Jenny Shorts – or, Should I just declare July as Pants Month?

Jenny Shorts

More Closet Case Patterns, more pull on pants! What can I say, I’m on a roll?

In my previous posts about my Sasha trousers and different types of pull-on elastic waist pants, some people asked about patterns, so I thought I would take you through how I turn a standard pair of trousers into pull-on comfy pants.

These are the Jenny Overalls/shorts/pants, which were released this spring. I can’t really see myself wearing them as overalls, but I liked the bones of the pattern. Heather sent me this pattern when it was first launched (not entirely sure why, but it made my day! Obviously, there was no requirement to shill for her in return, and all opinions are my own. I think my love for all things Closet Case has been well-documented over the years!

Jenny Shorts

I know this awesome leopard stretch twill from Cali Fabrics camouflages everything about these shorts, so I took a bunch of pictures inside out!

1. Pick a pattern that has a good chance of fitting. I’ve sewn lots of Ginger jeans and the Sasha trousers, so I was pretty sure the Jenny Overalls would be a good starting point. If you’ve had luck with Burda or Jalie or any other company, start there!

Jenny Shorts

2. Do your regular adjustments, if you have any. I frequently have to add more length to my back rise in pants and even skirts, so I slashed-and-spread the pattern 1″ in the back. (Check out Cation Designs classic post on pants fitting if you aren’t sure what I mean!) As it happens, I didn’t need that adjustment – can you see all the vertical ease in the photos above? I went back to the pattern as drafted for my next version.

I mean, sure, I could have measured the pattern, compared it to a TNT, muslined it, or any number of other solutions, but I felt sure these would be wearable so i just went for it! The goal here is to make and wear pants, not to get overwhelmed in the process of seeking perfection.

Jenny Shorts

3. Choose a stretch fabric. My waist is 38″ and my hips are 49″, which is roughly a 4:5 ratio. That means the physical ease in the waist + stretch needs to be at least 25% so that I can pull them on. As you can see above, the waist when stretched will easily go over my hips!

Now how stretchy does your fabric need to be? For me, a 10% stretch like a Cone Mills denim is snug as I pull it over my hips, not so tight it’s difficult. These shorts have 20% stretch, but I actually brought the side seams in from my original size 20 to closer to a 16! Some of my favourite skinny jeans are made from a 30% stretch fabric, but for a loose style like this, that amount of stretch is not needed.

Try your shorts/pants on mid-construction, and if they feel snug going on, then you can skip the darts in the back. I had no trouble getting these on, so I did sew the darts!

Jenny Shorts

4. Choose a style of elastic waistband. Right after posting a tutorial on how I usually do elastic waistbands, I went ahead and used a different method! The rise on these was very high, so I simply serged some elastic on to the top edge, folded it down to the inside, and coverstitched it in place. This is how I do the waistband in leggings, and it’s really fast.

I also learned a new step: stretching out your elastic! Debbie Cook reminded me to do this several times this week, and she was totally right. My elastic became 2″ longer after giving it a good stretch, so I cut it back to length and these fit perfectly! Thanks Debbie!

Jenny Shorts

To be honest, I never intended to wear these shorts with a  shirt tucked in… but I tried it for pictures and I quite like the look. One could *almost* pretend that I’m taller and leggier than 5’2″ allows!

Jenny Shorts

As it happens, these shorts are the beginning of my #sewjanellemonet outfit! Yup, you thought I’d forgotten… ok, maybe I did… but I’m super excited to reveal these shorts with a *matching jacket* soon! I’m combining it with the Sewcialists #SewStyleHero theme month in August as a two-in-one!


I hope that I’ve convinced a few of you to try making some comfy trousers or shorts! Pants fitting doesn’t have to be crazy, and if you take off all the bells and whistles like pockets, a fly and belt loops, it’s really easy to whip up a trial pair. Once you know the fit is good, then you can put the work into details if you want. I’ll be back with one more spin on this pattern later this week, because I’ve sewn two pairs of drapey culotte Jenny trousers, and I’m in love!

17 thoughts on “Jenny Shorts – or, Should I just declare July as Pants Month?

  1. Fab! I used to love wearing shorts when I was skinny, but haven’t found any that fit my odd proportions these days. Slim legs, hips and bum, but fat belly? Not so much lol Yours look perfect


    1. Are you measurements really very different than mine? From my point of view of having belly, butt and side hips, dealing with just one of those seems like a breeze! Just make some shorts and enjoy them in the heatwave! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. what tends to happen is if I make them tight I look like a balloon on stilts, but if I make them looser, they hang from my belly and make my legs look like someone else’s…lol I don’t care if I’m at home, but it would be nice to get a pair decent enough to venture outside in!


        1. Hahaha, ok, those are great mental images! I feel like the apple-ish shaped people I know tend to wear slim above the knee shorts with a longer top?

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I like your attitude here. I refuse to wear anything with sleeves when it’s hot, unlike many women my age and body type: not sveldt. I have a right to be comfortable. And cool, especially cool!


  2. Brilliant! I had overlooked the Jenny overalls, because I’m not into overalls, but what I completely serviceable pattern for a good hack. Add to cart. Your shorts look great, and I am beyond excited to see your matching jacket when you get it done. What a fun outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The goal here is to make and wear pants, not to get overwhelmed in the process of seeking perfection.”

    Love this 🙂 love the shorts too, they are awesome.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I love that you photographed them inside out! I am a visual learner, I appreciate seeing it all! I wasn’t sure how darts and elastic waist could combine. But now I get the idea! The darts would even compliment my wide leg pants!
    Your shorts are so cute. Thank You for sharing!


  5. Amazing shorts – well done! I recently made a pair of fun print shorts too – fun to make, fun to wear – might even make more! As for shorts month or pants month – you could say either – but if you say ‘Pants Month’ to anyone English (ie. like me) I would worry you are having a dreadful month as ‘pants’ translates to ‘dreadful’ in local terms! Hopefully just a pant-making month !


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