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Made by Me Monday – Altering a Shorts Pattern: Take 1 {tutorial}

2013 August 13

I made this Tennis Skort for my oldest a while ago to match this one that I made for my youngest in May. I love this Heidi &Finn pattern, the sizing is great and they turn out really cute. This skirt is especially good because of the shorts that are built into it. It’s a perfect match for little girls that like to play modestly at the park and still wear skirts!

I did find one change I would have made to the first Tennis Skort, and that is to make the shorts’ legs a bit narrower. I found that they were very loose, not so good for the coverage I am looking for under a skirt. When I made this size I took in about an inch or so to make them more like a bike short, and was much happier with the final result.

When I asked you what to write about in this coming year, I got a reply from Jonquil looking for alteration tips – so, here we are! Today I’m sharing tips on how to change the length of a simple one piece shorts pattern (easiest step first!). In the next few days I will post how to make them wider or narrower around the leg. My original plan was to do them all today, but the summer (and the kids) are calling this week and my time was cut short. Do you find that the days seem to fly by more quickly when the weather is good?!

Altering a Shorts Pattern – Take 1

If you are going to alter a pattern, it is a good idea to print out an extra copy or trace the current one you are using – just in case you make a mistake! For this tutorial I have printed off a mini version of the pattern piece onto regular paper because it is easier to photograph. If you are tracing yours, freezer paper is a good substitute for regular paper if you have it around. It is light enough to see through for tracing, and the plastic coating makes your final pattern more durable. Because I do not want to compromise Heidi and Finn’s pattern, I’m using my size 3 simple knit shorts pattern piece for the sample photos. You can draft your own shorts pattern using this tutorial if you’d like. Even better, if you have one you’d like to change already just follow along below!

{how to} Shorten Your Shorts

(1) Measure your child, or a pair of shorts that fit, and note the length of the inseam you would like to alter the pattern to – This is “A”.

(2) Add the seam allowance and hem allowance (check your pattern instructions) to “A”. This new number is now “B”.

(3) Measure “B” length down from the crotch on your pattern piece and mark it. Do this for both the front and the back inseam.

(4) Draw a line across the pattern piece between your two marks. This is your new length line.

If you are altering the width of the shorts, do NOT cut off the excess length just yet. If you are stopping here, go ahead and cut along the line. Follow your pattern instructions to sew up your shorter shorts (now the perfect length!)

See you soon with more pattern altering instructions! What would you be interested in knowing how to alter when you sew?

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