Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Short Sewing

Well, it took a couple of years, but Finn has finally outgrown the shorts that I made him two summers ago.  Actually, in length and waist, he is still fine, but I felt the rise was too short for another summer.  Instead, I took those same shorts, cut off an inch and a half, and hemmed them for Enna.  Summer shorts for her?  Done.  Finn, however, needed something new.

Last year, I supplemented his homemade shorts with these from Target:


They were perfect!  We got a size smaller than his age so that they would fit his waist, and they were still o.k. in length.  This year, they are getting a bit shorter, but not unseemly so.  However, I couldn't find these same shorts this year (so as to get more), and I didn't like the look of what I saw available online via Target. All this to say: I needed to sew more shorts.

I was going to use the same pattern as I used two years ago, the sketchbook short pattern.  However, I don't have it in the larger (5-12) size range, only the younger range.  I have learned in the past year or so that although my kids' girth measurements (i.e. waist and chest), might put them in a really young size, you don't want to do more the a two size difference between a waist/chest measurement and a height measurement since the proportions start looking really off.  This meant that although Finn's waist measurements might put him in the smaller pattern size, size 5 was as small as I should go since I needed the length of the pattern to be a size 7/8.  Clear as mud?  Anyway, I thought about buying that pattern in the larger size, but decided that I would take the art museum trouser pattern (which I did have in the right size) and make them into shorts.

This is a great basic pant pattern.  The "design feature" of this pattern is the welt back pockets, which I didn't bother with since I wanted a basic summer short with pockets.  I also opted not to do the flat front since Finn has expressed a preference of comfort for an all-around elastic waist.  Other besides that, I made it like the pattern directed.  I estimated (generously) an inseam that would approximate a short length, making sure that I had it long enough.  I hemmed them so that they hit at mid-knee.

The tricky part was coming up with a suitable fabric.  I really liked the fabric of the Target shorts. I posted a picture of the shorts on a couple of different Facebook sewing groups to get input on what exactly that type of fabric was called.  The consensus was poplin.  However, it was not trivial to find poplin that would be substantial enough for shorts.  (It is most often used as shirting).  Robert Kaufman makes a "Malibu Poplin" that is 5.3 ounces.  This is what I used, and it has been awesome--substantial enough for shorts but lightweight enough for summer.  (I had also checked out some lightweight/midweight twill, but those had a dressier look.)


The second set of shorts I made for Finn were using the Parachute Pant pattern.  I had some leftover sweatshirt fleece from previously made pants.  I went back and forth on whether the sweatshirt fleece was too warm for shorts.  It is a pretty lightweight sweatshirt fleece.  My mind has yet to fully adjust to PNW summers.  I still think that summers bring a lot of heat and humidity--in which case sweatshirt fleece, regardless of how lightweight, is just a poor choice.  However, with our low-humidity 70 degree days, the sweatshirt fleece is just fine.

I drafted pockets using the tutorial online.  However, I kind of wish I had pushed harder and left them off.  I don't think they hit at a good spot to be actually used, I made the opening a bit too big (I used the Art Museum pockets as a guide), and they don't lie nice and flat--they get caught on the hands and come partly out of the pockets.  All in all, it makes me a bit twitchy, but Finn isn't bothered by any of this, and wears them happily.

Faint white marks are just chalk markings to indicate pockets.  The picture was taken before they had been washed and these markings removed.

All, in all.  I am happy with the shorts.  What makes me more happy is to see my kids preferring them over the store-bought shorts.  It makes my heart sing to see my kids in well-fitting, home-made clothes.

1 comment:

Reggi said...

Okay, my iPad now lets me leave comments so it's me again. I am so impressed at your sewing abilities! If I remember you just started sewing clothing a few years ago and the variety and quality is wonderful! Your kids are lucky! Happy summer!

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