How to Sew Boxer Style Shorts
Hey y’all – today I have a free pattern for you to sew pajama shorts, boxer-style. This post was originally published in 2014, but I’ve updated it to add video.
My favorite thing to sleep in for most of the year is a tank top and boxer shorts. Something about the front seams that are typically shifted forward and the easy fit of boxer shorts just makes them soooooo comfy.
BUT – my old boxer shorts had elastic that was shot. So it was time for some new sleepwear. I drafted up a pattern with the same measurements as my favorite pair, leaving off the fly opening (cause why do I need that?)
I like projects where I can use quilting cotton for something other than quilting, and this is a perfect project for that. Quilting cotton isn’t always suited for clothing, however, it’s perfect for these shorts. And after 5 years of washing and sleeping in the pair shown below, I can say that they just get softer over time and that is my FAVORITE!
Want to make your own? You’ll need:
- 1 yard of fabric – this is perfect for quilting cotton
- About 1 yard of 1″ wide elastic – you’ll need enough to go around where you want the shorts to sit, which will probably be around 1″ below your belly button
The free pattern is in a women’s size small, for hips up to 36″ and waist 28″. If you need to make it bigger or smaller, check this post. To get it, click your preferred option below (the free pattern is one-size and only for newsletter subscribers).
Or, you can buy the Barton Shorts pattern in my shop. It comes in sizes up to 55 inch hips with printable instructions for $11.95 so you don’t have to figure out how to re-size the pattern on your own. Keep in mind that the purchased pattern has a separate waistband piece, but it also includes instructions to attach that. Otherwise it’s very similar to the shorts I show in this post.
Please note that all my free patterns are licensed for personal use only (no selling items made from this unless you purchase it) and by downloading you are agreeing to this license.
To sew the shorts, follow the video instructions below, which you can also watch on YouTube here. Or scroll down for written instructions.
Cut out two front and 2 back pieces of the shorts, making sure to cut with the fabric folded so that they are mirror images.
Lay the two back pieces (left in the picture below) and the two front pieces (right in the picture below) right sides together, then sew along the crotch seams. Finish this seam. (Don’t know how to finish seams? Check this post).
Open the front and back pieces and lay them right sides together. You can see in the picture above how the front side is not as wide as the back. Match the side edges of the front and back to each other and stitch, then finish these seams. Your shorts will look like the picture below.
Spread the shorts so that you can match the inseams to each other as shown above. Pin and stitch as shown by the white line below. Make sure one seam allowance goes one way and the other goes the other way (arrows in the second picture below); this will be important when inserting the elastic later.
Fold the top edge of the shorts 1/4″ to the wrong side and press. Then fold down again, 1 1/8″ to the wrong side and press again to form a casing for the elastic.
If you want to add a tag to the back of the shorts, stitch it on now. Next, sew the casing close to the bottom folded edge, leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Measure the elastic so it fits about 1″ below your belly button without stretching. Using a safety pin, insert the elastic in the casing.
Overlap the two ends of the elastic and zig-zag stitch them together as shown above. Pull the elastic all the way into the casing and stitch the opening closed.
Finally, create a narrow hem as shown above by folding the bottom edge of each leg 1/4″ to the wrong side twice, pressing and stitching.
And you’re done – check out what the shorts look like below.
Now wear them for lounging on a lazy morning. Oh, and the tank top I’m wearing? You can find that one here.
Happy sewing! (Want to make the ivory tank top? Check this post.)