Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shorts on the Line by The Crafty Kitty

Today, I'm so happy to introduce to you Stephanie from The Crafty Kitty as part of the Shorts on the Line Sewalong! This is the first time I've ever had someone from the UK post on my blog and I kind of want you all to read this in a british accent, just because... haha! Stephanie has a really awesome organic fabric store and I'm drooling over this fabric right here, as well as, awesome art ideas, recipes, and overall a great attitude towards living a healthy lifestyle! I'm so glad to have her!
Well hello all you lovely shorts on the line-ers! I am really enjoying being a part of this sew-a-long, so thanks to Rachael whose fault it is who kindly invited me to take part, to Vanessa for allowing me to add my poorly punctuated writing to her blog and to Carla for being another lovely co-host! For those of you who don't know me, I am a stay at home mum to my two kids (3 and 1). I blog about sewing, kids crafts/activities and vegan cooking over at The Crafty Kitty! I also recently opened up an online organic fabric store and haberdashery, so if you are an eco-sewer, or just like cute fabric prints, please stop by and have a nosy! I'm still at that stage in my sewing, where I am not quite confident enough to draft my own pattern, but I really enjoy experimenting with existing patterns, so today I am sharing how I adapted one of my favourite patterns for cloth nappy wearing babies: The bubble pants from growing up sew liberated. I wanted a nice light fabric for these shorts, so I raided my upcycling box and found a wonderful green plaid Men's XL shirt, which in the UK is a 44-46 inch chest. It would have been even better if it was a 100% cotton shirt, for extra breathability, but in this case it was polyester/cotton blend.
Whenever I use shirt fabric to make clothing I like to remove the sleeves and collar, cutting close to the seams, giving you a nice expanse of fabric that lies nice and flat to make it easier to cut out your pattern pieces. I keep the cuffs and collars too and salvage buttons into my button jar!
With the bubble pants (and any other pattern that uses a single pattern piece for legs), I find the centre line of the pattern piece and line it up with the side seams of the shirt, to give a nice finish. I used the (US Size) 18-24 months pattern pieces and I started off cutting the leg piece a lot longer than the finished short. I wasn't really sure how much I was going to need to trim off and I figured it was best to have too much fabric than not enough! The pattern is made up of three pieces: a leg piece, front gusset and rear gusset. The leg piece I cut twice, remembering to reverse the pattern when I cut the second piece (phew!) and the front and rear gusset I cut just once from remaining shirt fabric. I put together the shorts as per the instructions until I got to the stage of finishing off the legs. The original pattern also uses a second lining layer so I did the whole finishing off raw edges, ironing open the seams and double stitching to give a nice finish. Originally I planned to make plain ungathered cuffs, but they looked horrendous, so on the spur of the moment I decided to add the original shirt cuffs.
I tried the shorts on my son and decided where I would like the cuffs to end on his little chubby legs. I took a few measurements and trimmed the short legs to a mere 1.75 inches (including seam allowance and measured on the inseam). Seriously, it is incredible how short you need to make clothing for a baby especially when they 'lose' a few inches due to how low a cloth nappy sits! I removed the shirt cuffs from the sleeves and trimmed the cuffs to approximately 2.25 inches which cut out the bulk of the original seam. I finished off the raw edges of both the legs and the cuffs with an overlocker stitch pinned the cuff (buttoned at the first button) to the leg and joined them together with a 0.25 inch seam allowance. As you can see from the photo, I had the short legs right way out and had the cuff on the outside right side facing the right side of the short leg and sewed the seam on the inside. The final leg length (measured on the inseam) was just 3.5 inches!!
Here are the finished cuffs. They sort of look like I made them from the original shirt sleeves, and well, if I had known that I was going to finish off the shorts like this, perhaps I would have tried to cut the pattern pieces from the sleeves! A thought for next time perhaps!
Sometimes, when you are messing around with a pattern, you get this far, try on the garment and it looks terrible (like these shorts did before I added the shirt cuffs), you wonder why you bothered "wasting all that time". Sometimes it works out perfectly (ah I love those moments) and sometimes you need to scratch your head and have that moment of inspiration. I really love how cute these little shorts look with the cuff and how they puff out!
I've been having so much fun making shorts this month (I made 3 different pairs so far) it is just such a shame that the weather over here in England has been anything but shorts weather! You can also find me rambling on Twitter and Facebook and I would love to hear about your upcycling ideas!

Those are so adorable, Stephanie! I just love this idea for repurposeing a men's button down! I love using what you have to make something new and these are going on my to-do list! Thanks so much for coming over!  Cheerrio! (haha!)