Unpacking is a slow process.
I need to turn it into a game or something. Because it’s just not getting done. I’d rather blog. Or visit family. Or grocery shop. And I don’t even like to grocery shop. Any advice to kick it in gear?
Anyway, before leaving Georgia a few weeks ago, I made a couple things for my little guy (like these). So these shorts today were made and photographed before our long trek to Colorado……….but I just didn’t have time to put a post together to show you. Looking at the photos makes me miss little downtown Savannah. I feel like it’s been months since we lived there. Isn’t that strange?
Anyway, girls are so fun to make dresses and skirts for.
And boys are just as fun to make shorts and pants for.
Especially when you start adding details to them. Like pockets.
This little boy is particularly fun to make things for. He’s always so excited to try something new on. Big goof.
The front pockets are functional. The back ones are just flaps. But cute, just the same.
And no, I didn’t patch all of that fabric together……it came that way. So cute for shorts.
Would you like to make your own little boy shorts?
(There is no zipper or button hole……the button is just for looks.)
Complete with front pockets, back pocket flaps, belt loops, and an elastic waist in the back??
Let me show you the process…
First of all, I purchased this pre-squared fabric at Joann Fabric. They had different colors and shades. All were pretty cute.
But before starting, I created a pattern for these shorts using a pair of my little boys shorts that currently fit him. I actually turned the shorts inside out and folded them in half and tried to get as accurate of shape as I could of the front shape, as well as the back. I made 1 pattern piece for the front pieces and 1 pattern piece for the back pieces.
Make sure to add an extra bit to your pattern pieces for a seam allowance. I added another 1/4 inch on the sides and 1 extra inch to the bottom and 1.5 inches to the top. (I also made my back piece slightly wider along the top because the finished shorts will be cinched in at the back with elastic while the front remains flat.)
I could have stopped here and put my shorts together without the pockets……but I wanted front pockets. So I drew a diagonal line along the side of the front pattern piece to create the pocket section. To make these size 3T shorts……I made a dot at the top that was 1.5 inches from the side edge and then another dot on the side that was 7 inches from the top. I connected those two marks to create a diagonal line. This is the pocket line.
If I were to cut that diagonal line off, that would be my new front pattern piece…….but I needed it there for the next step. I wanted to create the pockets pieces first. I placed this pattern piece on top of a new piece of paper and made a mark at the top, about 1.5 inches left of the top of the diagonal line and another mark on the side, about 2 inches below the bottom of the diagonal line (circled in red).
I traced around the top corner of the original pattern piece from the one mark and down to the other. Then I lifted off the pattern piece and free-handed the curve of the pocket piece. Your curve doesn’t have to be perfect because it will never show but you want to add a nice curve to it so that things can fit inside. This is the main pocket piece. Then I cut off the piece of the main pattern piece, right at the diagonal line……but don’t throw it away.
Next, I cut out the main pocket piece and then traced the exact shape onto another piece of paper. Then I placed the diagonal scrap ,from the previous step, on top…….and lined it up in the corner. Then I drew that same diagonal line. Cut out this new pocket piece and cut off the diagonal line portion…….and now you have the lining pocket piece.
So now you should have 4 pattern pieces: back piece, front piece, main pocket piece, and lining pocket piece.
Now, I cut out 2 back pieces, 2 front pieces, and 2 main pocket pieces out of the main material. And then I cut 2 lining pocket pieces out of a thin white cotton. (When cutting your fabric pieces, fold the fabric in half, with right sides together and lay the pattern on top and cut through both layers at once. This will give you a right side and left side to each of your pattern pieces.)
Now, the sewing.
Begin by sewing your main pocket pieces together with the lining pieces, with right sides together……..and sew along the curve and nothing more. (Zig-zag or serge your raw edges.)
Now to visualize, once your pockets are sewn on to the shorts, they will lay under each front shorts piece…….with the diagonal cut of the pants lining up with the diagonal cut of the pocket lining. Make sure you are sewing the correct pocket to the correct side.
