denim, handmade wardrobe, sewing, shorts

Plain jane shorts

I’m not a huge fan of shorts, but I recognize that living in California requires I wear such items (and probably with a sweater and scarf in November :).  I’ve been doing the “sporty skirt with built in shorts” for a while, but a girl needs some variety.  After cutting out the Plain Jane Dress, I realized I had a sizable amount of the stretch denim fabric left (about 3/4 yard, out of 2 yards total.  Yes, I’m indeed short enough to make a dress out of 1 1/4 yards of fabric.).  Quick as a bunny, I downloaded the Iris pattern from Colette, to you know, just see if I could make shorts from 3/4 yard.  And I could!  

I’m not nearly curvy enough to properly fit a pattern from Colette, so using the garment measurements, I decided to cut size 2 for the waist and grade down to 0 for the hips.  Before attaching the waistband, I tried the shorts on and they fit well.  However, the waistband was so incredibly curved, I knew it would  dig into my midsection in a very unflattering way.  It wasn’t just a matter of sizing up, so I slashed and spread the waistband and recut my fabric.  I also cut “generously” along the upper side edge.

The resulting waistband fit just right.  No digging in, but still lays properly and doesn’t move around when I walk or sit down.

The pattern.  Fitting issues aside, the pattern was fine.  I’d probably make them again, but a couple of things irked me.  For instance, sewing button holes after the pockets are complete was a pain in the buttocks, though I’m not sure there’s a work-around for that.  And the front pockets are real, but not super functional. Next time I might make them larger and leave off the buttons. Since I need actual pockets somewhere, I added two functional welt pockets in the back.  
I used this tutorial, which is hands-down the best single-welt pocket tutorial around.  They turned out beautifully, and don’t even add much bulk in the back-section.  
Sorry about the wrinkles!  I was wearing the shorts while I was sewing my new pink top.  I lined the waistband in this oh-so-adorable mermaid fabric from my scrap pile.  Love love love, but wish the ladies were right-side up.  *Sigh*
By the way, check out my bracelet!  How cute and summery is that?  My brother-in-law and his wife created Charity Gift Market, which is a marketplace for goods created by charities, and it was gifted to me from there.   So many fun products, and all to support great causes around the world.  
I like these as much as I can like a pair of shorts and will certainly wear them this summer (and maybe even this winter :).  If you haven’t already, stop by Shorts on the Line to see the cute shorts folks are sewing up!

14 thoughts on “Plain jane shorts”

  1. They're gorgeous, well done!! I've still yet to make a pair of shorts…ever. These ones are far from plain though, they've got a certain nautical vibe. I like to call it naughty-cal though because I'm naughty 🙂 Also I've realised I like to ramble 🙂


  2. Great shorts! And they'll be so versatile for summer. I'm not a huge shorts girl myself, but I definitely am starting to see the advantages. I've been eyeing the Iris pattern, and plan to get it to make myself some for next summer (I'm preggo this summer so no Iris' for me for awhile!).


  3. Your shorts are fantastic! I have this pattern but I am not curvy at all and wondered how much I'd have to alter the pattern for a flattering fit. Your post is so helpful. (I may look for another pattern.)


  4. The slash and spread method works pretty well for making these shorts less curvaceous. My suggestion would be to sew the shorts until the step of waistband attachment and try them on. Measure around your waist where the waistband will fall on your body. I'd use whatever waistband pattern size that matches the size you used for your hips, then slash and spread until the top length of the waistband equals your measurements (keeping seam allowances in mind). You'll have to smooth the curve of the lower edge, too. Let me know if you have any questions!


  5. Thanks for the detailed reply! So glad I checked again–this is helpful. I was just Googling and came back to examine your picture. I thought about using the same technique for a straight skirt pattern I sewed up last week. I might get Cal Patch's book and just draft a pattern! Commercial patterns do not mesh well with my straight body!


  6. LOL, I am short enough that 1.25 yds makes a dress for me too! Great shorts. I need to consider shorts and tanks for all those remnants from my own 2yds-as-standard purchases.


  7. I love your version of these shorts. I've just seen them featured by Sarai and thought I would come across and see what else you have been sewing.


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