Summer Shorts! {Free Pattern and Tutorial}

Well, are you ready for it? Despite computer setbacks, internet failure and my own inexpertise, the summer shorts pattern is finally available for download!

Round of applause, please. No, I’m kidding (sort of).

This post will include a FREE download and a tutorial with plenty of pictures. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

First, get your materials ready. You will need:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric. These shorts are great in woven fabrics such as quilting cottons, denim, linen and seersucker. Just use your imagination and go with it!
  • Matching thread
  • 1 inch elastic. I like to use the no-roll kind. To find the right amount of elastic, measure around your child’s waist where you want the shorts to sit and add one inch to that measurement. (I use a 19″ piece of elastic for Abby’s shorts and she wears size 24mo or 2T).
  • A safety pin for threading the elastic.

Now you need the pattern!Β The pattern I have provided was made for my two year old daughter and is sized for a child roughly 2 years old. Her waist measurement is approximately 18″, and these shorts should fit any child with up to a 20″ waist.

Before you print, please note the following: For the 2T size you need to print this document at 103%. For some reason that I can not figure out (although it is driving me CRAZY) this pattern is too small when printed at 100%. I’ve tried fixing it so many ways that my head has started spinning. So. You get the pattern as is. I hope this doesn’t cause any confusion!

Let’s use this little snaffoo for our benefit, shall we? It gives us a chance to talk about sizing issues. If your child is too small or too large for this pattern, you can alter the print sizes as follows:

  • For size 18 months, print 100%
  • For a smaller 2T, print 103%
  • For a larger 2T, print 105%
  • For 3T, print 110%

And so on. You can play around with the settings a bit to get the perfect size your child. I hope the information I’ve provided so far helps you with sizing.

Click on the link below to download the pattern. It will take you to a separate website where you need to click on another link (it’s really obvious) to download the pattern to your computer. Open it in your PDF reader (Acrobat is best) and print 103% or whichever size you choose. The pattern will print out on four sheets of paper and you will need to align the pattern pieces and tape them together.


Before you proceed, please note that this pattern is for personal use only and is not to be distributed. If anyone asks about the pattern you used to make such an awesome pair of kid shorts, please direct them here to CailaMade. And if you post pictures online somewhere, I’d appreciate a link back to this post. Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

Moving on to the tutorial!


Always wash, dry and press your fabric before getting started.Β 

Lay the pattern pieces on your folded piece of fabric like this.Β FYI, I am using the shorter version of the pattern here. It’s labeled the “hemmed shorts” length on your pattern. Oh, and please excuse the rumpled, hand-written version I’m using for these pictures.

Cut two of each pattern piece. You should have four pieces.

It’s time to start sewing your center seams together. With right sides facing, stitch the center seam of each back piece together and each front piece together using a 3/8″ seam allowance. These are the large curved seams (the crotch seams, but man, do I hate typing that word).

Finish your seams on the serger or with a zigzag or overcast stitch on your sewing machine. I usually sew curved seams on my sewing machine first and finish them on the serger after, but you can do the whole kit and caboodle on your serger if you like.

Take your pieces to the ironing board and iron the seams flat. (You don’t need a picture of that, do you? Mine didn’t turn out so I don’t have a pic for this step. But it’s pretty simple, and you’re smart).

Now pin your center leg seams together like this, with right sides facing.

Take it to your machine and stitch that baby down, using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Finish the seam on your serger/sewing machine.

Now sew the outside leg seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance and finish them on your serger/sewing machine. If you want to serge the waist or leg openings, now is the best time (FYI, this is not necessary, so if you don’t have a serger, don’t worry). Your shorts will now look like this:

Turn your shorts right side out and take them back to the ironing board. Fold the waist opening down 1/4″ toward the inside of the shorts and press all the way around. Now fold it down 1 1/4″ and press all the way around. I like to use a seam gauge to help with this step.Β PLEASE IGNORE THAT MY SEAM GAUGE SAYS 1″ IN THE PICTURE BELOW. Β I messed up and sewed these shorts with a 1″ waistband and had to use 3/4″ elastic, but the pattern was designed for 1″ elastic. Don’t copy my mistake: make a 1 1/4″ waistband for the elastic!

Now create the leg hem. Fold the edge of the leg openings 1/4 to the wrong side of the fabric and press all the way around. Next, fold it 3/4″ to the wrong side and press all the way around.

Make sure the legs are the same length.

Your shorts will now look like this:

At this point I like to add a piece of twill tape or ribbon or something to act as a tag in the back. This way Abby (and Daddy!) know which side is the back. I use something very soft because Abby is on the rampage against all scratchy tags in her clothing.

Now top stitch along the inside edge of your waistband. Start before the “tag” and stitch all the way around. Leave a 1″ gap for threading your elastic through.

Stitch your leg hems down, too, and your shorts will be almost complete:

Don’t worry if the top looks a little bunchy. This is because the back is higher than the front, but no one will ever know the bunches are there, because you are about to add elastic.

Grab your 1″ elastic (I like to use no-roll).Β To find the right amount of elastic, measure around your child’s waist where you want the shorts to sit and add one inch to that measurement.Β What if your child isn’t handy because you’re sewing these in the middle of the night? (Yeah, I’ve been there). Here’s a reference point: Abby is a slender 2 year old and I cut 19″ for her waist.

