How to Sew Shorts with a Faux Skirt Front {tutorial}

Wow, these photos are from 2 years ago! I’m switching to a new, much faster (Thank goodness!), computer right now and am in the process of sorting files. Yup – super fun! (haha) But, there’s a silver lining! I found this tutorial, all photographed and ready to go. Easy Peasy! In the middle of all of the excitement and preparations (re: yesterday’s post) I am happy to have less to do!

My girls love skirts and dresses and I love the modesty that shorts provide – so the faux skirt front is a great mash-up for both of us. My oldest is still wearing them – though they are quite a bit shorter now!

This tutorial is a bit more summer- related – but if I wait another year to post it you might not even recognize my kids in the photos! Also, it seemed a better time to write it up when I was planning last week and it was still warm outside. Today is a bit less hospitable – with rain and chilly-ish fall weather. Oops!

Either way, here’s a full tutorial on how to add a faux skirt panel to the front of any shorts pattern, assuming the shorts have a side seam and separate waistband. Depending on your part of the world, you can get a jump on your summer sewing, next summer’s sewing, or pin the tutorial for later! Of course, these would look great in a nice wool plaid with tights underneath. #justsayin

For simplicity’s sake, I have referred here to the free Oliver and S Sunny Day Shorts pattern. To prepare, download the pattern and cut out all pieces according to the instructions. Make sure to leave excess fabric for the faux-skirt front. If the pattern pieces look a little different, it’s because I usually lower the rise on the front of my kids’ shorts – it tends to fit them a bit better. Here I’ve lowered the front rise by 1 1/2″.

Draft and Cut the Skirt Front

1) Fold Skirt Front fabric in half. Place Center-Front pattern piece near the fold as shown in photo. The Shorts Side is parallel to the fold. Leave 1/2″ or so before the top of the Center-Front to add ease for movement to the front of the skirt. (The curves on the top of the pattern will make it easy to ease this fabric back in later on.) Trace the top of the shorts pattern to mark the top of the skirt front – the excess at the Center-Front is free-hand marked at 90 degrees to the fold.

2) Pivot the pattern piece so the bottom of the Shorts Side is 1-2″ over from it’s original placement. The top of the Shorts Side matches up with your line from step 1. Trace the Shorts Side, including the notch placement.

3) Draw a line from the bottom of the Shorts Side to the fold. The line is at a 90 degree angle to the folded edge.

4) To make hemming easier, we need to straighten out the angle at the bottom of the Skirt Side. Line up the bottom of the Shorts Front with the bottom edge of the Skirt. Trace the side of the shorts, making a 1 1/2″ line 90 degrees up from the bottom edge.

5) Cut out the faux Skirt panel. 

6) Hem the Skirt Panel. Follow the instructions for the Sunny Day Shorts – “Finish the Shorts” Step 1.

7) Sandwich the Shorts Front, Skirt Panel and Shorts Back as shown. Shorts Front and Skirt Panel are right-side-up. Shorts Back is wrong-side up. Align the straight side edge – this is the wearer’s right side seam. You can use the notches to line everything up properly.

8) Pin the side, making sure all three layers are aligned. Fold the skirt panel out of the way. match and pin the inner leg, matching the Shorts Front and Back. Stitch as indicated in the Sunny Day Shorts instructions – “Prepare the Shorts Front and Back” Step 1.

9) Repeat step 8 for the wearer’s left side. Fold the other shorts leg and skirt panel out of the way and stitch the side and inner seam.

10) Follow “Prepare the Shorts Front and Back” Step 2 to sew the rise. Be sure to fold the skirt panel out of the way while stitching! Pin the raw edges of the Skirt Front to the Shorts Front. Ease in the excess Skirt fabric and baste with a 1/4″ seam.

11) Continue to follow the Sunny Day Shorts instructions to attach the waistband and insert the elastic.

12) Fold up and press the shorts hem as per “Finish the Shorts” Step 1.

13) Open the skirt panel and pin the hem where it meets the skirt panel. Stitch the hem, beginning at the pin and ending where the hem meets the skirt panel on the other side.

