- about 1/2 yard of fabric scraps (or more for larger shorts.)
- 1/2 inch elastic
- rotary cutter/scissors/cutting mat
- 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)
- Heat’n Bond (I recommend the kind with paper backing that peels off)
- applique template (found here)
- Pinking Shears(Optional)
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.
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