This week I’ve learnt how not to make shorts. Or at least, how not to make the kind of finished product that I’m aiming for.
The truth is that tiny person shorts are pretty easy to copy, and so my fudged ‘got lucky first time’ pattern from last summer was always in with a decent chance of working, especially as I could try last summer’s pair on both Pip and Elma to check the fit. I knew that last week’s shorts were probably going to turn out ok before I first took scissors to fabric. But when it comes to making things for Kitty she’s so much taller and just a generally more grown up person, that the margins for error were always going to be tighter.
It meant I procrastinated a fair bit after I’d finished the pairs for the little two, but as all mothers of more than one child know all too well, you’re never going to be allowed to leave one of them missing out for too long.
The fabric came from two batik fat quarters we found buried at the back of one of my fabric boxes; they are similar but not matching, but as I’m certain you could have two completely different shorts legs cut from the same length of fabric, these two felt near enough, and I’ve tried to make it so that the fronts at least are vaguely similar.
For pattern I tried to draw around one of Kitty’s existing pairs of shorts, but found that the fabric wasn’t quite wide enough. I also came in a bit too much at the waist on the first leg, and decided to widen it on the other, so they aren’t exactly the same.
In construction I sew the legs first, then the two legs together, and then fold the waistband and fold again to make a casing for the elastic waistband, so from that point of view it’s all very easy. The exposed edges are all overlocked; the more I use it the more I can’t believe it took me so long to pull it out and have a go, it’s almost easier than my main sewing machine and it doesn’t half speed up clothes construction. I’ll always love the beauty of a nice French seam or a bit of flat felling, but I’m at the stage of life where speed is a good thing if I want the children to wear their clothes and not simply grow through the available sizing and for now the overlocker rules the day.
An hour or sew at the machines and all that was left was for Kitty to wake up and try them on. I’ll admit I was properly nervous about them; for one thing a six year old has a much more determined view about what she herself is prepared to wear, and much as we’re doing well on the ‘mama made is wonderful’ brainwashing, if she doesn’t like it, it doesn’t matter who made it, she’s not going to wear it. The fit was the other issue; I knew the shorts I’d measured off were a bit on the big side, but by how much, and these shorts were most distinctly smaller than the originals.
In the event, they fit for exactly right now. Kitty loves them, is comfy in them, and wore them to school (always a serious compliment) but by the next growth spurt I can see they’ll be in the pile waiting for Elma. They are probably best described as a wearable muslin, and that’s OK, it would be boring if everything worked first time, and probably be an indication that I wasn’t stretching out of my sewing comfort zone. But now I know that I can’t fit a pair of Kitty-sized shorts out of a fat quarter, I know I need to remember how much shorts need to stretch to be comfy coming off and on, and I know that when I do she’s going to love them.
And speaking of things I know she’s going to love
I’ve made it to the sleeve! Kitty’s *mumble* Christmas *mumble* cardigan is still on the needles, but this week I finished the body and started a sleeve. There are two of them, and she has the long arms to go with her long legs, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely!
(the scrape to her head comes under the heading of “how I learnt to take my glasses off before pulling a jumper over my head!)