Cotton Summer Shorts Knitting Pattern

Introducing: the Cotton Summer Shorts Knitting Pattern

One of the best things about hand-knit items is they just get better with age.  The stitches contour your shape perfectly and the fiber feels like it was made for you, because it was!

My goal with this pattern was to embrace the feeling of that perfect knit sweater, but in shorts!  Constructed in one piece and shaped from the waistband down, these shorts are simple and a real joy to knit.

Cotton Summer Shorts Knitting Pattern

© ORIGINALLY LOVELY 2024

This pattern and photographs of this garment are property of Kaitlin Barthold of Originally Lovely. This pattern, photos, and design are subject to copyright and are for personal use only. All commercial use is strictly prohibited. You may not reproduce or distribute this pattern under any circumstances.

The free version of this pattern must be viewed from the webpage.

Skill Level

Intermediate

For this pattern, you will need to know how to knit in the round, increase, work simple shaping, be familiar following written instructions, and be willing to learn unique cast on and bind off methods.

Materials Needed to Knit These Shorts

  • Approx 444 (650, 650) (NEED) yards of worsted weight cotton yarn
  • (sample shown in Juniper Moon Farm Neve Yarn)
  • Size US 4 (3.5 mm) circular needles
  • Size US 4 (3.5 mm) or smaller circular knitting needles (for cast off)
  • 3/4″ elastic for waistband
  • Cotton Cord for drawstring
  • Tapestry Needle to weave in ends

Gauge

5 stitches = 1” in stockinette stitch

Please note: Always remember to gauge swatch especially when substituting yarn in a pattern! Small changes in gauge can lead to large changes in the finished garment so assure a proper fit with the proper gauge!

Construction Notes

This project will be worked in the round beginning at the waistband and working down to shape each leg.

Sizing

  • Please Note: we recognize that this pattern is not inclusive to a wide range of sizes and therefore, does not meet out current quality standards.
  • As part of our commitment to size inclusivity, this pattern in currently being rewritten to include a wider range of sizes.

Dimensions

Size:SmallMediumLargeExtra Large
Hip Circumference
12″13.5″15″17″
30.5cm34.5cm38cm43cm

Abbreviations

  • This pattern is written using U.S. English Terminology
  • CO = cast on
  • DPN = double pointed needles
  • K = knit
  • K2tog = knit 2 together (right leaning decrease)
  • M = stitch marker
  • ML = magic loop technique
  • P = purl
  • PM = place stitch marker
  • Rd = round
  • Rep = repeat
  • SM = slip stitch marker
  • Ssk = slip, slip, knit (left leaning decrease)
  • St = stitch
  • [ ] = repeat the instructions inside the brackets as directed.  
  •  * = repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed

Knitting Pattern Instructions

Size Small

Cast on 176 stitches using provisional cast on method. Join to work in round. Place stitch marker to denote beginning of each round. This stitch marker will be considered marker 1.  

Waistband: 

1-11: knit. 

12: *k39, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, PM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k39, PM. Repeat from * once more. 

13 and all odd rows unless otherwise stated: knit, slipping markers as you pass. 

14-16: as row 12, slipping markers as you pass.  

17: k2, k2tog, YO, knit to last 4 st, YO, ssk, k2.  

18-22: as row 14. 

23: Knit across to create a foldover waistband. To do this, lift each stitch as you work from the provisional cast on edge behind work and onto left needle. Knit stitch from CO edge together with the stitch to be worked.  

Body:  

24: *k5, kfb, (k10, kfb) 3 times, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, kfb, (k10, kfb) 3x, k5, SM. Repeat from * once more. 

25: knit. 

26: *knit to 5 before marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to next market, SM. Repeat from * once more.

27: knit. 

28-31: Repeat 26-27 twice more.  

32: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 st before third marker, m1r, k2,  SM, k2, m1l, k to 5 st before fourth marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, knit to end of round.

33: knit. 

34-41: repeat 26-33 once more.  

42-45: repeat rows 26-27 twice. 

