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Modified City Gym Shorts by Purl Soho

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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.

Modified City Gym Shorts

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.

Modified City Gym Shorts

Related: Free T-shirt sewing pattern for boys and girls (review) / StyleArc Bobby Kids Woven Pant pattern review

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.

DIY kids shorts tutorial

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. 

alter sewing pattern

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.

cut pattern 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.

sew the inner thigh and the side seams

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. 

Sew the crotch seam

Make sure to line up the inseams. Finish your seam.

line up the inseams

Ta-da! These are already starting to look like shorts.

kids shorts tutorial (free pattern)

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. 

attach the waistband to shorts

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.

bias tape label

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.

DIY sewing kids shorts

Step 6 – Hem your shorts

I serged the raw edges, then made a small turned hem.

finished DIY Modified City Gym Shorts

And done! Check out these awesome DIY shorts!

Modified City Gym Shorts
Modified City Gym Shorts tutorial

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.

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