modified thurlows in linen

I love the elasticized, drawstring-waist shorts I’ve seen in stores lately, so I thought I’d try to replicate the look from my beloved Thurlow pattern from Sewaholic. I’ve used this pattern so many times since it came out; well worth the investment if you happen to be pear-shaped. There wasn’t much I did to modify the existing pattern, but since it generated so much interest over on IG I figured I’d give you a rundown.


I started off by changing the angle of the front pockets and re-drafting the pocket bits to suit my preference. It’s pretty easy to make this alteration, but I’m not going over it here; I just wanted to point it out so you knew why my pockets look different than the pattern shows.

I added 1/2″ on both the front and back side seams, grading back to nothing around the hipline. I also adjusted the pocket pieces to match. Then at center back, I added 1/2″ from the original stitch line, grading back to nothing at the notches, or where the crotch curve begins to straighten out. Don’t forget that this pattern has a CB extension, so I simply folded my pattern piece to accommodate the extra 1/2″, plus standard seam allowance. Since the waistband is going to be elasticized, I skipped sewing the back dart.


I skipped the welt pockets and added patch pockets instead.

I measured all around the top edge of my pattern pieces to make sure it would be wide enough to be able to pull over my hips, and to determine the waistband length.

Lastly, to create a faux fly, I added a fold back fly facing by lining up the facing pattern piece at the seamline. When it came time to sew the fly, I edge stitched the CF seam line and topstitched following the facing, as per usual.


To make the waistband, I took the measurement I got earlier (plus SA) and cut a straight piece 5″ wide. I pressed it in half, then pressed up the inner SA. I wanted a drawstring, so I made a couple buttonholes (which I reinforced with fusible before making). I sewed the waistband to the outside of the shorts, graded the seam, then pinned the turned up edge to the inside and topstitched from the outside, leaving a gap for elastic insertion.

You can use wider elastic if you want, but I liked a similar pair of RTW shorts that had a small channel of elastic, so I went with 1/4″ elastic. I topstitched 1/2″ from the folded edge, then again 5/8″ below that, again leaving a gap in the lower stitching for elastic insertion. Once my elastic was in, I closed up the gaps and inserted the drawstring through the buttonholes.


So this is a bit long-winded for what it really is. I spent an hour tops deciding what pattern alterations to make. I was using fabric leftover from a previous project, so I wasn’t going to be devastated if this turned out to just be a muslin. However, I’m feeling pretty good about this pair, so I made sure to finish everything properly. These shorts are super comfy and will be perfect for the summer. In fact, I already bought more linen for a second pair.

—lisa g.

25 thoughts on “modified thurlows in linen

  1. crab&bee says:

    Vintage elastic-waist shorts were one of my first sartorial loves, and I love all variations on them! These look so classy in the striped fabric.

    • lisa g says:

      Hopefully this was enough information… Would have loved to include some diagrams, but ugh, not enough time! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    These look fantastic! The fabric you chose is perfect and very summery. Thanks for sharing how you made them, I really need to try that Thurlow pattern.

    • lisa g says:

      Thank you! Man I love this fabric. I have a skirt made with the same stuff, but i don’t like how the waistband sits… happy to have the shorts now! And yes, the Thurlow is an AWESOME pattern. You must try it out!

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