July 16, 2012

Thurlow shorts!

They're done! And they're cute! I finished my Sewaholic Thurlow shorts on Friday, and I've already worn them twice. I even washed them in between wears, and they didn't fall apart. OMG, I totally made shorts!

And look at the cute stripey yellow lining! I love having that fun little detail inside. It's a Tanya Whelan Darla Ticking Stripe that was hanging out in my stash. The pink and yellow together reminds me of pink lemonade. They're just so fun for summer, right?

I found the bubblegum pink stretch twill at the thrift store. It was a huge 60" wide by 4 yard piece for $5.99, so I snapped it right up. I also got a two yard piece of stretch corduroy in the same color the same day. They had to have come from the same person's stash, right? I wonder what they had planned for them. I envision a crazy pink leisure suit. I used just about a yard to make these shorts, so I still have plenty left to make something else. Maybe some cute pink Clover capris? Or a Ginger? 

I've never made pants or shorts, and I wasn't even really sure that I would be able to, so I decided to just dive in and make these without making a muslin first. My fabric was so cheap and I had so much of it, I figured what the hell?! And after seeing so many struggles with getting the fit just right on Clovers around the world, I half expected to have to abandon these because of fitting woes that I wouldn't be able to solve. But Tasia said the back extension would make it easy to adjust the fit as I went, so I just went for it. That was sort of right, although if I was smarter I would have at least basted them together initially to make sure I was in the right ballpark size-wise. 

Since I didn't though, it wasn't until I got the waistband on that I finally got an idea of how these shorts were going to fit when they were done. And just so you know, the waistband is essentially the last step- just short of stitching the back extension closed, and then applying the belt loops. So once they were pretty much finished, I discovered that they were going to be way looser than I wanted them to be, especially through the butt and thighs. And, commence ripping!

I cut a size six based on my waist measurement, but I suspect that I'm not exactly Tasia's target market when it comes to shape. I don't have those womanly curvy hips that she designs for, and I'm probably better categorized as a rectangle than a pear shape. Point is, I ended up trimming a lot off of the hips and legs to get the fit that I wanted.

I started by pinning out the excess evenly, but the seams were shifting forward around my legs. Then I remembered Steph C's work on her stretch clovers, and how she reworked her seams to keep everything lined up vertically. To keep my side seams vertical and in the center of my leg, I ended up taking a lot of fabric off the back pieces (1 5/8" at the inseam, and 1/2" at the waist tapered out to 3/4" at the hem on the outside), and I took the front pieces down to just about the size two marks from the size six that I originally cut (slightly more through the hip). Voila! Straight seams, fitted shorts, and it wasn't even difficult! I'm pretty sure Tasia's a genius. And major props to all the sewing bloggers who pave the way for clothing sewing newbies like me to learn from your work.

So I reattached the waistband, and I stitched up the back extension pretty much right where it was drawn on in the pattern for the size 6. It's the teeniest bit gappy, but a tucked-in shirt and the belt take care of that. I could reopen the back extension and perfect the fit (which is, after all the whole idea behind it), but I'm done and I'm moving on.

I would really like to make another pair of these, and have some black polka dot linen that I think might be cute. Problem is, I'm not really sure what size to start with for the next pair, especially if the fabric isn't as stretchy as this pink twill. Should I cut all the way down to a two, or just cut the six again and remove the excess like I did this time? I'm thinking it would be safest to cut a four, and then grade down the legs again if I need to?

And one thing I might do differently next time is interface the body of the shorts where the welt pockets are. Do people do that? My fabric is so loosely woven that there are the tiniest holes at the corners where I clipped. I put a little dab of fray check on there, and I'm sure the holes are largely due to my inexperience with welt pockets in the first place. I should do a bit of research before I attempt them again. I know I've seen lots of good tutorials around the internet.

So- Thurlow shorts are a win! They look totally RTW to me, and I think it would be fun to play around with the details like adding some topstitching or maybe a little button and button loop on the back pockets. I'm going to check out my other shorts and see what I might be able to incorporate into a second pair.

If you still need it, you can pick up your own copy of the Thurlow Trousers and Shorts pattern here, along with the rest of the fabulous Sewaholic collection.

Have you made Thurlow? I'm excited to see the versions that are bound to be popping up all over the internets shortly.