Kirsten from the Lovespun Studio blog and shop shows you how to make these easy and cute “Everyday Play” Ruffle Shorts today. Don’t miss Kirsten’s intro for more on her designs, and let us know in the comments if you make a pair of the shorts for upcoming summer fun!

Make a pair of “Everyday Play” Ruffle Shorts for your favorite girl, just in time for sunny summer play!


  • Printed PDF “Everyday Play” Ruffle Shorts Pattern (sized as a slim 3T/4T, feel free to adjust the width and length as necessary OR simply use your favorite shorts pattern): Tape pages together so that words “Front” and “Back” are clearly legible.
  • 3 Fat Quarters: 2 like FQs for the shorts body, 1 coordinating FQ for the waistband and ruffles
  • Coordinating Thread
  • 1 ¼ inch woven elastic
  • Pins
  • Marking Pen (recommended)
  • Safety Pin (*not shown*)
  • Rotary Cutter (recommended)
  • Scissors/Pinking Shears (recommended *pinking shears not shown*)
  • Cutting Mat (recommended)
  • Freezer Paper (recommended *not shown*): For simplicity, copy PDF templates to freezer paper on the matte side and cut out to ready for Step 1. My instructions assume use of a freezer paper template.

Step 1: Fold each of the two matching fat quarters in half, wrong-sides together, selvage-to-edge. Arrange the front template piece on one FQ and the back template piece on the other FQ with shiny sides of the freezer paper down. (You can “fussy” place these depending on your fabric. If you size these down, you may well be able to fit both template pieces on one FQ.)

Step 2: Dry iron your template pieces to your fabric and cut them out. I prefer to use a rotary cutter to zip around the pieces.

Step 3: Lay the one coordinating FQ on the cutting mat. Cut 6- 3 ½” by 18” strips, then trim two of those strips to 3 ½” by 13”.

Step 4: For your reference, mark a small “B” or “F” somewhere on each of your fabric pieces with a fabric marking pen or pencil. Place the two back pieces right sides together and pin back seam. Repeat with the front pieces and pin the front seam.

Stitch (or serge) them together with a ½ inch seam.

Step 5: Pin the front of the shorts to the back of the shorts along the two sides and inseam. Stitch (or serge) together with ½” seam.

Turn them right side out and they should now look like this:

Step 6: Place the two 3 ½”x13” strips right sides together and pin the short ends. Stitch together with a ½” seam. You should now have one circular piece.

Fold this piece in half, wrong-sides together and press. This piece should now look like a waistband.

Step 7: Pin the raw edges of the waistband to the raw edge of the top of your shorts being sure to align the waistband seams with your side seams. Trim down the top of your shorts if necessary to ensure a smooth waistline and ease of matching up the waistband to the shorts. Leave about 2” open in the back to insert your elastic and begin stitching together with a ¼” seam (feel free to use a larger seam if you use smaller width elastic). *I do not recommend the serger during this step.*

Step 8: Cut a length of elastic to 22” long. Attach a safety pin through one end of the elastic and feed it through the opening in the waistband. When you can hold both ends, pin them overlapping one another approximately by approximately 2” and pin them. Use a zigzag stitch to secure both ends of the elastic.

Step 9: Close up the opening in the waistband with a ¼” seam across the opening. Now you are free to serge of the edges if you like.

Step 10: Take two of the 3 ½”x18” strips and pin them right sides together along one short end. Stitch them together with a ½” seam. Trim the seam down with pinking shears and iron flat. Turn under bottom edge of the strip ¼” and then another 3/8”with your iron. Stitch that edge with a ¼” seam allowance to finish the edge.

Repeat this process with the two remaining strips.

Step 11: Fold the strip in half with short ends of the long strip together, pin and stitch with a ½” seam. Trim with pinking shears and iron flat (as you did above). You now have another circle.

Step 12: Beginning at one seam, add a basting stitch (set your stitch length to 5) and slowly stitch around the entire circle with a ½” seam allowance. Be sure NOT to backstitch and do not allow your ending stitches to come up past your beginning stitches. (I like to knot together my top and bottom threads at the end of my circle to secure the stitches, but use whatever method you prefer here.)

Gently pull on the remaining bobbin (bottom) thread to gather your fabric. Gather it until your ruffle is the same size as the leg opening of your shorts.

Step 13: Pin the raw edge of the right side of the ruffle to the raw edge of your shorts and stitch (or serge) together with a ½” seam allowance.

And voila, you’re all done (although feel free to edge stitch around the waistband and the ruffles to give your shorts a more professional finish!).