Category Archives: Shorts

Jedediahs for Josh

Jedediah shorts

I haven’t done much sewing for myself lately, but I managed to fit in some shorts that Josh has been requesting for ages – Thread Theory Jedediahs to be exact. I’ve been promising him shorts for a while, and while I missed most of the summer season, he’s off to California with work soon so they should get some wear out there.

Jedediah shorts

Naturally, he chose a slightly challenging fabric and thread combo: a stretchy medium-heavy indigo denim together with a super contrasty baby blue topstitch. The fabric was a very generous gift from Jennifer of Workroom Social during our New York trip – it’s the famous Cone Mills denim as used in the Ginger jeans kits. It was slightly harder to work with than rigid denim as the presser foot pressure plus the stretchiness will mean you get a bit of rippling and distortion if you’re not careful. However it has excellent recovery so a good steam helped things get back into shape. Josh gives it an A+ for comfort so it was a good choice overall.

Jedediah shorts

Besides that, sewing these up was straightforward and enjoyable. I followed the included instructions booklet up to installing the front pockets, but defaulted back the the Ginger method for the fly front and topstitching guidelines since we were going for jeans-style finishing. You may have noticed I managed to sew the fly the ‘lady’ way round ie topstitching on the left as you look at them instead of the right. I swear I reversed the Ginger instructions, but must have had a brain fail along the way. Luckily Josh doesn’t mind!

Jedediah shorts

I didn’t find the Jedediah instructions all that clear overall in either the descriptions or diagrams, so I don’t think these would be suitable for a first-time pants project. But I do love the packaging and the fact that a little label was included. Plus there’s a sewalong which I’m sure would clear up some of the trickier steps. I bought the printed pattern from Backstitch here in the UK by the way.

Jedediah shorts

And the drafting seems pretty great. I cut a straight size 34 and only made tiny adjustments after a baste-and-try-on at each stage. To compensate for the denim’s stretch I sewed the side seams with a slightly larger seam allowance and pulled the waistband quite tightly as I attached it, cutting off a couple of inches excess at each end. The hems are turned with a generous double cuff and tacked in place.

Jedediah shorts
Jedediah shorts

I’m moderately happy with my finishing and topstitching. I had to rip and redo a few bits of wobbly topstitching, and I didn’t go for anything fancy on the insides – just serged and topstitched seams for a faux flat-fell look.

Jedediah shorts

The downside is Josh is so happy with them he’s eyeing up my other Cone Mills denim for a full-length pair of jeans! We’ll see how generous I’m feeling come the autumn…

Barbados beach dressin’

Holiday sewing

Warning: this post contains a lot of idyllic beaches, warm weather and sunsets. It might not be suitable if you’re lodged in wintery gloom. I’m feeling that myself with an extra post-holiday crash this week if that helps, but I did have a lovely little break in Barbados and managed to get a few new me-mades into my case despite still being an overlocker down. (There are some more photos of my trip over here if you’re feeling brave.)

Holiday sewing

Firstly two more Zippy tops – well, a top and a dress variation – both made from House of Hackney silk that I got in last year’s excellent sample sale. This blouse I just love – what looks like leopard print from a distance is actually amoebas up close. Secret science print!

Holiday sewing

I accidentally cut the dress bodice a bit too high and ended up with empire line, which also made it end up rather short hence the addition of vintage lace trim to the hem. As well as having fabulous designs HoH fabric is so well-behaved and a dream to wear – I hope they do another sale soon.

Holiday sewing

You can barely see ’em, but this is a pair of Katy & Laney Tap Shorts that I made last summer. It’s the same polka dot denim as these jeans, with the plain reverse side used for the front and the dots on the side/back. I love this pattern and was hoping to make a couple more pairs, but I didn’t fancy leaving raw denim seams without my trusty overlocker.

Holiday sewing

This is a Marilla Walker Maya top (with a different pair of Tap Shorts), which Marilla kindly gave me the pattern for. I bought the fabric when I met up with Marilla and a few other sewists on Goldhawk Road in January, it’s a super soft cotton with the pattern woven in; I think I used the wrong side out but I like the stripes. The top took just an evening to sew and I really like the construction method, with wide facing pieces for the neck and sleeves which are topstitched down. It fit perfectly with no adjusting and is so nice and comfy, both in heat and cold (I wore it back at home before the trip too). Winner!

