Spoonflower Denim Hop {Thurlow Shorts}

The nice folk over at Spoonflower have once again asked me to work with some of their fabric, this time it’s their Dogwood Denim and coincides with a promo that they are running – 10% off 1+ yards of their Celosia Velvet, Dogwood Denim, Linen Cotton Canvas, Lightweight Cotton Twill and Cypress Cotton Canvas from February 7-February 10. There is no promo code required.

The fabric was sent to me free of charge but as always, my thoughts are my own.

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When Spoonflower first emailed me to ask if I would take part, they did suggest that I use the denim for a home decor project, rather than clothing as it is quite a heavy fabric. But since home decor isn’t really my thing, I decided I’d throw caution into the wind and make something to wear out of it anyway.

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The obvious choice would be jeans, of course. But since we’re currently averaging 32 degree (about 90F) days, I thought shorts would be a better choice. And because I’ve recently made Sewaholics Thurlows and wear them a lot, I knew another pair would be a welcome wardrobe addition.

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Right, fabric base sorted. Pattern sorted. So time to browse the huge range of prints Spoonflower has on offer. Now you know I’m a crazy print lady through and through, but I thought making something slightly more neutral would make the shorts more wearable. So what better than this mudcloth inspired print by my friend Michelle Aitchison. In a delightful dusty pink, no less. SOLD. I was pretty impressed when it arrived – the colour was nice and saturated and it washed and dried very well, without any fading.

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I did make a few changes to the pattern and the construction to make sure I wasn’t sewing through too many layers of denim (FYI it’s 395gsm or 11.7oz per square yard and doesn’t have any stretch at all, it’s more like a traditional, rigid denim). Firstly, used a heavy duty size 100 denim needle and sharp scissors. I used a lighter weight quilting cotton for linings and facings wherever I could and I finished raw edges with my overlocker before sewing pieces together, so I could press them open to avoid added bulkiness at the seams.

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It all worked really well, the only sign of a struggle was stitching those belt loops down along the top of the waistband. I’d already anchored them at the bottom by basting them on before adding the waistband, instead of sewing them on after the waistband is finished, as per the instructions. I think the finish is nicer and it’s another way to avoid added bulk.

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I treated these like a bit of a jeans hybrid by adding extra top stitching, a jeans button and a metal zip. The later two were op shop finds from a long time ago. See? It does pay off to grab stuff for ‘one day’.

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Oh yeah, she’s a fancy summer girl.

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Her welt pockets still need a bit of work, but the fit on these is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

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And on fit – for my first pair I made a straight size 12 and had to take them in a huge amount at the centre back seam. I quite like that method, by the way – you leave the CB seam open until the end, baste it and then try on. It means you’ve still got a bit of leeway for fit. For this version though, I graded down to an 8 at the waist and kept the 12 everywhere else. Mwah mwah! Tip top fit. Sewaholic patterns are geared towards those of us with a smaller waist and bigger hips and thighs. NOTHING fits me in the thighs straight out of the envelope, but these did. Happy jiggly thigh dance.

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Do love these, would 100% make again from the Dogwood Denim. I think as long as you make provisions for the heaviness of the fabric and use the right pattern, you’re golden.

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I managed to make a tote bag (using this pattern) out of the scraps too.

 

Slowly, Slowly {Sewaholic Thurlow Shorts}

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Well. Aren’t I the silly one? I have had this Sewaholic Thurlow pattern for years. YEARS. Around five years. And I’ve never made it. Why? I think it was my first ever pattern with a fly and I was like, oh hell nooooooo. Later on, after I’d conquered the fly, I dug the pattern out again and was like, welt pockets? Oh hell nooooooo. You get the idea.

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And even more recently than that, when I was digging for a shorts pattern, recent trials and tribulations of jeans fitting, crotch curves, flat butts, mystery drag lines and all that stuff made me think again. Did I really want to go there?

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Well, in a blast of self confidence (which happens every now and then), I decided that yeah, I did want to go there. Let’s do this. I was comforted by the fact that Sewaholic draft for a pear shape. Now, I’m a bit of an hourglassy pear, but obviously shorts don’t take the bust into account, so that smaller waist/bigger hip and thigh draft is perfect for me.

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Add to that a bit of leopard sateen action from The Remnant Warehouse and I was sold. I need leopard shorts in my life.

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I chose the size 12 based on my measurements and was cruising along through the instructions which, I admit, are a bit on the sparse side but hey, I’ve made jeans before so this was all relatively familiar territory. Until I hit those terrifying welt pockets. Right, Google? Anyone?

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And honestly, bless Google and bless Lladybird because I found her sewalong from 2012 and mate, she dug me out of that welt pocket hole with ease. Seriously, how did people learn shit before the internet?

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Cue gratuitous bum and welt pocket shots. You’re welcome.

