Tag Archives: shorts

The I Stole it from a Sofa Shorts

Fabric is, to my mind, a subject of much debate in the sewing community. In the same way that there are those who do and do NOT quilt, there are those that are religious about garment fabrics versus, well, anything else, and those that aren’t. I understand this ethos, to a point. Fabric makes a garment. Just ask my friend Liz, whose amazing show, Fabric in Fashion, is currently up at FIT from now until May 4th, and always free to view!

For example, these are wool:

AND SO IS THIS:

And each of these garments is made with silk faille, at a different thread thickness:

Fabric. It’s amazing! But using a different fabric than intended by the pattern designer can mean it looks different from your own intentions. The thing is, ultimately, that’s okay. In fact, that’s a good thing, it might be exactly what you are going for. Perhaps the issue arises when it doesn’t work out the way you want, perhaps early in your sewing journey, when all that hard work and time and money spent on a garment yields a less than desired result, that it scares you, or warns you, not to mess around with stiff quilting cotton when what you want is slinky rayon. In the beginning, especially if you were a total beginner like me who came to sewing without a family history or past of doing it, everything was indeed a mystery, and learning rules for what to use when made sense, because the purpose was about replicating results.

But as time goes by, maybe those rules no longer serve, or maybe sewing has once again for me become the kind of experiment it was when I first started, because I’m decent enough at it that a mistake or a ruined garment is a bummer, but not a deal breaker, and I have learned to love the process enough not to be distraught by a result that is less than ideal.

So for me, I think I’m ready to break all those rules about what to use when, only this time, I’m doing it with a lot more knowledge under my belt, because I know the rule, and why it exists, which means breaking it is a deliberate act, not a mistake. And that, I believe, is a real difference.

Scarcity can also lead to rule bending and shattering, as we all know. And one of the things I’m scarce on here in India are good bottom weight fabrics. I’m not really sure why this is the case, maybe because people don’t incorporate them much into Indian traditional wear, so they don’t sell well? Most people here buy fabric to take to a tailor to have it sewn up into something for them, and that something is often Indian ethnic wear, which doesn’t really have a call for bottom weights, I suppose, so it makes sense, but then what’s a girl to do when she’s trying to make some shorts?

Think outside the box. In fact, think all the way to the sofa.

Recently, while shopping at a home goods store called Freedom Tree, I was perusing their line of upholstery/home fabrics and though, damn, some of these would make some cute shorts.

And sure enough, they did. And I wore them, in Singapore!

AM I RIGHT? Now, I know there are those out there who wouldn’t be into wearing a sofa on their bodies, but first of all, I’ve done it before, and second of all, as I said, scarcity can inform one’s choices! But even without that, this is awfully cute, and not really that off from say, duck cloth, so….why, why not? It’s a mid-weight upholstery fabric, which means it’s not rough, or too heavy, but it’s heavy enough to feel like a substantial bottom weight, which is great, because I want shorts that don’t feel like they are about to fall off my body at any given moment…I mean, who among us wouldn’t say that?

The pattern is the Papercut Patterns Palisade Pants, which I really liked, although it is interesting to think about it in light of the conversations about sizing in pattern companies I have been observing on social media in recent weeks. Papercut Patterns has some wonderful patterns, but it’s sizing range is pretty limited, and my body, or specifically my hips and bust, fall at the top of it, whereas it usually falls in the middle of, say, a Big Four pattern or a pattern company like Colette. This is a really cool company, design wise, but it seems like it might be eliminating a lot of talented and enthusiastic patrons with its sizing.

Wary as ever about the junk in my trunk, I made this in an XL, scaling the waist down to an L because I wanted it to stay loose and comfortable. I had actually made this once before, in a navy brushed cotton in the pants version, which was a life saver over a recent lighting quick trip to Vienna, and then again even more recently during my time in the United States last week, but I didn’t get a chance to document the pants, and that’s okay, these shorts are a lot more fun.

