It’s high time I made myself another pair of ‘workout’ shorts. I’ve been wearing the same pair to tap class every Thursday for the last year and a half – and with the constant washing and drying, they’re gradually shrinking into hot-pants! I’ve had the pattern in mind for ages, it’s the Wooster dropped-crotch-shorts pattern from Mimi G and Norris Dante Ford’s (sadly) short-lived sewing magazine SewSewDef.
Let me digress…
Now, here’s a story I haven’t told before…
In 2015, about a year or so after I started sewing, I started blogging and Instagramming. I was picking up a few followers and certainly getting some wonderful and encouraging comments and interaction but I was no Kardashian! I certainly wasn’t breaking the internet! And although the sewing bug had bitten me pretty hard, I didn’t (and to some degree, still don’t) have any kind of master-plan or direction. Then in March 2017, out-of-the-blue, I got a direct message in my inbox from Mimi G asking if I’d like to get involved providing content for a new multicultural sewing magazine, catering to men & women. The first issue was going out in four weeks! After I’d googled ‘MimiG’ to find out who she was (little did I know that I’d been contacted by Sewing Royalty – this just added to the excitement and nerves!) we exchanged a couple of emails, had a skype call that I can only remember as a blur and that was it… I was in!
It was a fantastic and fascinating run, very much a whirlwind. We were all at liberty to write about anything we wanted, which was equally terrific and terrifying. Half the time I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, or if I was doing it right, but I pumped out my contributions and dutifully uploaded them to the group drop-box every month with pride and trepidation! – it was a pretty hefty magazine and I can’t begin to imagine the work that had to go in to putting each issue together: with contributors from all over the world, each edition had something like 80-100 pages, two free patterns and plenty of articles…
It felt really exciting to be writing for such a vibrant and diverse sewing magazine, especially as I had only been sewing around three years and blogging for less – I had to keep pinching myself, and every now and then I was looking over my shoulder worried I was going to be called out as an imposter! I’ll always be so grateful to Mimi & Norris for the amazing opportunity they gave me to push myself and thankful for the confidence that comes with that. Even though my innocence sometimes made me feel a bit lost in the woods, Mimi always responded promptly and in person whenever I plucked up the courage to ask a question. Then in November, almost as quickly as it started, it was over. The incredible Sew-It Academy was born and SewSewDef was put to rest. But by now I’d really been bitten by the Blogging Bug and can’t quite believe that this is my 150th blog post!
Now I’ve got a bit of confidence I’d love to do something like that again. I need to remember I’m not a beginner anymore and push myself forward a bit. We’ll see…
Anyway, what I wanted to say was that one of the two free patterns each month was a menswear pattern. So, back in 2017 when I made these shorts for MrA I fancied a pair for myself, but didn’t really know/ hadn’t seen the fabrics I wanted to make them from. I suppose I forgot about them, or at least put the idea to the very (… very…!) back of my mind, because here I am two years later, finally making them!
Just as I said back then, I didn’t want the dropped crotch feature on mine, so I attempted drafting that out. I’m not convinced I did it perfectly, but it worked! I lined the pattern pieces up with my chino pattern and saw a good 15cm gap between the crotch points. Removing that much seemed a bit drastic, so I decided on 10cm. I marked out two horizontal lines; one under the fly and the other around the hip, and folded away 5cms from each. I stuck bits of paper behind so I could smooth out the curves and even though I was feeling a bit nervous, I patted myself on the back anyway!
I found this great website while online-browsing late one night and bought quite a bit of jersey from Vend Fabrics. I’d finally found my dream combo of black and grey camo with plain black contrasts. I think the image of Juliet from the Sewing Bee’s amazing tracksuit in episode (… whichever one it was…) has inspired me. I actually gasped when I saw it on the screen!
I got rid of the yoke as well by slashing and sticking it to the sewing line at the back.
