Monday, June 6, 2016

Mom Shorts and a Plain White Tee

I have never worn shorts much.  During the winter I live in jeans, and in the summer I almost always go for skirts.  But there are times when one needs to wear shorts (like when doing nature walks and hikes outside in the steamy Virginia summer).  And it is useful for those shorts to have pockets.  So last week, I sewed some.

The pattern is Simplicity 1887, which I picked up for 80 cents along with a bunch of other patterns during Joann's Memorial Day sale.  I actually bought it for the skirt, but it also includes these shorts and a pair of pants - all with a pleated front, flat front yoke and elasticated (or should it be elasticized?  "Elasticated" has always sounded weird to me) back waist.


When I went to cut the pattern, I was dismayed to realize that I had bought the smaller size range.  My measurements put me into a size 20 in Simplicity patterns, but my pattern stopped at 16.  Luckily, it seems that these shorts run really big - many blogosphere sewists have gone down two sizes.

I went ahead with the size 16.  On my first pair, I lengthened the shorts about 1.5" and sewed the side seams at 1/4" instead of 5/8".

The first pair is made of the last of a four-yard cut of Lisette dotted chambray from a few summers ago.  This fabric has been cursed for me.  Although I had four yards of it, all I have to show for them is these shorts and a baby dress I made last winter.  That's because everything I have cut out of the fabric has totally failed.



I wouldn't call these shorts a failure, but if I had muslined them first I would have been able to fix the problems you can see in these photos - I think the wrinkles near my hips in the above photos are an indication that I needed more room for my booty.

And in the next photo you can see how the front rise sags because it is too long.
 

So before sewing the next pair, I made some adjustments to the pattern.  I scooped out the back rise a bit, 5/8" at the deepest point.  I also added 3/8" to my side seams so that I could take 5/8" seams again.  Finally, I took 1" out of the front rise using this tutorial.  It was really quite easy as well as effective, and has given me confidence to make more shorts or pants.


I forgot to lengthen my pattern piece on this pair, so I took a 1/2" hem at the bottom instead of 1.25" like the pattern instructs.  I really would not be comfortable with the shorts any shorter than this.  I almost added some crochet trim to the hems but decided at the last minute not to.  I'm glad I resisted; the shorts will go with more tops this way and I think maybe my trim will be better used on a top.  I'm wearing the shorts with another Kirsten Kimono tee that I made recently - it's a medium with a 5" FBA (!), graded out to the XL at the bottom. 


I really like these orange shorts, but the fabric relaxes A LOT throughout the day.  I wore them last week on a hiking outing with a homeschool group (and I received compliments on the outfit), but by mid afternoon they literally would not stay up and I had to change!  I've been thinking about what to do about this, because I really like them.  I also have another cut of this linen in a lovely mustard yellow that I was planning on using to make the skirt from the pattern.   I think I'm going to sew some clear elastic into the seam at the top of the front yoke - and possibly into the bottom seam where the yoke meets the shorts - when I make the skirt.  As for the shorts, I REALLY don't want to take them apart but if the clear elastic is a success I might do it.  I guess I could also put in some belt loops.  I'm not really a belt wearer though.


After the hike, while wearing the blue shorts, I went to pick up my niece and my sister told me that I looked "dowdy." Don't worry, my feelings aren't hurt - we have very different clothing styles.  But I scrutinized these photos a bit more while finishing this post, and although pleated fronts are not usually my bag, I still think the shorts are cute.  I guess it's possible that my style has veered off fully into "mom" territory without my realizing it, but you know what? I'm a mom.  And I'm ok with looking like one.

17 comments:

  1. Love the modifications you made, the new pattern looks fantastic on you. Good call holding off on the crochet trim, I think you'll get a lot more wear out of it this way.

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  2. These are totally cute, practical, and comfortable looking! I have this pattern, now you've got me thinking about it again! I'm a firm believer that not every piece of clothing needs to be mega-flattering. I mean, high heels look amazing, but I rarely wear them. Eff that noise. If I look dowdy, well, the patriarchy can suck it. LOL. That said, these are nice summer shorts. I really like the orange pair. Worth salvaging with elastic, I think.

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    1. I totally agree with you - and although I love how I look in heels, I hate how my back feels in them, so I almost never wear them. There is a lot to be said about being comfortable, and I think I can still be cute even if everything I wear doesn't make me look my skinniest, lol.

      Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  3. I like the orange pair! I bought a similar pair for this summer because I am not yet brave enough to try to sew pants and shorts(even though I have bought a few pants patterns). Mom territory or not, they are cute, and I'm impressed how much you improved the fit!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I was surprised at how easy it was to adjust the fit on these!

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  4. This is just the season of life you are in. In time your kids will get bigger and you will have more time to care about fashion. I like your shorts and admire your ability to make fitting adjustments.

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    1. Thanks, that actually makes me feel better :)

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  5. I have an absurdly small waist compared to my baby-making hips so what I do is put a bias tape casing inside the waist with a drawstring. That curbs the afternoon droop in shorts and althletic pants, just tighten if you need to. Your orange shorts look awesome.

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  6. Those are adorable!! I absolutely refuse to believe that you are ever a size 20, let alone a 16! I feel like paper patterns run so very small with their sizing. It's always a confidence killer for me when I find my size on pattern charts.

    Unrelated: PLEASE tell me you got those sandals recently (and where you got them!) because I need them in my life!

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  7. Thanks Katie! I just tell myself that pattern sizing is an alternate universe (which it really is - but at least it is consistent). The sandals are from the GH Bass outlet two summers ago. I looked online but couldn't find them anywhere.

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  8. Oh my goodness - it's so funny that you call them mom shorts! They are cute and you have such a good eye for seeing areas of improvement. I didn't see any of that! To me, it just looks great!

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  9. We have the same thoughts of shorts...I also don't wear them much since I wear skirts in the summer but I see the usefulness of them now. I love the style of those shorts - they are not dowdy and you did some very clever alterations to make them fit. I would try the clear elastic, or I will put seam binding in my waistband to stabilize it. But that is just because I have 2 rolls of like 500 yards each of seam binding laying around, and I don't want to use my more expensive clear elastic. I think I'm going to make swimsuits soon, but it hasn't actually happened...anyway, I am going to check out this pattern!

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Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!