Free kids elasticated waist shorts pattern

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Who doesn’t love a free pattern? Join the Bobbins & Buttons newsletter to get this free kids elasticated waist shorts pattern. The elasticated waist shorts pattern has sizes from 1 year to 10 years with two length options.

All about this easy kids shorts sewing pattern

Last year I drafted this elasticated waist short pattern as a first sewing project for my little boy. It ended up being a very well used pattern over the summer. I made quite a few pairs before our summer holiday last year.

This is a super quick pattern to make, I roll these out in less than half an hour. It’s a perfectly practical pattern to make. I have used up left over pieces from cotton tops and dresses to make these for my kids.

It is also an ideal pattern for this glorious summer. Especially for the school summer holidays, it is totally possible to have a clean pair of these everyday! ( if your kids are anything like mine, this is very necessary!).

As well as all that it is also a great project for kids to make for themselves. With this list of plus points I thought you might also like to have a copy of the pattern. So if you have kids or grand kids or need a speedy practical gift for a little one my gift to you today is this pattern free to download.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

Fill in the form to download the free pattern

What you’ll need for the elasticated waist shorts project


25mm elastic – See size chart and instructions for quantity.

Fabric – Quilters weight cotton, woven cotton and cotton blends, lawn, broadcloth, lightweight denim, stable knits such as interlock, sweatshirt fabric and French Terry.

The girls version in the photos were made in craft weight cotton. The boys version were made from chambray.

Fabric requirements:

See details on download.


See details on download.

Cutting out:

Cut 1 pair of fronts.

Cut 1 pair of backs.

How to make

Laying your fabric

If your fabric is 1.50m wide all the sizes will fit with the front and back side by side when the fabric is folded with selvedges together. For fabric 1.12m wide the smaller sizes will also fit side by side.

For larger sizes you will need to drop one piece slightly below the other to fit in the width. The fabric requirement chart shows how much fabric you will need for each size. These measurements account for a little bit of possible shrinkage. Don’t forget to wash, dry and iron your fabric before you begin.

If you have a one way print or are matching stripes or checks you might need to allow a little bit extra fabric for this.

The seam allowance for this pattern is 1.5cm

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons
  1. With right sides together pin and stitch the fronts together at the front rise seam. Neaten raw edges. If you have an overlocker this is ideal, if not a zig zag or overcast stitch works fine for neatening edges. Do the same on the back at the back rise seam.
Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

2. With right sides together pin the side seams together. Stitch. Neaten raw edges.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

3. With right sides together and front and back rise seams matched, pin the inside leg seam together. Stitch and neaten raw edges.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

Prepare the channel for the elastic.

4. Turn and press a narrow turning approximately 1cm/3/8″ at the edge of the shorts waist. Turn this down again this time measuring 3.5cm/1.3″ press as you go.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

5. Pin the channel ready to sew. This channel depth for these elasticated waist shorts is designed for 2.5cm/1″ elastic. There should be around 0.5cm/1/8″ room for the elastic to move in the channel and the same depth allowed for you to stitch the channel down.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

6. Stitch around the channel close to the inner folded edge. Leave a small gap approx 3cm/ 1.1″ to insert the elastic in. I try to leave the gap at the back. Try to avoid leaving the gap over a seam as it will be bulky and more likely to be messy and tricky to finish.

Find the elastic size:

Cut a piece of elastic to finish the waist. The size chart gives waist sizes based on the standard I use to develop my patterns. If you are working from this you will probably want to reduce the elastic measurement by 4-8cm/1.5-3″ depending on how stretchy your elastic is and how snuggly you child wants them to fit. Children’s size do vary massively and you are probably aware if the child you are making for is small or large for their age. Therefore the better way is to wrap the elastic around the child’s waist and pull to a comfortable fit. Allow around 2-3cm/1-1.1″ extra for joining.

