Friday 5 August 2022

Free Pattern Friday: Kid's 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 an adult'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. I also firmly believe that pattern designers deserve to be properly paid for their work, so if you enjoy using a pattern and can afford to do so, make sure you support that designer. Some designers' websites offer the option to make a donation, alternatively you can buy one of their paid-for products. If you can't afford to do so, you can support the designer by sharing your project via social media to help draw more attention to their work. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

You know how sometimes I post about a free pattern that I road tested years ago, but have come back to because they're great? Well, you know that those patterns are definitely worth taking note of! Today's post is about one of those. I originally posted about Misusu Pattern's Olli shorts and pants pattern three years ago, when my sweet little boy was just two years old. Today he's five, still incredibly sweet, and in need of new shorts. Now he fits into the biggest size this pattern comes in, so it's basically my last chance to sew up and enjoy this excellent free pattern. I've used a number of their patterns, both free and paid-for, and they've all been a real joy to use and dress my kids in. Thanks very much to Misusu Patterns for sharing their hard work for free with this one. To get this pattern for free, you will need to join the Misusu Patterns Sew & Tell Facebook group to access a link that will automatically add the freebie discount code at check out. This pattern is also available to purchase on their site

(image source: Misusu Patterns)

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. 

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 and waist measurements rather than age with this pattern. Going by height on both the occasions I made this pattern I ended up making a size smaller than Frankie's actual age, and the fit has worked out really well. 

Fabric info:

This pattern is designed for wovens, and includes cotton, double gauze, flannel, denim, ribcord (needlecord?) and linen as suggestions. This pattern is excellent for scrap-and-small-piece busting. 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. 
I'd LOVE to make some from African wax fabric, perhaps mixing up scraps of different print designs. 

This pair photographed in this post are made using a small length of quilting cotton. I didn't have enough to concern myself with print placement particularly. The previous pair I made him using cotton/linen mix worked really well, but the black stretch denim version was a tiny bit on the thickness side. Those previous two pairs got use from another child after Frankie though. 


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 gusset panel allows for a lot of movement which I think is really important for kid's clothes. 

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. 
  • 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 below the opening of the pocket piece.
  • Add a button and buttonhole or snaps to each pocket so they can be closed up
  • Stitch on ready-made patches, or insert labels or tabs into the seam like I did with this 'Yo Mama Made It' Kylie and the Machine label (pictured above). 
  • Shorten the pants version to 3/4 or 7/8 lengths for capri or clam digger styles. 

Would I make it again?

I can't remember if I used the 4-5 or 5-6 size for the anchor pair, however I'm pretty sure he'll get another summer's worth of wear after this one from these so it'll definitely be worth it to make another pair. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for leftovers from my forthcoming adult garment projects. 

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