I don’t know how but I don’t have any photos of said junk aka the rear view of these, so sorry! This print is busy and the very cool element of the shorts, the pocket design, sort of gets lost in photos, but the pockets are deeply cool, and make me want to make these again and again.

Even Rubens thinks so.

You can kind of see them here. I was able to make this pair out of less than a meter (about 3/4ths) of 60 inch wide fabric, which is also a win.

I love the elastic waist with the flat front. I frenched all possible seams, zig-zagging any that weren’t possible to french, and the construction is really pretty easy. Papercut gives great very clear instructions, which I appreciate, because otherwise this looks like origami, but it’s far simpler than I would have thought.

Would you make garments out of non-garment fabric? Do you care about sizing inclusion in patterns? Did you celebrate Lunar New Year?

Well, Singapore did! Happy Year of the Pig, people!

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Filed under Papercut Patterns, Sewing

The Happy in Hampi Shorts

It is interesting for me to consider the way my sewing and dressing trends have been affected by spending so much time in India. I’ve written about this before, of course, but it’s a continually evolving relationship, I realize, as I change, as India changes, as my comfort levels rise and fall. When I first came to Mumbai I was fairly nervous about clothing, what to wear, what was appropriate, what would make me feel safe. Of course, it is patently insane that women have to police their own safety through their clothing and feel that what we wear needs to safeguard us, that we need to work to not “provoke” men with our garments, but hey, that’s the world we live in, and as much as I loathe it, I also participate in it. I’m so extremely visible in India, although of course if I were blond and blue-eyed I would no doubt be even MORE visible, so I’m grateful for my hair and eyes, at least! But that visibility also makes me self-conscious, because it’s like a sign that says “look at me” in a country where man habitually stare at women ANYWAY.

Now, living in Mumbai, which is, in my limited experience, the best city for women in India, I am in a rare and privileged position because people come from all over India to live in Mumbai, the city where you can do and say and wear anything, relatively, that is. But I still feel tentative with my clothing choices, because while the temperatures are consistently steamy and you do see women in shorts and mini skirts on occasion, it’s still India, and the overwhelming majority of people dress in traditional Indian dress or a Western-inspired derivation of it. While my initial ideas of what to sew and wear in Mumbai might have been more limited, and I’ve certainly expanded my shapes, silhouettes and hemlines over the past two years, there are some styles that I have, well, say reserved for trips to Singapore, Puerto Rico, or the US in the summer.

But recently, I’ve decided to take the leap, and I’ve made a few pairs of shorts. I know! Scandalous! I experimented with a few patterns, finally settling on the Deer and Doe Goji Shorts. At first I just wore them at home, but having completed a pair of slightly longer sorts out of a lovely lightweight denim I picked up at Thakur, I decided to test them out on the world, and tried them out for a meal out, and then an afternoon coffee, carefully observing rickshaw drivers and waiters to see if anyone was shocked. As far as I could tell, at least in my very sophisticated and upscale neighborhood, I wasn’t making any waves with my outfit!

So I figured, let’s take this show on the road, and wore these shorts on a recent trip to Goa, which I knew would be completely fine, as the laid back party capital of India plays host to thousands of backpackers in skimpy outfits yearly, so my shorts put me on the more conservative side down there. But the real test was sporting these in Hampi, an AMAZING archeological site in Karnatika, which my friend Ben and I visited and basically had our mouths open in awe the entire time. It’s hard to get to, but absolutely worth it if you are in that part of the world.

And I explored it in shorts!

As I mentioned, these are the Deer and Doe Goji pattern, which is really easy to put together. This is my second pair. I did a first as a wearable muslin, which are great, but they are pretty short. I don’t even think that’s, like, my India-based consciousness, they are SHORT. I wore them in Singapore, and I do love they way they look, but I lengthened these about five inches, and one inch became the hem, but just so you know, and it’s not like these are really long!

