cuffed shorts tutorial

Lightweight and perfect for summertime, these shorts are a cinch to make and cute to boot. I used the same pattern for Sadie’s PJ shorts, so they’re versatile as well. score!

Click below for more!

You’ll need:
fabric (the amount depends on your child’s size) about 1/2 yard worked for these
elastic ( I used 3/4 inch no-roll elastic)
thread, sewing stuff
pair of shorts that fit your child well (loose fitting are better for the PJ’s, more comfy!)

First, lay out your shorts like so and make your pattern, I left a little room around the edge for seam allowance (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch works). On the waistband area, make sure to cut your pattern a little wider on the top than the shorts are, so the elastic has something to keep up.

Cut out two pieces of the short pattern, on the fold. If you want to make cuffs, cut two pieces of fabric on the fold, as wide as the leg opening (doubled, because it will be folded) and as wide as you’d like the cuffs to be, plus about 1/4 for seam allowance. Mine were 3 inches, 1 1/2 inches folded.

If you don’t want cuffs, aka PJ or normal shorts, skip the next part! Hem the bottoms normally.

Here are your two cuff pieces…make sure to straighten them out with your rotary cutter or as best you can with scissors. I did, but after I took this picture. 😉

Iron them out flat…

…and then in half lengthwise.

Now, pin your cuff pieces, raw edges down, to the wrong side of your short pieces, like so.

Sew together along the bottom with 1/4 inch seam. Finish your edges with a zig zag or serger. Don’t forget like I did! oh well.

Here is the raw edge between your short piece and cuff..

fold it up like so and press with your iron. (stubby finger alert!)

Now, you can either tack down the cuff (in the middle of your short piece) with your machine, or by hand so it’s invisible. I was going to put a button there later but didn’t like what I had so didn’t end up doing that. Either way, you’ll want to attach the cuffs to the sides of your shorts so they don’t come un-cuffed while being worn!

So, now put your two short pieces, right sides together, pin along the curved edges, and sew with 1/4 inch seam or so. Finish your edges with zig zag or serger.

Now pin your er..crotch pieces right sides together, like so, and sew and finish that seam too, back stitching at start and finish. I like to back stitch over the er…crotch area, for extra strength.

turn right side out and ooh and ahhh!

Now, finish up the waistband by folding the top over 1/4 inch and then another inch, leaving enough space for the width of your elastic. Stick in a little piece of ribbon for a “tag” if you like…not really necessary since there’s no front or back to these shorts, but it helps Daddy dress Sadie. 😉

Sew along the bottom of your folded over portion, leaving about 1 1/2 inch space for threading your elastic through. Then cut your elastic (hold it up to your child for the best measurement), thread it through with a safety pin, sew those ends together with a zig zag stitch, and sew your gap closed!

You’re done! Not too bad right? Quick and fairly painless! Let me know if you have any questions!

Featured on One Pretty Thing!

***If you have used any of my tutorials, I’d love if you’d add a quick pic to my flicker group! Thanks!***


  1. SO cute!!! I am so glad you posted this, I wan to make some for the little man! Some khaki little britches, Love it! Very clear instructions too! Well done! And SO cute!!!

  2. Yes, Sadie is one of the best dressed toddlers out there. Nice job.

  3. Love. Love. Love! I can’t wait to make some of these. Thanks for the tutorial!!

    The bow is a great touch. Too cute!!

  4. Those are just so dang cute!! Can’t wait to try those!!

  5. These are so cute and totally doable! Thanks so much for this, I’ll be linking.

  6. Thank you for the tutorial!

  7. Thank you! They are gorgeous~!

  8. Thanks for this great tutorial (trace their current shorts, who knew)! 🙂 I just finished a cute summer top for my 3 year old and I wasn’t sure what to put with it as the bottom patterns out there are so involved. I’ll be making a pair of these out of some knit fabric tonight!!

  9. gotta make some short here! thanks for the tutorial. you are insane!!

  10. LOVE this! Now I’m thinking maybe I could even do it for a mommy-sized pair…Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. I love these! I need to make some for my daughter. She’s really lacking in the short department and pj’s.
    Thanks for sharing all your projects. You truly are inspiring!

  12. Found your page and just made a pair of cute monkey shorts to go with a birthday outfit I’m making my little guy. I’ve never made shorts before but your instructions were so easy to follow!

    here is a pic of the shorts with the whole outfit.

  13. Super cute Jess. I finally just got around to reading through this tutorial and it’s so simple! I’m going to have to give this a try. 🙂

  14. says

    I speak a “little” english
    And write is more difficult !!!
    I am 58 years ….
    And a “Mamie”
    Tres bon tuto
    Facile à réaliser même si je ne comprends pas le texte l’image suffit
    Merci Thank you

    Bonne journée

  15. I tried making these shorts twice for my 2yo daughter. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but the shorts would come out too small in the umm crotch area (haha). looked like she had a massive wedgie 🙁 super cute shorts but I cant seem to figure out what happened with that issue

  16. Hi there,
    Thanks for the tutorial. I’m going to make some shorts for my dear little granddaughter.
    I’m not a very experienced sewer. From your pics and instructions i’m presuming there are no side seams in the shorts. Just wanted to check before I get started.

    Thanks 🙂

  17. What kind of fabric did you use to make these shorts?

  18. I just made these and they were super easy!!!! I honestly thought I would get confused at least once (I am a very hands-on person, and usually tend to do things the wrong way before I learn 🙂 ) but I didn’t! They shorts I made turned out very cute and I can’t wait for warmer weather for my little girl to wear them! Thank you!!!

  19. I’ve been trying to see with elastic in waist bands, but it doesn’t stretch when done. I do t know what I’ve been doing wrong but everything is good except the waist with the elastic. Can you help?

  20. Hi Jess, I’m a bit confused. You said to sew the cuffs, raw edges down to the shorts. Am I sewing the folded part of the cuff to the raw edges of the shorts?

    • the raw edge of the cuff is sewn to the raw edge of the shorts…the cuff will be folded with wrong sides together. :_)


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