Step 2 in sewing simple shorts

Sewing pants or shorts can be intimidating for beginning sewers. The added dimension of a crotch seam can cause a new seamstress to opt for sewing a skirt instead. It’s understandable, unless the project is a pencil skirt, most skirts require fitting just the waist measurement and do make a good starting project for an inexperienced sewer.

But once you have tackled a few skirt projects, a simple pair of elastic waist shorts is a good next step.

Pattern being used

Pattern being used

And this Simplicity 1203 pattern is a good choice. The elastic waist allows for some fitting imperfections and yet the pocket design adds a touch of professionalism to the finished project. This happens to be the shorts project that I talked about previously when making my muslin sample. The second muslin garment was a good fit and gave me a green light to move onto the fabric chosen for the finished product.

shorts pattern directions

shorts pattern directions

As you can see, this shorts pattern has only 4 pieces to cut out: Shorts front(16), Shorts back(18), Pocket(17), and Waistband(19). Each piece is clearly marked and the layout directions are relatively simple. Just take your time and look over all the information BEFORE taking that first cut. 

DSC01588 (1)

Assembling the pocket is the first step and after making the muslin sample, I found that the curved edge of the pocket needed a little reinforcement to improve the finished look of the shorts. I keep Pellon Easy Knit Fusible Interfacing on hand and like to use it in places like this.(Link to interfacing-

This interfacing adds very little bulk and provides just enough stability to make it very versatile. For this job, I cut a 1/2 inch strip and ironed it over the seam line on  the curved edge of the pocket piece, and then proceeded on to my pattern directions as instructed.

added interfacing to the pocket

added interfacing to the pocket

Make sure your pocket is matched up correctly. This picture is evidence that even after sewing these shorts twice for the muslin, I still made a mistake and lined my pocket up incorrectly. **Life lesson #14-Tearing out mistake makes you love the finished product even more….:-)

finished pocket/front

finished pocket/front

The next 3 steps of the shorts construction after completing the pocket are pretty straight forward; sew front to back at inside leg seam, sew center crotch seam, sew front to back at side seams. The instruction page is well illustrated to help decipher the written directions.

overlock finish on the crotch

overlock finish on the crotch seam

The waistband is the last major step in construction the of these shorts, and again I used my knit interfacing to give this waistband a little support. This linen-like fabric tends to become limp after several washings. Interfacing the waistband will help prevent this from happening and extend the polished look of the shorts for more than just a couple of wearings.

close to finishing

waiting for the waistband

After attaching the waistband according to the directions, the elastic gets inserted and your new shorts will be completed with the hemming of the legs. I forgot to take a finished project picture because as soon as I finished these shorts I was off to my next task-sewing a chicken! Stay tuned…..

When you are a new sewer, a project like this may take several hours. But, with practice, these shorts can be completed in an uninterrupted span of 2 hours. If you have a little patience and can read directions(& have a sewing machine), you too, can feel the reward of saying, “Yes, I made these myself.”

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