be taken care of in the hem. It is most important that the center seams of the front and back line up. Stitch this seam and press.

Your shorts are coming together, YAY! Now lay your shorts flat again and measure the length of the waist. Double that number and add 1 and 1/2 inches (my length was 10 1/2, so doubled, that is 21 inches plus 1 and 1/2 inches is 22 1/2 inches). It is now time to cut your waistband. you will need a waist band 4 inches wide and the measured length (so my waist band was 4in. x 22 1/2in). Cut this out.

Press your waist band. Fold the long edges in 1/2 inch (on both sides) and press. Fold the waist band in half and press again. Now open your waistband. It should look like this. You now have your seam allowance marked on both sides and the center of your waist band marked.

Your shorts are still inside out. Lay your waist band right side down against the wrong side of the back of your shorts. Fold 1/2inch of one short side on your waistband in and line this fold up with the center seam of the back of your shorts. Let this 1/2 inch flap be loose. Pin your waist band to your shorts all the way around, matching the edges of your shorts to the edges of your waistband. When you reach the back of your shorts again, pin the 1/2inch flap on the waist band to the remaining flap of your waist band on the opposite side, lining this seam up with the center back seam of your shorts. Stitch this small seam first, keeping your shorts out of the way. Cut away any remaining fabric from this seam. Finger press this seam open. Now stitch your waist band to your shorts.

Turn your shorts right side out. They should look like this. Press this seam up towards the waistband.

Now fold your waistband, at the pressed fold, on to your shorts. Starting at the back center seam, measure out 1/2 inch on either side of the seam and place 2 pins for your starting point and ending point where you will top stitch your waistband to your shorts. This leaves a 1 inch opening for you to insert your elastic. Now pin your waist band to your shorts all the way around.

Starting at your first two pins of your waist band, top stitch a scant 1/4 inch all the way around your waistband down and stop at your last two pins.

Measure your Little's waist and add 2 inches to that measurement (my waist measurement was 20 inches plus 2 inches is 22 inches). Cut that length from your elastic.

Put a large safety pin through on end of your elastic and thread it through your opening in the back of your waistband on your shorts. Make sure to pin down the other end of your elastic so it doesn't get pulled through the waistband.
Overlap the ends of your elastic by 1 inch and stitch an X through them to ensure the elastic won't come un-sewn. Adjust your tension to a higher setting for this, it is a bit easier to sew through elastic when your tension is tighter.
Tuck the elastic into your waist band and top stitch your opening closed.

They look like real shorts now, are you excited? Lets hem them up.

I chose to make a 1/4 inch hem. Start at the outside seam of your short leg and old up the edge of your short leg to the inside a 1/4 of an inch. Pin in place.
Do this all the way around the leg. I pressed as I went because the pins didn't stay in place well with the small seam, but do what works for you. When you get to the inside of the short near the crotch, you will see that longer part that was left out when you sewed the crotch seam. This is where you fix that.

You will fold that longer part in. It will be more than 1/4 of an inch. Just adjust the length so that the fold matches up evenly with the rest of the short leg. I pinned here for better control. Press this all down.

Now fold up the hem again, another 1/4 of an inch and press well. Stitch in place. Repeat this for the other leg of your shorts and you are DONE!!!

Aren't they sweet? Just in time for warmer weather and fun in the sun. I hope your Little enjoys them!


1 comment:

  1. These are so cute and fun to make. I tend to make kids shorts when I get frustrated with my harder sewing projects. Kids shorts don't need much fabric and I can make them in about 30 min. now. I found several children patterns from the 1970's that have a quick short pattern like the one you made. You did a great job in making your own! thank you for sharing!!


Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

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