Elastic Waist Linen Shorts – Almost A One Hour Project

elastic waist linen shortsThis elastic waist linen shorts project is something that has been requested by quite a few of you by email.  I appreciate the kind request.  Sometimes I forget that the majority of the readers of this blog are beginners.  So sometimes I need to dial back my impulses and to simplify the projects.  However, that does not mean that we are going to be making an ugly pair of shorts, nor will I be promising that you can make it in two stitches, and just by magic you'll have a pair of elastic waist summer shorts like so many videos on YouTube promise.

elastic waist linen shorts

These shorts are designed to be worn over your swimming suit, to hang around the pool and garden, or relax on the terrace.  Be sure to make them in linen or good quality, loose weave cotton so they can drape on your hips and be worn through the summer comfortably.

elastic waist linen shorts

Please have a look at my fabric suggestions, they are the four pictures that look like advertising, you do not need to buy from that site although it helps me with the affiliate program to keep going at giving you free patterns.  At least please read the type of fabric and the description so you know what I am talking about.  This part is often forgotten, yet it is crucial to use the right fabric to be successful in the project.

elastic waist linen shorts

These elastic waist linen shorts have a type of slanted patch pockets.  Yes I know, I had to go and add a little challenge for you.  How else can we make it more interesting?  The pockets are optional of course and can be subbed out for any of your choosing.

elastic waist linen shorts


  • 3/4 to 1 yard of 56″ linen (see fabric suggestions below)
  • Thread to match
  • A small strip of fusible interfacing for the pocket facing
  • 1 1/2″ elastic, enough to go around the waist of the shorts
  • 3/8″ cotton cord, the amount depends on our waist plus 16″
  • Two large beads with a 3/8″ hole


  • Sewing machine or hand needle
  • Scissors
  • Pins

Sewing Level:  Advanced Beginner

You should have knowledge of grain line, seam allowance, how to sew a straight stitch, and some knowledge of fitting to your own body shape.

Fitting your shorts: the most important detail is that the waist stretches as far as the widest part of your hips and the elastic rests comfortably around 1″ above your belly bottom.

Do you need to make the shorts larger?  Then check out the first part of the Walking Shorts sew along where I go into detail on how to do it.

Walking Shorts Pattern & Sew-Along – Part One

Fabric Suggestions From Fabric.com

How To Print Your Elastic Waist Linen Shorts Pattern

Use Adobe Reader to download and print the pattern.  Print on Landscape and use the Actual Size setting.  Do not scale at all.

How To Download Your PDF Pattern

We're going to continue to use the new PayHip Webstore to distribute our patterns. As most readers know, Craftsy (Bluprint now) is closing and they have stopped designers like us from publishing new patterns on their site, so we've had to move to another service.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way. Maybe you don't know it takes an average of 26 hours of work to make a post and that does not include a video.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out. You can use any credit card and you don't need to have a PayPal account, although you can certainly use one if you have one.

Pattern Download

Download HERE

Pattern Layout

elastic waist linen shorts

Body Measurements

Size Waist Hips Length
S 27-29″ 33-35″ 15 1/4″
M 29-31″ 35-37″ 15 3/8″
L 31-33″ 37-39″ 15 1/2″
XL 33-35″ 39-41″ 15 5/8″

How To Sew Your Elastic Waist Shorts

The seam allowances are not included in this elastic waist shorts pattern, so please add an amount according to your level of skill, beginners 5/8″ and everyone else 3/8″.

Sewing The Pockets

Iron a piece of fusible interfacing on the facing of the pockets.  If you do not have fusible interfacing you can use a piece of thin cotton fabric.  We are trying to stop the pockets from gaping since the opening is on a bias.

elastic waist linen shortselastic waist linen shorts

Fold the facing and stitch the facing down using a double stitch.

elastic waist linen shorts

Follow the steps in the photo below.  The amount of fold will depend on your seam allowance. elastic waist linen shorts

  1. Fold the corner
  2. Fold the bottom of the pocket
  3. Fold the side
  4. Align the side of the pocket with the side of the front of the pants and stitch the pocket down very close to the edge.

elastic waist linen shorts

elastic waist linen shorts

elastic waist linen shorts

elastic waist linen shorts

Topstitch again 1/4″ from the first stitch line.  Repeat on the other side.

elastic waist linen shorts

Joining The Fronts Together

Place front sides together and sew just a little past the curve.

elastic waist linen shorts

Joining The Backs Together

Sew the two backs together ending a little past the curve.

elastic waist linen shorts

Serge all the seams including the hem and iron open the inseams.

