How to Make Shorts from Pants

Hello again! Stephanie from Stephie B Has Three here to show you another awesome project that you’re going to want to do over and over again! Those types of projects are my favorites. 🙂

Inevitably, when the weather starts to warm up, my son has pants that he’s never warn that I know won’t leave his dresser unless I do something about it. My little string bean is getting taller by the second, so those 2T pants I bought at the thrift store last Fall, that have been folded up and neglected in his drawer for months, will be too short when its cool weather time again. So… my solution? Cut them off and make shorts!

That brings me to today’s fun (and useful!) tutorial – how to make shorts from pants. This is an easy project that if you haven’t tried already, you will definitely want to once you’ve read through this How-To.

Within this one tutorial you’ll be shown THREE options to hem your new shorts!
#1 – Cut-off exposing the raw edge
#2 – Classic hem
#3 – Cuffed

I’m sure you already have a pair of pants (or two!) in mind that you’d like to try this on. That’s great! Go get them! I’ll wait. 🙂

I have mine ready, too, so let’s get started!

1. Decide how long you want your shorts

The best way to determine how long to make your shorts is to grab another pair of shorts from your kids’ closet and measure the inseam – the seam that runs along the inside of the leg from the crotch to the hem.

As you can see in the image above, the inseam of these existing shorts is 4″.

Girls’ shorts are generally shorter, so if you have a little girls you’re making shorts for, don’t use the measurements I mention below unless she likes longer shorts – which she might… I’ve always preferred long shorts!

On just one pants leg, measure your desired inseam length from the crotch and mark it off, as shown at the 4″ measurement below.

In order to know where to mark off along the outseam (which is, you guessed it, the seam that runs along the outside of the leg from the waistband to the hem), measure the distance from the spot you just marked down to the bottom of the hem.

As you can see below, I get a measurement of 8″.

Move to the outseam, and mark that measurement along the seam. In the image below, I have marked 8″ up from the hem.

2. Decide if you want to hem your shorts

Hem option #1 is to not have a hem at all, and instead leave the shorts cuffless. This will leave a raw edge that will fray through wearing and washing. I like that look, and I made my son a pair that were like that last year, so if that’s what you want, go for it!

If you want to stick with option #1, skip the next step, and head down to step 4.

However, if you’d like to hem the pants (I’ll show you two hemmed options below) keep reading.

3. Decide how long to make your hem

I wanted this hem 1″ wide.

I plan to make it easy on myself but just doing two 1″ folds in order to hide the raw edge and create the hem/cuff at the same time. Therefore, I will be adding 2″ (1″ twice) to my previously marked measurement.

Now… if you’d prefer to have less bulk within your hem, (or you really like to iron), you can add 1/4″ onto your desired hem width. In this case, you’d be folding over and ironing 1/4″ to hide the raw edge before folding up the desired hem amount. If I personally choose this method, I’d mark 1 1/4″ from my previously marked measurement

But why make it hard on yourself! I suggest the two 1″ folds. 🙂

Regardless of what you choose to do and what width you prefer, measure that distance down from your first measured mark on both the inseam and outseam, and mark again. This will be your actual cut line.

4. Cut!

Using your rotary cutter or scissors, cut the measured/marked leg from the inseam to the outseam at the second marked points.

Fold the pants in half, aligning the waistline, crotch, and seams as closely as possible…

…then cut the extra length off the second side by cutting at the bottom of the portion you just removed.

Ta-da! Shorts!

5. Hem options

There are three hem options I’ll talk you through below.

One thing to keep in mind with the following two options: as you roll up your hem, you are rolling from a thinner spot on the pants/shorts leg to a wider one, which will result in a tiny bit of extra fabric that will bunch as you sew. I tend to push this extra fabric more towards the inseam so its not as noticeable.

Option #1

If you wanted the uncuffed/unhemmed look, leave your shorts as is. Wash them, play in them, explore with them, and let them fray!

If you choose this option, this is where I leave you (so sad!). Go forth and use your new shorts-making skill for good, and come back again for more blogs. 🙂

If you’re hemming, lets’s keep going!

Option #2

Roll the hem under, towards the wrong side of the fabric, as you would with sleeves, dress hems, etc.

You can double roll your desired hem width as we discussed above (for example, in my case I would roll under 1″ then another 1″) or you can measure and iron under 1/4″, then roll up another 1″. Whichever you choose!

So long as the raw edge is hidden so it doesn’t fray, it’s entirely up to you how you roll.

The image below depicts what this hem option will look like, prior to sewing.

Sew along the top edge of the hem as you would with any sleeve or dress hem.

Your shorts are complete! Aren’t they awesome?!

Option #3

The last options I’ll be discussing is rolling the hem outwards to create a cuff. I like this look the best, so this is the option I will be finishing these shorts with.

To get a general idea of what this option will look like, here it is prior to sewing.

As I mentioned before, I’ll be rolling my hem up twice, measuring 1″ each time.

If you choose 1/4″, this will be the width of your first roll.

In any case, roll up once and measure each seam and the front and back to make sure the roll is even.

Roll then measure again.

Press to ensure your hem stays in place.

I also prefer to pin my hem in place along the seams to help everything line up.

With this option, I suggest turning the shorts inside out and sewing from the inside.

Sew as close to the top edge as you’d like.

And voila!

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

Browse through the other amazing Peek-a-Boo Pattern blogs, and please share this tutorial so others can learn from us as well. 🙂

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