I have enough expired memberships under my belt to finally admit that I am not a gym person. Although you may not find me sweating on an elliptical, I haven’t completely abandoned the idea of a workout regimen. I’ve just redefined the whole concept!

My StairMaster is countless flights of stairs scattered throughout my daily subway commute; my weights come in the form of two wriggling girls (often carried up the aforementioned stairs); and my hot yoga is just about anything I do in New York’s sweltering summer heat. My gym is the city itself, and my gym clothes are these City Gym Shorts!

Designed with a classic tulip hem and an easy elastic waist, these shorts have all the comfort and ease of traditional exercise gear but with way more style! I used Robert Kaufman’s Chambray Union in Slub Indigo for the back, a fabric that is soft, comfortable and so versatile it was easy to match it with a range of prints in Liberty of London’s exquisite Tana Lawn.

With so many beautiful Liberty prints to choose from and with sizes for kids and women, it looks like my sewing machine may be getting a workout too! -Corinne

Materials

Kids

  • 1/2 yard of Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn Classics. We used, shown above from top to bottom, Katie & Millie Peach, Strawberry Theif Gray and Lodden Lavender.
  • A free Kids' City Gym Shorts Template available here.

Women

  • 1/2 yard of Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn Classics. We used, shown above from top to bottom, Katie & Millie Peach, Strawberry Theif Gray and Lodden Lavender.
  • 3/4 (3/4, 3/4, 1, 1) yard of Robert Kaufman’s Chambray Union, Slub Indigo
  • A free Women's City Gym Shorts Template available here.

Sizes

Kids

  • To fit ages 2 (3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10, 11) with finished waist sizes 19 (20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25) inches in circumference

Women

  • To fit hip sizes 33-34 (35-37, 38-40, 41-43, 44-46) inches in circumference

Notes

Pre-wash all fabrics before starting.

For the sake of clarity our instructional photos use Robert Kaufman’s Botanics + Architextures in Tangerine Hatches, a fabric with a clear right and wrong side, for the front panels (instead of the Tana Lawn). When you are working with a fabric without a clear right or wrong side, choose either side as the right side for the first seam and follow this precedent for all subsequent steps.

Pattern

Cut 

Front Pieces

Use the prepared Template to cut two Front pieces from the Liberty. Cut one Front with the right side of the fabric facing up and one with the wrong side facing up. The two Front pieces should be mirror images of each other.

Back Pieces

Use the prepared Template to cut two Back pieces from the Chambray Union. (If you are using a fabric that has a right and wrong side, be sure to cut the pieces as described above so that the two Back pieces are mirror images of each other.)

Waistband

Cut one 4 ¾-inch wide piece for the Waistband from the Chambray Union. For Kids it should measure 23 (24 ¼, 26 ¾, 28 ¾, 30 ¾, 32 ½, 33 ½) inches long; or for Women, 36 ¼ (38 ½, 41 ¾, 45 ½, 48) inches long.

Bias Strips

Cut two 1 5/8-inch strips on the bias from the Chambray Union. For Kids each strip should measure at least 30 (33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48) inches long; or for Women, at least 48 (50, 53, 56, 60) inches long.

You may need to piece the strips to get the appropriate length. For detailed instructions on how to piece binding strips, please visit our Making Bias Tape Binding Tutorial.

Elastic

Cut the Elastic. For Kids it should measure 19 ½ (20 ½, 21 ½, 22 ½, 23 ½, 24 ½, 25 ½) inches; or for Women, 30 (32, 35, 39, 43) inches.

Piece the Front and Back Pieces

With right sides facing, stack the two Front pieces on top of each other. Pin along the concave edge of the inseam.

Sew along the pinned edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Sew along the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

Press the seam to one side.

Repeat with the two Back pieces.

With right sides facing, match up the short crotch ends of the Front and Back along the raw edge, making sure that the center seams line up, and pin in place. Sew along the pinned edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Sew along the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

Press the seam to one side.

Attach the Binding

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the 18mm Bias Tape Maker to press the bias strips into single fold bias tape.

Fold in half lengthwise, aligning the folded edges and encasing the raw edges. Press.

Pin the bias tape around the outside edge of the shorts, following the raw edge all the way from the top corner of the Front side, around the bottom hemline, and up the Back side, or vice versa. Use one strip for each side. With the right side facing up, sew the tape to the shorts with an edgestitch, making sure to catch both sides as you stitch.

Sew the Side Edges

With the right sides of the Front and Back both facing up, bring one Front side edge over one Back side edge so that the two bound edges are stacked on top of each other. Push the outer edge of the front about 1/8 inch towards the Back so that the sewn line of the Front bias tape runs roughly through the center of the bias tape on the back.

Working from the waistline down and using the line of stitching on the Front bias tape as a guide, sew the Front to the Back along this side edge. stop sewing when you reach the top of the curve of the bottom hem. Backstitch at the end of the seam.

Repeat with the other side.

These are now the Shorts.

Sew the Waistband

Fold the Waistband piece in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press to create a crease. Open up the fold. Now, fold the two long raw edges in towards the wrong side to meet at the center crease. Press the folds. Refold in half lengthwise, aligning the folded edges and encasing the raw edges. Press again.

Open up the folds at the two short ends. With right sides together, stack the ends together, matching up their raw edges. Pin in place. Sew along the short edge with a 5/8-inch seam allowance.

Press the seam to one side and sew it down with an edgestitch.

Turn the Shorts inside out.

Open one side of the waistband. With the right side of the Waistband facing the wrong side of the Shorts and matching up the seam of the Waistband with the center seam of the Shorts Back, pin the open raw edge of the Waistband to the raw waist edge of the shorts.

Sew the Waistband to the Shorts with a roughly 1 1/8-inch seam allowance, using the crease as a guide.

Now, turn the Shorts so that the right side is facing out. Fold the Waistband over the Shorts' raw waist edge and pin in place.

Edgestitch along the bottom of the fold of the Waistband, leaving a 1 1/2-inch gap.

Attach a safety pin to one end of the Elastic. Insert this end into the gap. Pull the pin through the Waistband, exiting out the other side. Make sure not to pull the Elastic's other end into the channel.

Checking that the Elastic isn't twisted, overlap the two ends by 1/2 inch. Sew the ends together widthwise with a zigzag stitch.

Tuck the Elastic into the Waistband and close the gap with an edgestitch.

Your shorts are ready to wear!