How to Sew an Athletic Skort

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My active little girls love skorts. They are tree climbers, hikers, pig riders, bikers… For the sake of modesty they usually wear bike shorts or leggings under their skirts when they are tearing around, but those can get very hot. I looked at the prices for ready made athletic skorts and thought about how quickly my small heroines could ruin a $30 garment in a tangle with greenbriars or on a slide down a rocky path. I decided there has to be an easy way to make a skort (skirt/shorts combination, for those of you who haven’t heard of this).

I found knee-length athletic shorts in the boys’ section at Walmart for 4.44. I wanted the mesh fabric ones, but those were wiped out because July. My fabric was just about the same feel as the shorts, stretchy, yet sturdy. It was swimsuit fabric I got on clearance at JoAnn for $3 a yard. I laid the shorts onto a fitted skirt pattern so that I could see how long to cut the skirt part. As you can see, I left about an inch at the top to fold over the shorts elastic and enough at the bottom for a hem.

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I sewed the sides of the skirt with a lightning stitch to keep the stitches from breaking when the fabric stretches. If you don’t have this stitch option, you can use a small zig-zag. It is also helpful to use polyester thread and definitely a needle for sewing knits.

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This is a detail of the stripe I sewed on top of the side seams just for fun. Later I realized that it really does reinforce the seam.

Now let’s backtrack a little to the process of sewing the skirt onto the shorts. I did not use my overlock machine since this fabric didn’t fray at all, but you could neaten it up if you wanted to be picky. This is the skirt top arranged over the top of the shorts. How else could I say that so that it makes more sense? Basically you hold the shorts inside the skirt and double the top of the skirt down over the elastic. Make sure to match the side seams and centers of each piece. I pinned it down to the second seam on the elastic and stitched it about 3/4 inch down. The skirt part was just about the same width as the shorts, but since the elastic was already sewn in once, I had to stretch it gently while pinning the skirt and also while I was sewing.

Don’t use lightning stitch for this! If you have to pick if open for any reason, you will find yourself buying more shorts at Walmart for 4.44 rather than wielding a seam ripper through all those layers. Ordinary straight stitches are much more forgiving in the event that something wonky needs to be altered.

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I hemmed the finished garment and behold, it was a skort!  It took about one hour of sewing and $8 worth of fabric, trim, and ready made shorts. The girls asked me if I could figure out how to open the side so they can access the shorts pockets. I said, “Not today, girls.” But I would like to try that on the next pair.

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Who would like to know how many days they can wear these without washing?

 

 

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