How to sew a camisole and shorts (step by step with PDF Sewing Pattern)

How to sew a camisole and shorts

Reef Camisole and Shorts Sewing Pattern

Sometimes something is just too good to throw away, even when it’s out of style or slightly damaged. I love the idea of giving old things a new purpose by turning them into something else. It means I can enjoy them just that little bit longer and I’m doing my bit to ‘Make Do and Mend’.

This lovely camisole and shorts set makes use of an old duvet cover, although an old sheet or tablecloth would work just as well. Slightly worn duvet covers have a wonderful softness to them, making them ideal to transform into underwear or something comfy to sleep in.

There are no darts: all the pieces are cut on the bias, so the shaping comes from the ‘give’ in the fabric and it will mould itself to your shape.

How to Fabric Choices

Because the pattern pieces for the cami and shorts are cut on the bias, soft, fluid fabrics work better as they will drape and flow over the body. A super-soft cotton lawn would be ideal, or a luxurious silk crepe de chine or a silk charmeuse if you’re feeling like treating yourself(see TEverything You Need To Know About Fabrics)


•Old sheet, duvet cover or tablecloth
•About 1m (1yd) of soft picot-edged elastic, 1cm (3/8in) wide
•Matching thread
•Basic sewing kit


  • A Cami front – cut 1
  • B Cami back – cut 1
  • C Cami front facing – cut 1
  • D Cami back facing – cut 1
  • E Cami strap – cut 1
  • F Shorts front and back – cut 2
(flip the shorts pattern to cut a right and left leg for the pair)

All seam allowances are 1.5cm (5/8in) unless otherwise stated.

Get Your Pattern Now!!  camisole and shorts  - PDF sewing pattern

How to sew a camisole and shorts

DIY Etty Camisole Top Tutorial (easy for beginners)

1   Cut out the pattern pieces›, following the lay plan (see General Sewing Techniques: Cutting out). Be sure to follow the grainlines: the pieces will look as if they’re placed at odd angles, but don’t worry. Make sure you flip the shorts pattern – or better still, trace off two patterns so that you have a right and a left.

2   Transfer the pattern markings to your fabric (see General Sewing Techniques: Transferring pattern markings).

3   Stay stitch around the neckline and underarms of the back and front camisoles and facings (see General Sewing Techniques: Machine stitching). Fabric that’s cut on the bias has a lot of stretch, or ‘give’, in it; the stay stitching will ensure that the fabric does not stretch out of shape.

How to sew a camisole and shorts

 How to sew Camisole

The side seams are sewn using a French seam, which means that the raw edges are completely enclosed and do not need to be neatened.

4   Place the front and back wrong sides together and sew the first side seam, using an 8mm (a scant 3/8in) seam allowance (a). Trim the seam allowances by just under half and press the seam flat (b). Fold the garment so that the right sides are together and the first seam lies along the crease. Press in place. Sew another seam to enclose the raw edges (c). This seam should be wide enough to just cover the seam allowance but not so wide that you can see any stray threads from the first seam. Press the seam flat, then press it to one side (d). Repeat with the second side seam.

5   Fold the strap in half with right sides together and sew along the long unfolded edge, taking a 5mm (1/4in) seam allowance. Repeat with the second strap. Turn the straps right side out and press flat. You can use a loop turner or just sew some long threads inside the strap and gently pull on them from the other end to turn the strap through. You can also edge stitch each long edge if you wish (see General Sewing Techniques: Machine stitching).

6   Hem the camisole using a decorative stitch on the overlocker (serger) or a narrow double-fold hem.

7   Place the end of the strap on the right side of the camisole front so that the strap hangs down and one end is level with the point. Pin in place. Now flip the strap over to the back and do the same. Try on the camisole to see if the straps are the correct length and adjust if necessary. Machine baste across the straps to attach the ends to the camisole.

How to sew a camisole and shorts

8   Place the facing pieces right sides together and sew down the side seams. Press the seams open. Neaten the bottom edge by overlocking or turning up an 8mm (a scant 3/8in) hem and topstitching it in place.

9   With right sides together, matching up the front and back points of the camisole with those on the facing, place the facing over the camisole. Tuck the straps down, so that they lie underneath the underarm, and match up the side seam of the facing with the side seam of the camisole. Starting at a side seam, sew around the 

neckline of the camisole, pivoting and sewing across each strap and then pivoting again to continue around the neckline. Make sure the straps don’t get caught in the stitching. Trim and clip around the seam to release the tension in the curves and reduce the bulk at the corners

10 Understitch as far as you can around each section of the neckline (see General Sewing Techniques: Machine stitching). Then turn the facing to the inside of the camisole and press everything nice and flat. If you have some spare buttons or a bit of ribbon, you can add a bit of decoration, too.

How to sew a camisole and shorts

How to sew Shorts 

The crotch seams are sewn using a French seam, like the camisole side seams. The inside leg seams of the shorts are sewn using a flat felled seam. Both these methods enclose the raw seam edges.

1   Stay stitch around the waist edge of the shorts (see General Sewing Techniques: Machine stitching).
2   Lay the two shorts pieces on top of each other. Sew up the front and back crotch seams using a French seam (see Camisole: Step 4).

How to sew a camisole and shorts

3   Open out the shorts. With right sides together, match up the inside leg seams and sew a 1.5cm (5/8in) seam (a). Press the seam open and trim back one side of the seam allowance by 1cm (3/8in) (b). On the untrimmed seam allowance, press under 6mm (1/4in). Fold the pressed-under seam allowance over the trimmed one (c). Sew close to the edge of the folded-over seam allowance to enclose the trimmed seam allowance. Press flat (d). This is known as a flat felled seam.

4   Measure the elastic around your wait so that it fits comfortably, allowing for a 2cm (3/4in) overlap. Cut the elastic to size, then overlap the ends and sew a square to hold the two ends together. Make sure you don’t twist it!

5   Mark the quarter, half and three-quarter points on the elastic. These will match up with the centre front, centre back and side notches of the shorts. Place the right side of the elastic ring over the right side of the fabric at the waist of the shorts, so that the raw edge of the waist is level with the plain edge of the elastic. Match up all the marks and seams and pin or clip in place. You can add in extra pins as you gently stretch the elastic to fit the shorts.

6   Sew a stretch stitch or small zigzag stitch along the bottom edge of the elastic close to the decorative edge. If any fabric is visible, you can carefully trim off under the elastic.

7   Fold over the elastic so it is just hidden from the right side. Now sew a triple-step zigzag, a long, wide zigzag, from the right side to hold the elastic in place. The stitch should cover most of the width of the elastic.

8   Hem the shorts using a decorative stitch on the overlocker or a narrow pin hem that you can sew on an ordinary sewing machine.

How to sew a camisole and shorts

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