Jen Carlton Bailly has shared a number of popular tutorials here at Sew Mama Sew like the His + Hers Pillows, Scrappy Whole Cloth Placemats and the super-handy iPad Case Tutorial (with Handle Variations!). She just shared her The Super Easy Convertible Skirt/Dress tutorial earlier this week, and today Jen shows you how to make super easy shorts. This same process would work with pants too, perfect for the back to school season. Comment below to let us know if you make a pair!
Boys. Making things for them can sometimes be more complicated then you want them to be. Enter the down and dirty way to make a quick pair of shorts for your little one using a pair of shorts he already has!


  • Paper or pattern tracing fabric for the pattern (I used the old drawing paper from my kids art easel)
  • Shorts that currently fit
  • Approximately ½ yard of fabric (I used Just For Fun knits by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics Organic)
  • ¼ yard contrasting fabric for the pockets
  • Twin ball point needle (here is a great link on how to use the twin needle)
  • Elastic for the waist band
  • Thread

Step One:
Trace the shorts on to the paper adding a little more than a ¼-inch. This does not need to be exact. First fold the shorts with front out and then with the back out. By doing the both the front and the back of the shorts the fit will be better and will allow for the extra room in the rear.

Step Two:
Draft any style of pocket that works for you. I used a simple patch pocket. The first was too small when I lined it up with the shorts (see photo below) I made it slightly taller and wider. Cut it out and lay it on top of the paper pattern. Adjust as needed.

Step Three:
Cut out the fabric. I use a ruler and rotary cutter to do this. My pins are my weight and help keep the pattern piece in place.

Step Four:
First top stitch along the edge where the hand goes into the pocket. Pin the pocket in place and sew it on top of the shorts using the twin needle. This was actually my first time using the twin needle. My main machine is a straight stitch only so I used my daughter’s Janome Hello Kitty. It was super easy and looks so nice! Try it out.

Step Five:
Pin together the front and back piece, right sides together. Notice that the back piece is large. Be sure to align the points of the crotch together. Serge or zig–zag the inside and outside seam. Turn one short leg right side out. Insert it into the other leg and match up the seams. Serge or zig-zag together. Be sure to double-check to be sure the fabrics are right sides together! Turn right side out.

Step Six:
Make the waistband by measuring the child’s waist. Zeke has a waist of 21 inches so my elastic was 19 inches because of the stretch. Place the two ends together using a zig-zag stitch and sew the two ends together.

Step Seven:
Attach the waistband to the shorts. This is a new method for me taught by my friends Traci and Violet. I was skeptical at first, however I find that it results in the perfect no-twist elastic waistband.

Divide the waistband in 4ths. Pin inside the shorts at the front, back and sides. Zig-Zag or serge the elastic onto the shorts by gently stretching to the next pin. (See photo below.)

Step Eight:
Fold the elastic over and top stitch using the twin needle.

If you are using knits and would like to leave the bottom of the legs as-is, you are done! If you use cottons, etc., now is the time to hem your shorts. You can use your twin needle again!

He asked for “more of these awesome, cozy shorts.”

But alas, I was out of fabric. I need to order more…


This post is sponsored by Fabricworm where you can find Birch Organic Fabrics, including the Just For Fun knits by Jay-Cyn Designs used in these shorts.

Jen writes, “Thank you, Fabricworm, for the amazing fabric. I can’t tell you all how soft and easy this fabric is to work with. It washed beautifully and 100% kept its color. Plus, it is organic and the prints are awesome. What else can I say?!”