All done! Enjoy your new skirt 🙂

Let  me know what you think! Or even better – post some photos? I’d love to see them! Share your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!


Re-purpose ruined leggings, sew them into bike shorts! {tutorial}

My daughters love their leggings, into the ground – literally! They get run into the asphalt school yard, sidewalk, brick walls – you name it! Take a couple of active kids, add in some biking and school-related spills and you end up with a pile of leggings with holes in the knees.

Every year I collect the fall/winter leggings and instead of giving up on them, turn them into bike shorts. The girls wear them all spring/summer under their dresses and tees. It’s a great way to re-purpose and reuse their clothes. Chances are they will still fit and it’s not as hard as it sounds!

If you’ve sewn with knits before, you are good to go. If you’d like some tips or a refresher – you can check out 12 Tips & Tricks for Sewing Knits – lots of easy steps to get you started, and some advanced ideas as well.

It’s almost fall here and our shorts-wearing days are fast becoming few and far between. If you happen to live where the seasons are getting colder, save yourself some work for next summer and mend this year’s leggings before they are packed away – they’ll be ready to wear when you unpack them in the spring! #organized #momoftheyear

How to Mend Leggings with Holes in the Knees

Tip: This will work with track pants too!

Use this tutorial to fix your child’s (or your own!) leggings, by turning them into bike shorts. If you want, use the bonus tutorial to add in a little extra detail with some ruching and buttons.

You will need:

  • Ruined leggings (with a tear or hole at or below the knee)
  • Matching thread
  • Ballpoint/jersey or twin needle
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine and your go-to sewing supplies
  • Optional: Eight inches of ¼” elastic and six buttons



Happy mending!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Overview {Free 12 Page Book Tutorial!}

Today is a momentous day, the Quiet Book Sew-Along is finished! I am so glad that to share this book and I am excited to know that there are so many of you that want to make one too! I will always treasure the Quiet Books I have made for my kids – and hope they treasure them later on as well. (I should find the one I made my oldest and post it. I made it when I was a “sewing newbie” and cringe looking at it now – let’s just say my tastes have changed a bit! *edit* The very first Quiet Book is now posted!)

Welcome! Find everything you need to sew this Quiet Book here. All post listings, links, buttons and more. All of this information was posted in a Sew-Along tab at the top of the blog. I’ve decided to move everything here to keep things simpler. You can also find a link to all of this information on the right sidebar.

(pages pictured above are from the original Quiet Book)

This 12 page Quiet Book Sew-Along is finished! These pattern pieces and tutorials will be always be available, so feel free to join in whenever you can.

Please share your quiet books!

  • Join up on Flickr. Join our Sew-Along Flickr group and post your photos, comment and see what other members are sewing as we go. (I did a little tutorial on joining Flickr and posting photos to help you out!) *Note – this page has not been updated recently
  • Post photos on Facebook!
  • Post photos on Twitter or Instagram! Hashtag your Sew-Along posts with #quietbooksewalong and/or #alongforthreadride
  • Blog about it! Blog your progress, it provides a place for you to let us know more about your process!


Click on the photos or text below to access each post.

*edited* The First Original Quiet Book is now posted as well! I finally photographed my oldest’s book with new page ideas not in this tutorial set.

The Original Quiet Book: 

Original Book Construction Original Book Pages 1-6 Original Book Pages 7-12


Quiet Book Sew-Along: Overview (If you are new, start here!) Yardage Overview: Week 1 (Cover & Page Fabrics, Interfacing, Binding) Flickr Update (Where to find us and a Tutorial on joining the Quiet Book Flickr group)

Page Construction Tutorials:

House Page – Materials List: Week 2 House Page – Printable Pattern & Tutorial: Week 3 Mitten Page – Materials List: Week 4
Mitten Page – Printable Pattern & Tutorial: Week 5 Purse/Pocket Photo Album Page – Materials & Printable Pattern: Week 6 Pocket Photo Album Page Tutorial: Week 7
Purse Photo Album Page Tutorial: Week 8 Rainbow of Colours Page – Materials List: Week 9  Rainbow of Colours Page – Tutorial: Week 10
Puzzle Page – Fabric Prep: Week 11 Telephone Page – Materials: Week 12 Telephone Page – Pattern & Tutorial: Week 13
Abacus Page – Materials & Tutorial: Week 14 Button the Flower – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 15 Tie a Shoe – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 16
Puzzle – Materials & Tutorial: Week 17 Buckle Up Page – Materials & Tutorial: Week 18 Teddy Bear Page – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 19
Race Track Page – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 20 Page Assembly – Materials & Tutorial: Week 21 Cover Assembly – Materials & Tutorial: Week 22

 Want more tutorials and posts like these? Follow below and come #alongforthreadride. Thank you!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Cover Assembly – Materials & Tutorial {Week 22}

We are here, this is it, you are ALMOST finished! Making the cover is the easy part in comparison to your amazing quiet book pages. Here we go!

(If you are just starting find all the information you need on this Sew-Along page.)

Before we begin/Important Notes:
  • Remember to use your iron liberally when you are sewing this book. It is going to be a work of art when you are done! Since it is thick and some of the pages will not be iron-able once you are finished with them it is advisable to take all of the care you can to remove wrinkles so they are not accidentally permanent in your final book.


  • Cover: Cut 2, 11″ high x 21″ wide, from the Yardage Overview
  • Fusible Fleece: Cut 1, 11″ x 21″ for the outer cover
  • Inside Cover Ribbon (to hold binder/key rings): Cut 1, 11″ high, I used 1″ grosgrain
  • Outer Wrap-Around ribbon: Cut 1, 27″ (roughly, see below) and 1 piece 9″ long
  • Strap Tab (Fabric): Cut 2, 3″ wide by 1.5″ high (1/4″ seam)
  • Velcro: Cut 1 each hook & loop, 1.5″ long
  • 2 binder rings or key rings

Outer Cover:

    1. Press fusible fleece to the outer cover as per the manufacturer’s directions. Quilt if desired. Note that the wrap-around ribbon will be sewn horizontally in the center of the cover.
    2. Place the shorter length of wrap-around ribbon directly over the longer piece matching the ends and edges. Baste, fuse or use a glue-stick to temporarily hold them in place. Top-stitch the long edges to hold the two pieces together.
    3. Pin the wrap-around ribbon horizontally across the outer cover parallel tot he long edge. The double-layer from Step 2 will be on the left, with the shorter edge underneath. The shorter ribbon should overlap the cover by at least 1 1/2″.
  1. Mark 1″ over from the left side of the outer cover edge, beside the double ribbon layer. Stitch a large rectangle around the edges of the ribbon to secure it to the cover, pivoting at the 1″ mark.
  2. Stitch the soft side of your Velcro 2 1/2″ over from the right edge of the outer cover.
  3. Attach embroidery or label at least 1″ away from all edges, if desired. The right side of the cover is the front, the left side is the back.

Inside Cover:

  1. Pin the inside cover ribbon down the centre of the cover, marking openings for the rings that match up with your page ring tabs. I marked 3 1/2″, 4 1/2″, 6 1/2″ & 7 1/2″, measured from the bottom edge of the inside cover.
  2. Stitch around the ribbon edges, leaving the spaces between the markings un-sewn.
Assemble Cover:
  1. Place the outer and inside covers right sides together. Stitch around the edges with a 3/8″ seam leaving a 3″ opening along one edge. Make sure NOT to sew over the free end of the wrap-around ribbon, it should be in between the layers of fabric.
  2. Clip all corners, turn, press and top-stitch all edges. Again, do not sew over the free end of the wrap-around ribbon.
  3. With the inside cover facing up, top-stitch through all layers 1/4″ from either side of the inside cover ribbon to hold the cover together.

