Peppermint Shorts

Note: I sewed an outfit for Sew Brave on the Sewcialists. This is part two of my associated technical posts. Part one is here!

“Of the three pants fastenings these remain: fly front, wrap, and elastic. But the greatest of these is elastic. No wait, fly front. No, elastic! Hmm, am I bloated? Elastic!”

Those are my favorites. Invisible zippers can take a flying leap (I still use them, I just dislike and mistrust them). And can you beat elastic for comfort and flexibility? Madams, sirs, and otherwise, you can’t.

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Though, I’m not so sure that elastic is easier to sew neatly than a zip. It’s sort of wobbly and stretchy and twisty and if your safety pin comes off while threading you have to dive into the casing head-first with a pair of tweezers. On the other hand…

Beat that with a stick! I don’t typically wear print at all, and especially not as shorts, so I didn’t want any barriers to wearing these. So the way these pop on and then feel like nothing? Hooray! The pattern is the Peppermint Shorts (variously Spring shorts or Drawstring shorts) and another downloadable freebie. So far, so good! And yet…

The first time I sewed this pattern, I sewed a straight size 14. I didn’t have enough fabric for the pocket bags (scrapbusting!), so I skipped them. Possibly this increased the emphasis on my stomach. My stomach is not a state secret. I’m not ashamed of it, or trying to hide it, but this trial pair of shorts…it sort of cupped it? Like hands in a pregnancy photo shoot? I don’t want to be cupped.

But I was happy with everything else. Back fit, leg fit, crotch curve – I just wanted a little more fabric in the crucial location so I wouldn’t be held tenderly by my own shorts all day.

Also, I mostly don’t like shorts that widen at the hem, possibly because they make me look like I’m teetering around on a pair of parsnips; meanwhile, nice close-fitting shorts legs showcase the curvy aspects of my pins. You could probably talk me into a zookeeper/Egyptologist inspired pair, but for these, my priority was making keeping the leg shape the same while adding moreso for my torso.

And since they’re cinched with elastic, it was as easy as snip-spread-tape!

Chart

The shorts are hemmed with a facing, so I taped the front leg pattern piece and front leg facing pattern piece together before making my changes. Altogether I spread the shorts at the top 1.25” per leg.

I imagine if you were outside the limited size range (the highest size available is 16), some combination of horizontal and vertical slashes would grade these nicely. This pattern is free – which represents a significant gift from the designer – but also so, so narrowly sized – why are people with 33” waists ineligible for gifts?!

I think this style could feel comfortable and nonrestrictive on many shapes and sizes. The ‘drawstring’ is looped through two buttonholes (or grommets, if yah fancy. I was not) and tied in a bow, so it doesn’t actually constrict at all. I ran a wee line of stitching between the buttonholes so my tie would stay put. It’s a piece of self-fabric double-fold bias tape, stitched shut. Turning tiny tubes is my Waterloo.

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Hem facings, on the other hand, turn out to be my waterpark. Fun, I mean, not heavily chlorinated. Tidy shape, no flare, easy to sew around curves. I find this to be the easiest way to prep these:

Chart 2

Then attach as normal. And the result:

Those flashes of white are because the block printing stopped a couple inches before the selvage of my fabric, but I am a fabric miser who will use every inch.

I talk a little more about their style over on the Sewcialists. In short (shorts!! Yuk yuk yuk), I won’t know for sure until the weather gets hot, but I think this pair of shorts will end up being a friend indeed, and a welcome departure from my summer norm.

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Bye for now!

 

Pattern: Peppermint Shorts

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 14, with variations, above

Supplies: leftovers from my Ruth blouse, fabric costs placed there; thread and elastic from stash

Total time: 3 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Sparkle shorts

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This is the third and final of my vacation outfits. I feel really happy in it, probably because both these pieces are third iterations of their patterns, and I’m well on my way to working the kinks out. It’s a sleeveless Anderson blouse tucked into some sparkle princess pony Flint shorts! Everybody gonna shine, okay?

I adjusted both of these patterns, but the Flints less so, so I’ll start there! This was my third time sewing the Flints; shorts, culottes, then shorts again. My main change was eliminating the lovely deep hem ‘cause I like them SHORT. I tried a few different hems – a ½ turned hem that looked too stiff, separate cuff pieces à la the Deer & Doe Chataignes that just didn’t wow me, and finally landed on this teensy baby hem. Baby hems combine some of my favorite sewing techniques, like precise edgestitching and fabric miserliness!

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The inseam ends just below the pocket bags. They’re not called longs, right?

I also curved the back waistband. I divided the waistband piece at the side notches and added seam allowances, otherwise leaving what became the front pieces alone. I then curved and cut the back as two separate pieces (an outer and a facing), which enabled me to remove about 1” of gape from the top of the waistband.

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The fit on these is still not perfect – cat whiskers for daaaayysss – but shoot, they’re comfy, they have generous pockets, and since the #1 cause of my shorts perishing is critical invisible zipper failure, I can handle a little pooch around my pooch.

I edited the Sew Over It Anderson blouse a wee bit more aggressively. The first time I made it sleeves and all. I bite my thumb at those sleeve directions. They suck. I kind of loved the look (more Gillian Anderson in X-Files than The Fall, but still pretty glam) but the sloppy insides made me sad and angry. Plus the sleeves were skinny but I was swimming in the body, so for my next draft I went sleeveless AND sized down to the smallest size (!!!). I found the shoulder seam oddly binding on that version, and decided it was because the bottom of the armscye was too high and my arm chub was pulling down the shoulder seam. I changed the pattern like this:

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Only, it wasn’t the armscye depth, it was the shoulder slope. I realized that halfway through the sewing process, too late for take-backs. I should have done this (and next time I will):

Diagram 2

Here’s how those two different pattern alterations compare:

Diagram layered

There’s too much underarm gape for my tastes, but otherwise I’m pretty delighted with this version. It was a cinch to sew, partly because I ignored the Sew Over It cutting layout. They direct you to place the front shirt neckline on the bias but I placed it on the selvage instead. Oh hai finished edge.

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I also swapped out the measly piece of binding on the back neckline for a 2” wide facing.

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I’m not totally sure how and why it happened, but on either side of the neckline there are these funny jutting corners. It has something to do with how I French seamed the shoulder – the seam allowance ended up pressed forward – but it’s both symmetrical and inoffensive (and how many of us can say that about ourselves?!).

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The pattern calls for a drawstring cinching the hem, but I knew I would always wear it tucked in, so this shirt has a baby hem, too. I overlapped the layers and shimmied deeply into my mirror until I found the lowest possible V that always covered my bra, and then tacked them together at the hem.

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The best part about a tropical island vacation? The humidity steamed all the suitcase wrinkles from this linen top without any help! (PSA, THAT WAS NOT ACTUALLY THE BEST PART.)

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My head is *firmly* in summer sewing now. Stay tuned for more premature proactive planning! 🙂

 

Pattern: Anderson blouse

Pattern cost: N/A (previously used)

Size: 8 – the smallest size!!!

Supplies: 1.25 yards of Antwerp linen in white, $18.88, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 2.75

Total cost: $18.88

 

Pattern: Flint shorts

Pattern cost: N/A (previously used)

Size: 14

Supplies: 2 yards of Kaufman metallic linen in Emerald, Gather Here, $22; thread from stash

Total time: 6 hours

Total cost: $22.00