Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things I learned while trying to sew shorts.

2011 March Shorts 1

This week I decided that my daughter needed some shorts, and that rather than running to the store to buy some, I would pull out my sewing machine and use materials I had on hand to make her some.  I am in no way an experienced seamstress, so after much trial and error, here is what I learned while trying to sew shorts:

  1. 2011 March Shorts 2
    • Read the whole pattern, look at the pictures, and visualize the instructions in your head before you even start.
  2. Shorts require at least four separate pieces, two front panels and two back. If the pattern instructs you to cut the back panel on the fold of the fabric - pay attention - you may need to cut the fold to make two pieces - or you will end up trying to fold origami for an hour and wondering why the shorts don't look right.
  3. The iron is your friend.
  4. When using "on-hand" supplies, if you can't locate a matching thread color go for contrast - this way it will look like you planned it instead of looking like you just didn't have the right thread.
  5. When stocking up on "on-hand" supplies, it is better to purchase 3/4th inch elastic - not 1 inch.  Most children's pants call for 3/4th.
  6. 2011 March Shorts 5
    • Learn to use the foot of your sewing machine as a measuring guide - straight lines with little headache.
  7. If the pattern tells you to use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the waistband, do it. It will turn an otherwise 30 minute struggle into a 3 minute job.
  8. It is ok to rip out seams. Everyone does it. I do it a lot.
  9. 2011 March Shorts 3 
    • When hemming the leg openings - start the machine at the inner leg so that the start and stop will not be as visible.
  10. 2011 March Shorts 4
    • Mark which side of the shorts is the backside right away - you will not be able to tell later and will wonder why the shorts look funny on your daughter.  

Some Free Children's Shorts Patterns Available Online:

Create & Delegate: The Anyday Banded Shorts
Handy Home via Sew Mama Sew: Easy Kid's Pants


  1. I love your points ... you made me laugh!!

  2. So thoughtful to write this stuff down! I always think these things as I'm sewing (or rather, as I'm cursing under my breath while ripping out seams), and then forget the next time I sit down to sew.

  3. Okay, that was funny! I love point four about the contrasting thread. I would also say that you forgot to add one pointer: Don't start a project on a Monday night at 10pm. :-)

    You should look at the free tutorial for pants on She just hosted a month of Celebrate the Boy and they went into good detail about how to make pants....Helen will be needing pants too. :-)

    I'm going to refer to this post when I sit down to make my boys' shorts. I love saying, "my boys!"


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