Add the Velcro Tab:

  1. Place your finished Quiet Book pages inside the cover to measure the thickness of the book. (Do not insert them into the key rings yet!) Test the length of the wrap-around ribbon and shorten it if necessary. The ribbon should wrap around the book with all pages inserted and cover the front Velcro.
  2. Fold the right short edge of the top tab fabric in 1/2″. Fold the left short edge of the bottom tab fabric in 1/2″ –  this side will face the cover and have the Velcro attached.
  3. Stitch Velcro to the bottom tab, 1/4″ from the folded edge.
  4. Place tab pieces right sides together with the folded edges matching. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam, leaving the folded edges open. Clip, turn and press.
  5. Insert the free end of the wrap-around ribbon into the open end of the tab. Top-stitch the tab, catching the ribbon and stitching the folded edge closed.

Finishing Touches:

  1. Insert the binder or key rings into the book.
  2. Attach the pages in the order you have determined. (Take photos to share with everyone!)
  3. Gift wrap and give your work of art to a small-someone you love.
  4. Feel so proud to have accomplished this amazing book! Wow!

** As usual: This tutorial is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not sell items made with the Quiet Book Sew Along posts. If you wish to sell these please contact for information on how to purchase a license. Thank you!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Page Assembly – Materials & Tutorial {Week 21}

This week I’m making good on a promise I started a long time ago, I’m posting the last few tutorials for the Quiet Book Sew-Along! They have been in the works for so long. I have been delinquent in finishing the Sew-Along, and I apologize for that. I have learned a lot about what I can and cannot accomplish in a reasonable timeline in the last few years – and this was definitely something where I bit off more than I could chew.

Thankfully, the instructions for the pages are finished! So all we need to do is bind them and make the cover. After these two instructional posts, I’ll post a final overview of the whole Sew-Along. During today’s tutorial we will finish each page set for the book. Add the ribbon loops that will secure the pages to the book, stitch on the fun ribbon tabs and finish the top and bottom with bias tape.

(If you are just starting find all the information you need on this Sew-Along page.)

Before we begin/Important Notes:
  • Remember to use your iron liberally when you are sewing this book. It is going to be a work of art when you are done! Since it is thick and some of the pages will not be iron-able once you are finished with them it is advisable to take all of the care you can to remove wrinkles so they are not accidentally permanent in your final book.

Materials: (Note – the word “Ribbon” is used throughout the final assembly. I have used Grosgrain ribbon or Twill tape. Be sure to finish all ribbon ends to prevent fraying by using Fray Check or melt them carefully with a flame.)

  • Double Fold Bias Tape: 3 1/2 Yds, from the Yardage Overview
  • Ribbon Loops: Cut 1, 3″ long 1/4″ or 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon per page (if you are making all of the pages you will need 12, 33″ in total)

Assembling the Pages:

  • Stack and match your quiet book pages based on how they will fit together best. For example: Placing two very fluffy pages together might cause an overly-high bump in your book. This is the order I used, the first page mentioned is the top page, the page after the slash (/) is the bottom page – these are arranged wrong sides together. It is also good to pay attention to which side of the page will be on the outside edge of the book and which will be near the middle/spine. Pages with ribbons attached on one edge (ex. puzzle page) look best when the excess ribbons are in the centre of the book.
    • Purse or Pocket Photo Album  / Puzzle
    • Race Track (single page) / Race Track (double page – folded right sides together) / House
    • Teddy Bear / Rainbow of Colours
    • Abacus / Mitten
    • Buckle Up / Telephone
    • Tie a Shoe / Button the Flower

Finish Each Page Set:

