Shorts on the Line and in the Park

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Kelley over at Casa Crafty made these awesome yellow Echino with stripe bias trim Movies in the Park Shorts for Shorts on the Line. It’s a cool sew-along featuring a number of bloggers all sewing shorts. Shorts for ladies, shorts for kids, shorts with tutorials, lace shorts, board shorts, even culottes! It’s like my summertime dream come true!!

Anywho – hop on over to Casa Crafty and check out her shorts and then enter to win a copy of the pattern for yourself. And while you’re over there check out all the other cool shorts made by some really talented sewists.

If 97 degree weather hasn’t gotten me in the mood for summer yet, sewing shorts definitely has!

Announcing the “Movies in the Park” Shorts Pattern!

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Movies in the Park Shorts

Big news on the blog-front, readers! I’m very pleased to announce what has been a long time in the making – my newest downloadable pattern for sale – The “Movies in the Park” Shorts.

Movies in the Park Shorts

You’ve seen a previous version of these shorts before, back in May for my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe (which I’m still working on, hey, it’s still summer!).

Movies in the Park Shorts

This new version is practically identical to the other shorts. I made these in a stretch cotton bottomweight (medium weight fabrics like denim, twill, poplin, corduroy, etc would be best for these shorts) with some good, old fashion plastic buttons and plain, black bias tape for the binding.

As usual the pattern comes in five sizes ranging from hip measurements 35-42″. Like my last pattern this one comes with lots of illustrations and instructions, even detailed steps on how to attach bias binding, stitch-in-the-ditch style if you’ve never done it before.

Movies in the Park Shorts

This time I included metric in addition to imperial numbers for body and finished measurements and yardage/meter-age.

I’d recommend the pattern for advanced beginners and up. You’ll need to know how to attach interfacing; do basic stitching, basting and understitching; finish seams using whatever method you like; sew buttons and buttonholes; and attach bias binding (although I have full instructions on that if you don’t already know how).

Movies in the Park Shorts

I’ll probably do a little shorts fitting post pretty soon to cover some common crotch issues but what is nice about these shorts is that you can easily adjust the fit at the sides by moving the overlapping leg pieces and stitching down your buttons in the place that feels more comfortable (an idea I got after losing weight and I was annoyed by the idea of having to do major alterations).

Movies in the Park Shorts

The shorts have back darts, deep front pockets, an interfaced waistband and bias trim edging. There are six buttons on each leg but only the top three are functional. I found that keeping the bottom buttons non-functioning helps to prevent the fabric from pulling on the open buttonholes.

Movies in the Park Shorts

I’ve been living in these shorts the past few weeks. They are so comfortable for summer weather and being outside. I call them the “Movies in the Park” shorts because they’d be great to lounge around in on a warm summer night having a picnic in the park watching a free movie (or play or musical) put on by the city (does your town do this? mine does).

Having recently done that I am reminded of this super funny sketch from the show Portlandia on IFC. I find that Portland and Austin are culturally very similar.

The new pattern is now available in store for $4 and if you purchase you’ll get an email with a download link almost immediately after you pay. Yay for instant gratification!

All instructions and pattern pieces are in one 16 page PDF. Remember to print without scaling but there is a test square to double check.

Movies in the Park Shorts

Thanks to all of you who buy my patterns and read the blog. I appreciate all the support and comments. Now that this pattern is finished I can get back to normal life like sewing for fun and catching up on my blog reader (I’m seriously backed up, sorry blog friends!). But who am I kidding, I’ve already got another pattern in the works (a dress). It never ends, does it!?

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe: Pattern Runway Sweet Shorts

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These shorts were much more difficult to make than expected – not because the Pattern Runway Sweet Shorts are a difficult pattern, they’re not, rather I made many dumb mistakes that resulted in unnecessary effort. I couldn’t even get the photos of them right the first time! The pics turned out all blurry. These are Sweet Shorts Pictures 2.0.

Even for all the pitfalls and confusion I can say that I really like these shorts. They fit like a glove and are comfy and cute. A triple threat when it comes to clothes sewing!

The Goal: These are the last pair of shorts for my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe and seeing as they’re plain black they’ll probably get the most wear.

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The Pattern: Pattern Runway’s Sweet Shorts with the scalloped hem in front. I like that it’s not too scalloped like something a five year old would draw when making a picture of a boat on the ocean. It’s a classy scallop! I was between sizes so I made the executive decision to slice right down the middle between a small and a medium. Perfect fit!

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The Fabric: Black cotton bottomweight from Joann. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done and it’s not too drape-y nor too stiff. The pockets are leftover yellow batiste, nice and lightweight for the pockets.

