Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom


Patchwork Shorts and Appliqued Tee Tutorial

Hi everyone, I shared this tutorial at the Ribbon Retreat Blog last week and wanted to post it on my blog in case any of my readers missed it!


My daughter is heading off to Kindergarten in the fall, and I have started working on a few outfits she will be able to wear to school.  For this outfit, I created a tutorial to show you how I put together the patchwork shorts and matching applique tee.

See how to make these shorts and appliqued Tee after the jump!

For this project you will need: (I've linked to the products I use)
  • about 1/2 yard of fabric scraps (or more for larger shorts.) 
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • rotary cutter/scissors/cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • disappearing fabric marker
  • favorite shorts pattern or elastic waist shorts to trace for making a pattern
  • paper to trace pattern on to (freezer paper or larger size art paper works great)
  • T-shirt
  • Heat'n Bond (I recommend the kind with paper backing that peels off)
  • iron
  • applique template (found here)
  • Pinking Shears(Optional)

If you already have a shorts pattern to use, you can skip step 1.  If not, you'll see how simple it is to trace a pair of shorts to make your own pattern.

Step 1:  Making a Short pattern.
Fold the shorts you're using for pattern tracing in half, with the back of the shorts facing out.  Make sure to flatten out the back crotch seam as much as possible.

Trace around shorts on to the paper.  Extend the top of the shorts up, in a straight line as shown above.

After you have traced the shorts, add a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the sides of the pattern.
Add 1 1/8 inches to the top of the shorts for the elastic casing and 1/2 inch at the bottom for the bottom hem.

Fold the shorts over so the front side is facing out, and repeat these steps for the shorts front pattern.

Cut out both patterns.

Step 2:  Piecing together the fabric.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to your fabric choices.  You can use scraps from your scrap bin, fat quarters, charm packs, even up-cycle old clothing items.  (You can see my up-cycled patchwork shorts here.)

One thing to keep in mind, if you're using quilting cotton, you will need to finish the seams that are pieced together.  So use whichever method you prefer: serger, pinking shears or a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine. If you are using a charm pack, make sure it is one that comes already cut with pinked edges, and you will save a lot of time.

Using your ruler and rotary cutter, start cutting your scraps into 4 inch squares.

Lay out your scraps into a pattern you like.  Use your shorts pattern to determine how large your fabric panel needs to be.

To make my daughter's size 5 shorts, I made 4 fabric panels with 16, 4 inch squares each.

Start sewing the fabric squares in each row together, then sew each row together.  Make sure to properly finish each seam.  (I used a serger to sew my pieces together.)

Iron the pieced fabric seams flat.

Step 3:  Cutting the fabric and assembling the shorts.
Grab 2 of your pieced fabric panels.  Lay the first panel out right side down.  Lay the second panel on top of the first, right side up.  Using the front short pattern, cut out the two pattern pieces.

Repeat with the back short pattern.  Use your disappearing ink marker to mark which pieces are front and back and the tops and bottoms.  (These are very easy to mix up)

Line up the two front pieces, right sides together and the 2 back pieces, right sides together.  Sew the seams as indicated in the picture below.  Finish these seams with your pinking shears, serger or zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.  (If you are using pinking shears, I recommend double sewing this seam for extra reinforcement.)

Next, line up the side edges of the front and back pieces, right sides together and sew the side seams.  Finish these seams.

Line up the crotch area as shown.  Sew together and finish the seam.

Step 4:  Creating the casing and hemming the shorts.
To create the casing, fold the top edge of the shorts over 1/4 inch and press.  Fold the edge over another 3/4 inch and press again.  

Sew along the folded edge, leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening to slide the elastic through.

To hem the bottom of the shorts, fold the bottom edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch and press again.  Sew right along the folded edge.

Cut a piece of 1/2 inch elastic.  (start with the waist measurement plus 1 inch.)  Attach the elastic to to safety pin and run through the casing.  (To ensure a good fit, I always try the shorts on and then sew the elastic together.)

Sew the elastic together using a zig zag stitch, taking care to ensure the elastic is not twisted.  Then stitch the opening closed.

Step 5:  Cutting and applying the applique.
Print or draw your applique pattern and cut it out.  (You can download my flower pattern here.)

If you are using my flower applique pattern, cut 5 pieces of your scrap fabric to 4 inches by 2 inches and 1 piece 2 inches by 2 inches.

Cut 5 pieces of heat n bond 4 inches by 2 inches and a 6th piece 2 inches by 2 inches.

Following the heat n bond directions, iron the pieces of heat n bond to the back of the fabric scraps.  Don't peel the backing off the heat n bond yet.

Line up the applique patterns on the fabric and cut out the shapes.

Once you have cut out all your pieces, arrange them on the t-shirt and remove the paper backing.  Iron them into place, following the directions from the heat n bond package.

At this point, you can leave the applique as is or you can stitch around the petals with your sewing machine for a little extra pop.

That is it, you're done!  The only thing left is to have your little one try on the outfit and pose for a few pictures!

Thank you again Ribbon Retreat for inviting me to share this tutorial and providing the California Girl "little fatty" and thread.

If you like these kind of tutorials, you might enjoy to following along. (I would love to have you as a follower!)  You can subscribe using the Google Friend Connect widget, through a reader, or signing up via email.  Just click on one of the icons below:

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  1. Very cute! My oldest starts Kindergarden this year too. :)

  2. I absolutely LOVE this ... will be making it for my 4 year old for when the weather warms up here in Sydney Australia. My little girl starts Kindergarten at the beginning of our school year in January 2012 ... Tear!!

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  4. That is just darling!!! I am definitely Pinning this to try! I LOVE IT!!!

    Thank you!

  5. goodness, this is a gorgeous outfit Jamie! As you know, I am quite a fan of patchwork myself. I love this! I hope you will consider uploading it into SewSet - there needs to be more patchwork in the world :).

    Have a great night!
    - Jess

  6. Beautiful!!! I could do that for my son with my scrap fabrics.
    I'm a new GFC follower ( I can't remember in which bloghop I saw your link)

    Have a nice week end

  7. This is so cute! I'm saving this one! what a great way of making a nice outfit from scrap fabric!

  8. Love this - the colors and patterns are fab!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  9. Darling! I have just decided to make shorts for my boys this year for school. I love the inspiration!

  10. Gorgeous shorts! Fantastic tutorial too ~ thanks so much for sharing!!

  11. How adorable! You are so extremely talented! Thanks for sharing at our Handmade Tuesdays party.

  12. Adorable outfit! I followed you over from Ginger Snap's link party and am a new follower! Hope to see you over at my little blog. :) ~Eva~

  13. Gosh I WISH I had your talent!! I wouldn't have to buy any clothes!

    Thanks for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  14. That is so adorable! Great tutorial too. I swore I was going to make Edyn more clothes after I got a serger...I really need to get one that! Thank you so much for sharing with air your laundry friday, Jamie!

  15. jamie, You are going to have one of the best dressed kids at the school! My kids have to wear uniforms much to chagrin! I made a patchwork skirt this week! I am so loving patchwork projects right now.

  16. As soon as I finish my current project, I'll have fabric scraps that will work well for this project. You have so many cute tutorials that I will be following you from now on!

    Bonny @


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