sewing KID Shorts: Racer Shorts

by Dana on July 1, 2013

Welcome to the next version of KID Shorts….Racer Shorts!
This post is one of many tutorials that accompany the KID Shorts PATTERN, which you can purchase HERE.
Of course you don’t need our pattern to sew these shorts but it’s recommended.
If you’re using a different pattern, or if you’ve created your own pattern, follow along with the instructions and make shorts with us!

So far we’ve tried:

Now it’s time to get a little retro.
I love these funny shorts with a racer stripe down the side because they add the perfect pop of color and contrast.  And it’s just one more excuse to use…..yep! Bias Tape.  We’re gonna bind all the edges with it.  And my love affair with 1/2 inch wide continues.

Racer shorts are great for girls, boys, babies.


It’s fun for everyone!


So let’s get started.

You’ll notice on the pattern the curved lines marked “Racer shorts”.
• Cut your pattern along the appropriate size, along the curved racer lines.
• You’ll also notice that the pattern hemline for Racer shorts is about 1 1/2 inches shorter than the standard hemline for each size.  This is because we will not hem the racer shorts; instead they will be bound with bias tape (which we’ll talk about more in a moment).

Following the same instructions for cutting your pattern pieces as we used for Basic Shorts and Flat Front Shorts:
• Fold the fabric in half (TIP: fold it with Right sides of the fabric together so your pieces are ready to sew!)
• Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric with the grainline parallel to the selvage.
• Cut. You should end up with 2 mirror images of the Front and Back 

And now let’s talk bias tape.
It’s all that cute colorful stuff down there…..


If you’ve never used Bias Tape, read all about it here.
If you’d like to make your own Bias tape, read all about that here as well.
Bias tape is my favorite sewing trim/do-dad/embellishment/binding/whatever you want to call it.  You can easily make your own or you can buy cute solid colors at most fabric stores.
One package (3 yards) or less of bias tape will trim out any pair of Racer shorts (see the pattern for exact bias tape amounts)

Okay.
Start by sewing your shorts as we did in the Basic and Flat Front tutorials.
–Use a 3/8 inch Seam Allowance for this entire tutorial–

• With right sides together, sew the Front crotch seam, then sew the Back crotch seams.
• Iron out your seams
• With right sides together, sew the Front and Back together at the inseams.

Your shorts should look like this:

Now it’s time for the 1/2 inch wide double-fold bias tape.  “Double-fold” means it’s folded in half, so we can easily sandwich the tape around the raw edges of the shorts and have a polished, fun, cool look.

The photo below shows one shorts leg, laid open flat.  We’re going to bind the bias tape all the way down the Front sideseam, around the bottom hemline of the shorts, and up the Back sideseam, for just a few inches. Let me show you in more detail….

First, it’s important to note that the top side of the bias tape is slightly more narrow than the back side.  So when you sew this top/narrow side to the top/right side of your fabric, it ensures that the thread will sew all the way to the back side without any gaps.  So….

Start binding your bias tape around the Front Side seam of the shorts, with the more narrow side facing up.

When you get to the racer curve, do your best to curve the bias tape and pin it in place so it lays as flat as possible.  Be liberal with your pinning.

Continue pinning all the way along the bottom hemline and then up the Back sideseam about an inch or so past the curved corner.   The Front sideseam will eventually cover the Back sideseam, so it’s not necessary to bind the entire back seam (see photo below).
Now, sew the bias tape in place.  Sew about 1/8 inch from the bias tape edge and remove each pin as you sew.  This helps from getting unwanted tucks in the bias tape.

Now pin and sew the other side seam.  This time you’ll start at the Back of the shorts (you only need to start about 2-3 inches above the curved corner) and then continue around the bottom and up the entire Front sideseam to the top of the waistband:

Sew that bias tape in place.

And your shorts should look like this:

Now we’re going to pull the Front sideseam over the Back sideseam.  We’re NOT sewing them together as we did with Basic Shorts (with right sides of the fabric together), we’re simply going to overlay one seam on the other, about a 1/2 inch and pin them together.

Start pinning at the bottom where the curves come together.  This can feel awkward, so keep your hand inside the shorts to help pin the two layers together (see photos below).  After pinning at the bottom, then pin at the top, and then pin down the rest of the side seam.

Finally, sew down the side seam.

As you get to the bottom, be careful you’re not sewing any additional layers into the shorts.  And stop sewing when you get to the curve

Then pin the sideseam on the other side of the shorts and sew down that seam as well.

Almost done!

Finish off the waistband as outlined in the Basic Shorts of Flat Front Shorts.

And….you’re done!

Ahhhh.
Time for a treat. 
Enjoy your afternoon!

Come back later this week and we’ll add pockets.  Sorry it won’t be sooner but we’re taking a little break for the 4th of July holiday.  So we’ll see you soon!

To purchase the KID Shorts pattern simply click the button below (you can read all the pattern details HERE.)
KID Shorts PDF Pattern – $8
Add to Cart

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Teresa July 1, 2013 at 6:32 am

I think these bias trimmed shorts are my favorite so far! I could see both of my kids wearing these day in and day out!

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2 Anne July 1, 2013 at 8:06 am

Hey Dana,
thank you for another great tutorial! Love your designs and LOVE your blog, especially the beautiful photos of your cute kids that you share with us. This time around, I have a question. While the edge of the front pattern-pieces are finished by the bias-tape binding, am I correct in thinking you left the edges of the back raw (above the curve, where the bias tape ends)? You don’t mention serging these edges, or stitching a zig zag to keep the seam-allowance from fraying, but maybe I missed something. I might be influenced by Raes super-seams-post here, but I would imagine that the fabric across the butt gets a lot of wear and is stretched a lot, so I wondered about that.
Love from Germany!
Anne

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3 Karen July 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

Hi Dana,
I have made pairs of shorts in the past four days (basic w/ pockets, flat front w/ pockets, flat front w/pockets w/ bias tape and finally last night, some racer shorts). I love the pattern and my little boy loves the shorts! I haven’t sewed since high school (half a lifetime ago!), and am really loving it.