The original pattern has a facing for the hem, but I find that a little fussy, so I just allowed for the hem when I lengthened, as I mentioned above.

So this pattern can be a skirt or shorts, but I prefer the shorts. All the details make it fun, the paneled legs, the patch pockets (which are wonderfully designed and like, the perfect size and shape!), the drawstring waist. I made the string a little wider, because I like that look. These are wrinkled from days and days of wear, but I think you can still see the lovely color of the denim. It’s a nice lightweight but it still has body and substance. Thakur, you get me!

I didn’t, sadly, make the t-shirt. It’s actually from Lulu Guinness’ collaboration with Uniqlo from YEARS ago.

Isn’t it weird that when you have a sewing blog and you make a bottom you are basically like, okay, guys, check out my butt? But….check it out! Also, I’m basically imitating this Russian chick we saw have her MUCH older husband/boyfriend/whatever take sexy photos of her on the beach in Goa. Oy.

And check out Hampi!

It’s the second largest archeological site in Asia! And it’s STUPID awesome.

Like my shorts!

 

 

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Filed under Deer and Doe, Sewing

The Wakes With The Fishes Shirt

When you have a pattern stash, of any size, and you are trying to limit that pattern stash, or you’ve been FORCED to limit that pattern stash, because of moves to India, or a place like that (I don’t know what else is like that, Bangladesh I guess?) you might find yourself cycling through patterns, creating trends within your own collection. For example, there might be a time when you are making a handful of patterns over and over again and then for no real reason you stop, and move on to something else. But then you come back to the pattern you loved, after a while.  Has anyone else had this experience?

Of course this pre-supposes that you, like myself, make patterns over and over again. It’s a rare pattern I don’t make multiple times, because I’m cheap, and it just seems like a waste not to, especially when a pattern is expensive. It’s actually why I love Colette Patterns Seamwork, because I can try stuff and feel okay only making one of them, because they are reasonable and release regularly. At any rate, I’m not talking about making 10 pleather body suits here, but classics like a woven t-shirt, well-fitting pants, a full skirt, that’s stuff I just keep on making.

It’s kind of like food. When I was a kid my father was the one who got us up in the morning and got us ready for school while my mother slept. We had to wake up stupid early, like 5:30am early every day for the school bus, don’t ask me why, probably because we lived in the city and our school was in the suburbs, like a punishment for living in a better place. WORTH IT. ANYway, to make things simple my father would figure out a meal we liked, for example, eggo waffles, and buy like twenty boxes of them and we would eat them for years. And then we would revolt, we would rise up and say NO to the oppression of eggo waffles! And then he would give us cheerios, which we loved because they weren’t fricking eggo waffles so they tasted like the literal best thing ever and then he would return home from the grocery school with twenty boxes of THOSE and the cycle, she would repeat itself all over again.

And my clothing production…may or may not sometimes work a little like that. Sometimes I get in a groove and then I realize I’ve made five of the same things in a row, and I feel so bored, and then I try something else and do it all over again! Damn you, Papi, and the things you’ve unconsciously taught me! Sigh. Ah, well. I do like a bit of a uniform, so maybe it’s for the best.

Now the rains have come to Mumbai, but just before the monsoon arrived the heat was laden with humidity and as oppressive as a fascist regime. So on days when I knew I wouldn’t have to run an errand, given that I work from home, my uniform became shorts, which I don’t tend to wear out in India, and lightweight shirts. And that’s when I realized, I had just made my third Archer in as many months, in my new favorite shape, selfless, with a back ruffle, and a little long. Boom.

WWTF4

These shorts are also me made, from FOREVER ago, a vintage pattern from the 1950’s which I no longer have because it was fine but not AMAZING and again, trying to keep that pattern stash in check.

WWTF2

The fabric comes from Mangaldas Market, and it’s a night lightweight cotton. I can’t get over how much I love these fish. When you have animals on your clothing you can never be lonely, because you always have friends! I DON’T CARE HOW PATHETIC THAT SOUNDS IT’S HOW I FEEL.

