Last of the summer shorts

gingham shorts

When I was a child, I remember that the end of the summer holidays was always marked with a change in the weather. Going back to school, following countless sunny days in the park, sporting a coat for the first time and being bemused by the blustery weather. Well something has gone awry this year but I am certainly not complaining. 29 degrees in September? That’ll do nicely!

I did have plans for something a little more exciting than a pair of shorts this weekend but who wants to be in when its so glorious outside? Not me! So a quick pair of shorts it was.

I have made these shorts before in a more wintry plaid, so I knew how quickly this pattern was to piece together. Just under 2 hours no less.

simplicity 2659

I have given myself a ban on fabric buying for a while. I have been so lucky to have inherited so much over the last year or so and I must start using it, or Mr. Ooobop! is going to have a meltdown! It is a little bit out of control to be honest. And to be fair, I haven’t scratched the surface with these shorts as a stash-busting project but hey, it all helps!

gingham shorts back view

On the subject of stash busting, I honestly think it’s the part of sewing that hurts my head the most. I keep the fabric because I like it (obvs) and I know that one day it will be perfect for a project. But that project might take years to materialise. And in that time the stash just gets taller! I don’t want to pick any old fabric for one of my makes. It has to be right!

I really think that this fabric is right for these shorts. It is a poly cotton mix (I think) but of the sturdy kind. So those interfaced cuffs on the legs are sturdy indeed! Pretty design too. Gingham, which is always good, with little embroidered daisies. Not so good to iron though. I tried with a hot-ish iron and it turned one of the daisies pink! I guess that’s the ‘poly’ bit in the mix!

I made a lapped zipper… a bit more confidently and certainly more neatly this time round. Can you see it?!

lapped zipper on side of shorts

Well I don’t think I will get many more days of shorts this year, though stranger things have happened, but I got a great deal of satisfaction in making and wearing these today. Plans for autumnal garments are starting to emerge. But I’ll wait ’til it cools down before I can start handling wool!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. x

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!