After making a muslin of these shorts, asking for your brutally honest opinions, and hearing the vast majority of you exclaim “I would never wear them!”, I went ahead and made a version in fashion fabric. And you know what? I love them. Yes, this look is not for everyone, and it may not even be working for me (la la la, I can’t hear you…), but they’re interesting and different and oddly liberating to wear. I’m so enthralled with them that I wore them on the streets of Boston for a full day of work at the university. Read on for a slew of photos, some minor construction notes, and my experience wearing a non-traditional garment out in public.
Pattern: Sarrouel Trousers, No. 8, from She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada. The pattern is a dropped crotch (harem-style) short with in-seam pockets, fly front, bias-cut pieces in front and back, and tucks along the hemline. I made a size L (the largest size).
Fabric: Rose Bouquet Rayon in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for Westminster/Free Spirit. This was my first time working with one of these new rayons, and I would recommend them. The fabric has a ton of drape, and the colors are bright and seem to be holding up well in the wash.
Modifications: The only change I made was to add 1.5 inches to the hem of each leg, preserving the curved hemline. I’m 5’8″, and the original pattern hit me just above the knee. I took your advice (thank you!) and made the shorts a little longer, to cover my knees and mimic the style of the modeled version.
Level of crafty satisfaction: I am strangely captivated and borderline obsessed with these shorts. I think they’re one of my all-time favorite projects both to sew and to wear.
See elsewhere: I can’t find any other versions of these shorts on the web. Someone please make a pair! (Or leave me a link if I’ve missed yours!)
Since I’ve already written a detailed review of this pattern, I don’t have too much more to say about the sewing and construction. Instead, I’ll show you how these shorts look on me, and you can judge for yourself whether I’ve lost my mind or have stumbled upon the next big thing in fashion. 🙂
Sorry the photo above came out a little blurry! But note how the hems are uneven in the back. I think (?) this is a design feature, as the pattern pieces are exactly the same length, but the tucks along the hem are placed in different spots on each leg. The tucks pull up the right leg along the back, and pull up the left leg along the side (see 2 photos above). The drape of the rayon really emphases (and likely exacerbates) the effect. I debated evening them out but decided to embrace the original design and character of the fabric (aka I was lazy). 🙂
The “diaper butt” side view was greatly reduced (although not eliminated!) when I switched from my cotton muslin to this rayon version. I’m actually kind of intrigued by the poufy butt look and am curious to make another version of these shorts in a fabric with a bit more body. Yes, more harem shorts!
Honestly, I do want to make another version of these. While I love this floral print and the drapey rayon, the floral masks the bias-cut design lines of the pattern, and I still say the ideal print for this pattern is a bold, directional stripe or plaid. The search for the perfect fabric is on… 🙂
Installing the fly zipper in this shifty rayon was a challenge. I used strips of fusible interfacing along both edges of the fly, which helped keep the zipper from rippling and helped strengthen the rayon along the seamlines. The waistband facing is folded under and topstitched from the right side. Can you spot the button loop? I really like this feature and plan to incorporate it into more of my garments. It’s just a little fancier than a buttonhole.
Belt loops! The loops are sandwiched between the waistband and facing at the top, and folded under and topstitched on the bottom. I’m not sure I’d actually wear a belt with these shorts, but I think the belt loops give the garment a more finished look.
The hems are simply serged, folded up once, and topstitched in place. Almost all of the interior seams are sewn on my regular machine and finished with the serger. There’s a funky 3-way intersection on each leg – can you see it above? Here’s a close-up:
I’m not sure how you’re supposed to handle this, but I don’t think I did it right. I had to cut the seam allowance almost all the way to the intersection to get the outside to lay (relatively) flat, and I reinforced the seam in that area to prevent the snip from migrating any further. Maybe the tension would have been avoided if I had pressed the seams open? I don’t like doing this though, as all your careful pressing vanishes as soon as the garment hits the wash. Something to think about for next time.
Here’s how I styled the shorts for their public debut. I wore them with a RTW blue tank top and my Oxford and Liberty Archer. Putting together an outfit around these shorts was a bit of a head-scratcher, but I’m pretty happy with the finished look.
I purposely picked a day when I knew I had a few errands to run to maximize the exposure of the shorts. 🙂 I walked my usual 1-mile commute to work along the city streets, went to a doctor’s appointment, bought lunch at the cafeteria, made a quick trip to the fabric store, and walked back home, not to mention my usual walking around inside the building at work. So, lots of people saw me in this outfit!
Here’s how it went:
- Comments or strange looks from people on the street: none.
- Comments/looks from people on campus or at the doctor’s office: none.
- Comments/looks from my boyfriend when I got home: none.
- Comments from the women at the fabric store: cheers all around.
And here are my conclusions from this little experiment:
- No one cares what I’m wearing.
- Therefore, I should wear whatever I want.
Seems simple, but I was actually quite surprised by this! I think we get so caught up in our own heads that it’s easy to forget that what we wear on a daily basis probably has absolutely zero impact on anyone but ourselves. And even if people are making silent judgments about our clothing choices in their heads, who the hell cares??
Let this be a lesson to us all to express ourselves freely and enthusiastically through our clothing without regard for what anyone else might have to say about it. One of the many joys of sewing is having complete freedom to create garments exactly to our preferences and to create unique pieces that make us feel cheerful and confident. Embrace this!
I loved sewing these shorts, I loved wearing these shorts, and damn it, I want another pair. #Diapershorts forever!!
Have you sewn/worn a funky garment that made you feel awesome? Do tell!