Friday, 5 July 2019

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Olli Shorts and Pants


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

If you're looking for a summer shorts pattern for younger kids that's more interesting than your standard basic shorts pattern, then if you haven't already, you're going to want to check out about the Olli patternMisusu Patterns have a very generous selection of free sewing patterns in their range, and after a very pleasant experience trying their free Rowan tee pattern, I was very excited to download this one also. To obtain this pattern for free, you will need to join their Facebook group, Misusu Patterns Sew & Tell, to access a code that you can then use at the checkout. Thanks Elles for offering this pattern up for free. 


Pattern type: 

The Olli shorts and pants/trousers patterns have a modern, baggy look and feature big side pockets and interesting panels. Pattern pieces for bow or buckle strap details are included, plus there are squillions of ways you can monkey with this pattern to create different looks. 

Olli Shorts & Pants PDF Sewing Pattern 
(image source: Misusu Patterns)

Sizing info: 

This pattern is graded for sizes 62 to 116, which refers to the child's height in centimetres, and roughly equates to ages 0 - 3 months to 5 - 6 years. I would DEFINITELY recommend going by height rather than age with this pattern. After checking his height, I ended up making a size smaller than Frankie's actual age, and the fit has worked out really well. It might not be such an issue if you live somewhere that is hot for a large portion of the year, as shorts that turn out a bit big will get worn in due course. But where we live, the shorts-wearing window of time is limited to a few months, so I really wanted to make sure I was making a garment that he could wear, like, now.


Fabric info:

This pattern is designed for wovens, and includes cotton, double gauze, flannel, denim, ribcord (needlecord?) and linen as suggestions. Let it be known that this pattern is excellent for scrap-and-small-piece busting. Frankie needed plain-ish bottoms to go with some jazzier tops, so I used leftovers of army green cotton/linen mix from my Burnside bibs, and some black stretch denim leftover from some jeggings. The various panels that make up these shorts means that you can cut the pieces from weird-shaped offcuts from previous projects, or even pieced together from a mix of fabrics that are different colours or prints, but have a similar weight. The versions I've made here are a little dull, but you could really go to town with the prints if you so wished. I'd LOVE to make some from African wax fabric, perhaps mixing up scraps of different print designs.  


Findings:

This Olli pattern is a really good advert for Misusu patterns. The instructions are so clear and well illustrated, and all the pieces come together flawlessly with everything matching up as it should. I love the look and fit of the finished garments, and it's wonderful to have a pattern that can be squeezed out of leftovers and remnants that you may already own. The basic pattern itself is interesting enough that a fantastic result can be achieved without needing to add anything. However, you can also get super creative and have a lot of fun dreaming up a really unique garment.

The Olli shorts and pants are clearly designed to be unisex garments, and initially I printed out two copies in different sizes (this PDF pattern has the layers function), one for Frankie and one for Dolores. However, after making Frankie's, I decided not to use this pattern for Dolores because she's annoyingly, stereotypically gender-minded when it comes to the fit of her clothing, and I know that sadly she wouldn't want to wear a pair of shorts with a baggy fit such as these at this point in time. 

Customisation ideas:

Rare is a pattern as customisable as this one! Here's some ideas:
  • Go crazy with your scraps and make a mash up of different prints for each of the panels
  • Alternatively, play around with colour blocking by using two or more solids fabrics
  • Monkey with the rules and ignore the grainlines to make interesting effects using striped, checked or printed fabrics. I'd love to do this with needlecord
  • Add single or double rows of visible, contrast topstitching. I used regular sew-all thread on the army green pair because I wanted a subtle look, but you could use upholstery or full on topstitching threads for a bolder effect
  • Insert piping, braid, ric-rac or pom-pom trim into the vertical seams
  • Apply braid, ric-rac, lace etc at the back of the top edge of the pocket piece so it peeks out from behind, or stitch it across the pocket piece just below the top edge like on Frankie's black pair
  • Add a button and buttonhole to each pocket so they can be closed up
  • Stitch on ready-made patches, or make your own like I did on the army green pair by using a section of woven ribbon with a cute motif
  • Shorten the pants version to 3/4 or 7/8 lengths for capri or clam digger styles. 

Would I make it again?

A number of months passed between making these two versions, so technically I have already made this pattern again! But I definitely see more versions in the future. I may prep the next size up to have on hand so if I have any suitable leftovers from future projects, I can cut some pairs out in advance of next summer. 

1 comment:

Margo said...

Those shorts are very cool and my son might just fit into the largest size. I like the stash-busting potential! My usual go-to shorts are the Sunny Day Shorts from Oliver & S which nicely go up to size 12.

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