Friday, June 14, 2013

Tutorial: Favorite Shorts Romper

As part of the FLIP this Pattern series at Frances Suzanne, I've switched up another pair of Bubble Shorts from Elegance & Elephants. Last time I upcycled a woman's dress. This time I used vintage feed sack fabric from my stash and added solid pockets and a peter pan collar. 

I'm calling it the "Favorite Shorts Romper" because you could use this technique to add a basic bodice to any shorts. My favorite shorts happen to be the bubble ones. 

As promised, I took pictures along the way and put together a basic tutorial. (I'll list references at the bottom -- there are quite a few great resources out there for rompers!)

All necessary materials for shorts
Fabric (main and lining) for bodice
1/2" elastic
Thread, etc.

**This romper won't have instructions for snaps at the crotch. The more buttons, the more difficult it'll be to get off and on.** 
1-2. You can draft your own bodice pattern from an existing dress or shirt. OR, you can use a free one like The Cottage Mama's Party Dress or The Sewing Rabbit's Oh, Jackie!. Measure your girl from shoulder to waist to determine where you want the waist band to be, then add 1" to the bottom of the bodice. It will become the casing for the elastic waist band.  
**If you want to use elastic that's bigger than 1/2", add more than 1" to the bodice and shorts top. Leave room for seam allowance.**

3. When you're tracing your pattern pieces for the bubble shorts (or whatever shorts you use), add 1" to the top of each piece. It will become the casing for the elastic waist band.

4. Cut bodice and lining pieces.

5. I used instructions from Gertie to draft the peter pan collar. You'll see (in a bit) mine didn't quite make it around far enough in the back, but they'll get better with practice.

9. If you overlap the collar about 1/8", it'll lie nicely when it's flipped right side out.
10. Baste the collar in place.
11. Sandwich the collar between the bodice and lining, right sides together.

Be sure to smooth the lining and bodice completely before sewing to avoid any puckers.

It's hard to see my lines, but you should sew the lining to the bodice this way: Starting at one back piece, sew up the back, around the neck line, and down the other back. Sew both arm holes.

You can also topstitch or edgestitch if desired at this point.

17. Overlap back pieces, matching center back lines. Pin or baste back pieces together so they stay put for the next steps.

19. This can be tricky with the bubble shorts because of the side pieces. Be sure you are matching the bodice side seam and the shorts side seam.
20. The 1" seam allowance will become the casing for the elastic waist band.

I tried about 30 different ways to attach the top and bottom. (At one point, I even partially disassembled one of Eliza's rompers to see how the Big Box store put it together!) In her free Pleated Playsuit pattern, Heidi has the best method I found.

When you're sewing, don't worry too much about sewing over gathers. The elastic waistband will cover for most of that.

22. Again, you may not get a completely smooth finish when you're sewing the top of the casing; however, the elastic waist will be forgiving of those puckers.

26. I opted for big, fabric covered buttons this time -- partially because I wanted to break up the busy fabric, and partially because three buttons are easier to operate than five.

At this point I also added the bow to the front per the pattern's instructions. I waited so the placement would be easier to get right.

There you have it! My baby girl loves these shorts. She stores her pacifiers in the pockets. And rocks. And berries.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them! Thanks for visiting!

References and Other Resources:
Excerpt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, via Martha Stewart Crafts Dept.
Part One of Gertie's video on how to draft a peter pan collar
Clever Charlotte's Finch Romper (Finch shorts to romper -- includes a great tutorial on a precious top) as part of Shorts on the Line at Imagine Gnats
The Pleated Playsuit by Elegance & Elephants (FREE pattern!)

In addition to linking up to the FLIP this Pattern party, I'll be adding this romper (and my other) to the Shorts on the Line flikr pool and the upcoming Romper Week party at Sewing Mama RaeAnna.

Flip This Pattern

Romper Week


  1. This is adorable! Bubble pocket shorts are my favorite as well and they look so cute as a romper!

    1. Thanks, April! Isn't it a great pattern?

  2. Michelle --- Thank you for taking the time to make a tutorial about this process!! The outcome is too, too cute....and rompers are definitely "THE CRAZE!"

    1. Thanks, guys! I'm loving the romper trend, for sure.

  3. Love love love it! Will have to give it a go when it is summer over here :) Thank you!

  4. Gorgeous romper!!! I just love the peter pan collar.. too sweet :)
    Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. Winter has just hit here in Australia, but I'm definitely pinning this one for when the weather warms up again!

  5. These are so sweet! Thanks for the tute, too!!

  6. I like your style. It looks fabulous.

  7. Yay!!!! I jumped on the chance to say come over and link up and saw you already plan to!!! haha!! This is SOOOOO cute! I'm going to make one just like it! I have a little addiction to cute collars! :)

  8. I absolutely love the collar. It is so sweet. So is the entire romper.

  9. These are so cute, I love the little collar :)
    Heidi @

  10. So stinkin' adorable! A romper, with a peter pan collar, and bubble pockets, oh my! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  11. This turned out so cute! I love it with the bubble shorts! Thanks for sharing!

    Get Your Crap Together

  12. Amazing! I can't believe you made this from the bubble shorts! That floral is so pretty and so cute on your little girl!

  13. This romper is adorable! I love the fabric you used and the contrasting solid is perfect! With all the cute rompers out there I starting to think my daughter needs a few ;) Beautiful work and thanks for the tutorial!

  14. I featured you on the blog today for Romper Week!!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!!!

  15. Thanks for the tutorial. Nice outfit.

  16. Wow. this is really special! SO CUTE!!! And so perfect on the inside, too.


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