Using a safety pin, feed your elastic through the waistband.

Overlap the ends by 1/2″ and sew them together using a zigzag stitch. Tuck the elastic inside the waistband and stitch the opening closed. And voila! You have a beautiful new pair of summer shorts.

Try them on your darling boy or girl and admire your handiwork. Yes, you are amazing. And yes, you rock!

Fabric: Freebird Butterfly in Red by Momo

If you’d like to see more shorts I’ve made with this pattern click here, here,Β hereΒ and here. Oh, and here’s a pair of pants I made.

Thanks for reading, friends! If you make a pair of these shorts I would LOVE (!) you to add them to my flickr pool, All That YOU Have Sewn. If you add a photo to this pool it will MAKE MY DAY. Seriously. πŸ™‚

And lastly, if you have any questions please leave a comment below, or email me at I would love to hear from you.

Tata for now!


  1. Lucinda says

    love those floral shorts! And congrats on posting this tutorial – that’s big stuff! Super sweet of you to share with all of us:)

  2. says

    Here’s a round of applause! Tutorials are such a pain, I can’t imagine what a pain a pattern would be. This is awesome! Thanks for all the time you put into it!

  3. says

    Thanks so much for the comment, Natalie! I’m glad you enjoyed it; it makes all that time and effort worth it! πŸ™‚

  4. says

    Great pattern. I appreciate all the time it took to do the tutorial. thanks. I have two boys, agesw 2 and 4. I cannot wait to make some for them.

  5. says

    Thanks so much! I just made my first ever pair of shorts with your tutorial. I am donating them to the Hopeful Threads July project!

    • says

      Eek! I love hearing things like this. Thanks so much for letting me know, Melissa, and I loved the pictures I saw on Flickr. Way to go, donating them to Hopeful Threads!

  6. says

    I will be using the pattern to make some shorts ( size 18 month ) for the Hopeful Threads boys shorts sew along project also ! I do not have that size pattern and there weren’t many donated that size yet , so thanks for saving me a trip to Joann’s and paying big money for a pattern !!!

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear it harleywife57! I think the Hopeful Threads sew along is SUCH a great idea! I’m hoping to fit in a few pairs this week so I can donate them, too. I’d love to see what you come up with! πŸ™‚

  7. says

    Okay. So I sewed up a pair of these… I raised the top line almost an inch and made theman inch or so wider before I started… And they STILL don’t cover Mr. Fluffy Bum. πŸ™ Any tips for how to make them play nice with cloth diapers?

    • says

      I’m so sorry Mrs. Lynndsey! It seems to be working for me. Send me an email at cailamade at gmail dot com and I’ll send you the pattern!

  8. says

    Such cute shorts! I am a little confused though…you show four pieces (two front, two back), but the downloadable pattern looks like it should be cut on the fold. I’m not sure if I should use cut four pieces or two and how that would work with allowances..any input?! Thanks πŸ™‚

    • says

      Thanks! The shorts came out super cute – I’m planning on making a few more pairs tomorrow once I check the fit on my niece and then I’ll add pictures to your flickr group πŸ™‚

  9. says

    I just printed my pattern at 110% for the size 3T, but it seems to have cut off a portion of the 2nd and 4th pages, specifically the side where you line up those pages with page 1 and 3? How do I correct this? I want to make sure I have the lengths correct.


  10. says

    Do your patterns already include seam and elastic casing allowance? Just wanted to confirm to make sure I get it right before I cut the cloth! Thanks!

  11. Anonymous says

    Do we overlap the paper to where the lines match up or just where the paper meets? Sorry I’m extremely new to this sewing thing.

    Thanks for this awesome pattern

  12. Shannon says

    I’d like to make these in a size 6-12 months. What % would I need to print this at / how much would I need to take off each edge (ie, 1/4 inch etc) to reduce them down to this size?
    Thanks in advance for your help!!

  13. Elisha says

    So if 103% is the right size for a 2 year old…if I print at roughly 55-60% it should be about right for my 12 month old??
    I’ve never made clothing of any kind but have some great fabric which is just begging to be made into shorts πŸ™‚

    • says

      Hi Elisha! I would try printing the shirts at 100%. I’m hearing from most people that it’s closer to 12 mo than 2T. Let me know how it goes!

    • Elisha says

      I did it!! I made a pair!! I printed at 100%…they fit…but they are a little small…because of my little guys chunky thighs and nappy bum. I am so making more though!!

    • Elisha says

      I made another pair, printed at 110%, and they fit my chunky Mr 1 perfectly!!
      I also reduced the pattern to 50% and made a pair for my daughters Cabbage Patch doll.

  14. Kassie Foster says

    Hey girl! Theses aree ADORABLE! I would love to make a pair but when I try to download It infiltrated with pop ups on all this other stuff to download but nothing for the shorts. =0/ Any advice?

  15. Katie says

    Hi! So if my child is more around 6-9 month waist, what percent should I print it at? He’s tall, but skinny! 11 months old and almost 17

  16. Arlene says

    I am going to make little dresses to send to the Dominican Republic with a group of doctors and volunteers but I thought about the boys and I’m going to make these shorts for the boys. I only have four months so I don’t have to much time.

  17. Kathy Davis says

    Just what I was looking for, but do I ignore the pattern that says FOLD on it? and just go with your pictures in your tutorial? Thanks, Kathy