The Breezy Shorts from Mamma Can Do It are quickly becoming a spring and summer staple in our household. They are a great as a standalone pattern to showcase your stash of both knit and woven fabrics or a blank slate for you to get creative. One such modification is to create bubble shorts by making the leg opening narrower when finishing. You can do this by making the hem a casing for elastic or do what I did and shorten the knit cuff piece and gather the leg opening to fit it.
Please note that the shorts pictured are made with a very light woven, a heavier woven will have a more obvious bubble, as well as those with a tighter cuff. I used the comfy version and longest length. I also used the woven for the bow front waist and it worked really well.
Gathering is not nearly as intimidating as it seems, a couple adjustments to your sewing machine and it is quite simple, especially with smaller areas needing to be worked. The first step is to decide how short you want your cuff piece to be. I decided I wanted a close, but not tight cuff piece (the knit cuff would be close to the skin, but not be stretched too much if at all) so I measured my daughter’s leg at the widest part and cut my cuff to that length, but 2″ high. This will give me a close, narrow cuff that draws in the shorts to give a bubble affect. You can do an even shorter cuff by factoring in how much stretch your knit fabric has, just remember to add your seam allowances if doing that. I constructed my shorts by sewing the body first and adding the waistband and cuffs last.
When it is time to gather and attach the cuffs mark your quarter points on both your cuffs (I used pins) and your shorts (I used chalk). After marking your quarter points sew a basting stitch within the seam allowance of the leg openings. I used two different colored threads, the black is my bobbin, the blue is my needle. To make gathering easy drop the needle tension to 0 or 1 and use the longest stitch length your machine has (mine is 4).
After sewing your basting stitch in, pull the bobbin thread to gather the leg opening. Once you have it about the same circumference as your cuff, attach the cuff to leg using your quarter points, adjust as needed to create a smooth gather that fits the cuff, tie your bobbin thread ends together to hold everything in place and serge or sew your cuffs on. Pull your basting stitch out if desired or trim long ends.
Sit back and enjoy your new bubble shorts while you wait for your little one to wake up from their nap, then take them for a spin.
While the Bubble modification may be for the little girl in your life, these are a unisex pattern and perfect for the little boys too. You can add pockets, appliqués, and so much more. Happy sewing!
My favorite patterns from Mamma Can Do It include the Fit Pants, The Adalynn, and of course the Breezy Shorts but you can’t go wrong with any of the amazing pattern choices. There’s something incredibly rewarding about being able to sew for your family.