Pin a safety pin into one end of the elastic and push into the channel opening. Push the elastic around the channel until it comes out of the other side of the channel.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

7. Ensure the elastic is not twisted in the channel lay one end flatly on top of the other.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

8. Stitch the elastic together, it is not to important about this being neat as it will be inside the waist channel, you just need to check the elastic is level and not forming an angle. Also check that it is strongly stitched together.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

9. Let the elastic slide inside the waist channel.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

10. Push the elastic away from the opening and stitch the gap closed joining the stitching you did for the waist channel. Reinforce with backwards stitching at the start and finish of this small line of stitching.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

11. To finish the hem on your elasticated waist shorts, turn a double narrow hem. Turn the first turning approx 1cm/3/8″ followed by a 1.5cm/5/8″. Stitch close to the inner folded edge to complete.

Free elasticated shorts pattern. Bobbins and Buttons

I hope you and your recipients enjoy this free elasticated waist shorts pattern. Have fun sewing them, if you feel like sharing on social media please use #releaseyourhandmade so I can find you.

Ready to download the free kids elasticated waist shorts pattern?

Fill in the form sign up to the Bobbins & Buttons email list and get the free kids shorts pattern download link.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...


  1. Linda Tan on February 21, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I’d love to make these shorts but can’t seem to find the pattern for download?

    • Julia Claridge on February 21, 2019 at 12:43 pm

      Hi if you click the link below where it says pattern the download pattern will pop up. Let me know if you need any more help.

  2. Ali on April 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Looking forward to trying this pattern, but I’m struggling to find the download button.

    • Julia Claridge on April 9, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Ali, sorry you’ve not managed to find the link. I have added a note now just above the link now to make it a little clearer. Its beneath the title pattern. Let me know if you have any problems.

      • Hayley Upton on February 25, 2021 at 11:55 am

        I can’t find it

        • Julia Claridge on February 25, 2021 at 1:20 pm

          Oh dear, I am wondering if there is an issue with a particular browser or operating system. I have just checked and tried it on both phone and pc and it worked on both. It says printable unisex shorts.

  3. Heather McClure on February 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    I’m struggling to find where it says size of elastic for the shorts? Can anyone help?

    • Julia Claridge on February 16, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Heather, there is a size chart of body measurements on the downloadable pattern, this shows the measurements that each size is designed to fit. Stage 6 has the info on the size, if you can accurately measure the child you are making for this is best but if not go for the general waist measurement on the size chart. Hope this helps, let me know if you need any more info. Julia

  4. Gem on April 29, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Hi, Im struggling to trace the correct size of this pattern. Im looking at t he 3 year old size and on the front it has two waist lines at the top, on the back it only has one top line. I am new to sewing so sorry if this is an obvious question.

    • Julia Claridge on April 29, 2020 at 10:12 am

      Hi, go for the outer line and don’t worry to much about the inner one, that one is the fold line but you could do that by measuring in when you are making the shorts. I think that will make more sense when you get to the waist instructions.

  5. Helle on July 1, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I’ve cut out the front and back for a four year old. But the back looks way way way bigger. I know it should seem a little bigger but this is crazy. I’ve double-checked and I appear to have cut the correct line. Would you mind taking a look at the pattern to see if there’s an error? I’m almost certain the error must be mine, but like I say, I do seem to have cut across the correct lines.

  6. Helle on July 1, 2020 at 11:30 am

    It was my fault, haha. Figured it out now.

    • Julia Claridge on July 1, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      Hi pleased you worked it 🙂 Hope you have a happy 4 yr old 🙂

  7. ROBYN on July 7, 2020 at 3:06 am

    So lovely! Just laugh when I try it for my girls. thanks you for sharing!

  8. Diya on July 13, 2020 at 4:05 am

    That’s so amazing information. Thanks for sharing, My kids really love it

  9. Maxine on August 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Hi- I’m a beginner and seem to
    Have the same problem you had. What had you done wrong please? Help!!

  10. Charlotte Turl on August 15, 2020 at 10:15 am

    I have done the same too 🙁 much longer back piece cut out and haven’t managed to work it out. Help please as unable to move on at present.

    • Julia Claridge on August 15, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Hi Charlotte, the back rise is much longer that the front to cater for the bottom. So that bit is right. I posted a sewalong on my youtube channel that might help. But please give me a shout if something doesn’t make sense.

  11. Charlotte Turl on August 15, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Julia
    I have watched the video and to be honest it’s no clearer.

    To put it into perspective I have chequered material. I have carefully matched it when cutting out and matched and pinned seams.

