Bethany shorts

Are you a toddler? Do you chase a toddler, or more than one? These may be your perfect summer shorts. All the vibes of gym shorts we wore in the 70’s meet today’s modern fabrics!

Bethany comes in a bundle with both kids and adults sizes.
The orange is a 14 oz cotton lycra with matching trim. Don’t let the trim scare you, it is easy. Rather like bias tape, but knit. An open toe embroidery foot and moving the needle right or left can make a difference! This was paired with the Jenny top. Love how the bands can bounce off each other and make an outfit sing. If you look closely, you can see that I folded under the binding on both the inside and outside. I cut the binding on this pair 1.5 inches wide. Serged the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the shorts and wrapped it around, folded under and top stitched from the front of the garment. This is different than the pattern instructions, and makes for a bulkier binding. Best to use a thinner fabric for this construction method.
This is a rayon spandex stripe on a nylon spandex short. I used the pattern’s method to make this binding. Love how it looks and how sleek it is. Bernina feet have this version and a wider version. Other machines may call it an open toed embroidery foot.

What about swim shorts? These are the same nylon lycra as above with one inch wide Fold Over Elastic to match a Key West swim top. At this point in my life, I am happy for a bit more coverage. Love the built in shelf bra of the Key West. There is an optional liner included with the pattern! Instant swim bottoms, with different length options give you so many choices.


Try a cotton lycra with one inch FOE! Bar tack not included in the pattern. I think I remember seeing them on the 70’s versions. I veered from the pattern and zig zagged the elastic to the back side of the shorts, then wrapped round to the front.

A lightweight wicking fabric for under summer dress kind of shorts.

They are perfect for driving to the store. While your family builds you a playset.
I made the polka dot pair at my daughters house on her machines and fabrics while the family was building this play structure. They are fairly fast and easy, and were ready for her to model once she got up from her nap.

And tending the garden… I know I will be wearing mine in the garden.

Maternity options include a below the bump waistband. Good news! The above the bump waistband from the Candy Pants is a perfect fit! Choices are great!

Athletic knits are perfect for wildlife observation. Note that this was an early version. The kids waist band has since been lowered, and the opening on the side leg is more narrow. Here I used a narrow fold over elastic to add a pop of color.

The shorts with the hot pink binding were made from the very last of the fabric that the Escapade and Candy pants were made from a few weeks back. More on the Escapade here and here.

Momma needs maternity shorts and has been wanting matching outfits, so I made her a pair of polka dot shorts. She gets pockets. I upsized them a little, and hope her phone fits! When she tried on the first version, she immediately folded them under to make them shorter. This is the 1.5 inch inseam. Excited to see her wear them!


While I had orange thread in the machine, I added pockets to my orange version. Also phone sized, cause functional pockets work for me. If you plan to make yours for swim, you may want to add water drainage, in the form of grommets or buttonholes to the bottom of the pockets, and add the inside brief. There is a cool video about that here.


Last night I stitched up a medium in a high and low rise. You can see the difference here.

My sweetie likes his pair!


Much appreciation for the versatility of these patterns! To make in swim or not in swim, to add a liner, or not add a liner, lengths, rise heights, maternity, a world of choices. I made 10 pair in testing, with more planned, and my family will enjoy them all summer!

There is a video here and here.

A note about the binding, a lighter weight fabric for the binding seemed to work better for me, than a heavier weight.

-Take a moment, or ten, and practice making the curves with the binding on scraps, till you get the feel of it. Just like bias binding in woven, a 1:1 ratio on the straight parts worked great for me, and going round the curves, stretching the shorts to match up with a little extra binding will help to make them lay flatter once completed.

-Maybe loosen the pressure on your pressure foot, and try wash away basting tape or the like.

-Experiment with different stretch stitches. Basting will be your friend here. Totally worth a few minutes basting to save ten times that time ripping.

-Matching thread camouflages wonky stitching. Matching trim also helps minimize tiny sewing imperfections. Try that for your first few goes. When you feel good about your efforts, then try something more bold.

I sure enjoyed making all the summer shorts in this pattern. I hope you do too. This post contains many affiliate links. I appreciate your use of them. At no cost to you, I may receive a small commission from the designer when you do. Thank you!

Happy Sewing! Joan

Shenanigans – Plays well with others

I love the Shenanigans from 5 out of 4 patterns for a quick getting dressed in the summer when you want to step up your shorts game. The ruffle at the hem is optional, and gives it a little kick. Also provides a bit of modesty. I made this one a little extra fun by binding the hem with a tiny stripe instead of hemming the circular ruffle. A rolled hem would be fun as would just serging it.

This is the kids version. Shenanigans plays well with other favorites from 5 out of 4. Here it is paired with the kids Stella. Stella’s strength is that she is also a romper and has a great shorts pattern. They can be made separately, or as a one piece. I used the solid from Shenanigans to make the bands for Stella. For myself, I was able to lengthen the top on Stella and if I seamed the back, could make a nightgown length dress from one yard of non directional fabric. Favorites since I tested them a couple summers ago. I did not make the romper, but am considering making it for sleepwear.

Shenanigans with Stella

If you are like me and live in the desert where it starts out chilly in the morning, or gets chilly in the evening, then add a Rocket Raglan with a hood option to the mix and you are covered for the day. Worn alone or layered, Rocket gets along with everyone. For an adult size raglan, Annabeth and Nancy are both awesome.

Now that Rocket and Shenanigans are friends, they may approach Rachel for a game of tag. Seriously, I believe that there is a pair of Rachel pants in this red solid.

Located said Rachel pants!

Been working on capsule sewing for my grand child, and it has been a blast! Sadly there is no adult version of Rachel….. yet.

Shenanigans is getting a little flirtatious in this photo. I love using the larger gusset for a cloth bummed baby. Gives a little extra space where it is needed. For the hem binding, I cut a 1.75 inch strip of knit the length of the hemline – about 45 inches for a size 3. Used the serger to stitch it to the back of the hem (with the right sides of the fabrics both facing up). Then wrapped that around, folded the raw edge under and top stitched with a small zig zag to the front. Covering my previous serged stitches. I believe I have written more about that process here

I have made many leggings based shorts over the years, and last summer made just the skirt part of the Shenanigans to toss on over my shorts when we are going out. Remember that, going out?

The shorts under Shenanigan’s are basically the Ninjas, or little Ninjas. If you are on a budget or just want to give this designer a go, they are both free patterns, and worth trying.

This post is riddled with affiliate links. If you use them, I may receive a small commission from the pattern designer at no cost to you. You will receive much gratitude from me, and a super cute well designed tried and true tested pattern. Happy sewing! Joan