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All downhill from here right? Well, kinda. This pattern has you leave the waistband and half the shorts open at the centre back seam for easy fitting. Pretty cool when you think about it.

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The thing is though, I had to take a lot out – somewhere in the vicinity of about four inches. I took as much out as I could without ending up with kissing welt pockets and distorting the back beyond recognition. They fit ok, but as I’ve worn them and they’ve relaxed through the day, I really need a belt on.webDSCF1725

I’m wildly happy with the fit around my bum and legs though, so I think next time I’ll either grade down at the waist or use the current waistband and just take some darts out from the pattern piece along the top.

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I’ve discussed this before, but I’m not much of a shorts wearer because I basically carry half my body weight in my thighs, but screw it – I need more of these.

 

 

 

Miaow {Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts + Gertie Sweetheart Top}

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More tigers! It’s a thing for me right now. These Flint shorts were my first make from my brand new Janome 3018W. She’s quite dreamy, but I was weirdly paralysed for over 24 hours when she first arrived. Strange right? You’d think I’d be all over her. But I couldn’t find the brain space to learn a new machine and I think I was still mourning the loss of the old one.

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But I snapped out of that ridiculousness, of course. It took me a couple of minutes to glance through the instructions, figure out how to thread the new girl and then move on from there. But what would I make? Conveniently, a large box of fabric had just arrived. All of it was lovely, but the tigers are just so cool. And I already had black thread in my overlocker. So what pattern? I’ve made a few dresses lately and thought the tiger linen was really keen to be made into shorts.

webDSC_0322Yes, shorts. Even though I don’t wear them often. In fact, it’s only been over the last 12 months that I’ve started wearing them again. I reckon shorts didn’t touch my body for around 8 years at least. But no more. I’ve come to realise cellulite and chunky thighs are normal and shorts are perfect for our climate.

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What are these beauties, then? They are Megan Nielsen’s Flints! Hoorah! I have made both the pants and shorts before and I love the cool way they close via the pocket.

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This time though, I adjusted the pattern to eliminate the tucks and make them flat fronted. Megan has a tutorial for that here. I think the print looks better without the tucks. And if I’m going to make the same pattern again, I do like to change it up a bit.

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A girl obviously needs a black top to go with her tiger shorts, right? But a cooooool top. Something she hasn’t made before. Cue the Sweetheart Top from Gertie’s Vintage Casual book.

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Yes please. I used some lovely rib knit I bought from The Remnant Warehouse recently. It’s Bec and Bridge, beautiful quality and super soft. With heaps of stretch. Which meant I probably should have sized the pattern down, but I went as per my measurements. It was a bit big so I did take it in at the side seams afterwards. I also took off around two inches from the hem as I will wear this tucked into my high waisted skirts and shorts.

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Like so.

I used the less textured side of the rib. I’m not even sure which is the right side and which is the wrong side. Softer side is facing out, anyway.

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Ok so I was a bit paranoid that printed shorts would look like PJs, so I turned the hem up to create cuffs and stitched them in place at the side seam and inseam.

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Linen shorts. Like a grown up. I’m so fashun.

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Something For The Small Ones {Made Everyday Shorts}

I was creeping around Spotlight recently (as you do) and made quite the discovery. Microfibre quick dry. That’s code for boardies fabric. If you’ve tried to make board shorts before, you would have discovered that the fabric is pretty hard to find. So of course I bought a couple of metres so I could make shorts for the boys.

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Problem was, I no longer have a shorts pattern to fit them. Kids (boys especially) are particularly hard to find patterns for once they get beyond about a size 8. Actually, even RTW is hard to buy for boys after that age too. Apparently they don’t need clothes.

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ANYWAY. Someone had posted the Made Everyday shorts in one of the FB sewing groups I’m in (yes I’m that cool) and I was pretty chuffed to see they went up to a size 10 and had heaps of pattern variations. I made the racer style. Love that curved hem.

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In the past, I would have shuddered at the thought of making all that bias tape, but that has changed recently since I’ve discovered double fold. It doesn’t seem to be as common as single fold, but damn it’s so much easier to work with. I didn’t even mind making my own. I cut my strips 7cm wide, sewed them together at the ends to form a long strips, ironed them in half length ways, opened that up and then folded them in to meet in the middle. Then folded in half length ways again. Hard to describe, very simple to do. I have some of those little triangular bias tape makers but I honestly find this method easier. Weirdly soothing.

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That bias tape runs around the hems and outside of the shorts making them look quite neat and professional. Both boys are the same size in the waist, so I only had to trace off the size 10. Which I may have traced directly off my computer monitor as soon as buying because printing is such a chore. Ha. There’s only two pieces so it’s not hard. They are definitely getting more of these.

