If I have learned one thing in these last few years about sewing, it is that making your own pattern template is the best way to get the best fit. This is important because not all commercial patterns fit all body types. If you have a basic pants pattern but you would like to know how to tweak it, then this tutorial is for you. This DIY is also for you if you have a basic pants block. What that means is you have drafted a template for your measurements in the form of pattern pieces. Not only are these DIY shorts from my Jewels pattern collection fabric but the shorts pattern was self drafted. Follow along and you can do it too!
What you need
- Fabric 1.5 meters (approximately)
- basic pants pattern
- Pattern paper
- 7″ or 9″ zipper
- fusible interfacing
- pants hook and bar
- sewing machine
- pins, needle & thread, measuring tape, seam ripper (hopefully not)
Know your measurements
It is very important to know your measurements as you will need them for anything you sew. This means measuring around your high waist, lower waist, hips, thighs and knee.
Resources to help you
If you are looking to create your own basic pants pattern, check out Kim Dave Design’s video. Her instruction is very thorough and clear. In this video Kim reviews all of the measurements needed, even ones you may not have thought about.
Make a draft first
I recommend trying out the project with fabric you are not afraid to mess up before using your preferred fabric.
Let’s get started
Cut out all of your pattern pieces. Determine the approximate length you would like your shorts to be. Measure from the front crotch down the inner thigh. Add a 5/8″ seam allowance to that measurement.
Adding pockets to shorts
I did a thorough tutorial on how to invisible side pockets on any outfit. The blog post is called How to Add Hidden Pockets. The one tutorial I like to follow for the pockets I used for these shorts is from a Paper Bag Pants video by Lunar Sew.
Use your own front short pattern pieces to determine the size of your pocket (depth and width). Place your hand where you would like it to comfortable be when you have your hands in your pockets.
Sewing the zipper
The best zipper tutorial I have found is The Peggy Trousers from the company Sew Over It. I will also attach the live sew along tutorial as well. Below are some of my photos of the process for these diy shorts.
I used the pattern pieces from the above pattern.
Sewing the sides, front and back together
- After you finish the zipper, sew the front side and back sides together.
- Then sew the inner leg seam for both legs.
- Sew the middle back seam last.
- For the hem, fold it under and take a picture to see if that is where you want your shorts to end. When you find the right length, pin, mark that length all the way around the shorts and try on again. Once you get it to where you want it, fold over once then twice, press in place and sew about one inch above the bottom of the leg opening.
Sewing the waist band
I measure the distance around the top of the shorts and make the waist band slightly smaller. The reason for this is that you don’t want your waist band to sit straight up, but rather curve into your body. I started with an inch less than what the top of the waist was and then adjusted from there.
Remember you also need to factor in the amount of overhang you want for attaching the pants hook and bar set.
For the width of the waist band, determine the finished length (mine was 2 inches) then add seam allowance twice. So 2″ inches” plus 1 1/4″ equals 3 1/4″. Once you have your desired width, press lengthwise. Use fusible interfacing to press onto the inside of the waistband. I used fusible waist band interfacing that was just the right measurement to fit nicely onto the two sides.
One step I neglected is to press in the seam allowance of each edge. This way you know exactly where to sew once you attach the waist band to the shorts.
Sew each end of the band together right sides together. Clip corners and turn right side out.
Pin the waist band to the shorts top, right sides together. Determine where you want the front pieces to be so that one overlaps the other. Pin at each side of the front. Next, pin at the back seam and then pin to the side seams. Pull the band to fit the spaces in between those original first pins that were on the seams and front.
Sew along the fold line that you made when pressing the seam allowance on your waistband.
Turn the band over the so the outside middle fold is at the top and pin the inside of the band to the inside of the waist. Seam allowance turned inward. Slip stitch all along the inside.
Attaching belt loops
Belt loops are easier than I thought. This pattern was my first attempt at belt loops. Follow a similar method as the waistband. First determine your desired width (I used a pair of similar shorts for reference). The width that I wanted was 1/2″. Double that width.
Then take the number of belt loops you want (typically five) and measure the length. To be safe with length (you can always cut some off later), take 3 inches times by 5 equals 15 and that is the full length you will need.
Once you have cut a 15″ by 1″ strip, fold in half lengthwise and press. Open up, then fold and press each side into the middle. Once that is pressed, fold in half and press again.
Stitch this pressed strip (which should measure 1/2″ in width now) close to each of the edges.
Cut into five equal pieces. If you did your measurements properly, they should be 3″ each.
Determine the placement (once again I used a similar pair of shorts to determine this). Press under the part that you wish to fold under. Using the first stitch of a button hole, sew twice over the top and bottom of the belt loop.
Attaching hook and bar
Put the shorts on and line up where you want the pants to do up. Mark with a fabric pencil, take shorts off and pin in place. Line up the bar to the shorter end of the waistband (where you have marked it to go). Sew by hand through the holes provided. Then line up the hook where you want it and so the same thing.
I was super please with the outcome! They fit like a glove and I can’t wait to wear them this summer.
Here is a quick peek into a new opportunity that will get your from stuck in your creative practice to flourishing and making your mark with your gifts.
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