46: *k2, m1l, k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 before third marker, m1r,  k2, SM. Repeat once more from * for marker 3 to end.  

47: Knit. 

Repeat rows 42-47 four more times.  

72-73: as 26-27. 

74: as 46. 

75: knit. 

Repeat rows 72-75 four more times. 

92: as row 46. 

93: knit. 

Repeat rows 92-93 six more times. 

Legs: 

Slip stitches between first and third markers onto scrap yarn or stitch holder to be worked later. With remaining stitches on needles, cast on 6 stitches and join to work in round for right leg. 

1: Place marker to denote beginning of round. k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1,  k to end.  

2: knit. 

Repeat 1-2 three more times. If you wish to have a longer inseam in your shorts, you may continue to repeat rows 1-2 at this point.  

On the next round, you will transition to knitting flat.  

9: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn work. This will now be the end/beginning of each row.

10: sl1 p-wise, p3, p2tog, p to last st 5 before point where turned, sl1, p2, sl1, p1. Turn.

11: sl1, k3, ssk, k to last 5, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn. 

Repeat rows 10-11 six more times.  

Work 5 more rows even in stockinette stitch.  

Cast off to create a foldover hem. To do this, take a spare needle and thread through each purl on the wrong-side row 10 rows below. As you knit each stitch to cast off, slip each corresponding stitch from below up onto the working needle and knit together with the main stitch.  

Pick up 6 stitches between legs and slip stitches that were set aside to be worked onto needles. Beginning at center inseam, knit left leg as done for right leg.  

Size Medium

Cast on 184 stitches using provisional cast on method. Join to work in round. Place stitch marker to denote beginning of each round. This stitch marker will be considered marker 1.  

Waistband: 

1-11: knit. 

12: *k41, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, PM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k41, PM. Repeat from * once more. 

13 and all odd rows unless otherwise stated: knit, slipping markers as you pass. 

14-16: as row 12, slipping markers as you pass.  

17: k2, k2tog, YO, knit to last 4 st, YO, ssk, k2.  

18-22: as row 14. 

23: Knit across to create a foldover waistband. To do this, lift each stitch as you work from the provisional cast on edge behind work and onto left needle. Knit stitch from CO edge together with the stitch to be worked.  

Body:  

24: *k8, kfb, (k7, kfb) 4 times, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, kfb, (k7, kfb) 4x, k8, SM. Repeat from * once more. 

25: knit. 

26: *knit to 5 before marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to next market, SM. Repeat from * once more.

27: knit. 

28-31: Repeat 26-27 twice more.  

32: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 st before third marker, m1r, k2,  SM, k2, m1l, k to 5 st before fourth marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, knit to end of round.

33: knit. 

34-49: repeat 26-33 twice more.  

50-53: repeat rows 26-27 twice. 

54: *k2, m1l, k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 before third marker, m1r,  k2, SM. Repeat once more from * for marker 3 to end.  

55: Knit. 

Repeat rows 50-55 four more times.  

80-81: as 26-27. 

82: as 54. 

83: knit. 

Repeat rows 80-83 four more times. 

100: as row 54. 

101: knit. 

Repeat rows 100-101 six more times. 

Legs: 

Slip stitches between first and third markers onto scrap yarn or stitch holder to be worked later. With remaining stitches on needles, cast on 6 stitches and join to work in round for right leg. 

1: Place marker to denote beginning of round. k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to end.  

2: knit. 

Repeat 1-2 three more times. If you wish to have a longer inseam in your shorts, you may continue to repeat rows 1-2 at this point.  

On the next round, you will transition to knitting flat.  

9: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn work. This will now be the end/beginning of each row.

10: sl1 p-wise, p3, p2tog, p to last st 5 before point where turned, sl1, p2, sl1, p1. Turn.

11: sl1, k3, ssk, k to last 5, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn. 

Repeat rows 10-11 six more times.  

Work 5 more rows even in stockinette stitch.  

Cast off to create a foldover hem. To do this, take a spare needle and thread through each purl on the wrong-side row 10 rows below. As you knit each stitch to cast off, slip each corresponding stitch from below up onto the working needle and knit together with the main stitch.  

