Here's a project that I've been plugging away at for weeks here and there. It's been a crazy summer, with Pat working mon-fri (and therefore me on mumming-duty), and then me teaching sewing classes most weekend days. Not much time for personal sewing, save for scraps of opportunity when Dolores is taking a nap, when I should probably be taking a nap too!
Anyways, it's been a really warm summer down here on the South Coast, and I've found that I've worn my navy Ruby shorts heaps, almost continuously some weeks. But seeing as I made those back in 2009 (what?!) and the fabric wasn't amazing quality to begin with, they are starting to look a bit shabby. I felt it would be sewing time well spent to make another pair of shorts that looked good enough to be worn outside the house.
I've been eyeing up quite a few shorts patterns recently, but finally plumbed for the Sweet shorts pattern by Pattern Runway (pictured above). I've loved every version I've seen and I like that the waistband is curved, rather than made from a straight rectangular pattern piece which I always find uncomfortable after an hour or so of wear. The scalloped hem detail adds a wee bit of interest, the front and back pockets break up an expanse of fabric and the side zip eliminates the need to spend precious time on a fly-front.
I cut the Medium, as per my measurements. The waist should have been half an inch too tight, and seeing as I HATE things to be tight round my waist, I added a tiny bit extra width at the top of the front waistband piece only. I added 1.5 cm to the back rise, which I do as standard before I make any trouser or shorts pattern to accommodate my junk. I also decided to fold out about 2.5 cm (1") from the length as well. And finally, I decided to replace the back welt pockets for simple patch pockets. As much as I like a welt pocket, I couldn't be arsed to make them on this version and felt that a patch pocket would suit my choice of fabric better anyhow.
Pattern Runway claim that their construction techniques are closer to those used in the garment manufacturing industry, rather than home sewing. I did like using a 1 cm (3/8") seam allowance rather than 1.5 cm (5/8"), which is what I used when I learned to sew at university and therefore feels more natural to me. However, if these shorts came out too small, there'd be very little seam allowance from which to excavate extra width.
However, these shorts DID NOT come out too small. They came wayyyyyy too big! Which is why I've photographed them on the floor rather than on my own (sweet) ass. My fabric does have a bit of stretch in it, but that does not account for how these have come out at least one size too big. I've checked and I printed out the PDF correctly (not on the 'fit to page' setting). There are only three reviews for this pattern on Pattern Review.com, and non of them say anything about this pattern coming up large so it's a mystery.
The pattern calls for light weight suiting, linen and finer fabrics like that, but I went for some medium weight denim that has been lurking in my stash for I-have-no-idea-how-long. I went with this denim because A) it's in my stash and therefore 'free', B) I love denim shorts because they go with everything, and C) this denim has a little bit of stretch in it and I made a pact with myself to only make trousers and shorts for me with some stretch content for comfort and movement, a pact I may well break for my next version of these shorts. As I say, I don't think the stretch-ability can account for why these came out too big, because when I put them on they are too big before the stretch is even 'engaged', if you see what I mean. That issue aside, the denim may have been a leeeetle bit too stiff for this design, as the legs do stick out a bit, but I was kind of hoping that the shorts would soften after wearing and washing a few times.
I'm particularly pleased with the interior of this garment. I used some printed organic cotton by Cloud9 Fabrics (you can get more of their fabulous prints via the Village Haberdashery, which are one of my blog sponsors) for the pocket bags and waistband facings. As you know, I rarely (i.e. haven't for years) buy new fabric, but I had scraps of this left over from sampling the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern for Annie, owner of the Village Haberdashery as I am teaching a class to make this in London on 7th September.
Hmm, what to do... I discovered that these were too big way after it would have been possible for me to do anything about it without MAJOR unpicking and reworking. Plus I don't think it would have been very successful to refit them because the scallop would have ended up towards the side seams instead of in the centre, plus the side pockets would have all but disappeared. After I realised, I just finished them up and have decided to keep them for when I inevitably put on weight after I stop breast feeding! I'm seeing it as a 'currently-unwearable-toile', but in general I still love this pattern and I'm sure I'll revisit it at some point when the sadness of this outcome has waned.