Now, grab one side of the shorts and the correct pocket and place the pocket, face down, on top of the pant leg. Line up the diagonal lines of the pocket lining and the pant leg, with right sides together, and sew the two layers together. Zig-zag or serge to finish it off. (Make sure to keep the main pocket piece out of the way while sewing.)
Then flip the pocket back underneath the main front piece and iron that diagonal line flat. Top stitch (sew really close to the edge) right along that diagonal line.
Repeat with the other front pant leg and pocket.
Now, lay each front pant leg flat and pin the pocket into place. Then make a seam right along the top and the bottom to help keep the pocket in place while sewing the pants together later on. Sew about a 1/4 inch from the edge.
Now, place the 2 front short pieces together with right sides together and sew along the curve of the shorts. Do the same with the 2 back pieces.
Now, open up the front section and the back section and place them together with right sides together. Sew all along the inner legs of the pants. (I always line of the center seams of the front and back pieces and start sewing there in the middle……..right to the end of the leg. Then I start at the middle again and sew down the other pant leg.) Zig-zag or serge to finish off.
Now, sew along both sides of the shorts and finish off again with a zig-zag or serge.
Next, zig-zag or serge the top edge of the shorts and then turn the pants inside out. Fold over the top. (I allowed for an extra 1.5 inches at the top while making my pattern pieces, so I folded mine over 1.5 inches.) Make a seam along the front of the pants only, sewing the fold in place from the one side seam to the other. Make sure to sew close to that bottom serged (or zig-zagged) edge.
Now, grab some 1 inch wide elastic (or whatever size works best for your pattern) and cut a piece that will stretch from side seam to the other side seam while stretched. You may want to try the shorts on your little boy and pin the piece of elastic to each side to make sure your using the right amount of elastic.
From the back of the pants, slide one end of the elastic into the side of the waistband of the shorts, right where you just sewed the folded over waistband. And then sew the end of elastic in place, right along the side of the shorts.
Sew the other end of the elastic into the other side of the waistband, the same way you did with the first end.
Now, you’ll need to close off the waistband, to include the elastic……and create a casing for it.
As you’re sewing, pull the elastic and be sure to sew along the bottom edge and to not sew through the elastic at all.
When you’re finished, you’re elastic will release and will cinch in the back of the shorts.
Next, zig-zag or serge the bottom of the shorts and then fold them under 1 inch (or however much you allowed for the hem) and then sew into place.
To make your shorts look more professional, you can create a double line of stitches along the bottom hem of the shorts. You can do this, one hem right after another……or you can switch to a double needle to make the seams evenly spread and neat. (Click here for tutorial on using double needles.)
This double stitch also looks nice along the other seams of the shorts.
And just for fun, I created some zipper-like stitches……to give the look of there being a zipper, without actually putting a zipper in. This is totally optional……but kinda fun.
Next, I created a tube of fabric to use for the belt loops. I turned the tube right side out (tutorial here) and then sewed along each edge.
Then I cut 5 belt loops to be as tall as the waist band, plus a little extra to fold under at each end.
Then I attached 3 belt loops to the back of the shorts by folding under each end and sewing each end to the shorts.
And then I attached 2 belt loops to the front of the shorts the same way.
To complete the fake button and zipper look……..I added a button right to the front of the shorts.
Next,I cut out 4 pocket pieces…….to be used for the back pocket flaps. (For this tan pair of shorts……..I made the bottom of the pocket pointy. For the plaid shorts in the photos above, I made regular rectangle pieces.)
Sew 2 of the pocket flap pieces together, with right sides together, along the sides and bottom. Do the same to the other 2 pieces and then clips the corners a bit so that they lay flat after turning right side out. (Tutorial here.)
Then turn the pocket flaps right side out, iron flat, then stitch around the side and bottom edges.
Now, fold under the top edge of the flap and attach the flap to the back of the shorts. Do the same with both back flaps and make sure they’re centered on the back of the shorts.
Now you can add buttons ( don’t bother with a button hole) and stitch the flap right down to the shorts or you can add velcro underneath so that the flaps can open and shut. Or you can leave the flaps alone and keep them loose like I did with the plaid shorts above.
And that’s it. Your shorts are complete.
Now make 3 more pairs for this hot summer heat.