Pick up 6 stitches between legs and slip stitches that were set aside to be worked onto needles. Beginning at center inseam, knit left leg as done for right leg.  

Size Large

Cast on 196 stitches using provisional cast on method. Join to work in round. Place stitch marker to denote beginning of each round. This stitch marker will be considered marker 1.  

Waistband: 

1-11: knit. 

12: *k44, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, PM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k44, PM. Repeat from * once more. 

13 and all odd rows unless otherwise stated: knit, slipping markers as you pass. 

14-16: as row 12, slipping markers as you pass.  

17: k2, k2tog, YO, knit to last 4 st, YO, ssk, k2.  

18-22: as row 14. 

23: Knit across to create a foldover waistband. To do this, lift each stitch as you work from the provisional cast on edge behind work and onto left needle. Knit stitch from CO edge together with the stitch to be worked.  

Body:  

24: *k8, kfb, (k6, kfb) 5 times, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, kfb, (k6, kfb) 5x, k8, SM. Repeat from * once more. 

25: knit. 

26: *knit to 5 before marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to next market, SM. Repeat from * once more.

27: knit. 

28-31: Repeat 26-27 twice more.  

32: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 st before third marker, m1r, k2,  SM, k2, m1l, k to 5 st before fourth marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, knit to end of round.

33: knit. 

34-49: repeat 26-33 twice more.  

50-53: repeat rows 26-27 twice. 

54: *k2, m1l, k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 before third marker, m1r,  k2, SM. Repeat once more from * for marker 3 to end.  

55: Knit. 

Repeat rows 50-55 five more times.  

86-87: as 26-27. 

88: as 54. 

89: knit. 

Repeat rows 86-89 four more times. 

106: as row 54. 

107: knit. 

Repeat rows 106-107 eight more times. 

Legs: 

Slip stitches between first and third markers onto scrap yarn or stitch holder to be worked later. With remaining stitches on needles, cast on 6 stitches and join to work in round for right leg. 

1: Place marker to denote beginning of round. k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to end.  

2: knit. 

Repeat 1-2 three more times. If you wish to have a longer inseam in your shorts, you may continue to repeat rows 1-2 at this point.  

On the next round, you will transition to knitting flat.  

9: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn work. This will now be the end/beginning of each row.

10: sl1 p-wise, p3, p2tog, p to last st 5 before point where turned, sl1, p2, sl1, p1. Turn.

11: sl1, k3, ssk, k to last 5, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn. 

Repeat rows 10-11 six more times.  

Work 5 more rows even in stockinette stitch.  

Cast off to create a foldover hem. To do this, take a spare needle and thread through each purl on the wrong-side row 10 rows below. As you knit each stitch to cast off, slip each corresponding stitch from below up onto the working needle and knit together with the main stitch.  

Pick up 6 stitches between legs and slip stitches that were set aside to be worked onto needles. Beginning at center inseam, knit left leg as done for right leg.  

Size Extra Large

Cast on 224 stitches using provisional cast on method. Join to work in round. Place stitch marker to denote beginning of each round. This stitch marker will be considered marker 1.  

Waistband: 

1-11: knit. 

12: *k51, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, PM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k51, PM. Repeat from * once more. 

13 and all odd rows unless otherwise stated: knit, slipping markers as you pass. 

14-16: as row 12, slipping markers as you pass.  

17: k2, k2tog, YO, knit to last 4 st, YO, ssk, k2.  

18-22: as row 14. 

23: Knit across to create a foldover waistband. To do this, lift each stitch as you work from the provisional cast on edge behind work and onto left needle. Knit stitch from CO edge together with the stitch to be worked.  

Body:  

24: *k5, kfb, (k8, kfb) 5 times, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, kfb, (k8, kfb) 5x, k5, SM. Repeat from * once more. 

25: knit. 

26: *knit to 5 before marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to next market, SM. Repeat from * once more.

27: knit. 

28-31: Repeat 26-27 twice more.  

