It might only be spring right now, but summer is fast approaching and we couldn’t be more excited if we tried! Digging our shorts out each year and pairing them with cute, cool tops is one of our favourite parts of the season. Being the avid DIY lovers we are, however, we’re sure it’ll come as no surprise to you that we’re also completely obsessed with altering and making our own new shorts each year. We love doing this because it gives us some new clothing for cheaper but also lets us upcycle some older things instead of throwing them away. On top of that, making our own shorts each summer also lets us create and customize really unique things so that we’re the only ones around with a piece like that!
Just in case you’re as interested in the idea of making your own shorts as we were, here are 15 of the best designs, tutorials, and ideas we’ve come across (and even tried already, in some cases) so far this season.
1. Simple DIY shorts with no zippers, elastics, or buttons
Are you feeling up for a challenge so you’re quite intent on actually making your very own shorts from scratch this year, but you’re not the most in your sewing abilities when it comes to finicky things so you’d like to keep it quite simple? In that case, we definitely think you should take a look at this easy pattern and tutorial from With Wendy! They show you how to make a pair in whatever wild fabric you please without having to work with zippers, elastics, or buttons.
2. Hand painted and stamped flag shorts
Are you the kind of patriotic person who adores making themed looks for Independence Day each summer, but you’re hoping to get particularly creative about it this year? Then we’d be willing to bet that these awesome hand painted and DIY stamped flag shorts outlined step by step on The Idea Room are exactly the kind of thing you’re looking for! We love the slightly messy aesthetic that makes them look stylishly worn and purposely altered, and your friends will love it too,
3. High waisted shorts with a matching bustier
Have you actually already tried making yourself a pair of simple DIY shorts from scratch but now you’re looking to take that idea one step further and challenge yourself even a little bit more? Then we think you’ll find your next step in this tutorial featured on Sew Aldo! They guide you through the process of creating a pair of perfectly fitting high waisted shorts and, as if that wasn’t awesome enough, they show you how to make a simple matching bustier to go with them as well! We love this idea so much that we literally might make a whole series of these little outfits in all different patterns and colours.
4. Asymmetrical fabric applique shorts
Perhaps you have a pair of old denim shorts that you really enjoy the fit of but you can’t help but feel like they’re perhaps a little too plain for what kind of styles you’re into right now? Then we’d like to direct your attention to this fantastically simple way of jazzing your old shorts up with a simple piece of cut scrap fabric affixed like an applique! Get the full instructions for recreating this cool look from Free People.
5. Geometric patterned bleach pen shorts
Are you intent on making some type of customized shorts for yourself this summer but you’re actually not really into the idea of sewing… at all? Well, lucky for all of us, not every DIY shorts idea out there requires a needle and thread. We actually thought that this detailed bleach pen idea featured on Amanda K By The Bay was one of the coolest tutorials we’ve seen so far! They show you how to hand “draw” a neat geometric pattern in bleach that will stand out well against the dark, unbleached denim when you’re all done.
6. Sashiko stitched pockets
Perhaps you actually are interested in using a needle and thread, but you just had something a little different in mind than making your shorts from scratch because you’ve always loved embroidery? We couldn’t be more on the same page and we’re actually quite crazy about every kind of embroidery, from the most simple to the most elaborate. That’s probably why this very unique and totally neat looking Sashiko stitching tutorial from Free people caught our eye! We love the way they used simple off-white thread to add custom detail to their pockets.
7. DIY flowy pom pom shorts
We’ve all had them- those awesome shorts that are wide legged, flowy, and slit in a way that’s somehow stylish and comfy all at once! We love wearing those all summer, but we’ll admit that we’ve got a few pairs of them that we’re convinced could look even cooler with a little bit of DIY customization. That’s where this super fun pom pom trim tutorial from Pacifically comes in to save the day! We’ll fully admit that we’ve actually used this guide a few times to make the same thing more than once but in different colour and pattern combinations.
8. Denim bow pockets
Are you quite a big fan of the idea of adding more detail to your shorts, but you also have a quite, subtle sense of personal style so you’d like it to be a little less overt and wild than some of the ideas we’ve shown you so far? In that case, we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at how Sophie Rae created these adorable little denim bows and affixed the to the back pockets of their shorts! It’s simple, cute, and way easier to do than you might think.
9. Hand studded denim shorts
If you’re going to take the time to customize a pair of shorts by hand, would you rather take a little more time and patience and really embellish them in an awesome way that will wow your friends? Then we think perhaps these hand studded denim shorts might be right up your alley! Get the full details in terms of what kinds of supplies you’ll need and how to make it happen from this great tutorial featured on Get Plenty.
10. Pleated dress shorts with a waist bow
Are you still thinking about how cute the simple DIY high waisted shorts we showed you earlier on our list were but you just can’t help but feel like they could use something a little extra, particularly around the top? In that case, we have a feeling you might actually prefer to make yourself these adorable dress shorts featured on Cotton and Curls because they also feature an equally cute waistband with a stylish bow! No need for belts to take away from your cute pattern and colour scheme when it’s built right in.
11. Ombre dip dyed shorts
Perhaps you’d prefer a method of customizing your shorts that will actually let you get your hands a little bit dirtier than sewing requires? Okay, so you might not actually want to make a big mess where fabric dye is concerned, since you’ll never be able to clean that up, but we think you see where we’re going with that idea. Check out how Sugarlaws created a completely stunning brightly coloured ombre effect on a pair of old white (or light coloured) denim shorts by using dip-dying techniques!
12. Hand painted galaxy shorts
Did we really catch your attention when we started talking about hand painted DIY shorts but you’re not from the US so the flag idea for summer BBQs isn’t really applicable to you? Well, if you’re the kind of person who loves following trending pattern and textures just like we do, then we have a feeling this fantastic (and shockingly fun and simple) hand painted galaxy shorts idea outlined Andrea’s Choice might be a little more along the lines of what you’re looking for! After all, who doesn’t love splattering paint for fashion?
13. Spectacular summer DIY watermelon shorts
Are fabric dyes and paints actually your favourite things to work with when it comes to DIY clothing alterations but you’re still in the market for design ideas and hopefully scrolling on the off chance that we’ll have another idea for you? Well, we are pleased to announce that we actually do, and it’s an extra fun one! Check out how DIY n’ Crafts dip dyed in two different colours to get the base colours of these adorable watermelon shorts and then added seeds by hand with paints.
14. Custom graphic print shorts
Are you very intrigued by the idea of adding your own pattern to your shorts in fabric paint but you’d actually prefer a neatly repeated pattern rather than something hand painted and irregular? Then we’re pretty sure stencilling is your best bet to get the effect you’re looking for! We’d suggest taking a look at how Melly Sews made these fantastic pattern shorts to learn how you can repeated your stencilled images cleanly and seamlessly.
15. Simple high waisted velour shorts
If you’re going to sew your own shorts from scratch, would you rather make something you can repeat easily and wear on a comfy lounge day? Then we think you’ll get along very well indeed with this simple tie-up velour shorts design outlined step by step on Kameelah Ali! This is another design that we’re hardly resisting making an entire series of; we can already picture ourselves running around in these all summer, in every colour we can possibly find the velour for!