sunny day shorts tutorial, part I

Less than a month ago the new Sunny Day Shorts free pattern was introduced. In that short time, Kristin has already shared how to customize them into Beach Bum Shorts. Today and tomorrow we are going to be sewing them up by the pattern with lots of photographs for those of you who like to work visually. So let’s get started.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial



First you’ll need the free Sunny Day Shorts instructions and pattern. Gather the amount of fabric you need for the size you’re sewing, as well as 1 yard of 3/4″ elastic and some coordinating thread.

Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Print out the pattern pages, find the size you need, and cut out your patterns pieces. Join the pattern pieces together with some tape.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Cut the pieces out of the fabric.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Sewing Instructions

Prepare the Front and Back

1. Align and pin one shorts front to the corresponding shorts back, with right sides together, and stitch the inseam and outseam (the side seam) with 1/2″ seam.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Press the seam allowances open.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Finish the seam allowances with your preferred method.

Note: There are several seam finishing tutorials available on the Oliver + S website: straight stitch, pinking, bound, French, and flat-felled.

Enclosed straight stitch finished seams were used for the shorts in this tutorial.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


2. Turn one shorts leg right side out and the other leg wrong side out. Slip the right-side-out leg into the wrong-side-out leg, and pin the layers together with the edges, notches, and seams aligned. Stitch the rise (the crotch) with a 1/2″ seam. Stitch the rise a second time on top of or just inside of the first seam, starting at the single notch and ending at the double notches. Stitching a second time will help strengthen this seam.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


3. Press the rise’s seam allowances open or to one side. Since the fabric is cut on bias at the curved part of the rise, the seam allowances will stretch, so you can use the curved front part of your ironing board to help you open the seam allowances. If you turn the shorts wrong side out and position the rise along the ironing board’s curved edge, you’ll be able to press the seam allowances to one side of the seam without creasing the rest of the fabric.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Finish the seam allowances together using your preferred method. Bound (with bias tape) seams were used for the shorts in this tutorial.


Sunny Day Shorts Tutorial


Tomorrow we will tackle the waistband and finish up the shorts.

If you have any questions on any of the steps so far, please ask them in the comment section.

Continue to Part II.


  1. July 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm Link

    Suuuperbe ! First sowing project ever for me ! And I did it ! they look great ! Thank you for all the tutorial, very clear ! I have a tiny suggestion, maybe you could use a fabric that has a different color on the inside and outside :-)
    Thanks again :-)

  2. April 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm Link
    Cortney Kaminski

    okay, I’m losing my mind here. I am trying to make these shorts and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. When I have the two pieces and slip the right side out piece in to the wrong side out piece and go to sew the stride, none of my notches line up and neither does the top where the wait band is?? I know this is dumb but I’m stuck!

  3. December 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm Link

    Oh and I used French seams to sew the entire shorts! I’m feeling extremely smug about the end result. 😉

  4. December 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm Link

    Thank you for another excellent pattern! I made a size 3 yesterday to use as pj bottoms for my son. I absolutely love the cut and the length. Your patterns are always so well-drafted, they’re a pleasure to sew. I’m a very happy customer and blog reader! Keep up the excellent work! Wishing you all a very joyful and peaceful Christmas.

  5. August 26, 2014 at 7:01 am Link


  6. June 5, 2014 at 9:44 am Link

    For those of you who want to lengthen the Sunny Day Shorts pattern pieces, you might find this Lengthening and Shortening a Pattern Tutorial helpful:

  7. June 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm Link

    The child size dress form is from Mannequin Mode. You can see them here (scroll down):

  8. June 4, 2014 at 11:42 am Link
    Lou Haney

    Thank you for the free pattern! I made these for my almost 2 year old. They were tight in the rear and legs for her. She is still in diapers and has generous padding back there (pear doesn’t fall far from the tree). I made the 3t size. I liked the legnth. Should I make a larger size and cut the legnth or adjust the 3t pattern?

  9. June 4, 2014 at 9:54 am Link

    Waist extended means if you stretched out the elastic, so basically the length of the waist band minus the seam allowances. This you need to know so you can figure out if the waist will go over the hips/buttocks- i.e. the widest body part.

    As for lengthening, I would guess the best spot is where the notch is on the crotch line. There is a grid line right there, so you know it would be straight. Also if you did it at the notch, you know that you will be lengthening in the same spot, on both front and back pieces.

    Move down an inch or two or whatever you want to lengthen, put some paper between the lines and then hand blend the new cut line.

  10. June 4, 2014 at 2:55 am Link

    Oh, I like that bound crotch seam. Never occurred to me but I bet it makes the shorts much stronger for a rough-and-tumble baby boy. Totally doing that in the future. Thanks!

  11. June 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm Link
    Lisa M.

    I am having difficulty deciding which size to make. What does the dimension, “Waist, Extended” mean? Also, is the Outseam measured from the very top of waistband to bottom of hemmed short?

  12. June 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm Link

    Appreciate the free pattern, but they do seem awfully short for my slightly taller than average boys. What’s the best way to add a few (4-5) inches to make these more knee length and less ’70s throwback?

  13. June 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm Link
    Jaimie Orfanos

    I have made two pairs of these shorts already. So, so easy and perfect fit/comfort for my daughter.

    Oliver + S: Can you tell me where to get a nice dress form like you are using to model these shorts?

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