Paper Bag Shorts PDF Pattern and Tutorial : Free Size 5/6

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

Summer weather has started popping up here and there, which means it’s time to break out the summer clothes. As kids have a tendency to do, mine have gotten a foot taller since the last time we broke out the shorts. Time for new shorts.

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

My kiddo is sitting between a 5/6 so this pattern has wiggle room. It should fit within that full range. These are an easy pull on short. You can make them with or without a drawstring. If you are worried about them coming untied when you’re not around you can go with a full elastic waist.

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

You can sew these up in a big range of fabric. Make them in a soft fabric for pj shorts or denim for a better rough and tumble play day.

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

I paired them this day with our free Cecilia Tee (available in 12 month to 8 years). I made a quick update by dropping the sleeve band and making it a lettuce hem.

Paper Bag short pattern and tutorial

Are you ready to sew up your shorts?

What you Need:

Pattern- Download here

Woven Fabric – I have used everything from quilting cotton to denim

Elastic – 1 inch


Unless otherwise noted all seams are 3/8″. The seam allowance is included in the pattern and does not need to be added.

1.   Cut your pieces. You will need two backs and two fronts. Fold your fabric in half and cut through two layers at once, this will ensure you are cutting your pieces mirrored, since you will need both a right and left leg. See more on cutting pants here.

2.   Right sides together sew the fronts together at the crotch curve. Right sides together sew the backs together at the crotch curve.

Bubble short pattern and tutorial

3.    If you are choosing to to add drawstrings, add buttonholes where marked on your pattern pieces. There will be a buttonhole on both sides of the center front seam of your shorts. If you are not using a draw string skip this step.

4.    Right sides together match your front and back together at the side seams. Sew both side seams.

Bubble short pattern and tutorial


5.   Sew your inseam, right sides together.

Bubble short pattern and tutorial


6. Finish the the top edge of your waist. You can do this by serging, zig zag stitch, or with pinking shears. Turn your waist over 3″ toward the wrong side. Press.

Paper bag short pattern and tutorial


7.   Stitch 1/4″ up from finished edge. Leave a 2″ opening to insert your elastic.  Measure up 1 1/4″ from your stitch line. Sew around your waistband, this stitching line can be closed. (note- I did not finish the top of my waistband on this pair, you can see my resulting raw edge at the bottom of the waistband. I highly recommend not skipping that step to avoid fraying)

Paper bag short pattern and tutorial Bubble short pattern and tutorial

8.  Prep your elastic/drawstring. If you are not using a drawstring cut your elastic 2″ shorter than your child’s waist measurement. Pull the elastic through your entire waistband going in and back our of your 2″ opening. Then sew the end of your elastic together and close your two inch opening.

If you are using a drawstring cut a piece of elastic about half of your child’s waist measurement, and two sections of drawstring the same length. Sew a length of drawstring to each end of your elastic.

Pull your first drawstring through the 2″ opening feeding it through a buttonhole. Pull your second drawstring through your 2″ opening going the other direction and through the second button hole. Close your 2″ opening.

In both situations make sure you are not twisting your elastic inside of your waistband.

Paper bag short pattern and tutorial

9. Finish the bottom edge of your legs. Then turn up an inch and hem! Alternatively turn your leg up 1/4″ and then 1″ and hem.

Paper bag short pattern and tutorial

You’re done!

We would love to see your creations. Share them in our Facebook group or tag us @onceuponasewingmachine or @ousmdesigns on Instagram.

Happy Sewing,

Rachel and Donna

p.s. make sure to pin it for later!



{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Trudy walker August 15, 2018, 10:36 pm

    Hello, please excuse the ignorance but how do I get the pattern , I am reading how to but have no patter and it says it’s a free pattern. Thanks. Trudy

    • Christy Peltier February 13, 2019, 4:35 pm

      There is a link right under What you Need to download the pattern.. =)

  • Kathie May 8, 2019, 3:24 pm

    I am sorry, but I can’t find where it says how much fabric I need?

  • Andy June 30, 2019, 4:52 am

    Hi can you please provide the measurements that you used. I know that the pattern has been provided but i do not have a printer. Thankyou

  • Lorraine March 2, 2020, 3:04 pm

    I can see the pattern but I can’t see how to download it.Sorry,for the same comment.There isn’t a link under download…….THANK YOU,Lorraine

    • Angela June 20, 2020, 12:16 am

      The link to download the pattern is under the last picture of the little girl modeling. Under the text, “What you need:”

  • Marjie May 6, 2020, 10:20 am

    Do you have this pattern in larger sizes for girls? I have one that wears a 10/12 and one in a 16/18.

  • Marjie May 7, 2020, 9:16 am

    Do you have a larger version of this pattern?

    • Rachel May 20, 2020, 8:12 am

      I’m sorry we don’t!

  • Marlene Taylor May 30, 2020, 2:10 am

    Can you tell me how to upsize the pattern as I need a 9 year old size

  • Anise Allen June 8, 2020, 7:21 am

    Hi do you have this pattern smaller please 3 to 4 years old

  • Ann June 11, 2020, 11:22 am

    Thank you so much for this pattern.

  • Samantha August 31, 2020, 11:44 am

    I am having an issue with printing the correct size on paper. do you know what size scale or setting to print?

  • Sandra June 15, 2021, 11:07 am


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