This is my first time using one of the most popular free patterns on the internet – the City Gym Shorts by Purl Soho. I modified the pattern a little bit to suit my personal taste.
What I like most about this pattern is its generous range of sizes.
You can make the City Gym Shorts for kids aged 2 to 11 years and 33″ to 46″ hip circumference for women. As I have three children of different ages, this is an offer I simply can’t refuse.
Here’s the link to the City Gym Shorts pattern & tutorial – Purl Soho.
However, I love simple things, so I modified this free pattern a little bit.
In a nutshell – I made my shorts longer, straightened the curved hem, eliminated the bias binding, created a paper bag waistband, and used another method to sew them.
Admittedly, these shorts look almost nothing like the City Gym Shorts. Pattern hacking brings more fun than you are supposed to have.
I hope you like my version. My daughter sure does.
Here is how I made these shorts, step by step.
Modified City Gym Shorts Tutorial
Step 1 – Alter your pattern
For these shorts, I cut out a size 4-5 years of the pattern.
First, can you see how I modified the bottom hem? I just used a ruler and drew straight lines. Then, I lengthened the front and the back pieces 1 1/4 inches each.
Step 2 – Cut your fabric pieces
After that, I cut my four pattern pieces. The two front pieces should be mirror images of each other – same with the two back pieces.
Step 3 – Sew the inner thigh and the side seams
Next, put one front and one back pattern piece right sides together and sew the inner thigh seam and the side seam.
Finish the raw edges with a serger or a zigzag stitch. Repeat for the other two front and back pattern pieces.
Step 4 – Sew the crotch seam
Now turn one of the leg parts right side out.
Insert one part into another and stitch down the crotch area.
Make sure to line up the inseams. Finish your seam.
Ta-da! These are already starting to look like shorts.
Step 5 – Add the waistband
All that you have to do now is attach the waistband and hem your cute shorts.
I cut a fabric piece approx. 25 inches long and 4 inches wide to make my waistband.
First, I stitched the short ends together to make a tube. Pin the waistband to the shorts, right sides together, and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Then turn the top edge under 1/2 inch and fold down the waistband piece to slightly extend beyond the waist seam. All the raw edges are now enclosed.
The waistband width should be about 1 3/8″ to accommodate the width of the elastic (1”) and some extra fabric at the top of the shorts for the paper bag waistband.
Now it’s time to stitch in the ditch – that means to sew right on the existing seam of the waistband. Remember to leave a 2” opening to insert the elastic.
Bias tape labels for your handmade clothes
At the same time, I stitched a label made from bias tape to the back of the waistband.
Using bias tape is a quick, inexpensive, and effective method to add labels to your handmade clothes. These labels do not fray or flip upwards (tried and true, see this tank top tutorial).
If you use contrasting bias tape labels you’ll be able to identify the back of the clothes in no time. Besides, it adds a really nice touch to your DIY project.
Next, sew 3/8″ from the top edge of the waistband, all the way around the shorts.
Use a safety pin or that purple thang to insert the elastic into the casing. Make sure there are no twists in the elastic before you overlap the ends by approx. 1/2″, then stitch them together. Now it’s time to close the gap in the waistband – stitch in the ditch on the right side of the fabric.
Step 6 – Hem your shorts
I serged the raw edges, then made a small turned hem.
And done! Check out these awesome DIY shorts!
Did you find this Modified City Gym Shorts Tutorial helpful? I’d like to hear what you think of it! And I would LOVE to see pictures if you give this version a try.