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{How to} Make a Kid’s Simple Knit Shorts Pattern

2013 May 10

Here to announce… (drumroll please!) Next week is “Spring Shorts Week” on Thread Riding Hood! (But you already know that if you snuck a peek on Facebook!)

The plan is (if all goes as planned… !) to post a tutorial for 5 different versions of Kid’s Simple Knit Shorts – one on each week day – starting on Monday. I’ve got two of them sewn already – based on these ones I made for my daughter last week. The others are all planned and the fabric is waiting!

If you are going to sew along, you will need a pattern and that is what we are going to cover today. I know there are versions of “how to make a pants pattern” all over the internet, but maybe you will like mine the best?! This pattern has a separate casing that we will stitch on later, so that is not included in this drafting “how to”.

If you don’t want to draft this and your child fits in a size 3 you are in luck! I am going to post the pattern piece for a size 3 on Monday along with the first tutorial.

All the shorts will use the same basic pattern piece (that you can draft by following this post) and I will provide downloads for any additional pieces that are needed for each tutorial as we go.

Here’s how the week should shape up (I will update this list with links as we go):

You will need:

  • large paper – freezer paper/tracing paper/newspaper (I use the large rolls of kids’ paper from IKEA)
  • pencil(s)
  • 1 pair of pants/shorts in the size you want to copy (more on this below)
  • a pair of shorts or a measurement from the bottom of the casing on your kids pants to just under their knee
  • long ruler
  • scissors
Here we go:
Step 1: Fold your large paper in half, unfold and draw a line down the fold. Make sure the paper is large enough to draw each leg of the shorts when folded in half, remember they won’t be as long (see the photo). Mark the length of the shorts on your sample pants. The longest length needed for the tutorials coming up next week is just under the knee. Add 1″ for hem and casing allowances and you will be fine.
Step 2: Choose the pants/shorts you will use to make your pattern. Here are a few important things to keep in mind.
  1. I made a pair of these shorts last week that did not fit because the knit material in the pants I copied was stretchier than the knit I used to make the pants. Check the stretch on each (The direction that stretches the most will be going around your child) and make sure the stretch in the knit you will be using is the same or more than the pants you are copying.
  2. The shorts I am making the tutorials for are not meant to be tight fitting. I used a pair of woven pajama pants to make the pattern.
  3. If you need some information on knit materials go here. (There is a great description of the difference between woven and knit material in the 4th paragrah.)
  4. Oh, and make sure they fit your kid – I guess that goes without saying!
Step 3: Fold the pants (FRONT side out) in half along the seam lines. Make sure they look like the photo below. Line up the pant leg and the centre front “crotch” seam so they are roughly parallel to the line you drew in step 1. Line up the length measurement you found in Step 1 with the bottom of your paper.  Trace along the inner pant seam and crotch seam up to the casing.
Step 4: Mark the bottom of the casing on the long straight line and on the line you just drew at the centre-front.
Step 5: (1) Use a ruler (ideally a quilting ruler to line everything up) to draw a line across your paper. Have the line cross through the corner made by the bottom of the crotch curve and the start of the inner leg seam. (2) The line should be at right angles with the long line you drew in Step 1.

Step 6: Label this half of the pattern “FRONT” and include the size and date and child it is for. It is good not to forget these things when you need it later!

Step 7: Fold the pants (BACK side out) in half along the seam lines. Make sure they look like the photo. Line up the pant leg and the centre back crotch seam along the other half of your paper so they are roughly parallel to the line you drew in step 1. The  corner made by the back crotch curve and the start of the inner leg seam should line up with the line you drew in Step 5.

Step 8: Trace along the inner pant seam and crotch seam up to the casing. Make the centre back line parallel to the line you drew in Step 1 if you need to (see photo). Mark the top of the casing.

Step 9: Match up the casing lines with your ruler and draw a line across the top of the pants pattern.

Step 10: Add your seam allowances – I used 3/8″. There are two ways to do this. (1) Use a sewing guage or regular ruler to mark a seam allowance on all sides of your pattern except the hem. Now draw on your seam allowance using those markings. (2) Use this fancy trick from Pinterest by taping two pencils together. (BTW – this is found on my Pinterest board: Sewing Tips and Tricks, if you want to follow!)

Step 11: Mark the BACK on the back side of the pattern piece and cut it out all around the seam allowance you just drew.

Step 12: (1) Fold your pattern in half along the centre line. (2) Mark a straight line along the bottom hem edge at right angles from the centre line. (3) Cut the pattern on this line to even up the hem-line.

Hooray you are done! I can’t wait to share the tutorials next week, these shorts are really cute and easy to sew! I’m going to be making them for a girl, but providing tips so you can make them more boy-friendly, except for the skirt of course! As usual – let me know if you have any questions.  Leave them in the comments or email me: sherri (at) threadridinghood (dot) com

AND! Not to ignore Mother’s Day – which is VERY important! (If I do say so myself!) If you want to check out my super-duper new and fancy re-styled Tutorials page – you just might find something your Mom would love! And might I suggest:

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you that are or are soon-to-be moms! I know my family’s got something planned – my youngest spilled the beans after I had been out at work – “Mommy… I can’t find your cards…?” Umm… “Someone must have hidden them, honey.” Secrets don’t work out so well when you are tiny!

 

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