How to Sew High-Waisted, Wide-Leg Shorts for Summer & Beyond

16 Materials
4 Hours

Have you seen these wide shorts all over Pinterest and Instagram? High-waisted flare shorts are the hottest look for summer. Today I’m going to show you how to make these cute denim shorts so you can wear the most stylish look for warm weather.

These high-waisted shorts feature beautifully topstitched, angled front patch pockets along with that lovely wide silhouette that is so in now. Let’s get started sewing flare shorts for warm weather.

Tools and materials:

  • Pattern for high-waisted shorts
  • 1½ yards fabric (I used lightweight indigo denim)
  • Elastic (wide)
  • Fusible interfacing 
  • Matching or contrasting thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Serger (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Clapper
  • Pattern weights
  • Safety pin

For the best results, prewash the fabric with color-catching sheets so it won’t bleed later.

Placing the pattern on the fabric

1. Make the pattern

Download and print the pattern. Lay the pattern on the fabric with weights and cut the fabric. Transfer the marks to the fabric so it’s easier to sew.

Different sizes for the wide shorts

For a wider look go up a size and for a narrower look, size down.

Making pockets for the shorts

2. Make the pockets

Apply fusible interfacing to the top edge of the pocket. Press with a pressing cloth so the interfacing doesn’t stick to your iron. Apply to both pockets.

Folding in the edges to press

Fold in ¼ inch to the wrong side. Press and cool. Fold again ¾ of an inch, following the marks on the sides of the pockets. Press and cool. Pin the fabric in place so it doesn’t move when you sew. Trim the edge of the fabric if needed.

Adding pockets to the wide shorts

Repeat for the second pocket.

Sewing the pockets

Topstitch the pocket just before the edge. Press. Staystitch the pocket ¼ inch from the edge. Fold in the seam allowance on the bottom of the pocket to the wrong side and press.

Using double-sided fusible web tape on the pockets

Use double-sided fusible web tape if you have it to hold the fabric down.

Folding in the sharp corners

Fold in the sharp corners. Press to flatten. Cool. 

Attaching the pockets to the shorts

3. Attach the pockets

Transfer the marks for the pocket placement on both sides of the front pieces. Place the pockets between the marks. Pin in place.

How to sew pockets

Topstitch the pockets to the shorts as close as possible to the edge. Place another stitch close to the other stitch along the side. Secure the pocket at the side seam. Sew the second pocket. Make sure they are symmetrical.

Sewing side seams for the shorts

4. Sew the side seams

Place the front and back pieces right sides together. If you have a serger, serge the side seams. If you don’t, use a flat felled seam. The side seam allowance is ½ inch from the edge.

Trimming the seam allowance

Trim the seam allowance on the back piece, leaving about ⅛ of an inch. Take out the temporary stitch that held the pocket in place and press the side seam to the back.

How to make wide-leg shorts

From the right side of the shorts, fold the bigger seam allowance over the trimmed side.

Pinning the shorts, ready to sew

Pin in place. Press flat. Topstitch close to the folded edge.

Sewing the inseams

Your seam should be parallel to the previous seam. Press the side seams. Use the same technique for the inseams. Watch from 5:55 to 6:25 for the inseam.

Sewing the crotch

5. Sew the crotch

Turn one of the legs inside out and place it inside of the other leg. Pin at the crotch seam, aligning the marks at the inseam. Start sewing at the first mark at the top edge of the back side. Sew the crotch seam ½ inch from the front side of the shorts.

Sewing the shorts

Clip the fabric ¼ inch from the mark and make a 1-inch space. Sew the rest of the seam, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Flat felled seam

Topstitch around that opening. Trim the seam allowances around it. Continue sewing using a flat felled seam. Trim the seam allowance at the inseam to make it less bulky.

Pinning around the curve

Pinning is more difficult around a curve so take it slow or sew a basting stitch to help. Tuck in the corner of the seam allowance and then sew a parallel seam. Watch from 6:28 to 8:20 for more detailed instruction.

Clipping the corner of the seam allowance

6. Sew the waistband

At the waistline, clip the corner of the seam allowance.

Pressing the top edge

Fold in ¼ inch around the top edge. Press flat.

Measuring where the waistband goes

Measure 4 inches (10 cm) from the folded edge. Fold in to the marked line.

Topstitching the waistband

Pin along the side seams, center front and back, and in between. Press the pinned area flat. Topstitch the inner edge of the waistband.

Making the elastic waistband

Use an elastic that is a bit smaller than the casing.

Inserting elastic into the waistband

Insert the elastic, using a safety pin through the 1-inch space. Join the elastic together.

Distributing the gathers

Distribute the gathers evenly, making sure it’s not twisted. Sew the elastics together.

Securing the elastic to the side seams

Secure the elastic to the side seams.

Pressing the shorts' hem

7. Sew the hem

Fold in ¼ inch at the bottom. Press.

Folding in to the marked line

Mark 4 inches (10 cm) from the folded edge. Fold in to the marked line.

Hemming the shorts

Pin. Press. Make sure both legs are the same length. Topstitch the hem. Press the waistband to flatten. Give your shorts an overall press.

DIY wide shorts

How to sew wide shorts 

How pretty are these shorts?

How to sew wide shorts

Please let me know in the comments if you made them. I love hearing from you.

Suggested materials:
  • Pattern for high-waisted shorts
  • 1½ yards fabric (I used lightweight indigo denim)
  • Elastic (wide)
See all materials

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