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.)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…