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Sew up these sweet and lacy embroidered shorts for summertime fun. Add an elastic waistband to your favorite shorts pattern to make them extra comfortable.

Shorts that feature full legs and an elasticized waistband look best in a soft, drapey fabric that will gather attractively at the waistline. Choose a light density design that will enhance your garment but not change its soft drape. A monochromatic running-stitch floral works especially well and complements the romantic lace edging. Because elastic-waist shorts need to be large enough at the waist to easily slide over the hips when dressing, the pattern must be altered to remove most of the shaping.


+ Shorts pattern (such as BurdaStyle 03/2016 #113)
+ Soft, drapey fabric (amount according to pattern)
+ 2 to 3 yards of cotton edging lace (amount according to size)
+ ¼” elastic (amount according to size)
+ Stabilizer: water-soluble or self-adhesive water soluble
+ Pattern or tracing paper
+ Clear patterning ruler
+ Colored pencil & pen or pencil+ Thread: Coordinating all-purpose & embroidery in desired color
+ Needles: 80/12 topstitching for embroidery & appropriate machine sewing
+ Two safety pins
+ Light density embroidery design (approximately 3”x12”)

Untitled design (2)

+ Print and assemble the digital pattern. Use a colored pencil to emphasize your size’s tracing lines to make it easier to accurately trace the pattern onto tracing material. (Note: For the these shorts, the scalloped pocket edge band (piece 23) of BurdaStyle 03/2016 #113 was omitted. )
+ Trace the shorts back onto pattern paper; do not transfer the dart markings. Draw a straight line upward along the side seam to the waist from the widest point of the hip (see image below). Add 5/8” seam allowances to the sides and top and a 1/2” hem to the bottom.


+ Trace the shorts front onto pattern paper. Eliminate the fly-front opening flap extension by tracing along the center front, and do not transfer the shaping darts and front pleat (see image below). The pocket alignment marks, however, should be marked on the new pattern. Add 5/8” seam allowances to the sides, pocket opening and top, and a 1/2” hem to the bottom.


+ Trace the side hip yoke (piece 24) onto pattern paper, straightening the side seam slightly so that it runs straight up to the waistband. Using the front piece as a guide, extend the yoke so it is the same length as the front. Adjust the waistline to match the front as well (see image below). Add 5/8” seam allowances to all edges.
+ Add 5/8” seam allowances to the pocket and set it aside; no alterations are necessary for this piece.


+ Prewash the fabric using the same method that will be used on the final garment. Prewash the lace trim as well; hand washing is advised, but not necessary.
+ If the fabric is slippery, pre-stabilize it using spray starch or liquid stabilizer. Lay the fabric out on a washable surface and spray or dip it in a solution until the fabric is saturated. Gently squeeze out the excess and lay out on a flat surface to dry, keeping the grainlines straight. Once the fabric is dry, it can be reshaped with steam and an iron if necessary.
+ Create a design template using the shorts front pattern piece. Trace the pattern from approximately the crotch seam area downwards, making sure to trace the seamlines and hemlines as well as the cutting lines. Print to-scale copies of the embroidery designs onto paper. Arrange the designs on the template until you are pleased with the arrangement. Use this template to align the designs as you stitch them onto the shorts front.

+ Using the front pattern, mark the outline of the left and right short fronts on the fabric. Using a removable fabric marker, mark the hemline. Cut around the outlines, leaving a few inches of extra fabric around the edges to help with hooping. If there is not enough extra fabric, use a self-adhesive water-soluble stabilizer to hoop the short fronts.
+ Cut the remaining short pattern pieces and set aside.

2 2

+ Mark the embroidery locations on the shorts fronts using a removable fabric marker, flipping the template to ensure a mirror-image layout.
+ Hoop one shorts front with two layers of water-soluble stabilizer. If the fabric can’t be securely hooped or might be damaged by the hoop, hoop only the stabilizer, using a layer of self-adhesive water-soluble stabilizer on top. Peel away the protective paper, carefully place the shorts front into the hoop and gently press to secure.
+ Embroider the designs.
+ Repeat to embroider the other shorts front.
+ Trim the stabilizer close to the stitching, then remove the rest following the manufacturer’s instructions.

+ Stitch the shorts together according to instructions, ignoring references to the zipper, front opening, darts and pleats.
+ Measure the circumference of the shorts waist opening and add 11/4”. Designate as the waistband length. Cut a rectangle measuring 3”x the waistband length.
+ Press the waistband in half lengthwise. With right sides together, stitch the short ends together; press the seam open.
+ Finish one raw long edge of the waistband with a serger or zigzag stitch. Or double fold the edge 1/4” to the wrong side and topstitch to create a narrow hem. This will become the inside of the waistband.
+ Align the non-finished edge of the waistband with the waistline of the shorts, right sides together and with the waistband seam aligned with the center back seam. Stitch; press the seam allowances toward the waistband.
+ Edgestitch close to the waistband folded edge around the circumference of the waistband.
+ To create an elastic channel, stitch 1/2” below the edge stitching, starting and ending on either side of the center back seam, leaving at least a 1” opening.
+ Stitch in the ditch of the waistband seam to create a second elastic channel, securing the finished inside edge and keeping at least a 2” opening on either side of the center back seam.
+ Measure and cut two pieces of 1/4” elastic to fit the desired waistband location. The elastic should fit snugly, but not tight, and allow for a small overlap where the elastic will be stitched together.
+ Pin a short end of one elastic piece to the shorts just below the waistband at the center back seam. Attach a safety pin to the other end of the elastic and insert it into the top elastic channel. Use the safety pin to thread the elastic through the channel. Once the elastic has been threaded all the way around, unpin the pinned end and stitch the elastic ends together, making sure that the elastic is not twisted.

1 2

+ Close elastic channel stitching gap by stitching between the starting and ending points.
+ Repeat to insert elastic into the bottom channel. Adjust the waistline gathers so that they are arranged evenly and attractively.
+ Press the hem 1/4” toward the wrong side. Turn the hem up 1/4” once more, press, and topstitch in place.
+ Align the lace edge with the hem of shorts, starting at the inseam and overlapping the ends 1/2”; pin (see image below). Some lace, as the in the sample, can be attached to the outside of the shorts; other lace might need to be attached to the inside.
+ Set your sewing machine for a zigzag stitch narrow enough to fit along the lace edge without showing on either side. Use an edge stitching foot or other sewing machine foot with clear center markings. Zigzag stitch the lace into place along the hemline. Once the lace is applied, secure the overlapped lace raw edges by topstitching with a wide zigzag stitch. Once the raw edges have been secured, trim the ends close to the stitching.


This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Creative Machine Embroidery by Katrina Walker

1 Comment

  • 03003e1f_2_large

    Jun 24, 2017, 07.59 AMby hello Itsme

    Really beautiful edging and embroidery ;)

    • This is a question
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