Sideways Shorts pattern

I designed a sideways construction for shorts, as I found that top-down shorts simply weren’t working for me. I hope this pattern helps you make your perfect pair!

A downloadable .pdf version of this pattern (preview below) is available in my Ravelry store for just £2. It includes useful diagrams and more detailed instructions.

Gauge: Not required. You can use any yarn and its recommended hook size.


A: Desired length of shorts, without ribbing border.
B: Outer circumference of thigh, not including the inner thigh.
C: Inner circumference of inner thigh (this makes the crotch part)

Also decide on an inseam length based on how fitted you want the shorts to be.

Pattern Instructions:

Starting out:

Step 1: Ch enough stitches to reach desired length A. Chain 2 more, turn.

Step 2: HDC in the 3rd chain from hook. HDC across to end, ch2, turn.

Step 3: Continue making HDCs in the back loop (HDCinbl) until piece reaches desired width B (the outer thigh circumference.)

Step 4: HDCinbl from edge of the piece until desired height of inseam is reached.

Step 5: HDCinbl down back towards the leg end of the piece. Ch2, turn.

Step 6: HDCinbl back up into the piece until the 2nd last HDC from Step 4. Decrease by HDC2tog in the last 2 sts.

Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until your desired minimum inseam height is reached.

Step 8: Try on the piece and see if it wraps around your entire thigh to your desired size (Measurement B+C).

Step 9: Join the edges of A and the inseam with sl sts, making sure to align the bottom edge of the piece when doing so. Now you will have a vaguely tube-shaped piece with a tapered edge.

Make the other half of your shorts by repeating Steps 1 to 9.

  • Align both pieces by making sure to match up the decrease slopes of both pieces, and the “sharp” slope (where you joined edges A and inseam flap) of both pieces.
  • Join both pieces with sl sts.

Optional steps:

  • SC across the top edge of the shorts to neaten it up and make it easier to join the waistband.
  • Make a ribbed waist band:
    • Ch enough sts to reach your desired waistband height.
    • SCinbl until the waistband, when stretched, can wrap around your waist/wherever you want the top of your shorts to be.
    • Turn the piece 90° and SC along the edge to neaten it up and make it easier to join to the main piece of the shorts. Do one SC in every row of ribbing.
  • Join waistband to shorts with sl st.
  • Add edging of your choice on the leg holes of the shorts. E.g. a simple SC border to neaten up the edge, or add ribbing with front post and back post DCs.

Turn the piece inside out and you’re done!

Additional Notes:

  • I personally think this sideways construction is especially suitable for curvier bodies. Top-down shorts start with a waist measurement and increase towards the hips which may not work for everyone. With this construction, the starting point is the hips and thigh measurements so you’ll know they’ll fit! The waist is cinched at the end with the addition of the ribbed waistband.
  • If you’d like a bit more security, definitely add a drawstring to the waistband!

Thanks for using my pattern!

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