Pattern Comparison: Pleat Shorts

Happy Summer! Now that summer is in full swing, it's time to make a vital piece of the summer wardrobe... SHORTS! Now, I've had a love/hate relationship with shorts forever. Usually it's because of the struggle finding flattering shorts that fit my body shape. Today I'm going to compare a certain style of shorts that are new to me, pleat shorts. Both patterns reviewed have pleats in both the front and back but they differ in the ease and fabric to use. In regards to that, they are almost exactly opposite. I truly love both! 

Patterns compared:


Pleats to Meet You


Heat Wave Hot Pants

Size Range

AU6-24; Approx US2-20






Relaxed with dropped crotch


Waist Height

Just below natural waist

High waist







Fabric Type

Draping Knit: Bamboo, DBP, rayon spandex, modal

Structured Knit: Liverpool, Ponte, Scuba


Encased elastic

Low or high height knit

Projector File



Pattern Emporium Pleats to Meet You

The Pleats to Meet You are a relaxed easy to wear short (or pant) with slight dropped crotch. This isn't usually my style for bottoms as I normally prefer fitted. I know enough to give all Pattern Emporium patterns a try though because I usually end up loving the designs. I wore them for the day and my opinion changed drastically. The ease at the hips is so comfortable, it's like wearing pajamas! The Pleats to Meet You are drafted for well draping fabrics such as Modal, DBP, Bamboo, ITY and rayon spandex. I should clarify, this pattern features pleats on the front and darts on the back pieces. 

When selecting your size for the Pleats to Meet You, it is recommended to base it off your hip measurement. My waist was a size larger than my hips so I cut a AU10 for all pieces but the elastic was cut to my comfort. My first pair, I added a rise adjustment since I have a longer waist to crotch measurement. The intended fit of these bottoms is to hit at the natural waist or just below that. With adding 2" to the rise, I achieved this. By adding this rise adjustment though, I found that they look really high. If you are increasing your rise, I might recommend to decrease your inseam to offset that. There are numerous fit adjustments in the tutorial to customize the fit for your shape including inseam/length, rise, hip dip and multi-sizing adjustments. This pair is made with DBP and pockets. 

My second pair I didn't adjust the rise at all. These are still comfortable but I think could use a bit of rise adjustment to keep the drop crotch look. These I went with a fabric that wasn't recommended, French Terry. This French Terry is a rayon light weight, well draping fabric so I thought it may work. It really did! 

PROS: Also includes pants length; pockets; Thorough tutorial

CONS: Elastic waistband

George & Ginger Heat Wave Hot Pants

The Heat Wave's are also a pleat style shorts but these are fitted! I'm saying they have pleats but really, they are constructed with front and back darts. They are drafted for heavy weight structured knit fabrics such as scuba, Ponte, and Liverpool. I had never considered this style for myself until there was an open tester call for the pattern in the George & Ginger Facebook group. During the test, I made 3 pairs and have more cut out. 

These too are high waisted but where the Pleats to Meet You are loose, these are completely the opposite. I feel more comfortable in a fitted short but find they can be harder to get an ideal fit. With the heavier weight knits, drag lines can appear more easily. I did find that to be the case with these. Here's the thing though, I move a lot so lines will happen and that's okay with me. All of the Heat Waves shown here are sewn with the Tester Version 1. This is not the version available to purchase on the George & Ginger website yet also not the final updated version. Kristi, the pattern designer and owner, wasn't happy with the fit across all the expanded size range and intends on additional testing to get the perfect fit. So for now, sizing 0-20 is available for purchase but know at some point this pattern will extend from Tween 12 to size 5x. 

With the more fitted style, pockets can be problematic for fit. I feel like pockets in shorts are necessary and not an option so each of my pairs has them. The instructions for the pockets recommend adding elastic to the pocket seam to keep them fitted to the body. I used clear elastic on that seam. If bulky pockets is a concern for you, you can use a lighter weight lining fabric too. On this Ponte pair I used Cotton Lycra for the hidden pocket piece. 

Now some people may be thrown off by the 2" inseam that the Heat Waves have. I find it flattering to offset the higher waist. If the shorter inseam is an issue, follow the tutorial to increase that. It's an easy adjustment to make. As for the waistband, you can add elastic if you prefer. I found the thicker weight knit held up just fine without it. Plus, I find non-elastic waists more comfortable to wear. 

All of the Heat Waves I made are a size 10. This was based off my hip and waist measurements. If you measure between different sizes, I would grade accordingly. My first pair of Heat Waves I again did a rise adjustment. This was my muslin pair (which I'd highly recommend) from a scrap of Minerva Liverpool I had left. I only had enough fabric to do a 1.25" adjustment but since this pattern is drafted for 5'6" and I'm only 5'5" I thought that would work out fine. It's definitely high waisted! I found this pair kept riding up. 

Since this was a scrap, my first project with this Liverpool was the George & Ginger Mix it Up. This pattern has so many different options! I made the leaf front, full back, cap sleeve with peplum skirt. I decided to try it on as a set to see what I thought. It's awesome! 

My next pair is a scuba I picked up on clearance from Mily Mae Fabrics last year. I bought this fabric with the intent of making shorts and am beyond proud of myself for remembering that goal then actually executing it. This pair I made a straight size 10 without adjusting rise. This scuba is buttery soft with a slight sheen.

I feel like the pockets on this pair are the best. The fabric isn't too thick so it molds to my body nicely. 

Add a pair of wedges and these shorts live up to their name!

I also made the NSFW to pair with my Heat Waves. This is the strapless version that I cut the crop and made it into a shelf bra inside with athletic knit. The main fabric is black lush rib from Mily Mae Fabrics. 

I couldn't get the Heat Waves out of my head so then I cut out a pair in denim Ponte, also from Mily Mae Fabrics. This pair I made a size 10 too. As mentioned above, the Ponte is heavy weight so I switched out the hidden pocket piece for Cotton Lycra. If you do this, make sure you are under stitching or topstitching the pocket seam so that isn't visible. I've worn these shorts for 4 days in a row now including bike riding. They definitely are stretched out at this point and look different straight out of the wash. 

The Heat Waves are the pattern of the month for July at George & Ginger so on special pricing at $6. 

PROS: No elastic waistband; Pockets; Low or high waistband

CONS: One short inseam length; Fitted style requires more fit adjustments

Final Assessment

So which shorts do I like more? I can't say that. Although the pleat or dart style is the same, they are drastically different in fit. You'll have to decide for yourself. 

Want a fitted short? Or sew with heavy weight stable knits? The Heat Waves are for you!
Want a relaxed style? Or to use light drapy fabrics? The Pleats to Meet You are for you!
Want the ability to make shorts or pants from the same pattern? Go with the Pleats to Meet You!
Want pockets? You are in luck! Both patterns will work!

My posts may feature affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase from these links, I receive a small percentage in compensation at no cost to you. I may have received patterns or products to test or review but the opinions I voice are my own. 


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