  • Race Track Set:Since this page is different from all the others we will cover this one first.
    1. Place your single pages RST (Right Sides Together) with the double Race Track page. The Car Garage must be on the right, the other single page is whichever one you have chosen (called the “House Page” below because that’s what I used) and must be on the left. Make sure all the pages are the same way up!
    2. Remove the ribbon tabs from the House and Race Track pages and pin them on the left side of the House page. Pin as you like. I alternated my tabs so they did not all end up at the same spot when the book was finished.
    3. Fold two of the Ribbon Loops as shown and centre them on 3″ and 6″ on the right side of the House Page. They should stick out about 1/4″ over the raw edge.
    4. Set the double Race Track page aside. Align the ribbon loop side of the the House Page and Garage RST. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam, back-stitch over each ribbon loop as you sew over it to strengthen the seam. Press the seam allowance open carefully, not to melt any ribbons or embellishments.
    5. Match the double page and stitched single pages with right sides together. Trim the double page to the width of the sewn single pages if necessary. Pin the short ends and stitch with a 1/4″ seam. Again, double-stitch over the ribbon tabs to secure.
    6. Turn the pages right side out. Press and align the seamed edges, top-stitch about 1/8″ away from each edge.
    7. Align the centre seam between the single pages. Pin and stitch down this seam (stitch in the ditch) to secure it to the back page. The stitching will show down the centre of the racetrack, so choose your thread colour carefully. I used white thread and coloured over the road stitches with a black fabric marker.
    8. Trim all pages if necessary to make them even. Make sure they are still close to 9″ tall.
    9. Open the bias tape and lay it along the bottom raw edge with 1/2″ extra on each end. Stitch at 3/8″. Cut off the excess if needed, being sure to leave 1/2″.
    10. Turn the bias tape over to the other side. Fold the extra 1/2″ in to hide the raw edge, pinning or gluing to hold in place.
    11. Fold the bias tape up and stitch to finish the edge. Repeat for the top edge of the pages.
    12. Fold the pages in half and secure using the velcro on the Racetrack page.
  • All Other Page Sets:
    1. Choose a set of pages to sew together based on your assembly stack from earlier.
    2. Remove the ribbon tabs from the pages and pin them on the right side of one page (this will be the outside edge). Pin as you like. I alternated my tabs so they did not all end up at the same spot when the book was finished.
    3. Fold two of the Ribbon Loops as shown and centre them on 3″ and 6″ on the left side of the same page. They should stick out about 1/4″ over the raw edge.
    4. Place the two pages RST. Stitch the tab and ribbon edges with a 1/4″ seam. , back-stitch over each ribbon loop as you sew over it to strengthen the seam.
    5. Turn the pages right side out. Press and align the seamed edges, top-stitch about 1/8″ away from each edge.
    6. Trim pages if necessary to make them even. Make sure they are still close to 9″ tall.
    7. Follow steps 9-11 above to finish the top and bottom edges with bias tape.
    8. Finish all page sets in this way.

** As usual: This tutorial is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not sell items made with the Quiet Book Sew Along posts. If you wish to sell these please contact for information on how to purchase a license. Thank you!

Embellished Gathered Skirt {tutorial}

I have a good stash of ribbon… well, maybe more than a good stash. More like an entire cute Ikea garbage can full! They collect much faster than I can sew them into all the things. This skirt , however, saved me a bit of stash-guilt by using up about 44″ each of 10 different ribbons – all in one skirt, hooray! Plus, I got to play with lots of fun stitches on my On-Loan Janome Skyline S5!

I decided to use some gray Essex linen, left over from my Camber Dress a few years ago. After checking with my “anti-gray” oldest child to make sure she’d wear it, I got to pull out my bucket ‘o ribbons and decide which ones to use. I wanted to add in some decorative stitches and since my oldest loves to draw, I found a few quotes to add in.

Love, love being able to personalize this skirt for her! One quote says “Creativity takes courage. ~ Matisse” and the other is “Everything you can imagine is real. ~ Degas” The Skyline S5 has a 50 stitch memory. After programming it, all I had to do was start stitching and it continued the pattern until I stopped it at the other edge of the skirt.

After using this machine for about 6 months, one of my favorite features is the automatic tension. It is so nice not to have to think about it when sewing through multiple layers and different thicknesses. I used a pink bobbin throughout this project, to match the lining, and it doesn’t show even once on the outer fabric.

As a word of caution, I am new to the world of embroidery and stitching and did not have any stabilizer on hand. *collective gasp* Yes, I know, I did just do that. #liveandlearn You can do better than me and make sure to have some behind all of your decorative stitching. Thankfully the waviness pressed out with a bit of steam – whew. I did put a layer of woven fabric behind my linen, because I was worried the loose weave and the stitching wouldn’t play well together. This helped a bit, but stabilizer is now #1 on my shopping list.


