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.