Saturday 30 January 2016

Scrap-busting Summer Shorts

My goodness that's some pleasing alliteration, isn't it? Since I made the commitment to get to grips with my over-flowing scrap-and-small piece boxes, I've been having lots of fun using some lovely pieces of cotton to make super cute summer shorts for the scamp. But it hasn't stopped there. I've also been making them for other children as birthday gifts and bartering fodder. I've been sharing most of them via my Instagram feed, but these two pairs are my favourites.  


I first made the Dana made it Kid Shorts pattern last summer as a sample for a Village Haberdashery window display. It's a really simple pattern that is graded from 12months to 10 years that has a squillion style variations. You buy the pattern in PDF form, which includes the pattern pieces and cutting guide and pretty much nothing else, all the construction details are to be found on her site. I really like this idea because it is then available for others who perhaps drafted their own pattern or are using another, I think it's pretty selfless to make it available in that way. 

As you can imagine from these images, it is a really basic pattern. It consists of just two pieces (with different length and style options) with a separate optional pocket piece. However, the layout of the PDF has been cleverly thought out with the sizes batched in pairs so you only have to print out the pages you need and no more. If you're looking for a basic kids shorts pattern that will last you for many years (that you could theoretically extend to make trousers from also), this would be my recommendation. The only two minor flaws I can think to mention are, 1) I've found the sizing comes up a bit small, I've been making the size bigger than the age of each of the kids I've been sewing for and that's worked out well, 2) and this is me being ridiculous, but I don't like that the lengths are labelled 'girl' and 'boy'! But that's it. 


I made the size 3 for these two pairs and they really do take a tiny amount of fabric (I chose the shorter/'girl' length, of course!). The spotty fabric was a tiny strip of cotton that I bought from a charity shop in Southend about 9 years ago. I thought it had a Japanese vibe and I'm so glad that I didn't use for anything else like a bag lining in the meantime. 

The tropical pair was squeezed out of two weird-shaped scraps from fabric left over from more Village Haberdashery window display sample making. FYI, the garment I made was this awesome Kim dress that you can see Annie wearing here. Isn't she the very picture of summer?! Dolores, on the other hand, reminds me of a toddler-Hunter S Thompson with the vest and socks! Sadly, it looks like this tropical fabric is no longer available. If you're interested, it might be worth contacting them to see if they will get some more for this summer, it is divine. 

I added a cute little label so we can quickly tell which is the back using woven ribbon from my blog sponsor Textile Garden


I'm officially obsessed with making these shorts. Check out the Instagram hashtag #kidshortsmade to see loads of amazing versions other people have made. However, Dolores now has enough shorts lined up for this summer, so I need to complete the pairs I've cut for the other kids and turn my attentions elsewhere. I'm sorely tempted to start making her pairs for summer 2017, but she'll be out of nappies by then so the size 3 might last her more than one summer...


Pattern: £0 (I was sent it to make samples from, but it can be purchased here for $8. I have used this pattern seven times so far and am not finished by a long shot)
Fabric: spotty fabric 50p, tropical fabric £0
Label ribbon: £0 (I was given some sample lengths but you can find Textile Garden's woven ribbon selection here from £1.25 per metre)
Elastic, thread and bias binding: £0 (from the stash and I'm pretty sure I didn't pay for the elastic or thread originally anyway)
Total: spotty pair = 50p, Tropical pair = £0

Thanks so much everyone who chimed in with how I should cost my makes (that I was discussing at the bottom of this post). There were quite a few differing opinions so I can't adopt all suggested approaches, so I'm going with what makes the most sense to me whilst providing as much info as I can for others who are considering making something similar or buying the pattern etc. For patterns that I pay for, I'll divide the cost with the amount of initial makes, and then divide the cost further if I make more things from it if I blog about those as well (and of course note the full price paid). I'll share how many times I've used the pattern and if I think I'll use it again or not. I have decided to include the price of fabric and notions from my stash if I can remember or accurately estimate what I paid for them. Sound fair?


punktyodniesienia said...

Tropical pair is so so cute. I love it!

badmomgoodmom said...

No, you are not being ridiculous.
Why should girls' shorts be shorter?
Why are size 4 girls' shorts sold in the US with 1" inseams
(and tightly-fitting) while boys' shorts are baggier with 5" inseams?

Let's point out sexism whenever we see it.
Don't let it be invisible.
Don't let our daughters grow up believing that
it is ridiculous to point out pervasive sexism.

Unknown said...

Cute shorts. Well done on following through on your plan to use up your scraps. Girl/boy lengths??? Bizarre.

Karen K said...

I've really been enjoying your blogs lately Zoe, event though I don't have little ones to sew for...
I love the dress that the tropical'scrap' was used for but the link says its the Kim dress by By Hand London. Unless I'm mistaken the Kim dress has a wrap over front. Would love to know which pattern was used as it's stunning.

Lucy said...

I love these - thanks for the detailed review, Zoe! For busting heavier-weight scraps, how about shorts in denim/corduroy for winter/autumn/spring, to be worn over tights? Would be fab to see if you make any like that - they might be more useful as well?

Zoe said...

Thanks for your comments one and all.

@Karen K, thanks for your comments, it is the Kim dress, the pattern has two skirt views (the wrap front being one of them).

All the best xxx

Kathryn said...

HI Zoe,

I'm really enjoying all your scrap busting! It's inspiring me to get on with mine too, at the moment in the form of a secret sewing project. Also, I don't think you're being ridiculous re the girls and boys length - it drives me crazy when I see stuff like that in shops and it's a real shame to see it on sewing patterns too. I use the free Sunny Day shorts pattern a lot, which just has one length, for my son and one of the things I like about it is the shorter length, I think it looks really cute, regardless of gender!

Meg the Grand said...

These are great! What a marvelous stashbusting project :)

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