Holiday sewing

Tiger dress! This is my second Pattern Runway Gathered Sundress (the first one’s here). The bodice fits me like a glove with no modifications, and I’m fond of the scoopy skirt pockets with sweet gathers. I just omitted the waistband both times I made it as they do nothing for me. It’s made from Cotton + Steel quilting weight cotton which I’d been hoarding for a while – it’s a bit novelty (and pale) for me normally but I think you get away with that type of thing on holiday. I didn’t quite have enough so cut the side princess panels from a plain black, and tried to tie it in with a black decorative stitch on the hem too.

Holiday sewing

I’ve been trying to get over my invisible zip aversion, so this one has one up the back. Getting a good screw-on Janome zipper foot for Christmas, rather than the flimsy proprietary one I was using before, really makes it easier to sew up the remaining seam accurately. There’s a neat finish inside the dress with a mix of French seams, pinking, and hand-sewing.

Holiday sewing
Holiday sewing

Finally, the reversible Turia dungarees I made my sister for Christmas got an airing – but only briefly because I made a BIG mistake. I didn’t prewash the fabric as I was in a rush to get them made.. after fifteen minutes in the hot sun, they’d bled blue-black dye all over her legs. Aaaaagh! I hope a gentle wash with a colour-catcher sheet renders them wearable. The good news is my sister (extremely impressively as she’s a beginner) sewed up her very own version of the pattern which also got worn on the trip. I just need to wrestle the pattern back to make my own pair!

London Fabric Sample Sales

Just a quick one to let you know about two fabric sample sales happening in London in the next couple of weeks! I’ve had amazing luck shopping at fabric sample sales lately; I find they are a great way to pick up luxurious fabrics and interesting prints for a bargainous price.

alinesale

A-Line London has a sale next Thursday and Friday in Shoreditch – with luxury end of line fabrics promised at low prices, it should be a good one for winter basics.

hohsale

House of Hackney has more sales this and next weekend. The last one was amazing: here’s my haul which cost around £35 for about 10 metres of silks if I recall.

If you’re local, see you there! If you aren’t – sorry ;)

By the way, I am off to Paris tomorrow so any last-minute shopping tips there are much appreciated.

Jimmy shorts times two

Jimmy shorts

I’ve got to say, I’m an eternal optimist about the British summer. It gets to about May and I tuck away my winter coat and sweaters and start thinking about little dresses and shorts. This often backfires obviously, but I feel really comfy in these kinds of clothes, and if nothing else our flat is like a little greenhouse whenever there’s sun outside so these shorts are great for working at home. (I don’t, however, advocate indoor sunglasses: I just couldn’t be bothered to put make-up on for photos! Yes, I am also living in this cami, which was a half-hour make.)

Jimmy shorts

These are the Jimmy Shorts, a free pattern from new to me blogger/designer Fine Motor Skills (if the download link doesn’t work, they are also on Burdastyle here). I found the pattern thanks to Sarah and her excellent round-up of of free patterns. I’m kind of blown away that this pattern is free: it appears to be professionally graded and the instructions are thorough and illustrated. These are my dream shorts in terms of details and fit: mid-waisted, fly front, blousy/flared, pleats, pockets… and for an extra pro finish they are fully lined (though I left it off both of these, ha).

Jimmy shorts

The diamond pair was my wearable toile. I’m sure you recognise the fabric from my Centaurée; I guess this fabric is blessed or something because both toiles I’ve made from it have turned into (pretty fabulous) wearable garments. Sadly it’s all gone now, but I definitely got my money’s worth from it.

Jimmy shorts

They fitted amazingly well straight off the pattern. Not even any back gaping to deal with, due to a nicely curved waistband piece. I cut a smaller size than the size chart would suggest after measuring the waistband and hips on the pattern pieces – I guess they run large, so be aware of that if you make them. The only changes I did make were to lengthen the hem by about an inch and convert the front pleats to release tucks. I’ve been enjoying playing with pleats and tucks recently, pressing them to different sides and so on to find which I like best on me. It can make a real difference to the fit and flatter-factor of pants so it’s worth trying a few out.

