Summer is right around the corner and I am committing to actually making myself some shorts BEFORE the hot weather hits. thankfully I already have the perfect pattern for the task: our new Arden Pants.
I love how the Arden Pants fit around the waist and hips. Just loose enough to be comfortable, but not so much that I feel like I’m swimming. I knew they could easily be adjusted to be the ideal summer shorts, too!
I made this pair in 7oz linen from Blackbird Fabrics. This is one of my favorite fabrics and I use it allllll the time. It makes perfect Arden Pants and it makes great Arden Shorts too!
I opted to do some contrasting stitching on this pair of shorts so you can see some of the cool details that we have incorporated into the Arden Pants pattern. This design has some jeans finishing techniques that make it an excellent pattern for beginners who are interested in making more pants and eventually, jeans! I actually used copper jeans topstitching thread for this and I love the look!
How to hack the Arden Pants into shorts:
This hack is pretty straightforward, but the hem is the part to watch out for. If you simply cut off the pants at short height and try to turn under that hem, you will not have enough fabric to sew a flat hem.
First, decide how short you want your shorts to be. I decided on a finished inseam of 2.5″. I have since made another pair with a 3.5″ inseam and I think they are even better! You can measure the inseam on an existing pair of shorts in your closet to get an idea of what you might like.
Mark your cut line on the back of the pants pattern. Measure up from the hem of the pattern. Mark the cut line that same distance on the front of the pants. Draw your cut lines perpendicular to the grainline.
Put some paper in behind your pattern if you have it cut out already and tape it in place (shown above in yellow). We are going to make a 1.25″ hem on our Arden Shorts. Draw a line 1.25″ up from the bottom of the shorts, parallel to the hem. Draw another line 1″ up from the bottom of the shorts.
Draw four lines perpendicular to the first two lines, where they intersect with the inseam and side seam of the pants. A quilting ruler is very helpful for drawing perpendicular and parallel lines.
Draw two more lines, the first 1.25″ down from the bottom of the shorts pattern piece and the other 0.25″ below that, or 1.5″ down from the bottom of the shorts pattern piece. I know this seems like a lot of lines, but it results in the most accurate hem.
Starting at the bottom of the shorts pattern piece on the left side, draw a straight line out to where the left most vertical line intersects with the line that was drawn 1.25″ down. Draw in to where the next vertical line intersects with the bottom horizontal line. Draw straight across to the other side and repeat this zig-zag shape, meeting where the lines intersect.
You will have a finished piece that looks like this! Add notches where the hem will fold. When it comes time to hem, turn the hem up 0.25″ and then again 1.25″. The angled shape we made will ensure your hem sits perfectly straight!
Repeat this process for the front Arden Pants pattern piece.
If you prefer a little more room in the legs of your shorts, no problem! You can straighten out the side seam of the Arden shorts and do less of a harsh angle on the inseam. The shape is up to you!
I hope you consider the Arden Pants for your next summer shorts! If you already have the pattern you can easily adapt it and get some extra mileage from this design or other pants patterns. Let me know if you have any questions about the Arden Shorts hack. Happy summer sewing!