I have the same question as Anne from Germany — my query comes from Denmark though! Do you recommend doing anything with the raw back side seam?

Best regards,
Karen

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4 Delia July 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

Cute cute stuff! I love those green shorts on Clara.

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5 Melany July 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

The red flower shorts with the white trim are my favorite! This racer strip pattern is adorable. I totally remember pictures of me as a kid in the 80′s wearing some awesome pink ones with purple edging. Love this series!

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6 Chrissy July 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

Cuteness!!! Although, I’m so craving a Big Red now. Too bad they don’t have it here in PA. People think I’m talking about gum and don’t know about the soda.

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7 Carin July 1, 2013 at 11:35 am

Cute cute cute

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8 Angela H. July 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

Sent over from Craft, Interrupted! Lots of cute things on your website. :) I can’t believe all the tutorials you have. I just might have to make the Chewie shirt now. :) Thanks for the giveaway over at Craft, Interrupted.

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9 Bailee July 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Just made my first pair. This style is just adorable on my little girl. Thanks!

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10 Alison July 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Just made a pair yesterday! I used your old tutorial and since I had no bias tape (and was too lazy to make some) I used FOE. They turned out pretty good, only I bound them all the way up the back side and it got a bit thick. Still super adorable and my daughter loves them! Next time I’ll be using bias tape.

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11 Petra July 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm

FANTASTIC instructions and photos! Thank you so much – I love the colours too!

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12 zoe July 2, 2013 at 7:24 am

Just made my purchase, very excited to have an actual pattern instead of endlessly drawing around shorts and never getting it quite right! I know my kids will be grateful!

Thanks for getting me excited about sewing. You’re doing a great job. Enjoy your holidays.

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13 Mikea July 4, 2013 at 12:14 am

Love the pattern Dana! Made 2 pairs. These are next on the list!! Thanks!

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14 Simple Simon and Co July 4, 2013 at 2:29 am

Oh! I haven’t been checking blogs for awhile again…I’ve missed all you shorts posts! These are all adorable! Love them! What a great pattern!
-liZ

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15 cucicucicoo July 4, 2013 at 5:27 am

I LOVE these racer shorts!! I think my kids really need about 10 pairs each! :) Lisa

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16 Christy July 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Hi Dana,
Any chance you can make a metric version of your pattern for the rest of the world?
Would love to purchace it but can’t face the constant faffing of conversions…

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17 tammy Loewen July 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I live in Canada and as someone who uses the metric system and Danas patterns regularly I just have to say its really not huge issue. For the elastic you insert just measure on your child in Metric so it fits perfectly any ways. For fabric requirements just remember that a Yard is smaller than a meter so if you buy it in meters then you are sire to have enough. I have never done a single conversion while using any of these patterns and haven’t run into a single problem. Good luck. Try with no fear!

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18 Bree July 8, 2013 at 5:07 am

I’m a metric girl too but have a tape measure with both units on it and it’s a non-issue really. Don’t miss out on some great patterns because of units of measurement ;-)

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19 The Best Me July 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I’m making my kids some pajama shorts right now and I’m thinking racer shorts would be perfect! Thanks for a great idea!

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20 Bree July 8, 2013 at 5:08 am

2nd pair of shorts – check!
My son LOVES his racer shorts. My daughter loves her girly shorts (added pintucks down front and ruffles to bottom…. fun fun fun). Thanks for the awesome pattern.

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21 Reine July 16, 2013 at 3:56 am

Hi Dana
My sister and I had a bit of a sew-in yesterday: she made the basic shorts for her daughter, and I did the racers for my son. Such fun, and what a great result!
Thanks!! The sewing bug got me… :-)
Reine

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22 Wendy July 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I love this pattern, the racers are my favorite. I have made 4 pairs so far, three for my boys and one for a friends daughter. Your tutorials are really great, i love all the pics. Funny story, when I made the first pair of racers I cut the pattern out the wrong direction on the fabric so they would not go over my 2 year olds bum. I have been sewing for years but I rarely make clothing and I did not realize even woven fabrics have a bit of give in the selvage direction.. ooops. It drove me nuts for two days until I figured out what I did wrong. I won’t make that mistake again. Thanks for the great pattern.

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23 Monia August 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thank you for this pattern and tutorial! I did it from an old t-shirt of my husband. So it is also a refashion :)

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24 Kristine June 30, 2014 at 9:57 am

Hi Dana,

Thank you for your wonderful website! I bought the shorts pattern and my 3yo son looooves his racer shorts. They are his favourite and even tho it’s winter here now he still prefers to wear his racers!!!

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Ps. For metric users – I use a conversion app on my phone and tablet but I’m so used to sewing in imperial now that it just becomes second nature.

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25 Dana June 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

awesome!
Thanks for sharing :)

And great idea on the app for metric conversions

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26 sophie July 1, 2014 at 9:44 am

thanks! I bought your pattern and made the racer shorts for my boy! can’t wait to try them on him !!

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27 Ness August 6, 2014 at 10:46 am

I made my girls a pair of flat front shorts each today – so quick and easy. They tried them on and wouldn’t take them off – not bad for Winter in Australia! Thanks for such a great pattern, I am off now to cut out some more…racers this time!

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