Boys Colour Block Rugby Shorts

Update: Windows live writer and open live writer are still not able to log onto blogger due to authentication problems at login.  Hopefully this will be fixed soon!  Please excuse the less than perfect formatting but it’s the best I can do at the moment!
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In NZ these type of shorts are known as rugby shorts or stubbies.  They are usually a little shorter than these but at the rate this boy grows I wanted a little future proofing!
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And after making the test pair I though I better make another with a tutorial to share!

What you will need

  • Fabric – Medium to heavy(ish) cotton duck, denim etc
  • 1” Elastic (waist – 3”) so for Harry this was 20”
  • Thread, scissors, general sewing supplies.
  • Pattern I edited my most used pattern of all, Kids Shorts by Dana from  This is not a free pattern but it is well worth buying I have used it so much.  You could alter a shorts pattern you already have but the fit wouldn’t be the same.
Notes:  Seam allowances are 3/8” (1cm) unless otherwise stated.  Always lockstitch (or sew and reverse over it a few times) to prevent stitching coming undone.  I will just call it lockstitch in the tutorial!

Step 1 – Print out your shorts pattern and assemble

Note: You will not need to print the last two pages of the pattern for that size.

Do not trim off the external edges!!  Cut off the pieces you need to piece the pattern together but leave the top edges on.  This will allow the room to alter them.

For Harry I used a size 7 even though he is only 5.  He is very tall and I like to have a chance of him still wearing them by the end of summer!
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Excuse the crude diagram but I didn’t want to place any photos of the original pattern and risk breaching copyright!  As shown place your pieces right sides up with the straight edges lined up, the top and bottom should line up too.  On the back piece which should be on the left extend the left hand side (centre back) by 1 inch.  From that point draw a line straight to the far right line (centre front).  These lines are shown in red.  So essentially you are adding more length in the back of the shorts.
Now you can trim up as normal!
For the length use the ‘Girls Racer Short’ length.  If you wanted to do a double fold on the hem you will need to add a little on probably about 3/8” (1cm).

Step 2 – Cut your Fabric

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You will need to take care to get the fabric up the right way!  I laid the two different fabrics on top of one another and cut both pieces at the same time.  If the front pieces are cut right sides facing each other than the back pieces need to be cut wrong sides facing each other.  Otherwise you will end up with shorts that have one leg check and one leg blue.

Step 3 – Sew Centers

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Pin the two back pieces together with the right sides facing each other as in the photo above (not the inseam!).  Sew with a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance.
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And it should turn out like above!
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Overlock the raw edge or zigzag if you don’t have an overlocker (serger).
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Get that iron earning it’s keep and press out those seems.  It’s winter for most of you but here it is 28°C in my sewing room today, had to turn the heatpump (aircon) on to counteract the iron!

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Pin and sew the inseam (crotch) in the same way.  Take care to pin the centre seams together accurately so that this happens…

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Yay they line up perfectly!  Don’t panic if yours don’t, it’s the crotch no one is really going to see it.

Step 4 – Sew Sides

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Overlock (or zigzag) both layers of the side seam separately.  I could have done with reminding myself of that…had to do one after seaming not ideal!  Then pin in place making sure the BOTTOM lines up.  Measure 2.5” (6.5cm) up from the bottom and mark with a different colour pin (or double pin).  This is for the split on the sides and will need to be left open.
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Since we have removed part of the seam allowance by overlocking first I like to use my presser foot as the guide in place of 3/8”.  Sew down to the odd (or double) pin.  Don’t forget to lockstitch.
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Again it should look like above!
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Head back over to that trusty iron and press the seam open.  When you get to split press each side over so it sits flat just as if it was sewn the whole way down.
Repeat on the other side!

Step 5 – Waistband

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Measure and cut your elastic.  Harry has a 23” waist, so 23 – 3 is 20” for him.  The way it is stitched in, it will stretch slightly so it won’t be to tight.
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Join the elastic by butting the ends together and zigzagging over it.  I have a tutorial on joining elastic if you would like more detailed instructions.  You can see in the photos that I have marked the middles with pins.  This will make it much easier to pin it in the waistband evenly.
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Match up the join in the elastic with the center back seam, and the other three pins with their matching seam (two side and the front).  Pin them in place leaving a little fabric sticking out (if you are not overlocking then zigzag the raw edge first and leave a very small 1/8” over the edge of the elastic).  Then stretch the elastic in between two pins so that the fabric sits flat and pin in the middle of the gap.  This way you will end up with 8 pins in total.
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Overlock with the elastic side facing up start at the center back seam, lift the presser foot and place underneath.  You can zigzag along this top edge instead if you aren’t overlocking!
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As you overlock stretch the elastic up to the next pin and sew right at the edge of the elastic.  That way the fabric overhang will be trimmed off but you don’t want to cut the elastic!  (Note:  I would normally hold the fabric on the pin and pull to stretch, sometimes you just need three hands to take photos at the same time!)

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Here you have the finished piece…I hope yours looks the same!

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Fold the elastic over and pin in place at all four seams.  Then just like before stretch out between two pins and pin the center in place.  Make sure the waistband stays the same width, your don’t want it wider in places.

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If you want to add a label do it now before pinning the centre back over.  It is much easier to use a couple of stitches to hold it in place now than try and get it sitting nicely when we sew the waistband in.  It will be caught by the waist seam so a few stitches will be fine.

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Time to sew!  Starting at the center back sew along the overlock edge (or zigzag), don’t forget to lockstitch first!

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Just like with the overlocker pull the waistband so that the fabric is sitting flat while you sew.  Carry on all the way around till you are back at the start, then lockstitch.

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That is the waistband finished!!!

Step 6 – Hem

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All that is left to do now is hem the legs.  With the splits folded out (see photo above) over lock the raw edges.  You can fold over twice instead of overlocking just skip this bit.

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And now you have overlocked edges!

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Press the overlocked edge over by about 1/2” and press in place.  Take care that the folds do not stick out over the split edge.

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Pin in place.  If you are doing a double fold instead of overlocking you will need to fold it over once with a small 1/4” fold and then again with a 1/2” fold to encase the raw edge.  You can make these larger but then your shorts will end up shorter.

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Sew on the right side of the fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance, starting at the bottom of the side seam as pictured above.  Sew all the way around to the same point on the other side seam.

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Once you get to this point, leave the needle in the fabric and pivot the fabric around so that you will sew up the side of the split.  Lower the presser foot and sew to just above the split.


Once just above the split leave the needle in and pivot again to sew across the side seam.  You will want to sew an even amount of stitches on both sides of the seam.  Example: if it takes 3 stitches to reach the seam then sew three more on the other side.  Sew over this piece a few times (reverse over it and sew back again).

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Then pivot again and sew down the other side of the split, down to the seam and lockstitch.

Repeat on the other leg!

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There you are a great project completed!  Some rather cute colour block boys (or girls) rugby shorts.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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