Jimmy shorts
Jimmy shorts

My second pair are made from a polycotton twill I got in Ecuador. I bought it with shorts in mind because I wanted to use the embroidered selvedge as a hem, but unfortunately it was quite a small piece and there wasn’t enough embroidered edge to make it all the way around. So the back uses a plain selvedge, which amazingly was already hemmed with a neat narrow hem. Man, I wish more fabric came with pre-hemmed edges! Not always practical obviously, but worked great in this case.

Jimmy shorts

I used some of the remaining embroidery for a couple of belt loops, and for the fly facing and shield for a bit of fun. The instructions have a new-to-me method for the fly front which is really smart and intuitive, and produces a super tidy result – worth downloading the pattern just to take a look if you’re interested. There’s a second button inside the band as well for a nice secure fit. Ignore the rather twisty waistband and poor topstitching, ahem.

Jimmy shorts

The side seam pocket insertion is also done a bit differently to what I’m used to but again worked great. You sew both pieces to the front and secure then along the waist so they sit really flat. I love finding new little techniques like this.

Jimmy shorts
Jimmy shorts

These are a really quick sew, even with the fly front – a two-session leisurely weekend project for me. I can imagine them in loads of fabrics – a silkier pair with lining would be really sweet. I’m also kind of intrigued to lengthen the legs to knee or full-length to see if they work as pants, since I like the fit around the top so much. I reckon these are on their way to becoming a TNT for me, while the British summer lasts…

Pattern repeat: Burda 07-2011 pants and shorts

Burda 07/11 trousers

Pattern repeat = my cute new name for using the same pattern more than once with differing results. As a cheapskate at heart, reusing patterns is a must for me – more money for pretty fabrics, eh? Also, it’s so much quicker to sew the same garment for a second or third time as you should have figured out the construction and made any fit adjustments ahead of time. If you’re thinking I’m super nerdily productive with my sewing by the way, this is partly why: these each took me like two hours each from cutting to finish, slotting into a spare afternoon or evening here or there. (Also, I don’t really get out much.)

Burda 07/11 trousers

Anyway yes, here are two more takes on my beloved Burda 07/2011 (first go here). The first uses a georgette-type synthetic from Stoke Newington ‘favourite’ Ultimate Craft. The staff are surly, the stock is random, but the fabrics are fairly plentiful and cheap. At the time of my visit the whole street had a power cut, so I kind of bought this literally in the dark. But it was like £2.50 a metre so what could go wrong…

Burda 07/11 trousers

Not much did go wrong, actually. They sewed up as easily as the first pair, bar the fabric wanting to pucker a bit. Despite that I like the fabric a lot: light and drapey and just enough sheen to feel a bit fancy. They fit better than the first ones because I knew to taper the legs and make the waistband shorter this time. I wore them out for dinner immediately after finishing them, so I know they’re going to be a wardrobe regular.

Burda 07/11 trousers

Top tip for sewing with jersey ribbing: cut it much, much shorter than you think you’ll need. I found that two-thirds of my finished waist/hip measurement is about right, so around 22 inches on these. It looks ridiculously tiny but does mean the band stays in place on your waist, and because of the extreme stretch it’s still pretty simple to ease in as you sew. I cut the band too long on my first pair and they need hiking up a lot as a result; this second pair is much better.

Constellation PJ shorts

Secondly, I adapted the pattern to make sweet little lounge/PJ shorts. I couldn’t resist this constellation print cotton when I spotted it on sale at M is for Make, but couldn’t really imagine making an outdoors garment out of it. (Although thinking about it, it’s a bit more subtle than paint by numbers stags now, isn’t it?)

Constellation PJ shorts

I shortened the legs to just after the pockets bags meaning I could squeeze the pieces onto the single yard I bought, except for the pocket linings which are some stashed black jersey scraps. This makes the pockets extra-cosy so I’m glad for the shortfall actually. Again, nice fit, easy to sew, comfy to wear, and a completely different look and purpose to the other two. I’m now even imagining a pair of long cuffed pyjama pants for winter too. The pattern that keeps on giving!

Burda 07/11 trousers

Bonus stupid photo: You might have spotted I bought a wireless remote for my camera: all the better to take sewing-selfies for you, my dears!