Simple Ruffle Shorts (With Pockets)!

Today I’m going to show you how to make some shorts!

I have one very tall 7-year-old girl. It can be so hard to find shorts that don’t look way too short on her, so I decided it was time to buckle down and make some.  I love everything about these shorts and I’m excited to share them with you today.

I wanted them to be a nice length, but still look somewhat “girly.”  I think the ruffles do that perfectly!

The shorts have pockets for collecting treasures and an elastic waistband. Since they are made of a lightweight fabric they are also nice and cool for summer weather.

Perhaps my favorite thing about these shorts though is how quickly they come together.  These are a quick sew, and they don’t require a lot of fabric either.  It’s really nice to have a pair of shorts that both my daughter and I can feel good about (and meets the school dress code!  Yay!) 



  • Fabric for your shorts (lots of possibilities here!  I used a lightweight cotton fabric.)   The actual amount of fabric needed will depend on your child’s size.  I was able to get by with about a half of a yard of my main fabric with some fabric scraps for the waistband.
  • 1 inch elastic.  I just measured my child’s waist with the elastic, cutting a piece that seemed to be appropriate for fitting her correctly and not being too tight once I added the seam allowance.
  • basic sewing supplies

To begin, let’s start by tracing the front and back of a pair of shorts that already fits your child well.  I adjusted an old pair of my daughter’s, changing the pattern a bit to fit her a little better and adding seam allowances.  Since we’re going to be adding a waistband, you can really just make your pattern up to the waistband, while adding just a little bit for the seam allowance to sew the short bottoms to the waistband.

You’ll notice that the front and back pieces are a little bit different.  That’s to give a little bit more room on the backside.   You’ll have two different pattern pieces: a front and back piece.  You’ll need to cut two pieces for each piece, 1 being a reverse.  If you cut out your pattern pieces from a piece of fabric folded in half you’ll automatically get one piece that is reverse. 

Now we are going to adjust the pattern a bit to make the pockets.  Cut off the corner of the side piece of the leg.

Now we’re going to cut two rectangles (per side) for the pockets.  One of the rectangles will be cut off at the corner the same way that the front piece was.  This is easy to do.  Just put the rectangle piece face down on the front piece, so that the right sides are together.  Cut along the angled corner, using your already cut front piece as a guide.

Now place the right sides of the pocket together as shown and sew along the dotted lines as indicated.

For the next step, let’s sew the pocket to the short front.  Place the pocket so that the right sides are together and line up along the angled pocket corner. Sew the pocket to the short front, being careful not to catch the backside of the pocket in your seam.

Turn right side out and top stitch along the pocket edge.  I did a double stitch to give it a more professional look.  Next repeat with the other front side of the shorts.

Place the short back on the short front so that the right sides are facing.  Make sure that you only have the pieces for one leg. Sew along the dotted line as indicated.

Now we’re going to hem the bottom of the shorts and add the ruffle.  At this point measure the bottom of your shorts piece.  Cut out a large rectangle that is about 1.5 times as long as this length and about 3 inches tall.


Use an iron to press about 1/3 of and inch of this large rectangular piece in (on both sides of the rectangle.)  Fold in half and press again.

Sew a gathering stitch and adjust the gathers so that it matches the bottom of the shorts.  At the same time press up the raw edges of the shorts front–I pressed under about 3/4 of an inch, but you should do whatever allowance you added when you created your pattern and cut out the pieces.

Next, pin the ruffles to the bottom side of the shorts and sew to attach them.

Repeat with the other leg.  Now you should have two legs with the ruffles attached.

Next, sew the inner leg seam as shown below.  Repeat with the other side of the shorts (the other leg).

Place one leg inside of the other, such that the right sides are facing each other.  Then sew the two legs together by sewing around the middle portion of the legs.


Next, we’re going to create a waistband.  Cut out a 4-inch wide rectangle that is about twice as long as the front of the shorts, plus a seam allowance.  Press under 3/8th of an inch and press in half.

Sew the two ends of the rectangle together to make one large band that should be the same length as the shorts themselves.

Insert the top of the shorts between the two sides of the waistband, pin and sew around the edges, leaving about 2 inches open to pull your elastic through.

I used a safety pin to pull my elastic through the waistband.

Sew up the remaining hole in your short waistband and your shorts are basically finished! I sewed on a little orange ribbon to the front by hand, but that’s optional.

Now go and make several more pairs!  That wasn’t too hard, right?

Happy sewing everyone!




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