How to make shorts more fitted.

Alterations: How to Make Shorts More Fitted

Nicole Make it. Fix it. Do it Yourself.

The other day my husband Mike walked into my studio wearing his training shorts. He complained that he looked like he was wearing Dad Pants! And yes I did have to agree they were unflattering and looked like he was a 5 year old wearing his dad’s shorts 🙁 .

He’s had these shorts for over 8 years and besides the horrible fit they’ve got another 30 wears in them (at least!).

Mike didn’t want to throw them out but hated feeling uncomfortable in his training gear. So he asked if I could alter them for him.

Thrilled by his request. I took on the challenge. I’ve never altered any of Mike’s clothes before. If he gets tired of them he’ll pass them over to me. They’ll either go into my make pile (to be upcycled) or move into my wardrobe, so I can wear them to death.

I was a little nervous to start because I didn’t want to mess up his shorts, luckily he wasn’t precious about it.

So off I went. Mike wanted his shorts to be more fitted and less baggy. But comfortable enough to play football in. This meant I had to take in the seam and shorten the crotch.

Here’s a step by step of the alternation.

How To Make Shorts More Fitted :

What you need:

How to make shorts more fitted.

  1. Sewing Machine
  2. Serger
  3. Chalk
  4. Sewing pins
  5. Pair of shorts that fit well
  6. Tape measure (optional)


  1. Turn the shorts inside out. You’ll be taking in the seam on the inside of the leg and shortening the crotch.
  2. Using the pair of shorts that fit well as a guide. Lined up the shorts that needed altering with the ones that fit.
    How to make shorts more fitted.

    Place fitted shorts on top of shorts that need to be altered.

  3. Traced a line around the shorts that fit. This is the cut line on the shorts you’re altering. Use a tape measure to make sure both legs are even.
    • How to make shorts more fitted.

      Once shorts are lined up trace the cut line

    • How to make shorts more fitted.

      Using tailor’s chalk trace around the fitted shorts

  4. Pin and baste stitched with the sewing machine. Leave about 2cm seam allowance.
    • How to make shorts more fitted.

      Yellow Chalk Lines. Shorts Pinned in placed.

    • How to make shorts more fitted.

      Shorts Baste Stitched.

  5. Go for a first fitting. If everything is A-ok! Move on to the next step if not undo baste stitch. And rep Step 4.
  6. Next serge over your baste stitch. No undo button after this… So make sure everything fits!
  7. Final fitting.
  8. Top stitch the seam to neaten everything up. And remove the baste stitch.
    How to make shorts more fitted.

    Shorts top stitched in place

This alternation technique was simple and worked well. The entire process took me 45mins. Confident that this works I’ll be using the same technique to take in some of my own clothes 🙂

I’m happy with my handy work and Mike’s happy with his”new” football gear that he loves wearing!

  • How to make shorts more fitted.

    Before = Baggy & Naff

  • How to make shorts more fitted.

    After = Fitted & Comfortable

Things to note:

These shorts are made with  thin fabric which was easy to work with. I didn’t have to unpick any seams. I’m not sure if this method would work on thicker fabrics like denim. You may need to unpick the seams to create less bulk.

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About This Author


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Nicole Kerrigan is a fibre artist and environmentalist who’s on a mission to keep bad stuff out the ground. Through her one-of-a-kind creations, blog posts and workshops she’s here to shake up the way you treat, buy and love your stuff. And when she’s not making art out of trash you can find her exploring natural spaces and exotic places. Making friends with local wildlife. Occasionally rotting her brain on animated sitcoms like South Park :-) Or lighting it up on documentaries like Planet Earth Meet Nicole and get ready to save the planet one stitch at a time at