The “I’m Just Asking for Trouble” Shorts (Plus a Refashion!)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I love white. It may be plain, boring, and downright risky to wear, but I enjoy the clean crispness of it.

When I planned to make a navy Archer, I envisioned wearing it with white skinny jeans. However, as the months passed and the temperatures grew and the Archer did not get finished, I had to temporarily change my plans. Thus, the idea for a pair of white Maritime shorts was born.

You’ve already gotten a glimpse of these when I finally shared my navy Archer.

Archer and Maritime1

Sewing the Maritime shorts is a really satisfying project–not just because they straight up fit without all the drama! Maybe it’s because they’re so small; every seam is a short one. Maybe it’s because they’re so stinkin’ practical; I love sewing things I know I’m going to wear. Or, maybe it’s just because there are so many little pieces that come together in the most glorious way possible.

If you remember, my “muslin” pair were too big. For these, I cinched in the waist about 1/4″ at the side seams. I’m thinking of lengthening and tapering the legs a bit for my next pair.

Archer and Maritime Side¬†There are a few steps in the process that gave me pause. First, the patch pockets. They’re not hard, just fiddly. They’re topstitched twice. First before being attached to the shorts. I sewed one row just to hold down the folded edges inside. Second when they were attached to the shorts. Nothing groundbreaking!

I also had a bit of trouble when I first attached the pocket to the pocket lining. I knew that the pieces would fit together, but the lining was consistently coming up short. Finally, I basted each piece along the seam line, used about a million pins, and eased the two together. It worked perfectly then.

Peplum and Maritime 1

And finally, as you can guess, the fly zipper was a challenge. It wasn’t my first fly front zipper; but it had been a while since I’d put one in. When I sewed the muslin, I was glued to the directions. However, I’m pleased to report that I barely glanced at them this time around and the zipper turned out rather well!

Seriously, if you’re scared of a fly zip, stop it right now! If I can do one, you certainly can, too! ūüôā Check out Jen’s tutorial. And there are many others out there as well!

Peplum and Maritime 2

Here’s the obvious deal with white shorts: 1. the major stain factor. All I have to do is brush up against a car in a parking lot or sit on any surface outside when the pollen takes over or lean against a dusty piece of furniture and–Ooops–shorts need to be washed. And 2. the visible underwear factor. I don’t currently have “nude” lady pants. I should probably get on that. While I tend to wear longer tops–especially longer in the back where I appreciate the coverage–I’d rather not leave my fate up to a sudden gust of wind.

Archer and Maritime back

However, I still really love these shorts!

Now, you may be curious about the top I’m wearing with them. This is another refashion, very similar to the first. This is my Not-a-Dress Peplum that I made back in the winter. I never, ever wore it, so I had to figure out why or let it go. First, I fixed the neckline by adding more topstitching with my twin needle. This helps the seam allowance underneath behave itself. Next, I chopped off the sleeves and added darts and binding.¬†Peplum BindingPeplum 3

The waist is a little high, about a 1/2″ above my natural waist–just enough to be annoying. It’s a little tight as well. Truth be told, I’ve put on weight this summer. Too much lying around eating Snickers Ice Cream bars. Sigh–sometimes, eating healthy is a real challenge! I suspect that I’ll trim down once school starts and I’m eating like a grown up. We shall see!

Peplum and Maritime 4

As you read this (if you’re reading Monday afternoon), I will be on a plane headed home from Phoenix, drinking ginger ale and listening to podcasts. I really wish I could read on planes, but my brain thinks it makes me sick. Stupid brain.

Summer vacation is almost over, friends. Next Thursday, I’ll be back at school and the Thursday after that, the children arrive. I admit, I feel a bit of End of Summertime Sadness, but I’m so, so excited about my new job. And it’s about this time of year that I start longing for falling leaves, pumpkin-flavored¬†everything,¬†and crisp, cool temperatures.

Speaking of which, isn’t it about time to start planning my autumn sewing??

The Bow Hides All Manner of Evil Dress

Butterick.

