Free knitting pattern: Ahoy shorts

ahoy shorts free knitting pattern

Ahoy Shorts

This pattern was published in Petite Purls, an online magazine for kids knitting patterns. Sadly the magazine does not exist anymore, so I decided to make it available here, too, in case the original pattern page shuts down forever.

ahoy shorts free knitting pattern

The inspiration for these shorts comes from the bavarian lederhosen. I always liked the look of these short pants with thick button rows and matching suspenders. Living in the north of Germany I like the maritime theme more than the southern mountain theme though, so I combined the lederhosen with sailor style. The result is a double button row shorts with suspenders made with cotton yarn, so it’s not too warm to wear in summer.


1 [2-3, 4-5] years Shown in size 3 years

Finished Measurements

Waist Circumference: 19[20, 21] inches

Finished Length: 10[11½, 13] inches


Rowan Denim [100% cotton; 102 yards / 93 meters per 1.75 ounce / 50 gram skein]; #225 Nashville; 2[3, 3] skeins

Recommended needle sizes: US #6 / 4 mm set of 4 dpns US #6 / 4 mm 20 or 24 inch circular needle


  • Crochet hook, size G/6 (4 mm) – for provisional cast-on
  • ½ inch buttons – 6 Elastic – 19½[20, 21½] inches
  • Stitch marker – 1
  • If suspenders are worked with fabric: 4 strips of fabric 1¾ inch x 15½[17½,19½] inches


17 sts and 28 rounds = 10 cm in seed st (pattern stitch). Gauge is critical for this design.

Pattern Notes

The sailor shorts are worked top-down. The waistband is constructed to insert an elastic band. I recommend doing so since the cotton yarn is not very flexible and it’s likely the pants will begin to widen and give a baggy look. If you use the recommended yarn (Rowan Denim) WASH IT FIRST! The yarn shrinks after the first wash, so if you knit it before washing, the pants will become too short. The yarn will also stain your fingers and needles if you do not wash it before knitting. After washing staining is no longer a problem.

Seed stitch (multiple of 2): Rnd 1: *K1, p1; repeat from * around. Rnd 2: *P1, k1; repeat from * around. The number of stitches of every round is uneven so you can work around in pattern easily without changing the beginning of a new row.

Cast on method: I used the provisional cast on for the waistband. It’s necessary to use a cast on method that allows the cast on stitches to be joined together with the knitted piece. You may choose to cast on differently and sew the waistband together after the pants are finished, but it will not stretch as well as the knitted join method.

Circular Cast On Video

Skills Required

knitting in the round, basic increases, basic decreases



With provisional cast on method and circular needle, cast on 83[87, 91] sts. Place a stitch marker before first st. Being careful not to twist, join to work in rounds.

Rnds 1-3: Knit 3 rounds.

Rnd 4: K 40[42, 44], bind off next 2 sts, knit around: 81[85, 89] sts.

Rnd 5: Knit to bound off sts, cast on 2 sts, knit around: 83[87, 91] sts.

Rnds 6-8: Knit 3 rounds.

Rnd 9: Purl around.

Rnds 10-16: Work 7 rounds in Seed st. Unzip the provisional cast on and put the sts on the dpns or a second circular needle. Join the old sts with the new ones in seed stitch pattern. The St st side will be on the inside with the Seed st side on the outside of the garment. Holding the Seed st side in the front of the St st side and working one st from each needle together, p2tog, (k2tog, p2tog) around. Work 3[5, 8] rnds in Seed st.  

ShapingIncrease Rnd: M1, work next st, m1, work around in pattern: 83[87, 91] sts. Work in pattern, repeating Increase Rnd every 6[4, 4] rnds, 2[4, 6] times: 87[95, 103] sts. Work in Seed st until shorts measure 6(6½,7] inches from folded edge of waistband.

Separate for Legs

Divide sts as follows: slip first 44[48, 52] sts onto dpns. Slip remaining 43[47, 51] sts onto scrap yarn. Work around to last 2 sts, k2tog or p2tog to maintain pattern: 43[47, 51] sts. K2tog the last st and the first st of the first leg. 43(47,51)sts on the needles. Work in pattern until leg measures 4[(5, 6] inches from separation. Bind off all sts. Put the second leg sts on dpns and work in pattern for 4[5, 6] inches. Bind off all sts. Roll up the leg and sew loosely in place.  

Suspenders (knitted version – make 2)

Cast on 7 sts. Knit every row until work measures 14[16, 18] inches. Next Row: K3, bind off 2 sts, knit across: 5 sts. Next Row: Knit across. Next Row: K1, k3tog, k1. Next Row: K3tog. Cut yarn and pull through last st.

Suspenders (sewn version – make 2)

Place 2 fabric strips with RS facing. Sew long side, short end, and second long side. Turn RS out and iron flat. Fold raw edge to inside and sew in place. Work a buttonhole ½ inch from the bottom of the suspenders. Sew suspenders 1[1½, 2] inches on each side of center back. Thread elastic through the waistband and sew ends together. Using photos as a guide, sew buttons to front and waistband.

ahoy shorts free knitting pattern

Do you want more tips and tricks on hand embroidery?

Join the Tutorial Alert! It is a biweekly newsletter that contains information about new tutorials & articles on Pumora, tips & tricks, and promotional content like new embroidery patterns or special discount codes.

Newsletter Form (#1)
Scroll to Top