I made a pair of high waist sailor shorts without the aid of a pattern!
1. I took a pair of shorts that fit me well, put them on, and measured the distance from the waist of the shorts to my “true” waist line. The true waist line is the smallest point on your torso and it is usually located about an inch above your belly button.
Then I took off the shorts, folded them in half, placed them on the fabric and traced around the edges. I added a 1/2” seam allowance on each side, 2 1/2” (that’s the waist line measurement I took first, plus a 1/2” seam allowance) at the top, and 4” at the bottom because I wanted a 2” cuff on the legs, but more on that later!
2. I cut on the line I had traced and used this as my basic pattern piece. It is worth noting at this point that I doubled up the fabric by folding it in half before I started, so every time I cut out a pattern piece I am actually cutting out two pieces. I did this five times for a total of ten pieces, all shaped exactly the same.
I sewed these pieces together two at a time along the inner curved edge, leaving the straight part at the bottom open.
3. So now I had five pieces. After ironing all the seams flat against the fabric I took two of these pieces, right sides together, and sewed them together along the waist line. This was going to be the back of the shorts.
The front was a little more complicated because I added a layer in the middle. I took one of the fabric pieces and measured 4” on each side of the waistline. Then I measured 5” down from the waist line on each side. I drew a diagonal line from the waist line mark to the side seam mark and then cut along that line. I used some 2” scraps of fabric sewn to the right sides of these cut lines to hem this part. This is where the buttons would eventually go.
Then I laid this fabric piece on top of yet another piece, wrong side to right side, and sewed them both to the remaining pattern piece in exactly the same way as I had done for the back of the shorts.
4. I turned all of these pieces right side out and put front and back together, right sides facing each other. I sewed up the seam on one side and inserted a zipper on the other using the Threadbanger.com zipper tutorial. Then I sewed the crotch seam together to create the legs.
5. It was pretty smooth sailing after this point. I turned the shorts right side out, ironed everything to make it easier to work with, and tried the shorts on. There was a lot of excess fabric around the waist, so I pinched and pinned the fabric in two places on the back of the shorts above my bum. I sewed these creases in place and created two darts. Then I added my 2” cuff by folding the bottom of each leg up twice and tacking the cuffs into place.
There’s room for improvement, but over all I was incredibly pleased with the outcome! Kind of makes me want to take a trip to the beach...