WWTF5

Apart from lengthening the pattern, which has become my standard adjustment for the Archer, I didn’t change anything about the pattern. I used french seams throughout, like I do, and bias tape for the armholes. Otherwise, pretty standard. I mean, when you make a pattern over and over and over and over again you kind of…get the hang of it. 

WWTF3I could probably go a size or two down on this pattern, or bring it in at the side seams, but it’s been so nice in the heat of Mumbai to have stuff that just drifts off my body.

WWTF6

Man, I love that back ruffle. I never thought I would, but I’m so damn into it!

WWTF 1

What’s-his-face really wanted me to take photos eating a peach. I don’t…really understand why, but hey, what is marriage but doing weird things your partner insists on and being photographed?

And that’s about it! Oh, the name is obviously a joke on mob movies, because I don’t sleep with the fishes, this is a day-time kind of shirt. Although, I wouldn’t mind fish pajamas….new mission? Accepted!

 

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Filed under Grainline Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The By The Sea Outfit

My father always says he bought our house in San Juan for the view. From the roof of our house, a green roof, just so you know, because my mom is amazing and she insisted, you can see San Juan Harbor, and you can sit and watch the giant cruise ships, floating cities of Disney tours and sunburnt tourists, slip in and out of the bay. At least, he can see that, and tall people can see that, but I am 5’2″ and I kind of have to peak over the wall if I want to see anything. Still, I love having a house by the sea. I love the ocean, I love the water, I always want to near it.

BTS 3Well, can you blame me? Especially when it looks like this?

BTS 1

Of course, wouldn’t you know it, I went to San Juan with someone who could care less about the ocean, so I spent some time on the beach alone, reading and floating and watching the October currents sweep in and out. The waters are really rough in Puerto Rico this time of year, it’s hurricane season, of course, and it rained every day I was there, but I am sort of an idiot about the water and I stayed in it anyway, letting it push and pull me around.

And if I can’t be in the ocean, I at least want to be around it. And of course, I’ve got to dress the part, now, don’t I?

BTS 2Of course, this is trying to be around in the 1940’s, I suppose. The top is a renfrew, to which I added a tie. I really just elongated the neckline binding and stitched it on, leaving the ends loose to be able to tie a bow. Spiffy, no?

BTS 5The shorts are a pattern from the 1940’s, Simplicity 2017. I’ve made these once before, in a tan linen, which I took to Israel. These I did in a linen cotton blend, which I like a bit better, it’s lighter weight, which is whatever, but it wrinkles slightly less, which I adore. Because let’s be real, I’m never ever going to iron a pair of shorts. Who the hell am I?

I made no changes to the pattern except to use a zipper instead of the snaps recommended because zippers are awesome and snaps are dumb. There. I said it.

BTS 7

The fabrics come from two places, the knit is an organic cotton from FabricMart.com which I got forever ago and have made so many things out of (I got four yards and boy does that stretch. Get it? Knit? Stretch? I crack myself up.) And the linen-cotton blend is from a wedding gift I made for a friend this summer and had a bit of left over yardage for me!

There isn’t much more to say about this sewing process, except that I originally made these to take to Cape Cod and what with one thing and another didn’t get photographs up there, and the the weather turned cooler and I figured, ah, well, wait for Puerto Rico. But both items were perfect for San Juan in October, and I have to say, I’m a huge fan of the high-waisted 40’s style shorts. Hipster as hell they might be, but I love them. It’s like wearing a skirt but you don’t worry about wind issues as much. Which, by the sea, is a good thing.

BTS 8A little back view for you. Isn’t the light lovely? It kind of back-lights me, which meant I had to light-correct the photos, but I kind of adore the effect. It gives me a halo, who can hate that?

BTS 6So there you go, a little sea-side ensemble for a house by the sea. The shorts I left in San Juan, they seemed quite happy there.