    I have completed the first stage of sewing front and back rise seams together. When I go to next stage to sew the sides together between front and back pieces theres a two inches different. I ve checked quite a few times now that I have cut sizes out correctly. Just a bit stuck really.

    • Julia Claridge on August 18, 2020 at 10:02 pm

      Hi Charlotte, can you email me and send pictures I am not sure what has happened, can only think you might have cut a different length on front and back it should still be resolvable. You can email me at

      • Elaine on July 16, 2021 at 3:12 pm

        I seem to have done the same. I’ve checked the pattern and Can’t see where I’ve gone wrong?

        • Julia Claridge on July 19, 2021 at 5:13 pm

          which part has gone wrong? If you want to send an email with some pics I’m happy to help.

          • Lisa on September 18, 2021 at 11:39 am

            I did this pattern today and it did my head in. one piece had at least an extra 2 inches on both sides and the top? made my mum, dad and husband try work it out and none of us could.. once i sewed crotch seem part i ended up cutting the excess material off and sewed it that way. but i dont want to be wasting that much material everytime.

          • Julia Claridge on September 20, 2021 at 12:06 pm

            Hi Lisa, I am sorry to hear you have struggled with the pattern. Please feel free to drop me an email if anything is unclear. The front and back leg sizes are different, the back leg is always wider as this caters for the bottom and bending. The back rise is also always longer for the same reason. I appreciate it does look a bit strange as a pattern piece but once sewn together it will work out.

  12. Steph K on August 27, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    So cute

  13. Marina Cassels on February 16, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Where is the pattern download??

    • Julia Claridge on February 17, 2021 at 10:43 am

      The link is in the text of the post. If you click on it you will be able to download the pattern.

  14. Charlotte on March 31, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I have cut pattern for 3 year old and sewn both sides Together (first step)

    I am now going to open them up and face right sides together to sew long the other edges but the back is about 2 inches wider than the front. I have definitely cut the right lines. Am I missing something?

    • Julia Claridge on April 1, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      Hi, yes the back leg is wider in the shorts, its to cater for the bottom and bending 🙂 It will work out so keep going you are doing well!

  15. Maureen Ridley on April 15, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Is the free pattern still available. I have a team of ladies on hand to make shorts for the St Vincent Disaster where the Royal Naval Association are giving aid.

    • Julia Claridge on April 15, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Yes Maureen, the link for the download is at the beginning of the text in the post. It is always available. Great to know it is being used for a good cause too 🙂

  16. Debbie Horton on May 18, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Trying to download too

    • Julia Claridge on May 19, 2021 at 11:23 am

      I have checked it and updated the listing with heavier larger font for where to click. Hopefully this makes it a bit clearer.

  17. Dayne Conn on September 27, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    It’s a little bit hard to download but thank you so much for sharing!

  18. selina on October 29, 2021 at 1:37 am

    i cant download this pattern there is no link under the pattern title it only says click on the link to take you to the pattern but there is no link.. have tried internet explore, chrome and microsoft edge.. but its still not there

    • Julia Claridge on October 29, 2021 at 12:10 pm

      I have removed the wording ‘click the link’, perhaps that is confusing. Under the header ‘pattern’ is the link, please let me know if this doesn’t work. I have tested it and it is working for me.

  19. Sally on November 3, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I would love to make these shorts for my grandson, but I can’t see how to download this. I don’t see a header “pattern” and have moved my mouse over everything in the text and coloured part at the top and it doesn’t turn into a hyperlink arrow anywhere. I can’t even see a click on the link. Only in the menu at the top, where it says patterns, then you can choose either printable or pdf, but none of those leads to the free shorts pattern.

    • Julia Claridge on November 4, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Hi Sally, I think because the text was the same colour it doesn’t look like a link, we have changed the link colour to black and added extra links. The patterns in the pattern tab are pattern for sale they don’t include the free ones. I hope this helps.

  20. Kenny on December 8, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Really lovely!

  21. Sheila Mosley on January 24, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    I have used this pattern over and over for my twin grandchildren, but lengthened the legs to make trousers elasticated at the bottom and used cotton fabric. They are so comfortable, thank you so much

    • Julia Claridge on January 24, 2022 at 12:27 pm

      That’s lovely to hear Shelia, great idea to lengthen them too.

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