This weekend I decided to take a breather from my woven top issues and make a pair of shorts for the summer we're not in any way having. All the shorts I own just now (other than my actually much beloved, constantly worn PJ shorts made by me to an Ottobre pattern, which are sadly not outside-the-house wear) are dreadful. They are either too small, too big, or represent a highly inadvisable fashion statement that I can't remember wanting to make and thus cannot imagine why I bought them (probably: I was desperate, they were cheap).
Now, as I've mentioned before, the prospect of fitting trousers fills me with great trepidation, although I plan to try it, health and other issues permitting, later this summer. However, on perusing the most recent Ottobre (also the source of my woven tee pattern, so it was already out) I saw what looked like a pattern relatively unfitted baggy shorts, which appealed both from a fitting (i.e. there wouldn't be much) and wear perspective. You can read my sensible srs bsns PR review of the pattern here if you are so inclined.
|Ottobre 02-2014-04 image and technical drawing, taken from the Ottobre website|
So, I merrily started tracing the pattern, and at this point I started to have some questions and some doubts were starting to creep in. What is this giant inverted pleat thing on the pattern? I heard myself asking. These legs seem AWFULLY wide. ARE YOU REALLY SURE ABOUT THIS?
I persevered nevertheless. For my fabric I had this deepest of stash green linen. I am making a conscious effort to use some of my oldest fabric, and I bought this in my first month of garment sewing, back in 2012. This has been earmarked from the beginning for something summery like a skirt or shorts, but way back in the mists of time I was not sufficiently experienced with buying fabric to understand that some eBay sellers have no idea what they are advertising or to translate their inept descriptions. Thus, I did not quite expect to receive what came when I bought this piece, which was in fact two small 75cm long pieces of a 140cm wide 100% linen, and was therefore stymied as to what to do with it. It has lurked in the bottom of a crate ever since.
As linen goes, it's an unfortunate weight. It's neither top weight nor bottom weight, really, and has a strange stiffness to it even after washing and tumble drying. It's also slubby as anything and shred and otherwise deteriorated rapidly as I handed it. At any rate, I didn't think it was great for anything, but I thought it would make a perfectly serviceable pair of shorts. (I want to disclaim responsibility for my shockingly shoddy t-shirt I am wearing with it, which I bought for €6 from Next a couple of weeks ago. I tend to think it's not worth making little tees like this, and then I buy RTW and remember why I thought I would make them in future. I've only washed it once and the hemline has already twisted horribly in a way my own tees have not.)
|Ottobre 02-2014-04 "Cute Culottes" Only... not so much with the cute.|
The images below probably make this clearer than any wordy description. You can see the pleat on the front in the shot on the left and at the centre back in the inside shot. There are also gathers just next to the hip, as you can see in the technical drawing and also on the detailed shots below.
In other words: SO MUCH VOLUME. SO MUCH. It's slightly like wearing a parachute with a crotch seam. I think the view from the back with the centre pleat is really particularly unflattering, though luckily I almost never have to see my own arse and I don't care what other people think of my behind so that's of limited concern to me, really.
|Construction details: EPIC inverted pleat at front and back, plus my super fancy seam binding|
I am sort of annoyed by how great my sewing processes were and how unfortunate the outcome. All my stitching is lovely and doesn't wander, my invisible zip insertion is A+. If only the shorts were more wearable! However, it did occur to me that actually, I shot myself in the foot. I think one of the reasons that the hang of the culottes at the back is so peculiar is because I bound and top-stitched the seam. It makes for a certain degree of rigidity of the centre back seam that I don't think really helps. So, that's unfortunate.
In conclusion: This not-very-flattering not-a-skirt cost me about £6 and a couple of days work to make and I'll probably only wear it around the house. In the grand scheme of things it's no great loss that it didn't turn out great and it used some older fabric that I had no particular desire to hoard and cherish forever. Although I'm mildly distressed that all my beautiful internal work was not rewarded with a stellar garment, I am inclined to take the position that it was really useful practice, and showed me how actually quite easy it is to get a good internal finish even if you can only sew in short bursts (and, I now have an excuse to indulge my enjoyment of making bias binding!