Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Board shorts

I realized on Monday that my son didn't have a single pair of swim trunks that fits.  With swimsuit season (and my due date) nearly upon us, I had to remedy the situation immediately.  I had picked up some board short fabric when I ordered swimsuit fabric from The Fabric Fairy a few months ago, and my recent eBay elastic bonanza included 5 yards of 1.25" drawstring elastic.  I decided to use the free Sunny Day Shorts pattern from Oliver+S, which I've used before here and here.  I was not planning to line the trunks for my diapered boy, so the only adjustment necessary would be in the waistband (my elastic is wider than the 3/4" called for in the pattern).

I stitched the seams on my sewing machine and then finished them with the serger for durability.  For looks, I pressed the outseam and the rise seam to one side and then did two rows of stitching for a mock flat-felled seam.  I didn't bother adjusting the pattern for a faux fly, but I did stitch a faux fly.  Next time I might do the whole shebang.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the topstitching is yellow to match the waistband.

I wasn't entirely sure how to deal with the drawstring elastic (and I really wanted to finish the shorts before nap time was over) so I made it up as I went along.  First I sewed the bottom of the waistband to the pants. Then I put two 1/2" buttonholes into the front of the waistband, near the seam.  Keeping the elastic in one long piece, I serged one long edge of the elastic to the wrong side of the top edge of the waistband, leaving about a 1.5" elastic-free section in the center front so that the drawstring could pull through.  I'm not entirely sure that was the right move - I think I definitely should have left a smaller gap - but I am not sure what else I could have done differently.  (If anyone knows, please comment!)

Then I pulled the drawstrings through the buttonholes and knotted them (clearly they need some Fray Check too).  I folded the waistband over on itself, covering the inner seam, and then topstitched it in place.  The top of the waistband is a bit wonky and I'm not certain what I could have done to prevent that.  But it works.

So - microfiber board short fabric? Not as easy to work with as I'd thought.  It is slippery, so cutting was more of a challenge than I had anticipated.  It also seems to resist pressing. I cranked my iron up to the highest setting and used a press cloth (a scrap of cotton sateen) since I figured the microfiber would melt without one.  Even so, it took quite awhile to get those seams nice and flat.  Just be forewarned.

Cute little board shorts for a cute little boy.  I'm planning to make him one more pair - maybe with colorblocking and/or pockets this time.


  1. Cutest little swimming shorts! Love love love! :)

  2. Very cute. I made some Ottobre sweatpants yesterday that were supposed to be drawstring (but I got lazy and left the drawstring out as it needed eyelets and I didn't have any). They basically had two channels, the upper one had the elastic in, and the lower was for the drawstring. Does that make sense? (I think you can just about see on one of my photo's

    1. Thanks! You must have used separate pieces of drawstring and elastic, right? My trouble is that mine is all one piece - it's elastic with the drawstring already encased in the middle!

    2. Wow, never come across that. No idea.

  3. Super cute.
    All the best with the birth!

  4. Super cute!!! I love that you basically made swim trunks from one of the barest and simplest of shorts patterns. Awesome! Thinking of you as you approach your due date here!


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