Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Would-be Denim Sweet Shorts


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. 


Pattern:

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. 

Fabric:

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

Thoughts:

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. 

18 comments:

Cate said...

I love these in denim and they're so beautifully made, what a pity they're too big! I made a linen version of these a couple of years ago and had the same problem. I was so disappointed since I'd sewed them so carefully and they should have been so good. I passed them on to a friend, so it wasn't a complete loss. When I eventually make them again I will also pinch out some fullness from the back leg.

Jenny said...

Oh no! Such a bummer they don't fit. They look fantastic! That company is new to me. Going to check it out because this is a beautiful design!

Marilla Walker said...

What a shame! Not only because of how good they look, but also because of your limited sewing time. I remember reading on the Pauline Alice blog about the same size issue, but really love the design. I might give them a go in the future, but will definitely bear all this sizing stuff in mind. Here's the pair I saw before http://www.paulinealice.com/2014/05/summer-shorts-pattern-runway-scalloped.html

House of Pinheiro said...

So pretty. Oh darling what a shame. When I read your first line I made size M I knew that was going to be big. Of u made size small and they fit.

Hope you still sewn them again

Tammy said...

I had that happen with a butterick skirt I just made. I measured the pattern and my body about 20 times and decided I needed to add about 1 1/2 inches at the waist. I sewed it up and was exactly 1 1/2 inches too big. A lot of extra work for nothing. I was able to fit it just have to wait for fall to wear it. It's nice to know the unexplainable happens to other people too. Your shorts are adorable.

Vicky London said...

My experience with Pattern Runway sizing has not been good either. I have made the kimono dress and the shift dress following the measurements that are provided. Both dresses would not fit over my butt. It doesn't make sense! Very disappointed. I hate leaving negative reviews though.

Stevie said...

Oh no lovely, they look beautiful inside and out! Nevermind at least you know what to fix next time!
Do you fancy coming to the Brighton meetup on the 13th September? Drop me an email if you do hun!
(beebeesvintagedress@hotmail.co.uk)

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

The cheaty costumier's trick to downsizing trousers is to run in the centre back seam, blending the pinch back into the seat, and then running in the inner leg right across from one side to the other. Without cutting anything anywhere. It's an appallingly bodgy fix but it works! But you have made such a beautiful job of them, such a fix may seem like sacrilege!

Beth Byrge said...

Definitely save them, I gained weight almost overnight when I quit breastfeeding! Almost all of it in the booty :)

Shirley Ann said...

Definitely save them--they are beautiful! Your sewing on them is to perfection. I want to kick myself at how many times I have gotten rid of something too big or too small after a weight fluctuation, only to find that I could fit back into them "if I still had them." Storing clothing that doesn't fit though can be frustrating too though. This is such a cute pattern and yours is the first I have seen. I like your pockets instead of a welt.

Philippa said...

Such a shame they don't fit, because they are beautifully made. I don't remember putting on weight after finishing breast feeding but I have now (I'm blaming impending middle age!). Denim shorts are never going to go out of fashion so you may as well keep them incase, if they would make a lovely gift for a friend.

Susanna Mollah said...

That's such a shame! They look so well made too :( There's always something positive to take from a sewing session and at least you know for next time x

Scruffybadger said...

What a pain!! Cos they are super cute and with such sweet pockets and scallops and all....and your limited sewing time....and summer now receding......
I do love these shorts and have been coveting the pattern for aaaages. Disappointed for you, but at least you see some possibility for wearing them later!!

JustSew Jenna said...

I lost weight when I stopped breastfeeding, but then again I didn't manage to lose the baby weight while I was so I kind of just went back to normal. Might happen though! It is such a shame because they look fantastic and there is a lot of work in them.

KathleenS said...

Funnily enough, I just saw these on someone's blog the other day http://lesondesgrelots.canalblog.com/archives/2014/08/17/30431320.html She says she went down a size following advice from various blogs (I guess the reviews are on blogs but not on PatternReview) and they're perfect. I know, it's a bit late to tell you that.

MG schmidt said...

in love with this patern :)

Kathryn said...

What a shame Zoe as they're so perfect looking! It's so frustrating, particularly with such limited sewing time. I hope you get a chance to sew another pair.

tors grantham said...

Oh, oh, oh, I'm in love! Stop making awesome looking clothes from patterns I don't own! Wait, what am I saying, carry on making awesome clothes from patterns I don't own, where else am I going to get my inspiration ... even if they don't fit. Bet your next pair will be spot on, can't wait to see them!

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