The 4-birds-with-one-stone plaid shorts!

plaid shorts simplicity 2659A little bit of sunshine was all it took to inspire these shorts. Don’t panic! I’m not about to get those pasty pins out just yet! I much prefer to wear shorts as spring attire with a pair of 60 dernier tights and the trusty Docs! That photo will have to wait until I can grab Mr Ooobop! to work his photographic magic. In the meantime, I’m afraid we’ll have to make do with my boring pics.

The 4-birds-ness came about as follows:

  1. After my recent pleasure working with and deciding to invest in better fabric (re the audition dress) I also made a conscious decision to wade into ‘stash mountain’ for practice projects and toiles rather than buy any more substandard material. This plaid/tartan fabric was quite a large piece left over from my vintage plaid dress. Its totally synthetic, I’m sure, but it was a good weight for these shorts and so minor stash bust #1 achieved!
  2. I’ve been hearing the words ‘lapped zipper’ on other peoples blogs and in sewing mags quite a lot recently. And I figured it should be something I should know how to do by now. Since getting the hang of the ‘invisible one’ (after some practice, mind) I have kind of forgotten that there is any other way of inserting a zip. Of course I headed straight to YouTube as my first love of demos. I am far more receptive to watching someone demonstrate it for real! Turns out that this was the perfect kind of zipper for these shorts. I think I did it properly. Well, the zip goes up and down and the lapped bit covers the teeth so that’ll do me and will also tick the box of having mastered a new (for me) zip technique.
    plaid shorts side zip
  3. Plaid matching has always been a bit flooky for me, I have to say, and using this fabric on a small, uncomplicated project gave me the chance to practice matching up those seams. Both left and right side seams are as near as dammit and at least across the front and the butt the horizontal stripes line up. Shame I couldn’t do the maths on the side seam of the cuff. I have to say though, having the checks line up across the zipper had me doing a little dance round the ironing board!
    plaid shorts side
  4. And finally the fourth birdie was the mere fact that I have never made a pair of shorts before. This pattern is Simplicity 2659 and I’m pretty sure it came free with an issue of Sew magazine. I’m not sure I would ever make the dress. I can make my belly stick out without any extra help thank you very much, but the top could be cute and I’m sure the bolero would work with a classic dress! Anyhows, one baby step closer to making a pair of trousers but its defo a baby step I am very likely to repeat with some different fabric.
    simplicity 2659 pattern

The cuffs of these shorts are my favourite addition. I love that they are separate and cut on the bias. I wasn’t expecting that as the turn ups on the sleeves I did for my wing collar blouse were technically a very deep hem, turned back on itself. The bias of any sort of checked/plaid/tartan fabric is fabulous against a straight grain of its own kind and I think it really looks neat. Finishes off the hem inside perfectly too.

plaid shorts cuff

I would say that I lost big points on the waist finishing. I have never finished a waist without facing or waistband before and this pattern called for the use of twill tape at the inner waist edge. Very simple to understand and to achieve but I really must remember to stitch from the top when I’m doing things like this. That way I will get a much neater and straighter line. It won’t get noticed, I know, as my children will be horrified if I start tucking my tops into shorts but I know I could have done better. I just find it very amusing, and everso slightly annoying, that a little bit of topstitching is my main cause for concern on this tiny project!

plaid shorts waist

I highly recommend this shorts pattern for anyone wanting a little project to run up in an evening. I’m sure they would look great (on someone else) in a more summery linen or gingham… ooo gingham… imagine the cuffs!

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28 thoughts on “The 4-birds-with-one-stone plaid shorts!

  1. wow, they’re super. You’ve done a great job on matching the stripes. And I think it’s much harder to get good matching with plaid fabric cut on the bias, so that’s quite acceptable. And, yes, such a small thing to be worried about, a bit of topstitching. (I’m from Australia and not a cold part of it, so I have to ask: how can you even think of wearing shorts in cold weather? I mean, I don’t wear them much in even hot weather. Is it a cultural thing? is there some clever dissertation that someone has yet to write to explain this – to me, very weird – fashion trend?)

    • Thanks Felicity. Iol… I’m not sure it would be to everyones taste – wearing them with tights and boots – but I do live in West London and that generally means I can get away with almost anything without so much as a bat of an eyelid!

      • I love London because anything goes. and I love the shorts too. I have to sew one for summer I think, but the whole hassle of getting the right fit is keeping me in check.

      • I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t matter how I fit anything any more. My weight and size changes from month to month… I just can’t keep up!

  2. Love them ! What an excellent exercise in skill bustin as well as stash bustin ! Impressed.com. I need to learn a lapped zipper, they seem very en vogue right now :-). They look really good and we are all looking forward to seeing em on and paired up with the DMs ! πŸ™‚ xx

    • Oh thanks so much Kirsty. If you have a look on You Tube, there are various demos on how to insert a lapped zipper. All seem pretty feasible and not too different. I think its a case of choosing the person who doesn’t irritate you too much! πŸ™‚

  3. These are great – beautiful plaid matching! Can’t wait to see them on. I had a similar pair (definitely not me-made!) a million years ago at university, and wore them like you with tights – as much as I’d love to I don’t think it’s a look I could currently rock with my current post-baby legs! 😦

  4. They look awesome! I love the bias cuffs. I really need to master the lapped zipper at some point… I have taken a stab at them a couple of times and it’s kicked my ass every time. Good job! πŸ™‚

  5. Very cute indeed!! I love the bias cuffs, and your plaid matching is excellent!! I just got my Iris shorts pattern in the mail so I’ll be making MY first pair of shorts up “shortly” as well hahaha…. excuse the pun πŸ˜‰

  6. Wowee, they are awesome! I must say that I wore some shorts & tights yesterday as part of Me Made May, but only because I knew I was staying in all day & noone would see me! (Too cold also!! how do these young’uns do it with nylons?)
    I shall look forward to you rocking some tartan short wearing style

    • Thanks Winnie! I bet you look fab in shorts! You can bet your bottom dollar it will be too warm for me to wear them out soon… am not wearing them without tights and boots!

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    • Hi MrsC. Yes I have been rather quiet. Very flattered that you noticed! Design work has been very hectic and I’ve taken more on than usual as Mr Ooobop’s workload has slowed down. Plus I went camping like the crazy person I am! But back now, recharged with lots of blog posts to catch up with and planning some new stuff to make and blog. Hope all is well with you and your lovely new shop. x

  8. Soo I am in the middle of makeing these, and my pants front and pants back do not line up! im doing pattern size 8. I don’t have a clue on what to do! did yours line up perfectly (step 4) PLEASE HELP!

    • Hi Alysia. So sorry for taking my time in getting back to you. The only thing I can suggest, from what you are saying is to double check that all your pattern pieces are size 8. Sounds obvious but there are a lot of pattern pieces in that pack, spread out over 5 different sizes. From what I can remember mine did line up ok. I remember having to read the instructions a few times though!

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