Figgy's Blog

shorts on the line banyan tutorial July 11 2012, 0 Comments

  Sometimes when creating a tailored short with an attached waistband the waistband ends up being too long or too short so for the shorts on the line post I have decided to provide a couple tips and tricks to creating a tailored pair of shorts.  I chose to use our Banyan shorts pattern and a really sweet Lecien fabric called “Vintage Linen” by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio.   This is not a full tutorial but if you need a little help with the zipper please visit our zipper tutorial here or you can always email me.

 Let’s begin!

I’ve cut out some of the pieces I’ll need to create these shorts:  Front and Back Shorts, Zip Extension and Pocket.  You’ll notice I cut around the cutting line and not on the cutting line.  The reason for this is you don’t want to cut on the cutting line twice because you could alter the pattern size.  You’ll notice I didn’t cut out the waistband pieces yet (more on this later) or the cuffs either.  I’ve decided not to make this pair with the cuffs this time because I wanted to showcase the print on the fabric.



Because I wanted the print to show at the bottom of the shorts I had to go against the grainline :0.  There are certain patterns you can do this with and certain ones you can’t (that’s another post in itself).



Once I cut out the pattern piece I then cut out the markings for the pleats.  This will allow you to create more accurate pleats which makes all the difference in the fit and size of the shorts.  Alternatively you could pierce through the pattern at the points.


Transfer the markings onto the wrong side of the fabric and on both front pieces.



For the back pattern pieces you’ll want to do the same thing but first transfer the pocket markings onto the right side of the fabric.


To create the pleats you will align the top two yellow markings and pin or press flat.  The bottom point should run along the fold of the fabric.

When you sew the pleats be sure to sew along the folded edge and leave long tails to manually tie the threads in a knot.  Also, about 1/2" before the folded edge shorten the stitch length.


After you sew the pleat take a moment to measure the distance between the waist edge and the pleat bottom.  You can compare that with the pattern piece markings to make sure you sewed them correctly.  You’ll also want to use this measurement against the opposite shorts panel to make sure the pleats are the same length.


Place the pocket and stitch in place.  (Isn’t this fabric darling?)

When creating the front pleats you do not need to sew these to a point.  Simply sew down to the stopping line and backstitch.  Press all pleats to the center.


I went ahead and attached the pockets and the side seams.

Measure the back along the raw edge of the waist hem and then compare this measurement to the pattern piece (doesn’t quite look like it in the photo but the measurement was 11.5” (29.2cm)). If I have sewn the shorts perfectly the back pattern piece measurement + the seam allowance (total of 1”) will be 12.5” (31.8 cm).

The pattern piece measures 12.25” (31.1 cm).  It looks like I am ¼” off.  This could mean I was slightly off when I created my pleats, center or side seams or I was off a tiny tiny bit in all of those places.  Perhaps my needle was in the incorrect spot.   It happens to all of us.


How do I fix this?  Do I rip out my side seams?  Not in this situation.  I simply added ¼” to my waistband which is just 1/8” on both sides.  Now, if it is off by more than that I would have a look at your seam allowance and trouble shoot as to where you were thrown off a bit.

Repeat this exact process with the right and left waistbands.

At this point if you have read through the instructions (you should always do this) you’ll know that the waistband pieces for the right and left side should be at least ½” longer than the waist measurement.  So when you measure the pattern piece make sure you include the seam allowance and ½” overhang when comparing the two.

When aligning the raw edges of the waist hem and the waistband begin with the side seams and pin.  Pin the center back and then pin along the front panels.


You’ll want to make sure that the waistband side seam and the shorts side seam align.  Once attached press the seam allowances up.


  When sewing the inner waistband side seams be sure to leave a 1” opening for the elastic to slide into later.


Repeat the seam process by aligning the side seams, center back and then the front with the inner and outer waistbands.


Once the inner waistband is attached along the top you can make a chalk line to ensure you will make your sewing line to match the shorts edge.

Trim the corner at an angle and then trim the seam allowance.  Press the bottom of the inner waistband up ¼”.  Turn the inner waistband so wrong sides are facing.  Using a point turner gently push the corners to a point.


Lay the folded edge on top of the seam allowance and top stitch on the right side of the shorts.  I finished my shorts by finishing the raw edge of the bottom hems and turned them up ½” and finished with a nice topstitch.  I of course found an adorable vintage button for the final touch.

Ofelia (as usual) was the recipient of these darling shorts and I couldn’t get her to stay in one place long enough to get a good shot.  She’s really moving these days!

She was a very happy girl and even noticed the trim print on the fabric!

Be sure to visit Imagine Gnats, Small + Friendly and Designs by Sessa this month for shorts galore!

Happy Sewing!