The sewing was pretty straightforward. The pattern is made for woven fabric, and getting the opposing curves of the contrast pieces together can be a little tricky. I’m using sweatshirt jersey which makes it much easier to navigate those curves. I used the walking foot throughout and a #80 jersey needle. All the seams are stitched with a 1.5 x 1.5 cm zigzag and finished with rainbow thread on the overlocker/ serger.
I wanted to save as much fabric as possible so I didn’t pattern match the pockets. I altered them from the patch pockets of the pattern by creating the opening on the front leg pieces and stitching the pocket pieces behind. The opening of the pockets was reinforced with tape and sewn with a straight stitch…
Then the pocket piece is positioned, marked and sewn in place. You know I love my Frixion pens for marking, but on dark fabrics they’re no good! In this case I find I get the clearest mark using a chalk wheel marker.
I left off the back pockets as I wasn’t exactly sure where to put them, and the fly is stitched closed so that made the process a bit quicker. Once I had the front and back done, I pinned them together and tried them on – even with the 10cm removed they were still quite low in the crotch, or if you looked at it another way; high in the waist… so I decided that rather than attach a waistband, I would turn the top over to create a waistband and reduce the height at the same time.
This worked really well for the fit, but started a butterfly effect elsewhere… Stitching the waistband down has rendered the pockets almost useless, and the fly stitching looks like dolls clothes now! There’s not much I can do now about the pockets (except only keep narrow things in them!) but I can unpick the fly stitching and either re-sew it or leave it out altogether.
Overall, I love them! They’ll definitely get a lot of wear, what with tap class and I’ve recently been dipping my toes into a bit of pilates. There’s no need for pockets when I’m working out, so that won’t be a bother either. Hopefully there’s enough fabric left for a long pair of sweats and a top… watch this space…! I’ve paired them up with the grey sleeved raglan t-shirt I made a few weeks ago and must say I’m pretty happy with the combo! We’ll be finishing up another routine in tap class soon so I’ll have a video of my new tap teaching outfit in action!
Until next time,
Notes to self:
- Next time take more length from the contrast section of the crotch curve.
- Lower the pockets and fly to adjust for the built in waistband.
Such good shorts for tap dancing! I love the colour blocking effect.
Thanks Sue! They’ve been great to wear 👯♂️👯♀️👍
Perfect for a work out… I’m sure you’ll get a lot of use out of these! And your PUBLISHED!!!! Congratulations!
Thank you, yes, they’re really comfy 👍🙏 … and, erm… *was* published! (… still pretty cool though ☺️😉🙏)
Yes I noticed the date after I said it but your still published! 😁👍 very cool 😎
And maybe again one day 🤞😉
I was a subscriber to Sew Sew Def, but I didn’t seem to get that pattern. Which issue was it in, if you can tell me? I only seem to have 1-5, even though I subscribed for a year and should have gotten 6 issues. I even logged back on to my JooMag account to double check if there was an issue I just never downloaded and nope.
Hi, the shorts were in issue 4, the one with Stephanie Grant on the cover…?
If I remember correctly, issue 5 was the last magazine, with just a pattern release in November. 🙏
I SOoooo love this post, and hearing more about your sewing journey. Of course, I also love your fearless approach to sewing which is 100% on display here. Tap on!
Haha! Thank you, thank you & thank you! 👯♂️👯♀️
Nice alterations😉 but you appear to have omitted the tap dance video of them in action 😁
May I suggest unpicking the machine sewn waistband from either edge of the pocket then securing it either side and hand sewing (don’t swear at me! 😋) through just the back two layers…. It’s only a tiny bit of hand stitching so it won’t kill you 😂 Then your waistband will be intact and your pockets will be big and (w)hole again 🤣🤣🤣
I’m just out of class so I can upload a video soon!
That’s a fantastic suggestion, thank you 👍🙏 … although I can actually get both my hand, and my phone in there! … so I might leave it! 🤭🤫😱😅
I really like these, they are terrific for going to the gym or dog walking in the summer, they look super stretch so will move with your body. Wear the outfit with black combat boots and dark sunglasses and you will be kickin “a” all over.
Haha thank you! I like the sound of that!