I know, I know, summer stitching in October? What is the world coming to? I promise, just one more tropically themed post and then I’m back to wools and flannels in a jiffy. Just bear with me, we’ll get there. Oh, we’ll get there. I’ve got big plans for cool weather, guys, stay tuned.

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Filed under Clothing, knit, Sewaholic Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel

Night to Day: Giveaway #6 (And by the way, I need your help)

Rough winds have shaken the darling buds of July and it is rainy, wet and honestly a touch chilly here in Philadelphia, not that I’m complaining, given that I’m on a bike for much of my day, so biking in the cool air is preferable to biking in the heat. I do both, as it turns out, but still, it’s nice when there us a breeze. I’ve been working on several new projects, two for my mamala, whose birthday is this coming Wednesday, one with the small person I’ve been teaching to sew, and one for the dinner I’m throwing tomorrow. That one is all done, expect photos and a dedicated post soon, along with some delectable food shots….

But for now, you will have to content yourselves with another giveaway, and a shameless plea for aid.

First things first, the winner of giveaway #4! And that is….Cindy, of Cation Designs! I think I’ve made my adoration for Cindy abundantly clear, but might I just say right now, thank you all, everyone who has been commenting to win on these giveaways! I really adore reading your comments, and I’m so thrilled that these patterns are going to such amazing people! Keep on commenting, I’ve got lots more goodies in store….

And here they are! Patterns which are far too small for me, but which I can’t help but find unbearably charming…

A closer look? But of course!

This could even be a cute dress, minus all the lace crap…

I actually really want all their shoes…am I alone?

Very Victorian, no? Or even Edwardian, for all those Downton Abby Fantasies…

And now that I’ve dangled patterns in front of your face as a bribe, please help me. If you want to enter this giveaway, or even if you don’t, would you mind terribly weighing in on my current internal sewing debate? I have 1.5 yards of 60″ navy linen, and it is awesome. It looks like this:

In the right hand corner you can JUST see some Cadfael paw. It’s a nice linen, even darker than this photo might suggest.

So I’m not really sure what to do with this length of fabric. Part of me says, make a skirt! You love skirts! And part of me says, make shorts! Make THESE shorts:

I’ve made them before, in fact, and I honestly adore them. But given all the shorts I’ve been making lately, I feel a bit silly making another pair, and a high-waisted style at that…

Or I could make this:

Okay, the cover art isn’t awesome, but I’ve made this before, the skirt and the pants, and the skirt, in a navy wool, is something I wore all winter, check it out.

Or I could do this:

Which of course I’ve made rather recently. And I can’t lie to you, I wear this at least once a week.

Or I could make something that ISN’T one of these options. What would you suggest? What do you like best? Any thoughts? Of course, it could just remain a perch for Mister Fattie:

Somehow, that doesn’t seem like the best use of this fabric…

Okay, tell me what to do! Or just tell me what YOU would do….

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Filed under Giveaway

The Call It Compulsion Top

I could also call this the “better than before but still a struggle” top. Or the “why do you torture yourself” top. Or the “shapeless but useful” top. There are a lot of ways I could have gone with this one.

I don’t know what the hell my problem is but every once in a while when I come across a pattern which doesn’t work for me I feel compelled to MAKE. IT. WORK. It will not defeat me. I’m a human, it’s a small pile of paper. I will fight. I will strive. I’m going to make this style/shape/combo work or DIE. TRYING. And so I get all worked up and slave over something and then finally have to admit that A. it’s not great and B. I don’t have to look great in every pattern, it’s okay, life, somehow, goes on…

But despite these useful lessons of the past, I made this top. And I was, initially, really excited about this top! The pattern is actually Colette Patterns’ Taffy Blouse, which I didn’t adore in practice, but I loved the way the bias cut hung over my body, so smooth and comfortable! So I thought, okay, why not try it sleeveless, as the sleeves were my major sticking point in the past. And I had a bit of fabric left over from that luscious if more-shiny-then-I-typically-go-for charmuse from my Something Blue dress, so I thought, okay, let’s do this thing!