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Snoozer McGavin {Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole + Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas}

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These aren’t anything you haven’t seen before, so I won’t bang on  about them. I picked up the cactus print satin at Spotlight earlier this week just because it’s cute. That’s literally all it takes. Never mind that satin is the devil and I don’t really wear it. That doesn’t matter at all.

Fabric: Spotlight

Top: Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole

Bottoms: Closet Case Files Carolyn PJs

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But since making my first Kate Camisole in satin over the weekend, I really felt like I’d leveled up a bit, so decided another Kate was in order. With matching PJ shorts. Oooh and  I still have some scraps of that cool spotty grey poly. Oh yes, let’s do this. Of course, not all satans (sorry, satins) are created equal and I melted a hole in this one after pressing the first dart. Ahem. Let that be a lesson to us all, TEST FIRST.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I eliminated the faux fly front on the Carolyn shorts because the stitching was puckering the fabric and I really couldn’t be bothered trying that again. Because satin. No piping either obviously. You can see I still have a bit of puckering where the bands are attached at the bottom of the shorts.

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I went a bit rogue with the Kate cami and didn’t cut it on the bias because the cacti would have been running sideways. It’s not as drapey, I guess – but no problems. I also cut the neckline straight across instead of the V, lowered the arm holes (they are a bit high on my last version) and did the standard back. I also used pre made satin bias tape because I have a tonne of it and I was not keen on making it out of this fabric.

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Bonus points if you noticed I bought cactus print duck as well for Sid’s bed. They really are kicking some goals with prints at the moment.

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And hey, I know it’s still August and this morning we woke up to a chilly 7 degrees (that’s 44F for my US friends and yeah, that’s cold for us), but our days have been so mild this winter that it barely even feels like we’ve had a winter. It’s still beach weather, really (for the tourists anyway) with most days getting to 27 degrees (that’s 80F, thank you Google). So it does feel like I’ll be able to wear these babies sooner rather than later. I never really understood why you’d sew your own PJs because no one ever really sees them and they are generally much cheaper to buy, but I know better now. And I’m sorry. Handmade errrrything is better.

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Shorts Denial {Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts}

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Here’s the thing about shorts. I don’t wear them. At least since I’ve had kids anyway. My thighs are something I’ve always felt compelled to disguise, so shorts have been off the menu. However, when I saw Megan’s Flint pattern for the first time, I knew I had to have it. The shorts didn’t blip on my radar, but those pants, holy hell – I needed those pants on my body STAT.

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So when my pattern arrived yesterday from the lovely Stitch 56, I opened it to have a look and decided that I’d trace it out then and there, but buy some fabric for the pants when I had a chance. Except then I got a bit nervous. I’d not really made pants before (only Megan’s Tania culottes) and even though I rarely make toiles, I figured it was probably a good idea for these – especially since the pants require about 3 metres of fabric and I didn’t want to waste that. So off I toddled to my sewing room and went over my stash, looking for enough fabric suitable for a toile. I remembered I had this big denim off cut picked up from our local op shop last week. Weird for me, since I don’t really sew with denim, but it was cheap and heavy duty and I figured it would come in handy for something. Not enough for pants, but hey – I could make shorts right? This was just for fitting purposes, I don’t actually have to wear them, do I?

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Except yes I do have to wear them because they’re bloody awesome! Waaaaaaahhhhhh! They fit my fat thighs, with room! They have fun pocket lining! They have cute buttons! They wrap in the coolest way! The fit is pretty great too. I don’t need to change anything. Although a bonus of my measurements (42/34/44) is that I fit exactly into a lot of patterns without any changes. In MN patterns I’m an XL.

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(I took my pics in my sewing room because there’s the remnants of a tropical cyclone raging outside. School has been cancelled, husband is supposed to be home from work. It’s quite a day. Sewing room was the only place that had a sliver of light. Sorry that they’re a bit crap. And yeah, I could have waited for pics but I’m wearing them today, sooooo….).

I used a scrap of anchor chambray for the pocket lining, because of course nautical. I even used little silver anchor buttons that I’d been hoarding forever on the waistband. Because nautical. But then, they didn’t look quite right. Maybe a bit toooo yacht club. So I changed them for little bunny and moon fabric covered ones instead. Also from an op shop. Fabric is Luna Sol.

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Which brings the total cost of these shorts to approximately $6.50. That’s without my labor costs, obviously – but let’s conveniently ignore that. Jokes aside, they only took me just over an hour and a half to sew, which isn’t bad.

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So besides going together really well, feeling somewhat high end and generally just being really cool, you know what else I love about Megan’s patterns? (and I know this is a soppy love fest, but I swear I’m not being paid and I paid for my own patterns, I just really like her stuff) – there’s always suggestions in the instructions for tweaks to make them your own. One of the suggestions was to add buttons to the other side of the waistband too. So I did. Now I have cool shorts. Pant to come when I find something suitably swishy and drapey and delightful.

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