32: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 st before third marker, m1r, k2,  SM, k2, m1l, k to 5 st before fourth marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, knit to end of round.

33: knit. 

34-49: repeat 26-33 three more times.  

58-61: repeat rows 26-27 twice. 

62: *k2, m1l, k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to 2 before third marker, m1r,  k2, SM. Repeat once more from * for marker 3 to end.  

63: Knit. 

Repeat rows 58-63 four more times.  

88-89: as 26-27. 

90: as 62. 

91: knit. 

Repeat rows 88-91 four more times. 

108: as row 62. 

109 : knit. 

Repeat rows 108-109 eight more times. 

Legs: 

Slip stitches between first and third markers onto scrap yarn or stitch holder to be worked later. With remaining stitches on needles, cast on 6 stitches and join to work in round for right leg. 

1: Place marker to denote beginning of round. k to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1, SM, k1, sl1, k2, sl1, k to end.  

2: knit. 

Repeat 1-2 three more times. If you wish to have a longer inseam in your shorts, you may continue to repeat rows 1-2 at this point.  

On the next round, you will transition to knitting flat.  

9: knit to 5 before second marker, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn work. This will now be the end/beginning of each row.

10: sl1 p-wise, p3, p2tog, p to last st 5 before point where turned, sl1, p2, sl1, p1. Turn.

11: sl1, k3, ssk, k to last 5, sl1, k2, sl1, k1. Turn. 

Repeat rows 10-11 six more times.  

Work 5 more rows even in stockinette stitch.  

Cast off to create a foldover hem. To do this, take a spare needle and thread through each purl on the wrong-side row 10 rows below. As you knit each stitch to cast off, slip each corresponding stitch from below up onto the working needle and knit together with the main stitch.  

Pick up 6 stitches between legs and slip stitches that were set aside to be worked onto needles. Beginning at center inseam, knit left leg as done for right leg.  

Finishing (all sizes)

Cut 1” elastic 1/2” longer than needed to fit hip measurement. With the help of a safety pin, thread through drawstring hole. Overlap ends of elastic 1/2” and sew together using a zig-zag stitch. Thread drawstring through. Soak in lukewarm water and lay flat to dry to block.

Enjoy!

Pattern Support

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Cotton Shorts Knitting Pattern!

For questions, please comment below or email: support@originallylovely.com

Did you Knit these shorts?

Show off your finished work by tagging @originally.lovely or using the hashtags #originallylovely and #CottonShorts

Let’s keep in touch!

Join our newsletter list & stay up to date on all things Originally Lovely

Discover more Originally Lovely knitting patterns:

perfect knit t-shirt pattern main image
perfect knit tshirt
Simple summer tank top
Diamond Lace Ruana

Similar Posts

23 Comments

    1. Hi! My best advice is to make sure your gauge is correct and possible go down a needle size. Someday I might add more sizes to this pattern 🙂

      1. Hi, thank you for your reply. I’m new to knitting so i’m still confusing, i went down a needle size but it didn’t meet the gauge so i went up, it met the gauge but the shorts still bigger for me. Should i keep go down the needle size until i meet the gauge or should i change the yarn? Thank you.

    1. Hi Barbara! It seems to look alright and be working on my end. I would recommend making sure that your browser isn’t blocking pop-up windows because it does open in a new tab. Otherwise, you could try right clicking the link and downloading that way.
      Hope that helps! -Kaitlin

    2. When I click the download link it takes me to another page that says “oops, that page can’t be found.”
      Pop up blockers have been turned off.
      Really wanted to knit these – please let me know if there’s an alternate download for the Large pattern! 🙂

      1. Hi Mel! Thanks for your patience as we tried to sort this out. I just tried them and they seem to be working. Give it another try and if you continue to have issues, let me know!

          1. Hi Marie! I just tried them all again and seem to be working – I think they can sometimes be a bit finicky. Can you try them again and see if you are able to access them? If you cannot, let me know and we can figure something out!

  1. Hi! Are hip measurements meant to be children’s sizes? Or would the small fit a women’s small?

    1. Hi Lavinia! They are written with adult hip measurements in mind. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *