Shorts On The Line. Shorts On My Kids.


In honor of this week's Shorts On The Line, let's talk about one of my all-favorites shorts patterns - the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho.

What is there not to love?  It's free.  It comes in both kid's and adult sizes.  It uses the tiniest bit of fabric imaginable.  It's super-wearable and pretty adorable (if I don't say so myself).  The only issue I see with this pattern is that without a modification to lengthen the pattern, it does make a pretty short pair of shorts, which may be an issue for some people (although there is a lengthen line on the pattern so you could easily lengthen it if you wanted).

Because this pattern only requires small amounts of fabric, I love using it as the perfect opportunity to dig through my leftovers and see what I can make with them.  In this case, the main fabric is leftover from this top and the binding fabric is leftover from this dress.  Win-win!

The shorts came together incredibly easily (as they always do) and there is in fact a bonus to them being this short because O is really into wearing shorts under her dresses nowadays, and she often reaches for these ones since they can't be seen under dresses.  It's not exactly what I had in mind when I made these shorts, but I'll just be happy with the fact that she's wearing them.

Which brings me to this other pair of shorts that I made.  Once again, they're made from leftovers (from this dress).  I sewed them up a couple months ago and was so darn pleased with how they came out.  I mean - they're gold shorts!  What kid wouldn't want gold shorts?  As it turns out, C doesn't want gold shorts and she has refused to wear them.  I managed to bribe her to get this one picture taken, but I don't think these shorts will ever get worn by this child again.

She's a stubborn little thing and in those moments when I think that her strong-willed nature will be the death of me, I just repeat under my breath "Future CEO.  Future CEO."

The One In Which I Take The Advice Of Some Very Wise Women


As I was stuffing dresses into C's closet the other day, I came to the realization that that kid has enough dresses to last her a lifetime and I should really focus more on sewing for O, who has grown out of nearly half of her clothes lately.  I haven't been paying much attention to kid's patterns lately because I've been wholly absorbed with my selfish sewing, but when I saw Rachel's post the other day, I knew that I was going to make a Hummingbird Dress for O.

First though, I just have to say how amazing the sewing community is because without the tips that Erin first passed on to Rachel and Rachel passed on to us, and without the added tips in this post, this dress would not have been as much of a success as it turned out to be.  Thanks to everyone who has ever taken the time to post tips and tricks to make all of our end-products that much better!

So, as for the modifications, I followed the advice of the wise women who went before me and cut out the bodice according to O's chest measurement and then added about two inches to the back bodice piece so that there was a bit more flexibility with the sizing.  I also raised the neckline a bit since several people mentioned that it seemed to hit low on the chest.  Lastly, I followed these instructions for finishing the inside in order to have a dress as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.

As for the fabric, I picked up some lovely gray Japanese double-gauze the other day at Stiches.  Ben tried to convince me that the fabric was boring and that the kids wouldn't like it, but I had a vision of what I wanted to make and nobody was going to come between me and my vision!  My vision, of course, involved making a gorgeous, flowing summer dress with a lace over-lined bodice and I just so happened to have this lace begging to be made into something since it's been sitting on my shelf for over a year.

Now, I don't want to say "I told you so" or anything, but Ben was definitely wrong when he said that the kids would't be interested in a gray dress because this was C's face when she found out that the dress wasn't for her.

I suppose I'll be making another Hummingbird Dress sometime soon.

Pants. Yet Another Thing I Told Myself That I Would Never Sew.


So, given that this post is about what I did during my spring break and it's now almost the middle of July, this post may be just a tad bit overdue.  But, I made pants (!) so we're just going to ignore the three month delay and celebrate this accomplishment.  

In any case, want to know what spring break looks like when you're a thirty-something mother of two?  It involved the following very exciting to-do list.

1.  Do taxes.
2.  Stop drinking caffeine.
3.  Learn how to sew a pair of pants.

I know - you're super-jealous of my exciting life.  There is in fact good news, however.

1.  We got a tax refund.
2.  I stopped drinking caffeine and I'm still somewhat functioning.
3.  I sewed a pair of pants!

Part of me can't believe that I've gone this long without sewing a real pair of pants.  The other part of me, however, can believe it because the idea of dealing with fit issues was enough to make me go "oh, forget it!"  But then I bought a pair of high waisted flare jeans at an after Christmas sale, fell in love with them, and knew that I needed to reproduce them.  Lucky for me, the Birkin flare pattern matches up almost perfectly to my beloved jeans.  In fact, being able to match up the measurements between the pants and the Birkin pattern was one of the things that convinced me to take the plunge into pants making.

Okay, on to the actual making.  Before cutting out the pants, I shortened the inseam by 1 inch and I slimmed out of the flare by about 1 inch, which perhaps makes these patterns more of a bootcut now.   In any case, from there I simply followed the instructions which were pretty self-explanatory until it came to the fly insertion which made me scratch me head a bit, although it ended up being just fine in the end (that is - after I sewed the fly shut during my first attempt.  Doh!).  I used a combo of the pattern instructions and the Ginger jeans sewalong for a little extra hand holding during the sewing process and both were really helpful.  I debated whether to add rivets, but in the end I added them since the pants are  fairly tight and can probably use every little bit of added strength in the seams.  I used the instructions from Ginger jeans sewalong and this tutorial to address the issue of the rivets being slightly too long.  Also, I bought my button and rivets from TaylorTailor and they arrived super-fast (way faster than the original place that I ordered from that never actually sent what I ordered).

As for the fabric, I opted for a black cotton twill with 2% spandex.  The fabric is actually a sateen, but I didn't want such a shiny fabric so I used the wrong side as my right side.  The only downside to this is that I'm concerned that lint (and everything else) sticks to this fabric a little too easily.  I suppose it's time to find where my lint roller is.  They also tend to show off every little wrinkle throughout the day (as evidenced by these photos that show off every little wrinkle).

Oh, and I just have to say that these pants were sewn on the simplest of simple sewing machines and it survived to live another day.  Yes, there were some times when I found myself talking to it and saying "You can do it.  I believe in you" but it was all very doable.

And that's about it folks.  I made pants!  Oh, and I also made this shirt which is yet another Archer made from some lovely organic cotton that I bought at Bolt many moons ago.  I was so excited to make it, but a little underwhelmed with the end-product as I thought it came out, well, a little boring.  As it turns out, though, I'm apparently a super-boring person because this is now one of my favorite shirts to wear.  It's funny how things work out sometimes.

Also, that's not our cat.  Much to my kids' chagrin, I'm allergic and we won't be getting a cat, which makes them that much more excited when the neighbor's cat hops our fence and pays us a visit.