Monday, July 13, 2015

Casual Linen Shorts w/ an Accidental Paperbag Waist

Brunette girl modeling tan linen summer shorts with gray tshirt

Hello and Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend full of sunshine! I sure did -- can you tell? This golden sunset helps me look more sunkissed than I really am, but I did spend some time pool- and lake-side this weekend! I also spent plenty of time sewing machine-side.

Image of paper bag waisted shorts I sewed, detail of stitching and draw strings

Here are some linen shorts I made! The pattern was self-made, and I knew I wanted them to be pull-on, so I made them pretty loose. I wanted something super comfy for the heat we are (hopefully) about to have, and this linen is a perfect complement to the fit.  

Image of me wearing the casual shorts I DIY made out of linen

image of me with hands in pockets of casual linen shorts that i made on my sewing machine

 They have patch pockets in back, front pockets, front pleats, and double needle topstitch detail. I serged the inseams/outseams and rise, and then topstitched down for a faux-flat felled look. Funny story, I actually killed three partial spools of thread with all the topstitching on these shorts. Don't ask me why I had three partial spools of tan thread! I planned to just have a drawstring waist, but these shorts had other ideas. Somehow, they accidentally became paperbag waisted.

close up image of girl modeling cream colored linen shorts i sew

"Somehow" meaning, I wasn't thinking when I topstitched the top edge of the waistband above the drawcord channel. I had set two lines of stitching before I tried them on and realized I was headed for a ruffled mess: the stitching made the top edge stand away from the body like there was a wire in it! I dug around for some elastic, and set that in the waistband below the stitching to help mitigate the disaster, but it was only about 1" high elastic for a 2" waistband. This, of course, does not help prevent the ruffled mess--it just makes for smaller ruffles. In retrospect, I should have gotten wider elastic, picked out the top stitching, and set the elastic at the very top of the waistband. But that would have required patience (and the dreaded seam ripper), and honestly, I have neither! I just wanted to finish these shorts.

dslr image taken with canon sl1 camera and 50 mm f1.8 lens

side stitching detail image of double needle topstitching and patch pocket detail

back detail image of paper bag waistband and patch pocket with back darts

In the end, I can live with the waistband because my shirt will cover most of it, most of the time. Once I threaded the drawstring through, I decided I halfway liked the waistband, even! These only took a handful of hours, and the elastic waist meant fitting was simple. Should there be a next time for this pattern, I will make several corrections, but for some easy-breezy summer shorts, I'm happy with how these turned out!

This is me, modeling the shorts I just sewed.

Friday, July 10, 2015


image of girl brunette girl in crop top with hawaiian shirt button up tied and high waisted jean shorts

Hawaiian Shirt Friday is the greatest excuse to wear the finest, most cheerful prints in your closet. 

brunette girl modeling crop top with yellow sunglasses and jean shorts handmade and hand sewn

It is also a great excuse to make another Grainline Archer shirt. I wanted to try different things with this pattern: namely mistake recovery, but also short sleeves and a new body length. 

image of brunette girl modeling grainline archer pattern shirt with hawaiian print and stripe contrast trim handsewn and handmade

I started cutting this out at about 11pm one Saturday night, and guys, this was not my greatest plan. To begin with, I am not patient with pattern layouts. I like to pin, cut, pin, cut, one piece after another, and hope for the best. But when you have just over 1 yard of fabric from which to make your shirt, you should probably plan your cutting layout, right? RIGHT? 

sewing machine made buttondown shirt with short sleeves rolled up and back box pleat sewn

One might hope! One might... piece fabric together after mistakenly cutting two left fronts. One might have button bands that overlap the wrong way. One might need to use contrast fabric in order to even complete the project. ...So much for mistake recovery.

contrast piping and pieced front buttondown shirt sewn and handmade

In all seriousness, I'm pretty happy with how this shirt turned out. I cut the same size as before, size 4 blending to size 6 at the hips, but went with the original pattern length, and shortened the sleeves.  I sewed the sideseams and underarm seams at 3/8" instead of 1/2" for a slightly boxier look. Because of fabric constraints and cutting mistakes, I had to piece one front panel together, along with the placket. The under collar and stand are contrasting, as is some trim on the sleeves and the pieced seams. I have about three yards of this amazing striped fabric, so expect to see plenty more of it!

diy clothing detail image with contrast collar stand sewn and handmade

What else is different? I resolved my issues with the placket, and folded over the proper amount for the underplacket. Had I put more than a single pocket on this bad boy, I'm 90% sure they would have been the same distance from CF. Maaaaybe 93%.

yellow sunglasses and girl with jean short cutoffs and crop top

I serged my side seams, underarm seams, and armholes, saving myself a fair amount of time in doing so. Skipping long sleeves and cuffs helped as well, but the holiday weekend slowed production down on this shirt. Otherwise, it was a really quick go around for a second try of this pattern.

image of girl with summer shirt tied up belly button showing

cool hipster girl with shirt tied up hawaiian print summertime sunglasses

I also picked up a new camera and lens - a Canon SL1 and 50mm f/1.8 lens. I am learning so much! But it's already magic without much effort -- look at that depth of field! The lighting! I'm so excited to keep learning about photography and experiment with these new tools. Any tips on this new adventure of mine?