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The Changes: I didn’t make a muslin, instead I added extra seam allowance space in the crotch area because I knew I’d most likely have to make changes there. Luckily the back was fine but in the front I had to make a common adjustment for me – moving the crotch line farther outward at the lower curve. Amy at Cloth Habit has a great visual tutorial of the change I made.

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The other change was to the side seams. My thighs aren’t sticks but for some reason most of the shorts patterns I use make my thighs look stickly. I trimmed only the back leg pieces at the side edges and kept the front shape the same. This tucks in the back leg area nicely while leaving the front in its original size.

But – mistake #1 The bottom of the legs use a facing rather than a hem which is good because trying to hem that front curve would be impossible. Unfortunately when I altered the back leg sides I needed to alter the facing, too. Well, oops, I cut the facing too short. I tried to make it work but alas – no luck. So I had to re-do the facings.

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Also, I love the idea of the welt pockets in back and I was determined to follow the instructions given in the pattern. I know that in early editions of this pattern there was some typo or mistake in the pocket directions but I believe I have the fixed version. I really did try to follow along and I got to the point where I was about to add the pocket bag when I gave up.

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I’ve made welt pockets before but his time the directions and I just didn’t get along. I didn’t always understand the illustrations (everything just looks like a rectangle to me!) nor did I really know what the pocket was supposed to look like in the end. I even went to Pattern Runway’s blog to read the tutorial on welt pockets there. The tute made more sense than the pattern directions for me.

I understand why she wants you to make these pockets in a certain way. The pocket should extends all way to the waistband seam for extra support and she has a clever way of making sure the pocket lining fabric doesn’t show through in case the pocket gapes slightly. But there seriously has to be an easier way of explaining it.

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(yeah, I should really finish those edges, or at least pink them…)

In the end I reverted  to my fave way of doing welts – what I call the “one piece welt” because the window backing and welt flap are the same piece. Poppykettle has an awesome tutorial for this technique with clear pics and easy to follow instructions. The only thing I did differently was to incorporate Pattern Runway’s welt backing so you can’t see the yellow lining at all from the outside.

I made another mistake by attaching the waistband back facing first rather then the front piece which caused problems trying to add the invisible zipper. Lots of unpicking. Ugh…

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And then I had to decide whether or not to take time to fix a sway-back issue under the waistband. Because I wanted to fight my compulsive laziness, I had this great idea that if I went ahead and unpicked part of the back waistband then that would force myself to fix it because the stitching would already be un-done. Only later did I realize I had accidentally unpicked the front waistband! Ugh. Lots of re-stitching. Even after fixing the back the issue is only partially resolved. There’s still some extra fabric folded at the upper back but it is better than before.

The Results: These are great shorts! I love the styling, the high waist, the top stitching in front and I even love those pesky welt pockets. Perhaps I’ll make them again in the future and change the pattern up a little bit. I love Lizz’s version with gathers and a belt tie.

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Oh, and Justin took these pictures while we were out today. He figured out how to do the fast-frame picture taking and wanted to use it so to appease him (gotta keep my important photographer happy!) I did some dancing. We can call this the “happy shorts” dance.

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe: Chambray Shorts

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Shorts! With buttons! Justin called these the Sergent Pepper shorts when he first saw them. Must be all the buttons… Anyway, this marks three out of four of my shorts I’m making for my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe. I’m nearly finished with my next shirt for SSSW but I’m self drafting it so it’s taking awhile.

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These shorts were also self drafted by combining the best bits of crotch curves from a few patterns and pants I owned to create a franken-crotch that I think works pretty well.

These shorts sit lower on the hips with a waistband and has bound edges rather than a hem. I used my handy-dandy bias tape maker (thanks Polly!) and some old navy linen blend scraps that I had to create the binding. It makes a nice contrast to the cotton chambray I think.

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The shorts close at both sides and have a little curve at the bottom where they meet. I used twelve metal buttons total. The design on the buttons are little flowers which I like because I think it makes them look less military.

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I got the idea for the buttons down the side design when I put on my other shorts for the first time this season and realized they were too big. With these shorts if I lose or gain weight I can just move the buttons over and resize the shorts easily. No having to undo hems and waist bands and re-sew side seams. The buttons are both decorative and practical!

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(this was the only shot of the back that was in focus which is weird because my camera ought to have been on auto focus. and this pic has that darn tucked-in-shirt line, too. ugh)
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If I make these shorts again I’ll use a fabric with more substantial hand and less body. That’s just a personal preference. This chambray folds and wrinkles pretty bad and doesn’t always like to sit flat. But on the other hand, they are very light weight for summer!

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The shorts have curved pockets in front and small darts in back.

I’m planning on making a pattern for these because with the binding and button sides they’re really easy to make and fit. But that’s going to have to wait for a couple months because I’m going on vacation in June and I have to whip up a bunch of clothes for my trip – including swimsuits! So much sewing, not enough time!!