This is what I want to know:

Why would you make a knit dress pattern and demand that your sewers use a knit with at least 50% stretch if you’re just going to add ease to the pattern?? I mean, the whole point of using fabric with lots of stretch is that you can make a garment with¬†negative ease and still be comfortable. If you’re going to add¬†two whole inches of ease to your pattern, why can’t I use a nice jersey with 30% or even 20% stretch? Okay–it might have been more like 1 1/2″, but still. . .

And did you¬†seriously¬†think I was going to¬†ease in a sleeve¬†in the round on a¬†knit¬†dress??? Honestly, Butterick. I’m not convinced you people know how knit fabric works.

(By the way, sorry the pictures are so dark/grainy/blurry. The settings on my camera were wrongity-wrong. I’m learning.)

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So, my lovely readers, I have finished my Butterick 5794 dress. It’s a nice dress, and I like it. But there are a lot of flaws–well, just a few that really bug me.

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First of all, the gathers on the bodice look sloppy to me. Second, the shoulder seams are at least 1/2″-3/4″ too short, which is odd because I didn’t have that problem with the peplum top. Third, the neckline under the bow is a mess. (The directions have you reinforce the neckline seam at CF and then cut to the stitching and hem that couple of inches at the middle. The problem is that you’re working with a knit. So, once you’ve attached the neck tie, the neckline tends to pull away from the hemmed edge and reveal the stay stitching. Does any of that make sense to you? It’s confusing; I know. If I do a neck tie on another knit dress, I’m not doing any of that madness, and my neckline will be much more stable. Butterick, you are confusion.)

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The side seams from the sleeve hems to the waist are sewn with 1 1/8″ seam allowance. From the waist to the hem I moved back to 1/2″. I found I needed a bit of extra room around my tummy. (Note to self: no more hot fudge. You have a problem.)

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I do like the bow, and I like the slight hi/lo hem. I think this dress will fit very nicely into my wardrobe.

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I have to say, though, that I’m pretty much over gathers in general–especially in knits. It just seems like a waste of stretch fabric, you know?

Was literally falling over. . .

Was literally falling over. . .

Now that I’ve made this pattern twice, I’ve decided it’s unlikely I’ll make it again. So, I’ve added this one to the pile of patterns that I’m clearing from my stash. If I want a dress like this again, the obvious answer is the Lady Skater. I already know exactly how I’d do it.

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Have you ever sewn up a “Big 4” pattern for knits? How did it turn out?

The Not-a-Dress Peplum

It was supposed to be a dress.

“Why isn’t it a dress?” you may ask.

“Sometimes, the people we trust to cut our fabric fail us. They fail us hard,” I respond.

Such is the case with my Butterick 5794 peplum-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-dress.

B5794 Peplum Front

I didn’t notice the problem until I had already washed the fabric and laid it out to cut. It was so severely off-grain that probably a third of it was unusable. It looked as though it had been cut at a 30-45 degree angle. I didn’t take pictures due to lighting issues; you’ll have to take my word for it. Since my pattern pieces wouldn’t fit, I had to cut the skirt down to a peplum and cut out my two sleeves separately.

B5794 Peplum Back

When I finished sewing, I absolutely hated this top. It was way too busy with the yoke and the gathers and the print and it originally had a cowl neck on top of all that. In a solid, it might have been fine. But, the cowl just wouldn’t lay properly. It was super bulky at the back of my neck; I kept feeling the need to fidget with it. So, I did the only thing I could do: I cut the cowl off, folded the edge under, and sewed it down.

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B5794 Neck

It’s not my favorite, but it’s comfortable. I have worn it quite a few times already. It works with jeans and my denim skirt. And when I eventually make my gray Moss, it will go with that, too.

I do have a lot to say about the pattern itself, but I’m going to save that for the dress version. Let me just say, “Seriously, Butterick pattern designers? Seriously??”

So, friends, have you ever had an unfortunate off-grain experience like mine? How did you handle it?