Cheeky Shorts

On Of My Personal Favourites

Cheekies are a recent concept that's halfway between boy leg shorts and standard bikini bottoms. While they're just developing in swimwear, they're quite common in lingerie. They have a very low slung waist, wide square sides and expose at least half of the cheek. Seems like an odd combination in a time when things are constantly getting smaller.


The photos below are an early version of cheekies that I ran with for a few years. They form the pattern basis for skimpier versions and side gathered versions. Visually they are more like normal bikini bottoms with wider sides however their final construction is quite different.

The photo below illustrates the pattern we're going to make. This pattern is based on the Women’s One Piece Block we created previously (using 12% horizontal negative ease and 0% vertical ease). Before you start each step, take a good look at the illustration to help you follow the drafting process. At the end of each step your draft should match the illustration.

Step One

Trace the bottom half of your one piece blocks. Extend the side seams down about 4-5 cm, but no more. Draft in a horizontal guide at this distance to ensure your front and back panels match. As this pattern requires a centre back seam we need to take out 6cm from the gusset area, only this time we take it all from the front panel. Draft in a horizontal guide line on the front panel 6cm up from the crotch seam. Draft in a vertical guide line straight down from the narrowest part of the crotch. Duplicate this width on the back block as illustrated.

Step Two

Draft in a waist line that mirrors front to back. This waist should be 1-2cm lower than a standard bikini bottom.

Step Three

Draft in the front leg line. The horizontal guide at the extended leg line and the vertical guide at the crotch should command the direction of the curve rather than drafting a smooth gradual curve. The back leg line should be smooth and gradual with the angle at the side seam dictated by the front leg line. Place the front and back panels against each other to check the leg line is correct.

Step Four

Retrace the front and back panels. On the back panel, draft in two guide lines as illustrated. Do the same to the front panel.

Step Five

Separate the front and back sections. The guides on the back panel are used to create the centre back seam curve. Instead of rotating the sections about a point on the leg line, this time we will rotate about a point on the side of each section. The guides on the front panel are used to open up the leg line here it crosses the tendon either side of the crotch. This makes the garment more wearable by stopping it cutting into the leg (which is also not a flattering look).

Step Six

Rotate the sections of the back panel 10° about a point in the middle of side of each section (see illustration). Rotate the sections of the front panel 10° about a point on the waist line. Re-curve all the lines smoothly.

Step Seven

Remove unnecessary guidelines. If necessary retrace the front and back panels. Add seam allowance to the pattern based on how you intend to assemble it. I've shown this pattern with 10mm allowance for overlocked seams (8mm to blade plus 2mm off cut) and 10mm allowance for folding over 9mm elastic. If you were to use a binder attachment to apply the elastic and casing fabric to the edge, then you wouldn’t need any seam allowance on those particular seams. Finally, be sure to clearly label your pattern pieces with a title, panel name, garment size, cutting instructions, author’s name, date and revision number.

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