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summer shorts and passing the "cool" test

Sewing for boys is a lot of fun.  Challenging at times.  But fun. 
The biggest challenge I face these days is passing the "cool test" with my now 5 year-old.  I would like to say that this is just a phase, but unfortunately I think we are in for the long haul, as he has been this way since age 2.  

Little brother on the other hand is the complete opposite, and could not care any less.  (Although, if given a choice he will always pick striped pajamas... and wear them ALL day, EVERY day.) 

So, when I decided to sew them more shorts (find the tutorial here), I thought it would be a good idea to use my oldest as a "cool" consultant.
I presented him with several dress shirts to pick from, and he chose the green/gray plaid for little brother, and the blue plaid for himself. 
I think the deciding factor for him was the "cool" yoke on the inside of the blue shirt (the design now on the the inside of the waistband pictured below) that he insisted I use that on his shorts.

The pockets were inspired by Dana's tutorial over at MADE, (just changing the shape a little).  They are lined with soft gray jersey.

Both pairs of shorts are made from thrifted shirts costing $0.50 each ($1.50 for all three), and by using a flat front style of shorts, I was able to save on elastic, bring the total cost to less than $2!
And the best part... I was given an A+ on the "cool" test!


  1. those are great! i'm definitely gonna need to check out that tutorial.

  2. Thanks Sarah! If you make a pair of shorts from the tutorial, I would love to see them.

  3. The tutorial is fantastic - so clear and complete! It's so nice to see a pattern for little fellows.
    I'd love to make a pair and promote your site (and your Etsy shop!) on my new podcast about eco-friendly sewing.
    I'll be sure and give it a raving review -- it's just a terrific pattern and I'd love to let more people know about it!
    OK with you?

  4. I wish I didn't have hips because I think I'd look really cool in a pair too! Once again, great job Em!

  5. What adorable shorts for your little guys! Isn't it just the nicest feeling to get them involved and make something they really love?

  6. Hi Anna,
    You are more than welcome to make a pair for your show.  I am happy you liked the tutorial! I would be very appreciative for any rave reviews! 

  7. Emily, I'll send you a link to the podcast and show notes when it's live. I'll do it sometime this summer -- prime time for shorts-making!! :-)

  8. sounds good. keep me posted!

  9. these are really really cool emily! I can't wait to sew some up for my upcoming nephew! Did you change the pattern much using the flat front or did you just use the same pattern as a regular all around elastic waist! Don't know why, but it's been stumping me. :)

  10. Thanks Anna! I was totally stumped too, and I had to do a little investigating before giving the flat-front a go. I did end up using the same pattern, and it worked just fine.

  11. I love the shorts and I think you have picked really 'cool' fabrics/shirts for them. It is interesting kids have the concept of wanting to look 'cool' at the age of 5. Seems like kids grow up way too fast.

  12. Wow, that's amazing. I can't believe that you made them for $2!! They look fantastic.

  13. I see that this is an old post, but I still wanted to say I'm excited to try this idea out for shorts for my boys. Also, I saw on your etsy shop "about" page that we share a birthday! So, happy birthday a little early! Also, I love your Toothless costume! So cute.

  14. Just found this post and I was wondering if there was a tutorial on making the flat front style? I assume the pattern is a bit different, but i wouldn't know how to go about it

  15. @Handmade Creations (I hope you see this, I couldn't find an email address on your profile).

    Dana, at MADE, has a great tutorial for Flat Front pants, which can easily be adapted to this tutorial.

    Here is the link: http://www.dana-made-it.com/2008/07/tutorial-kid-pants-with-flat-front.html