Sewing The Front And Backs Together

Here is where I change the print of the fabric.  If you have been following me on Instagram you would have seen some carving on linoleum to make prints for sharing with you guys.

Place front and back print side together, then sew the sides together using the seam allowance you have chosen.

Sew the inseam on each leg.

elastic waist linen shorts

Sew the rest of the crotch closed, making sure to keep the seam allowances of the legs open.

elastic waist linen shorts

Making The Waistband And The Hem

Measure the waistband on your shorts.

elastic waist linen shorts

Take the measurement of the waist of the shorts X 4″.  Iron the strip lengthwise.  Sew the strip to form a band.  You need to divide the band in four, front back and sides.

elastic waist linen shorts

Pin the waistband placing the seam on the back.  Sew the waistband from the outside to the inside.   Sew the band from the outside to the inside.

elastic waist linen shorts

Attach a small amount of fusible interfacing on the front of the band and either insert some grommets or make two buttonholes to be able to add a cord to your elastic waist linen shorts.  Make a band with the elastic.  The amount of elastic depends on your waist, but make sure that the elastic is large enough to go over your hips.

Insert the elastic through the pants.  Please watch the video on How To Make Short Pajamas from minute 10:40 to 13:00.  Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P_idySKaiY

Pin the band to the edge you have already sewn.

elastic waist linen shorts

Start sewing the band at the back of the shorts.  Put the needle down and pull the waistband front and back.  Be careful not to catch the elastic.

elastic waist linen shortselastic waist linen shorts

Finally, fold the hem up 1″ and sew.  Insert the cord and iron your shorts!

I hope that you can make good use of these elastic waist linen shorts since so many of you guys have been asking for a pattern like this one.  The perfect top to go with them is the linen V-top which is also a free pattern.

Thanks for reading, And Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!

Need a pair of dressy shorts? Something more elegant to get back to school perhaps? Try the ones below.  Or maybe you want some walking shorts, these ones are a three-part sew-along starting by altering the pattern to fit your body.

Women's Dressy Shorts Pattern – Great For All Ages And Seasons

recycling old placemats


elastic waist linen shorts

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25 Responses to Elastic Waist Linen Shorts – Almost A One Hour Project

  1. Melissa says:

    Hi, Mayra. Is the waistband cut as one long rectangular piece, joined at the center back seam of the shorts? Also, is the seam allowance for attaching the waistband to the shorts 3/8″ or 5/8″?
    Thanks for your help! I have just retired and am getting back into sewing after 25 years! Wish me luck!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Melissa, welcome back to the wonderful world of sewing! yes, the waistband is one long rectangle. The pattern does not include the seam allowance so please add it to your taste.

  2. Jo says:

    I can’t make it fit me 🙁 the biggest size is too small and I tried to add 4 inch to it, to have a bit of wiggle room, but now the legs are too wide while the crotch area is still too tight. Anything I can do to fix that?

    • Jo says:

      Oh dear.. whoever needs to read this: the sizing up worked, but I sewed the crotch all wrong, robbing me a full hand width of crotch seam. Feel pretty stupid now!

  3. Ky wills says:

    Hi, I am excited to print and try the shorts!! Thank you.i do sewing part time but I don’t attempt pants , but I will really give it a shot.But one question can u share with me how to use the stamps to make tags/ labels for my sewing work.I dont have access to those other fancy materials but i have access to limited fabric where i am living .thank you

  4. kikicasino@comcast.net says:

    Do you happen to have video instructions on this pattern? I do not understand how to sew the inseam and crotch. Thank you!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I am editing, please wait for me, it is easier than explain. I will be telling on the video the reason I prefer this way of sewing the crotch. But you can always sew the crotch like the mass production factories do. Join the two sides of the front, then join the two sides of the back then sew the legs from one leg to the other. There is another way, but it is so hard to explain without photos. Thank you just gave me an idea for a post.

