SEWING / Spring Shorts
My wardrobe staple has forever been jeans but once I'd made my first pair of elastic waist pants, I was hooked. It started with a pair of Arenite Pants, and quickly grew to a second and third pair, then a pair of Clyde Work Pants for a different perspective, and most recently, the Fremantle Pants.
Wanting the same comfort for summer I made a few pairs of Arenite shorts as well and they've served me well. However anyone whose cropped a pair of well worn jeans into cutoffs knows - just shortening pants doesn't always translate into that perfect pair of shorts. Then I found the Spring Shorts, a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine.
I spent a lot of time scrolling through the #springshorts hashtag on Instagram. I knew I wanted to make the shorts from a drapey stashed fabric to mimic a pair of well loved shorts I'd purchased from Aerie years ago. But the more I scrolled and pinned, the more I realized that the projects I liked most were made from cotton or linen that leant structure and shape.
I had used an amazing Sandwashed Cotton from Dressew to make my Fremantle Pants. I've used this same fabric on many of the pants I mentioned above. It's now my go-to — as it's lighter than the linen I've worked with and I love the way it washes up and hangs. I happened to have just enough leftover to make a pair of Spring Shorts — it was perfect!!
The pattern was well written and concise which I really appreciate. It included thoughtful design details that produced a nice finish without being overly fussy to execute (also greatly appreciated!). I only made two minor modifications to the pattern and both were to make them suit my body type better.
FIRST MODIFICATION / Length
I have a long torso and VERY short legs so I cuff all of my shorts (otherwise my legs look stumpy). Because these shorts have a unique hem they can't be rolled up. For this reason I decided to shorten them by 1 ½". I didn't use the lengthen/shorten line included on the pattern because I didn't want to lose any crotch length (my muslin fit perfectly without any tweaks). Instead I took the length from the leg, perpendicular to the grainline.
SECOND MODIFICATION / Waist Band
The only other modification I made to this pattern was to omit the Paper-Bag waist. I have almost no waist so the extra fabric along the top of this style of waist band tends to make me look thicker and isn't very flattering on me. I modified the pattern piece by removing ⅜" along each long edge of the waist band and recentered the drawstring holes. I used 2" elastic inside the casing and finished with two rows of long stitches ⅜" from the top and bottom of the band.
Because of the unique shape of the hem, it's impossible to fold the cuff under for finishing. Instead the shorts are finished by sewing separate bands to the raw edge of the leg and folding to the wrong side of the shorts. I've never finished a hem this way and loved learning it. The look is clean and completely seamless from the right side. Occasionally I geek out by flipping my shorts hem up to show sewing friends how clever this finish is!
What I appreciated most about this pattern were the small steps that created a tidy finish without any part of the pattern feeling overly fussy or difficult. The French seams in the pockets are a simple extra step and a nice touch. I also loved how the crotch edges are finished separately and then seamed together to create less bulk in that area (brilliant!). But I especially loved the way the waist band was applied and finished, it might be my new favourite method. It was similar to, but slightly different than the elastic waist pants I've made in the past. The result was a nice flat seam between the waist band and body, and the method was easy as well as fool proof (finishing waist bands can sometimes be tricky!). My last project were the Fremantle Pants in this same fabric. I absolutely love them however the seam attaching the waist band creates a lot of bulk between all of the layers and I find it unflattering on me. Following that project with these shorts in the same fabric made me realize it's not necessarily the fabric and it could potentially be fixed (or tweaked on my next pair).
Find more of my sewing @janerichmondsews