How to sew shorts without a pattern

My little guy LOVES pockets. He is always putting something in his pockets {rocks, sticks, buttons, etc} I find his little treasures stashed in pockets when I’m doing laundry {sometimes they make it through the laundry without being caught…which makes for a fun laundry day!} I sewed these fun shorts for my little boy without using a pattern. Which is actually easier than you may think. And I’ll show you how to make shorts without a pattern!

How To Make Shorts

These shorts are perfect for your little guy {or gal!} this summer. Here’s the complete tutorial with pictures of how I sewed the cute dino shorts pictured above. happy sewing!

How to Sew Shorts

  • fabric {i used 1/2 yard to make 2T size shorts}
  • 3/4″ elastic
  • thread
  • scissors
  • iron and ironing board
  • fabric marker {optional}
  • shorts that fit your child well that do not have an elastic waist

*use a 1/2″ seam unless otherwise stated

how to sew shorts

You’re going to use the shorts to make your own pattern. Fold fabric in half with wrong sides together. Fold the shorts in half and place on right side of fabric so that you can cut see the entire back right piece on top of your fabric. Cut around the shorts giving an extra inch around the entire piece except for the top above the elastic. Cut 2″ above the elastic to allow for a casing.{if you feel more comfortable drawing with a fabric marker around the shorts and then cutting, go for it!} Mark the two pieces Right Back and Left Back so that you know which piece it is.

Make right and left front pieces like you did in the previous step. {should have 4 pieces total now}

Put the Right Front on the Right Back piece with right sides together and the Left Front on the Left Back with right sides together. With a 1/2″ seam, sew the inseam of the short’s seam on the inside of the thighs. {the short length below the angle} press seam open.

Put the pieces on top of each other with the 2 front pieces together and the 2 back pieces together, right sides together. Sew the crotch seam {in the shape of a V above}. You’ll sew down one side of the V, when you reach the center, turn and sew up the other side of the V}. Press seam open.

Now lay the Front Right piece on the Back Right piece and the Front Left on the Back Left piece with right sides together as shown. {starting to take shape now!}

How to Sew Pockets

Cut 2 pieces of fabric 4″ wide x 8″ long. {if doing bigger shorts, you’ll probably want bigger pockets. for bigger pockets, simply double the width for the new length. for example, if you want 5″ wide pockets, the length will be 10″} NOTE: the final pocket will be slightly smaller than 4″ wide due to seam allowances.

Fold in half so pieces measure 4″x4″, sew around pocket using 1/4″ seam. leave a 3″ opening and trim corners.

Turn pockets right side out and iron.

Place pockets on the front of the shorts 3.5″ from the top and 1.5″ from the side, pin in place, and top stitch around the pockets. Make sure that the opening is on the bottom side of the pocket so that it is sewn shut with the top stitch and that you do not sew the back piece of the shorts! I put the pocket on the front of the shorts because my little guy likes front pockets, but you could easily put pockets on the back.

NOTE: if making bigger shorts than size 2T as I am in this example, you may want to change these measurements of where the pockets are placed.

With the right sides together, sew the side seams together.

To hem, iron over 1/2″ and then fold over another 1/2″ and iron again. Then top stitch around the hem. {feel free to adjust the length of the shorts to fit the your child.}

Elastic Casing: fold over 1/4″ around the top and iron. then fold over 1″ and iron. Top stitch around the casing along the edge of the fabric. Leave a 3″ opening. Measure your child’s waist, cut a piece of elastic to the exact measurement. Thread elastic through the hole in the casing. Then overlap the elastic about 1.5″ and sew across elastic several times.

Sew casing hole shut, turn the shorts right side out and give the shorts to your favorite little person to enjoy!! So that’s how to make shorts without a pattern.

boy shorts

Looking for more free sewing patterns? Check out my easy Ruffled Skirt! click here for the free pattern.

happy crafting,


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