Flirty Cut-Off Shorts

Created By: Regena Carlevaro - Janome Educational Coordinator
Skill Level: Beginner

Don’t throw away your kids jeans just because they have holes in their knees! Show your kids that your practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It will take you less time to make these adorable shorts than it would to drive to the mall and back.


Janome Supplies Required

• Any Janome machine - Regena uses a Horizon Memory Craft 12000
• Any Janome serger (optional)
• Empty bobbin
• Red Tip Needle #14
• Zig-Zag foot A
• Overcast foot M

Fabric and Notions Required

Fabric and Notions Required:

• All-purpose sewing thread to match topstitching in jeans
• Serger thread (optional)
• Fabric marking pen/pencil
• Fabric pins
• Fabric scissors
• Ruler
• Iron and ironing board
• A pair of your daughter’s old jeans (bootleg or flare is preferable)



Cutting Instructions

  1. Determine how short you want the shorts to be. You may want to try them on your child to decide the length of the shorts. Add a ½” for hem and use a fabric pen to mark the length.
  2. Line up the ruler edge on the mark. Use the outside seam line of the pants as your “selvedge edge”. This will ensure that you cut the pant legs off at the correct angle. Using the ruler as a guide, draw a line across the pant leg. This will be your cutting line.
  3. Cut off the pant leg at the cutting line.

  4. Lay the cut leg on top of the other leg and use as a pattern. Cut off the second pant leg. Put pant legs aside.

  5. Lay the cut off short on cutting surface on its side.
  6. Measure 2 ½” up from the cut edge of short and mark fabric.
  7. From the side seam, measure 2 ½” toward the front of the short and mark the fabric.
  8. From the side seam, measure 1 ½” toward the front of the short and mark the fabric.
  9. Using these three marks, cut out a rectangle opening from the side of the short. 

  10. Cut off the bottom 4” of each of the cut off pant legs.

  11. Cut open the inseam of each of these pieces.
  12. Open up each of the pant legs and lay them flat on your cutting surface.

  13. The back side of the pant leg will be slightly larger in width. Cut a 2 1/2” x WOF rectangle from the back panel of the jeans, as close to the hemline as possible.

  14. Repeat step #6 for the other pant leg.

Sewing Instructions

  1. Attach Zig-Zag foot A. Insert Red Tip needle #14.
  2. Thread machine and bobbin with thread that matches topstitching on shorts.
  3. Select straight stitch. Adjust stitch length to the longest length setting.
  4. Place long edge of fabric rectangle under presser foot, lining up fabric edge with left side of presser foot.
  5. Sew down the length of fabric. Do not back stitch, Lockstitch or cut thread. Leave a thread tail.
  6. Line up same fabric edge under the foot again. Line up left side of presser foot with previously sewn stitch. Sew down length of fabric again.
  7. Repeat steps 18 – 20 on second rectangle cut of fabric.
  8. On right side of fabric, pull the top two threads gently, creating a gathered edge on fabric.
  9. Adjust fabric for even gather.

  10. Pin gathered edge to 4” opening in shorts, right sides together.

  11. Adjust stitch length to 2.6.
  12. Leaving 3/8” at the beginning and end of the seam free, sew a ½” seam allowance.

  13. Repeat steps 24 – 26 for other side of short.
  14. Clip corners of short at end of seam.

  15. Pin sides of gathered fabric to the inset sides of short.

  16. Place seam under foot. Manually turn the handwheel of machine to drop needle in the last stitch sewn when attaching gathered piece to short inset. Lockstitch or back tack and sew 3/8” seam allowance. Lockstitch or back tack at end of seam.

  17. Repeat on remaining three seams.
  18. Finish seams and bottom hem by using 4-thread overlock stitch on a Janome serger. If you do not have a serger, attach Overcast foot M and select an overcast stitch to finish.

  19. Press seams toward short.
  20. Fold up bottom edge of fabric ½” to create hem. Press.
  21. Attach Zig-Zag foot A and sew hem in place.
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