  5. Edita says:

    I am a true beginner. This would be my 3rd project and I totally messed it up, unfortunately. BUT I will be attempting it again. Turned out too small for me. I think I assembled the pattern wrong. I did not follow 1 inch squares guideline.
    I will try and add some extra fabric as fit seems tight (even if I did not mess up). Wish me luck!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Edita, first of all congratulations on having such a positive attitude, don’t loose it since it is the number one ingredient to be successful in the art of sewing. We do learn from our mistakes. There is a saying in sewing ” measure twice, cut once”. Please read the instructions before attempting any of the projects in this blog. Many time I do not add seam allowance to the patterns sometimes I do, but it depends on block I used to make the pattern. The 1″ square is to tape the pattern correctly but the 2″ X 2″ square Test is so you know you have the right scale of the pattern. If not this will change the entire pattern. Measure your hips then measure the pattern at the waist and see what size you need, you just need enough to get the shorts thought the widest part of your hips. Since it is an elastic waist the difference will be taken cared by the elastic and the cord. Hope this helps if you have any questions, drop them here as a comment, I do check them everyday. Kind Regards,

  6. Heather Fraser says:

    I love this pattern, it’s just what I was looking for. I notice that the sizing is smaller than some of your other patterns, for example the waist measurement on the XL of this pattern is the same as the M on the walking shorts pattern referred to above. The good news is that it’s an easy alteration, just compare your measurements to the chart above, divide the difference by 4, and add or subtract that amount at the straight side seam on both front and back. I added 2 inches on each side for a nice comfy fit.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Heather, the walking shorts pattern was design exclusively of a wide bum girl. I used a different block for it. This shorts are very easy to alter up or down. I can see you know ypur body and exactly what to do. Would be great if you could share a photo on Instagram so I can see your shorts.

  7. Akina says:

    Looks like a fun make. Hopefully I will try to make this before the summer is over. Thanks for sharing.

  8. sarah battyll says:

    Thank you for the pattern, I made it into culotte style knee length shorts and then made a linen V top which I ended up hacking til it almost is unrecognisable- 10 hours of happy sewing – thank you x

  9. Kathleen Herman says:

    i do not understand how to make the waist band. I have read about the waistband you have and still do not grasp it. I have never seen a pattern without the waist band. Please help.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      It is a strip of fabric rectangular shape, you need to measure the waistband of your shorts then cut the strip on that length plus the seam allowance, the width of the band is 4″. Do not take this project if you don’t what the video I linked to, or if you do not understand the instructions. Please wait for the video.

  10. Cindy Reeves says:

    Hi Mayra!
    You do such a beautifully thorough and thoughtful job in with your patterns and suggestions. I have my college daughter with me these days and we have been looking for a simple, cool, and comfy short pattern. You nailed it – the linen is on its way from Fabric.com too. Many thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Cindy! Glad to help out, and very happy you enjoy my work. Would love it if you or your daughter takes a picture and posts on Instagram and tag me so I can see the final result. Cheers!

  11. Liane Fleury says:

    The shorts are so pretty but where did you find that print? It’s beautiful and I know my daughter would love it. I went on fabric.com but they didn’t have any prints other than a few plaids. I would love to make a pair for her either in that print or something similar. Thank you for all the patterns you post. Your instructions are excellent also. Thanks a bunch

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi, Liane, I made the print, (it will be available on my Ko.Fi account) I will be using the print for a few more projects a summer dress and autumn version of the dress, a tote bag and a pair of sandals. Hope you visit the page and join in the fun. Cheers!

  12. cjancola says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been hoping for this pattern. I cannot find your links to fabrics however.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      It is under the heading Fabric suggestions from fabric.com, they are 4 pictures that look like advertising but they are not.

  13. BexGrnThum says:

    Those are adorable. Where can I find that fabric please?

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      So happy you noticed, I made the print, keep tuned I will share the method on this blog and on Ko. Fi next week.

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