How to Make High-Waist Shorts: Question

Sparkle & Fade Belted High Waist Short, $48,


Can Carly ,I`m 16 years old ,I love fashion and I tried start to sew .I`m not very good and I ask you to post a DIY : how to make high waist shorts . Thanks you ,and sorry if I did some mistakes (my english is not perfect )=)
Hi there! Thank you for your question.:-)

Unfortunately making a pair of shorts into ‘high-waist shorts’ using DIY methods is pretty much impossible. (Even if you happen to find a pair of shorts with a HUGE seam allowance at the top of the waistband, you likely won’t be able to unpick the seam, flatten it upwards, and wear them like a pair of high-waist shorts – the proportions of the waist piece will just be strange, and angled incorrectly.)

Kind of like this.  (img source)

You *could* add a piece of fabric under the top waistband of your shorts, creating a double-layered effect, and have that piece create the “high-waisted shorts-look”. (I’d cut a strip of that fabric to use as a waist-tie  or as detailing on the cuffs to make the shorts look as if they were designed that way – and didn’t just suffer a piece of fabric tacked on to them.)

To make a pair of high-waist shorts (or “paper-bag shorts”) from scratch there are a number of patterns out there you can buy (like Easy McCall’s 5457 or Easy Butterick 3731 at – or if you are crafty you can also alter a shorts pattern to a high-waist or paper-bag style. (Two methods for the paper-bag style are using Burda-Style’s tutorial, or Threadbanger’s tutorial (for an elastic gathered-waist skirt) – embedded above.

Hope that helps and good luck!

3 Comments on How to Make High-Waist Shorts: Question

  1. A Pair & A Spare
    8.04.2010 at 3:22 pm (5 years ago)

    Love the question and answer section! I have made lots of pairs of high waisted shorts from long pants found in thrift shops. They usually have to be high waisted before you start, or else very large in the waist so you can create pleats in the waistband and bring them up to high waisted. I just cut the hem and go! You don't even need a sewing machine if you have time and patience. x geneva

  2. GettingCraftyWithHighFashion
    4.15.2011 at 7:50 pm (4 years ago)

    this term in Home Ec, we r to keep to a budget of $20.
    i have chosen to make a high waisted skirt into high wasted shorts….
    i was wondering if anyone had ideas on how to do that and an easy affordable way???

    • carlyjcais
      4.15.2011 at 8:53 pm (4 years ago)

      First of all, if your skirt is already high-waisted, definitely leave the waist-part alone and use it as-is for the shorts.

      Is your skirt full or fitted? If it is fitted you won’t have enough fabric to make the legs of the shorts – there won’t be enough for the crotch/butt area and between the legs.:-( You’ll have to salvage fabric from the bottom of the skirt or add fabric in to make the short legs go all around your legs. You can check out my tutorial here for cutting shorts legs from a shirt (which would be the same principle)…

      If your skirt is full you can probably leave the side-seams as-is and trace a pattern for shorts onto the front and back of the skirt (using a pair of shorts you already have OR a pattern from the sewing store…though honestly if you buy your pattern through the patterns are MUCH cheaper than retail!!)…you *may* have enough fabric to accommodate the legs. (It’s hard to tell without a photo…) You’ll have to sew a crotch though – and probably add pleats/darts on the front of the legs otherwise you’ll get a pretty little pooch right at the lower belly area because there will be too much fabric in the front…

      Therefore your cost for making your shorts from your skirt (if you don’t add any fabric at all and just use what you have, and trace a pair of shorts you already have)…is $0!! (pretty good, right?):-)
      Good luck and let us know if you have any trouble!


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