One of my biggest problems is trying to buy shorts for my daughters "off the rack" so to speak. They are are 8 years but they have very small waists and not much else to hold up the shorts. Size 8 shorts in the stores are WAY to big and if I go down in sizes so that the waist fits, then they are not long enough and I am not into putting my girls into short shorts. I have also bought some commercial patterns (McCalls and Butterick) for little girl shorts but the legs are too wide and they end up looking like culottes (hopefully I spelled that right).
So I was on a mission last week to make the perfect pattern for each of my daughters so that I use that to make their shorts. I found wonderful tutorials on the Made blog and love THIS ONE for flat front pants which you can make into shorts. She even gives you a pattern for a small size that you can print out and use so you are not working from scratch but you can make a pattern from an existing pair of shorts that fits your little one really well. Here is a pair of flat front shorts that I made using her pattern to use as an example in sewing class:
I made another pair out of this fabric which I purchased at Hancock Fabrics for my smaller sized daughter Emma. I ended up taking a commercial pattern that I had and then reshaping it to fit. I would encourage you to use some inexpensive fabric first to get the pattern and shape just right before mass producing these little shorts.
There is also a great tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew for help on addressing certains issues like needing more or less room in the seat of the pants that you can find HERE. This really helped me to take away some of the fabric as they were just too baggy on both of my girls. They have many wonderful tutorials on their blog which can help with many issues that you might have in sewing.
Here is a pair of shorts that I made for my other daughter and a little t-shirt that I embroidered her initial on. Apparently not even my husband could tell that they were homemade as he asked my daughter where we had gone that day to buy her clothes. =) To me, that is success.