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PRINTED PATTERN- "Rita" Pleated Shorts- Late 1930s 1940s Style- Paper Pattern Wearing History

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Wearing History #1006 "Rita" Pleated Shorts- Late 1930's to Early 1940s Style

with Narrow or Wide Waistband and Optional Detachable Suspenders

This is for PRINTED PATTERN- Mailed to you. E-Pattern download is available in a separate listing in my store.


An original Wearing History design, this pattern was inspired by vintage mail order catalogs and magazine images from the late 1930s through the mid 1940s.

These classic shorts look like a mini skirt but are actually shorts! Perfect for summer days, and a great modest and flattering solution for your hot weather wardrobe.

These shorts feature three box pleats at the front, three box pleats at the back, a side zipper, and a narrow or wide waistband. When choosing the wide waistband option you can also add detachable suspenders! These shorts hit at the natural waistline (not low rise- "high waist" by modern standards).

These shorts are meant to have a vintage cut with a bit of an updated fit, including a higher rise (crotch length) than vintage shorts, but a longer rise than modern shorts. It's a happy mid-point that I think you will like! Although these shorts were inspired by late 1930s to mid 1940s images, these can easily carry you into the 1950s. By lengthening the rise of the shorts and the length they can work for mid 1930s styles as well, when done with the narrow waistband.

These shorts make a great base for your creative embellishments. Add decorative buttons at the front for a sailor style, add piping to the high waistband and embroidery for a western style, or play with your designs in the form of appliques or fabric paint. They're a fun and playful addition to your wardrobe. Make multiple pairs that are styled differently to keep your look unique.

This pattern includes step-by-step instructions compiled and illustrated by me, as well as cutting charts for 45" wide fabric. Blog tutorials for pleating and zipper insertion are coming up after the pattern release!

These shorts look great in printed or solid cottons, linens, and rayons. These work best for dress weight or mid weight fabrics. They have a lot of "swing" to their movement!

If you make a matching blouse this will make an adorable playsuit! **No blouse is included in this pattern. You will recieve a pattern for the shorts only. I suggest the Smooth Sailing Blouse, the Late 1930's Beach Halter top (both tops shown above) or the the Sunkissed Sweetheart tie top as adorable companions to these shorts.


Please order pattern by measurements (given in inches).

If between sizes, order the next size larger, as my patterns include less ease than most commercial patterns, and it is easiest to take in a garment to fit where needed, rather than having to add to it to make it larger.

Sizes 24"-34" waist are all included with this e-pattern.

Waist 24-26-28-30-32-34
Hip 33-35-37-39-41-43

  • Shipping

    PRINTED PATTERNS are mailed to you and already printed on big paper. Shipping is calculated at checkout. Please allow up to one week for orders to ship.

    E-PATTERNS and E-BOOKS are digital download PDF files you save and print yourself or have printed for you. These will not mail to you. You download them yourself to your computer after checkout.

    We do not sell to the EU or the UK on this site, as we aren’t set up for VAT collection. Please shop on Etsy if you’re in those countries. Http://


    Most patterns come as both A4/US LETTER and A0 size. You will need ADOBE READER, a free program, to print your e-pattern.

    For A4/US LETTER paper:

    Open the "READ-ME-FIRST" File for instructions on printing and piecing your pattern. Print the PDF file on your home printer, cut off on the lines given, and tape them together. Then you cut and use your pattern just as you would a normal home sewing pattern.

    For A0 size:

    This is sent away to a copyshop and printed on big sheets for you. We print A0 pattern sheets at great prices at Pattern Printing Company

  • Returns

    No returns or exchanges are accepted. Please be sure of your pattern size and type of product, either physical or digital, before purchasing.

Carefully Researched

All of our patterns are carefully researched and based on either public domain materials or our own creations. Lauren applies her decades worth of practical application of historical fashion and technical skills when making these patterns, and often supplies watch points for making. External helps are available on Wearing History on YouTube and on Wearing History Blog to help you learn to sew history.