  • 44″ wide outer fabric – see sizing/cutting instructions below
  • lining/stabilizer – see sizing/cutting instructions below
  • various ribbons/embellishments
  • 3/4″ elastic, non-rolling
  • thread to match ribbons for top-stitching
  • removable fabric pen/ruler
  • decorative stitches and thread (optional)
Note: Make sure your ribbons are machine washable, and the colours won’t run. Pre-wash them if you can. Be sure to test if they are colour-fast with hot water as you would another fabric. If you are worried, wash skirt in cold water and hang to dry. It is also recommended that you check to see if the ribbons can be pressed Some synthetic blends will melt when heat is applied. It is best to press the skirt from the wrong side with not much heat unless you are sure the ribbons can take it. 

Prep Work:

  • Pre-wash fabrics & press
  1. Measure the desired length of your skirt (I used a ready-to-wear size 7 skirt as an example and measured 15″)
  2. Add 3″ to your length to leave room for hemming and an elastic casing.

Sizing: If your child’s waist/hips are between 21″-27″ a 44″ width of fabric should be fine. If not, fabric should be cut to the final length x double your child’s waist measurement.

Cut Your Fabric:

  1. Cut your outer fabric from selvage to selvage at your desired length (including the 3″ from Prep Work Step 2).
  2. If using a lining fabric, cut this to the same size as the outer fabric. If not, prepare strips of stabilizer to be adhered behind decorative stitching.

Here We Sew:

  1. If using a lining fabric, place lining and outer fabric wrong sides together. Baste if desired, from now on treat this as one fabric.
  2. Use a removable fabric marker to mark the casing on the outer fabric at 1 1/4″ down from the top long edge. Mark the hem with a line 1″ up from the bottom.
  3. Lay ribbons along the width of the skirt in your desired layout. Place stiffer ribbons near the middle/bottom – since they won’t gather as well. It is good to leave about 1″ of room under the casing and before the hem. Be sure to leave room for some decorative stitching, too! If you don’t have fancier stitches on your machine a zig-zag stitch or some closely sewn straight stitched lines would be cute too.
  4. Mark the ribbon placement on a short outer fabric edge. It is helpful to take a temporary photo or write down the order so you can remember it later!
  5. Mark lines for the top edge of each ribbon across the width of the skirt, so they all end up straight! It helps to fold the skirt so the two short outer edges are lined up and transfer the ribbon placement marks- this way the ribbons will hopefully match up along the back edge of your skirt.
  6. Add your decorative stitching and ribbons as desired. Switch thread colours as necessary to top-stitch your ribbons neatly.
  7. Trim the ribbons to match the fabric edges and finish the sides so the fabric does not fray. I used the “M” overcast foot that came with this machine, and a double zig-zag overcasting stitch. This fabric is NEVER going to fray now! You could also finish the edge with a serger or a zig-zag stitch and some Fray Check.
  8. Pin the short edges of the outer fabric right sides together, matching ribbon placement as you go. Stitch with a 3/8″ seam. Press the seam open to reduce bulk.
  9. Fold and press the hem under 1/2″ then under 1/2″ again. Top-stitch a generous 3/8″ away from the folded edge.
  10. Fold and press the casing under 1/4″, then 1″ to leave room for the elastic. Stitch near the first folded edge, leaving a 3″ opening.
  11. Insert the elastic into the casing and feed it through with a safety pin. The elastic will be roughly the length of your child’s waist measurement + 1″. Though, it is best to try the skirt on and fit it accordingly.
  12. Overlap the elastic and stitch it together. Push it back into the casing and stitch the casing closed. Remove any marked lines. You are finished!
Enjoy your fancy skirt! My oldest was so cute and made sure to thank me “for the most beautiful skirt ever.” She’s a keeper! 😉

Thanks for reading to the bottom of the post. Join me for “thread ride” so you don’t miss more great content!

Disclaimer: Janome Canada has kindly allowed me to borrow this loaner machine on a 1 year contract and I am so grateful to them!  I want to say again, as with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. I have bought and worked with Janome products for 90% of my sewing life and used their products long before they contacted me. I am so happy to give them a great review because I already love and support this product.