Denim Maritime Shorts

(Aaaand now we continue with the muchly belated summer sewing posts that I really should write again, but I just don’t wanna. I should also point out that in between the sewing/writing and the photographing, I lost quite a bit of weight, so the shorts don’t fit quite as they should. Alas and alack, right? Also, I wear them all the freaking time, so they weren’t exactly “clean” for their blog debut. Oops 😉 )

This being my third pair of Maritimes, there’s not that much more to say.

Maritime Shorts

For this rendition, I used for real cotton denim (with a teensy bit of lycra for stretch)–no poly to be found! The difference is remarkable. They breathe and keep their shape and are generally awesome.

I did make a few adjustments. I removed about 1/2″ from both side seams at the waist and the hem. I also took in about an inch at CB tapering to nothing somewhere along the curve. The fit is much more secure. I think these adjustments would work only for stretch fabrics. So, I’m thinking I should trace a fresh pattern before I make the changes on paper.


I also extended the right front waistband so that I could add another secret button so that the waistband wouldn’t pull so much at CF. It’s so much better now. Seriously. I wish I’d done this on my white pair.

Here’s the weird thing: I’d inserted three fly zips before these shorts. On the white Maritimes, I barely even glanced at the directions. So, I cannot explain why when it came time for the fly to go in, I totally blanked! I read the directions and got really confused and kept doing things backwards and had to unpick lots of times. So bizarre! It was like being in a play and suddenly forgetting lines that you’ve always had down cold!

And then there’s also the top stitching.

Maritime Shorts

I really didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be top stitched and what wasn’t. I’d thought about flat felling the seams but wasn’t sure which ones to do. In the end, I figured it didn’t matter. It’s not like these are a hardcore pair of jean shorts. There are no rivets, no coin pocket, and no heavy duty button.

My machine did not love the gold top stitching thread. For straight seams, we were okay. But as soon as I tried to bar tack or do a buttonhole? NOPE. Lots of frustrated stitch removal occurred during the course of this project. I used regular thread in the bobbin and when I tried to do any sort of zig zag stitch, the gold thread would get sucked down to the bottom. I played with the tension and kept a tight grip on the thread tails and rethread the machine several times. I have no idea why that was happening.


I’m just really sad that I didn’t get my gold buttonhole (not that anyone will ever see it. I don’t tuck shirts into shorts. I know better.)

Now that they’re done, I’m super excited to wear them! But, since my hands literally turned blue while making these, I think I should wash them a couple of times to get more of the dye off so I don’t leave blue smudges everywhere I sit.

The top I’m wearing was sort of an experiment with rubbing off patterns. But I’m going to talk about it more in another post. The fabric is Robert Kaufman cotton/lycra knit, and it’s a pretty perfect knit, if you ask me.


And now I’m going to continue my binge-watching of Gilmore Girls.


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! 🙂 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??

A Lucky, Not-So-Lucky Plantain (And Maritime Muslin!)

And now that I’ve revealed my summer sewing plan, let’s start with something completely unrelated, shall we? 😉

I love it when indie designers offer free patterns. I’m not one to purchase a pattern just because everyone else is–thank goodness! I simply don’t have the budget for every new bit of indie awesomeness that comes my way. So, before I invest in a semi-pricey pattern, I like having the chance to get to know a designer a bit better with a free pattern offering. It gives me an opportunity to see how the downloading works and how the patterns and instructions are laid out.

Deer and Doe designs, as you know, are very beautiful; however, I’d never met one that I just absolutely had to have. Until the Plantain started appearing. I really loved the relaxed fit and the elbow patches–and the price!

The first Plantain I made was several months ago just after the pattern was released. It was really an experiment/stash buster. I used what I think was some rayon ribbed knit in white with some leftover navy for the elbow patches. I don’t know why exactly–maybe I was all about going oversized to pair with some leggings I’d made?–but I made a size or two too large and lengthened the sleeves and the hem, I think. The result was. . . comfy. But not something to be worn out of the house.

So, a few weeks ago, when I purchased some green and white striped jersey from Girl Charlee (it was perfectly cut! They can do it!) with no pattern in mind, I eventually settled on attempting the Plantain again.

Plantain 1


I ended up cutting different sizes in different areas based on the fit of my first Plantain. The neckline and shoulders are a 34 which goes out to a 40 at the end of the shoulder. The side seams are a 40 or 42 (can’t remember!) and then the length is a 46. Once it was all sewn together, I eyeballed the hi-lo hem (which was not my wisest decision) with a rotary cutter.

Plantain 2I am rather in love with the result. The fabric tends to bunch up a bit above my bust, so perhaps I should have sized a bit differently in the shoulder area. The hem is a bit odd at the side seams; I should have worked out a smoother transition there.


Plantain StitchingI used my stretch twin needle for all my topstitching. I finally figured out how to adjust the tension of my bobbin–which is a rather scary thing to do as there’s no visual indication of how tight it is. So, there is some trial and error involved. But, a looser bobbin thread helps the fabric not pucker up as much between the two rows of topstitching and it helps maintain a proper zig zag on the bottom. It looks altogether more polished and professional than any other non-coverstitch machined topstitching, I think.


Plantain 3

As luck would have it, the first time I wore my brand new Plantain out, I came home with an oil smudge on the front. I have no idea when that happened. Since it was about 2:00 a.m., I just doused it with cornstarch (in hopes that it would absorb the oil) and washed it in the morning. At first, I thought I’d conquered the stain, but once it came out of the dryer, I could still faintly see the spot. You don’t really notice it unless you know it’s there, and you certainly can’t see it in pictures.

The second time I wore it, I got a tiny tomato sauce splash spot right in one of the white stripes. I pretreated and washed it immediately and luckily that stain came right out. But the oil smudge persists.

Oh well–if I can manage to wear this top without destroying it, I plan to live in it for the rest of the summer. Wish me luck!

The shorts are my first pair of Grainline Maritime Shorts. They are made with a rather terrible cotton/poly blend stretch denim. It feels lovely and soft on the outside and like P.E. in the 80’s on the inside.

Plantain 4


Truth be told, they are too big. So too big that I don’t need to unzip or unbutton them to take them off. It’s a little ridiculous; it’s also due to the stretch in the fabric. But, can we all just take a moment to celebrate that this is the first time in the history of the world that I have SEWN A PATTERN STRAIGHT OUT OF THE ENVELOPE. And by that I mean that I made absolutely ZERO changes to the pattern and it just fits (except for the largeness–but they stay on just fine! Seriously, it’s the fabric).

Actually, it’s not the first time–I sewed the Archer without any mods. But the Archer needs some armhole adjusting, so I’m not sure it counts.

Whatever, y’all. Jen gets me.

When I discovered the ickiness of the fabric, I decided to use it as a wearable muslin. I think I sewed a 10 because that’s what I did with my Moss. But, I’m just so happy that there’s no weird gaping or enormous leg holes or odd crotch curving or riding up. The shorts just fit, and I’m so relieved that I don’t have to work on them forever to make them pretty much perfect.

And now, I need to put together a little weekend wardrobe. Friday, I am flying to Arizona for a yearbook conference (my very first grown up business trip!) which I will be late for because my flight gets in with not enough time for me to get my car and drive to the hotel and they were going to charge me $200 to change it! Ummm. . . no. But, whatevs! I’m excited and a bit nervous because I may have to Talk to People. Did you know that I’m super socially awkward? I totally am.

And once I get back, it will be time to start gearing up for school. Wow–where did the summer go??? Must. Sew. FASTER!