Burda Stretch Drawstring Shorts


I was so hopeful when I took this picture.  But I was duped and seduced by the expectation that this would be a quick and easy project.  I made so many changes to the original pattern and I could probably fine tune it a bit more.  That said, I am glad that I worked through the head scratching and seam ripping and finished my new favorite house shorts!

I made a muslin first and then used a Telio Morocco stretch poplin for the final pair.

Example of the bias binding going all the way to the waist in the City Gym Shorts by Purl Soho.

The pattern instructed me to sew the side and inseam first, then “trim away seam allowances on the lower edges of trouser legs” and use bias binding to finish the hem. I thought this was strange but I tried it anyway and it looked pretty terrible.  I thought about putting the bias binding all the way up to the waist (example below) but I opted to remove the binding altogether and finish with a narrow hem.

Except that at this point, and a little seam ripping later, I realized that I had no allowance to hem and I had to discard the “wearable” muslin that I had made.  Trust me, I thought long and hard about how to fix this but I just couldn’t.  I had no room to shorten them further to add the hem allowance back. BAH.  Bye bye floral shorts….

Luckily, all was not lost.  I sewed the front and back seams to complete the construction of the muslin so that I could get a feel for the fit from this first pass.  Which is is exactly why I will never try a new pattern without doing a muslin first!  They were HUGE!  I am also glad that I tried to make a wearable muslin (Does this really exist?) because I did the finishing which I may have otherwise skipped.  My muslin was a size 40 and I didn’t add the seam allowance to the pattern but I did use a 3/8″ seam allowance while sewing.  Call me lazy.

Shortly after wrecking my muslin, I went back to the size 40 pattern and made a few changes:

  1. added 1″to the length
  2. removed a 3/4″ from the side seams,
  3. removed 3/8″ from the front and back seams (because that’s how I sewed it the first time),
  4. removed 3-1/8″ from the rise and,
  5. added a 5/8″ seam allowance all around.

I used these changes to make the final pair. Ta-da!


As I mentioned earlier, I nixed the bias binding and used a narrow hem.  I didn’t discover the rise issue until I was nearly done and found that the shorts fit better when I rolled the waistband down once.  To fix this, I cut off the folded waistband (because I had already added the eyelets). Then I used a separate piece of fabric to recreate the 1-5/8″ wide waistband.

Are you confused yet?  Because I am.  I think I could have gone down 3 sizes and had the same result.  Seriously.

My final pattern looked like this.  I have it glued down to oak tag to make it easier to trace.


If I were to do this again,  I would likely use a straight hem instead of tulip-ish hem.  Maybe with a short slit at the side seams?  I would also take in the side seams a bit more or just use a fabric with less or no stretch.  The stretch poplin feels cool and lightweight.  The shorts are super comfortable but this fabric is not the best choice if you want to avoid saggy butt syndrome.  I learned this the hard way but aren’t the mini-bicycles fun?


I may revisit this pattern and do some more fixing.  Or I may just keep it movin’.  Do you have a shorts pattern that you love?  Do you find that there is always a number of pattern alterations required to make them fit right?  I foresee a flat seat alteration in my future!


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