We will have finished shorts by the end of today's sewing progress!
Let's create the waistband.
Begin by preparing your drawstring buttonholes. Make sure the small rectangle of interfacing has been applied over the button hole markings. This stabilizes the knit or woven material to make the button holes easier to sew.
Apply the buttonholes and cut them open.
Place the front and back waistband pieces right sides together. Sew the side seams using a 5/8" seam allowance.
Fold the waistband in half along the fold line so raw edges are matching. The fold is now the top of the waistband. Press.
Next we will add the elastic and drawstring casing. We do this with topstitching. If you are using a woven material for your waistband, keep your stitch length as is. Our sew-along sample is sewn using linen for the main shorts and a matching rib knit for the waistband (so comfy!). To ensure the stretchy ribbing doesn't cause the casing topstitching to snap it's a good idea to use a fairly long stitch length or even a stretch stitch if your machine has this option. A zig zag is also a possibility but keep in mind that it will be very visible on the finished garment.
As you can see below, Adrianna chose a long stitch length with a very narrow zig zag:
Sew the topstitching along the drawstring casing markings. Start near one of the side seams. When sewing the bottom row, leave a 2" opening so you can insert the elastic later. If your elastic is wider than recommended you will need to use your elastic to determine new topstitching lines. The topstitching should create a channel that is equal to or slightly wider than the elastic width:
Cut your elastic to the recommended lenght (your waist measurement minus 3") or circle the elastic around the wearer's waist (where they intend the shorts waistband to sit) and ensure the elastic is comfortably snug (remember it needs to hold up the weight of the shorts). Add 1" to this measurement and cut to length.
Insert the elastic using a safety pin to pull it through the channel.
Overlap the elastic ends 1/2" and stitch securely. Distribute the waistband material evenly along the elastic. Stitch the 2" opening closed.
Insert the drawstring in the same manner (but through the buttonholes instead).
Add the waistband to the shorts by placing them right sides together and the raw edge of the waistband aligned with the raw top edge of the shorts. Pin thoroughly at center front, center back, the side seams and then to ensure even distribution between these points. Keep the drawstring pulled away from the waistband seam.
Stitch carefully to avoid creating tucks in the shorts or waistband material. Flip the finished waistband up and press the seam allowance towards the shorts.
Depending on fabric choice, the seam allowance can cause a considerable amount of bulk. To reduce this bulk, finish the seam allowance and then edgestitch it in place from the right side of the shorts.
Add knots, beads, aglets or even a toggle to your drawstring and your shorts are just about complete! We've only the hem left to sew.
To create the hem, press the raw edge under 1/2".
Press the hem under again at 1". Pin.
Edge stitch and optionally topstitch to complete the hem.
Give your shorts a final press if needed and try them on! Time to head to the beach!
June 05, 2024 — Morgan and Matthew Meredith