How to Turn Any Shorts Pattern into Ruffle Shorts

I know what you might be thinking, shorts? It’s practically fall. You’re right, however, for some of us (Hello fellow Southern Californians) September is just another word for dreadful heat. For those of you that are skipping through fall leaves already, there’s no way you could pass up putting chubby baby legs into these shorts with a pair of tights.

Jill from Homemade by Jill is the genius behind this pattern hack. She will walk you through the super easy steps for turning any ol’ shorts pattern into the cutest shorts you’ve ever seen. She’s also prepping for fall on Homemade by Jill with her Glitter Wreath and some Felt Trick or Treat Bags, you gotta check them out.

Keep reading to learn How to Turn Any Shorts Pattern into Ruffle Shorts after the jump…

How to Turn Any Shorts Pattern into Ruffle Shorts

Hello!  Remember when I made confetti shorts and promised to show you how to do it?  Well, I’m finally following through.

In this post, I’ll show you how I took a shorts pattern (specifically the Puppet Show Shorts Pattern) and changed it up to make these ruffle shorts, which look similar to the Oliver + S Class Picnic shorts. It can be applied to just about any shorts pattern.

I am not providing printable pattern pieces, dimensions, or a complete sew-along tutorial.  This is merely to show you how I changed up a pattern piece I already own for a different look.  Hopefully this will be helpful to those of you who are looking to modify your own patterns!

Okay … to start, you’ll need a trusty shorts pattern.  For these shorts, I prefer a pattern that is one single piece for each leg (verses one that has a front and back piece for each leg).  It will look something like this:

Fold the pattern piece so the leg inseam meets.  Use this fold as a guide to where you will mark the ruffle line down the front of the shorts.
I marked a line approximately 1 1/2 inches from the fold.

Cut the pattern piece in two along the line you just drew.  You now have a front and back piece.

Retrace the front pattern piece, adding about an inch to side you just cut.  This will be where the ruffled pieces overlap and are sewn together.  You can discard the smaller pattern piece.

Adding a ruffle to the bottom of the short instead of hemming will make them longer.  Shorten the pattern piece about an inch (use a ruler to mark along the bottom edge and cut on the line).

Round off both the front and back pattern pieces.  A bowl makes a good template.

And you are ready to cut fabric!  Your revised pattern pieces should look like this:
It’s always a good idea to label your pattern pieces.  🙂

Cut two of each pattern piece, making sure to cut opposites for each leg.  The attach a ruffle to the long curved edge.  The front piece needs a ruffle the whole length of the curve (see below).  The back piece doesn’t require a ruffle on the whole curve – just about halfway towards the waistline, because the pieces overlap.   Pin the ruffle in place, then sew and press.  Top stitch about a half inch from the seam line.

Using your original pattern piece as a guide, lay your front piece overlapping the back piece and pin in place.  The pieced leg should match the width of the original waistline.  Join the pieces together by top stitching in the seam line of the front pattern piece.

The completed leg pieces will look like this:

Sew the leg inseam and attach the waistband according to the original pattern’s instructions, and there you have it … a snazzy new style of shorts.

All that’s left is to find a cute kid to model them.

I made another pair for Ruby in denim.  She needed something a little more wardrobe friendly than those crazy confetti shorts.  I found the denim to be a little too thick to ruffle, so these have really more of a pleated trim.

I also added some back pockets.  Is that a cute little bum, or what?

If you made it all the way to the end of this long-winded post, I am impressed!  Happy sewing.  🙂




Super cute!! I love how the ruffles go up the sides, not just along the bottom. Perfect hack for using the ruffles “cheater” method I just finally tried out for myself. Going to keep these in mind for KCWC. Thank you!! Been a fan of your blog for years, love your content…


I am beyond excited to make these today!!!! Hope they fit and turn our as cute as yours. I have been a fan for YEARS!!!


Hiya, thank you for this hack. I’m reasonably new to sewing… Roughly how long are your ruffle strips in comparison to the shorts edge? Thanks in advance.


Hi Susie-
I’m so sorry, this was a guest post from forever ago so Im really not sure. If you try it and come up with a number, please let me know and I will add it to the post.


I usually try to ruffle at least twice the measurement of the piece I’m adding the ruffle to.
Make sense?

Mary Reigel

Hello, I have been unable to get into the Homemade by Jill page but it keeps saying “This blog is open to invited readers only” 🙁

Would you be able to send me the pattern pieces for these shorts? LOVE your pattern hack!


Hi Mary! I know we chatted via email but if anyone else is looking, this “hack” is designed to work on any shorts pattern. This specific pattern is no longer available.


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