So I cut it out, piecing the back together, and I french seamed and bias tape made and generally did it all by the book (literally).

And, you know, when I first tried it on I loved it. But looking at these photos I have come to the charming realization that this thing is rather shapeless. Like, not flattering. At all.

The look on my face says it all. Meh. Just meh. Mehville, population me.

I shouldn’t say that, though, really. I mean, I think this is actually going to be a rather useful piece of clothing, as a very comfortable silk (silk!) shell. But on it’s on? Well, I don’t think it does much for me.

In other news, these are the first blog photos I have taken with my new tripod! WHAT? Yes! I got it for my birthday, thanks, Mamala! No more torturing other people, no more angry photo sessions, just me, my tripod and some limber running into place. I can do that, right?

I’m still working out how to use it well, but this photo shoot was FUN! I’m a bit off-center in most of these, but hey, I will figure it out. Thanks for suggesting this, commentors (specifically Lauren), I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier!

But one mustn’t be all negative to this poor blouse. I tucked it in, and prefered the results infinitely:

See, that’s better, right?

See, that highlights my waist, instead of making me look, well, wide. And one does so prefer to look slim, now, doesn’t one?

The shorts, by the way, are Simplicity 7866, and you can win that pattern in this giveaway! Now, is that service or is that service.

Of course, being who I am, I couldn’t help but play with the tripod and the timer setting a bit. Want to see?

Yeah. Do you ever do this? Not play with your tripod, I mean, do you see a pattern as a nemesis who must be defeated, rather then what it REALLY IS, a style of clothing that may or may not suit you? I know empirically that not every style is my style and yet sometimes when it comes down too it I get oddly stubborn about patterns. I don’t regret making this blouse, really, I think it will be very useful and it’s lovely to wear, that silk, it’s expensive for a reason, I suppose, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most flattering thing I’ve even sewn. I think I’m throwing in the towel, Taffy, I really did try. I gave you my all. But you give love a bad name…

Yeah. Still sorting out the tripod. I’ll get there. I promose.

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The What’s Up Buttercup Shorts (Me Made May Day 28!)

These really should be called the “What’s Up Iris” Shorts, but that doesn’t rhyme, so it’s dead to me. I normally have more photos for a introducing the world to the garment post, but given how many times I’ve made this pattern (Simplicity 7688, but of course) I feel like maybe that’s not really necessary. And I’m not even going to pretend I’m not going to make more pairs because hell, these shorts are awesome, and they use less then a yard of bottom weight fabric, which is great, because I’m not really sure what to do with that otherwise. See, lighterweight stuff can always become a sorbetto blouse, but what do you do with mid-weight linen? You make shorts!

The fabric is leftover from a project I made for my Mamala. Check it out:

It’s a touch wrinkly because, hello, linen, but it’s the BurdaStyle Shari dress and I think it’s pretty excellent. My mamala thinks so too.

And that’s our house in Puerto Rico! Which my mamala renovated! See, she’s with something she made with something I made! What????!!!!! I know. Minds are blown.

Enough of that, to the shorts!

See, I thought I would have to content myself with mirror shots, but then I sweet talked my mamala into shooting me in the garden, amoung the irises. (Yes, I just said my mother shot me.)

Wow, my hair is the worst. Sigh. It was hot, what can I say. The blouse is my Parque de Palomas Blouse.

I flat felled all the seams because linen frays like whoa, and I hand stitched the hem. Like I do.

My very best Vanna White to show you the wonders of our garden.

In other news, Poirot, who has gotten very little face time here, decided to be all adorable yesterday. It was too much.

Look at that guy. Does he care about my linen shorts? No he does not. And yet I love him. Curious. No human in my life could get away with such a thing.

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Filed under Burda Style, Buttrick Patterns, Challenge, Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage