DIY Kids Paperbag Shorts with Free Pattern & Tutorial

Paperbag shorts are a cute and stylish way to beat the heat! Summers in Oklahoma can be around 105 degrees so I love that these shorts are comfy and not clinging to the body from sweat. If you’re making these paperbag shorts for your little one, be sure to use breathable fabrics like cotton, chambray or linen that will allow airflow and help them stay cool. 

These easy pull-on shorts have an elasticized waistband and patch pockets on the front. You can also make these in a boys/unisex version by adjusting the width of the waistband. 

If you do make these paperbag shorts, be sure to tag me on Instagram @sew_zune or post the picture on the Zune’s Sewing Therapy Facebook. I’d love to see your finished project! 

Ok, let’s get sewing!

Things You Will Need:

  • Woven Fabric – 1/2 yard
  • Lining Fabric – 8″ x 11″. Use self or lighter weight fabric
  • Elastic – 1” width
  • Print pattern – This pattern is FREE to all my newsletter subscribers. Check both your inbox and junk folder for the confirmation email. Be sure to have your pop up blocker disabled. Print from a laptop or computer.

*This Paperbag Shorts pattern is a SIZE 3T with a finished waist measurement of 23 1/4”. **This pattern DOES NOT INCLUDE SEAM ALLOWANCES.

PRINT & ASSEMBLE THE PATTERN – Be sure to choose “Do Not Scale” on your printer setting. The first page has a 2” test square. After putting the pattern together, add your desired seam allowances. 


STEP 1a. With RIGHT sides together, stitch pocket to pocket lining except on the side seam and the waist.

STEP 1b. Clip along the curved seam.Turn the pockets RIGHT side out and press.

STEP 1c. Place the LINING side of the pocket on the RIGHT side of the shorts FRONT. BASTE the pocket to the shorts along the waist and the side seam. TOPSTITCH around the pocket. Repeat on the other side. 


STEP 2a. With RIGHT sides together, stitch shorts FRONT to BACK along the side seam and the inseam. Overlock or zigzag stitch the raw edges. Repeat on the other side. 

STEP 2b. Turn one side of shorts RIGHT side out and insert into the other side. Stitch along the crotch seam. Overlock or zigzag stitch the raw edges.


STEP 2c. RIGHT sides together, fold the seam allowance in half, stitch, and press seam allowance open.

STEP 2d. Fold the waistband LENGTHWISE and stitch 1” below the fold.

STEP 2e. Place the waistband on the RIGHT side of the shorts and stitch together leaving 2” open to insert the elastic.

STEP 2f. Insert the elastic with a safety pin and cut the elastic to the desired length. Overlap and stitch the elastic ends together with a zig zag stitch. Stitch and close the waistband opening. Overlock or zig zag stitch the raw edges. 


STEP 3a. Fold up the hem. Then fold the raw edge under 1/4” and topstitch. Repeat on the other side.

After a good pressing, your new paperbag shorts are all done! Don’t forget to comment below and let me know what you think. Byes~

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  1. Very happy of the outcome of my shorts I made from this pattern. Even as beginner it was really easy to follow. Thank you for the free pattern.

    1. Hi Lynne,

      Thank you for subscribing to my little blog! I’d love to see your creation so please feel free to share your makes on the Zune’s Sewing Therapy Facebook page. Happy sewing!

      1. Hi Ruth,

        Thank you for being a subscriber!
        Is the pop up blocker on your internet browser turned off? The pattern cannot open in a new tab if the pop up is blocked, so please be sure to check your browser settings.

  2. Hello Zune,

    This pattern is gorgoeus! I have just signes up and got the pattern. I have aquestion, if i need to make the shorts for 6 years old, how much do i need to add. I’m totally new :). Thank you!

    1. Hi Tran,

      Thank you! It is one of my favorite patterns. What is your child’s waist measurement? The finished waist for this pattern is 23.25″. If you’re using the slash and spread method to size up, I wouldn’t suggest spreading a total of more than 1″. However you can grade up by about 1/4″ size by size until you get to your desired size.
      Grading a pattern can be a bit tricky. My daughter is now actually wearing a size 5/6, so I’ll be posting more age 5-6 sizes this summer.

    1. Hello sewing friend! I’d love to see your finished project, you can share your fabulous creation on the Zune’s Sewing Therapy Facebook for us to admire. 🙂

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