The Shannon shorts are part of a nautical themed collection by Simple Sew which came free with Issue 31 of Love Sewing Magazine. I'd been eyeing up the patterns on the website then when I found out my piccy was in the magazine as part of the Stitcher Of The Year competition feature I knew these shorts had to be my next make, particularly before Autumn got any colder.
I took a trip to the fabulous Abakhan in Manchester and chucked in to my basket a LOAD of stuff for my stash. There was barely a meter of this stretchy denim, but it was perfect colour and perfect weight, and besides- just how much fabric do you need for shorts? I took a chance... And it was a bit of a squeeze to get all the bits cut out, but we got there!
The front is made up of two front pieces stitched down the centre front, and the pockets which make up the rest of the waist width. Putting all the bits together was quite an exciting puzzle. The denim is sturdy so no worries about slipping and sliding around. It is quite stretchy though, so was really really important to get all the grainlines running the right way. If it had come to it, I could have easily substituted the 'pocket bag' for a plain black cotton as this is not seen from the outside. Using a finer fabric here could have also been a great way to reduce bulk.
Putting together wasn't too tricky, the bits do just seem to fall into place. The seams on the front waistband take a bit of manipulating to fit the curve, but you can get away with quite a straight seam here as long as you make sure when you attach the waistband you match these seams up with the pockets. Obviously it's also important to match the sideseams of the waistband to those on the trouser leg.
The shorts are fastened with a concealed zip on the left hand side which went in quite nicely. Again it really adds to the overall professional finish if you match up the left and right hand side of the waistband seam when the zip is done up. Its worth as many attempts as it takes (remind me of this next time I've unpicked a zip a million times and want to give up... on life). I managed to get this one in pretty quickly for once, maybe because sturdier fabric is less of a bitch.
So once you've got the zip in you can really test the fit. I'd made a toile from some leftover calico from Zohra and ended up adding a little exrta into the waist. Well... That was before I knew the denim I was going to land upon was going to have so much stretch! So I'm trying on the shorts and it's become really quite obvious they don't even need the zip as I can wiggle them on and off without even touching it. The lazy part of me is saying maybe I should just eat more to make them fit. I mean, I'd just had two weeks off snacking so I could wear Zohra to The Washington with my midriff out so it wasn't an unreasonable idea. But that annoying driven part of me said nah Holland, maybe you should just take some out. So I cut down my sideseams, taking out the 1.2cm I'd added to each seam on the the pattern plus maybe a little more (stupidly can't remember how much)... I knew it was too much to hope for that that zip had gone in so nicely! They were still a bit big. I didn't want to take more out of the side seams in case I lost the definition of the pocket shapes so there was only one thing for it, and that was to take some out of the back... New territory!
I pinched the back of the waist until they sat really comfortably where I wanted them to sit. I pinned and found I had 1.5 inches either side of the pinch! So that was 3 inches coming out of the waist! I then kept pinching as far as I could down the centre back seam until there was nothing left to pinch. This is where the tip of my centre back dart would taper to. I took off the shorts and chalked a line between all my pins to make a triangle shape. I then had to unpick the seam attaching the waistband at the back, and the seam attaching the inner waistband (facing) AND the understitching before Sewing in my new line of stitching to the shorts bum area. I curved the tapered end of the dart a little to make the shape a little more gentle... There was no mathematical workings out here, just did what felt right and it seemed to do the trick. The hard bit somehow was creating a centreback seam where there wasn't one before on the waistband, lining this up with the new bum seam, replicating this on the facing band, not making it too bulky and keeping the seam straight. I won on all counts apart from the last- it goes off at a bit of an angle... BUT it's fine! What's that thing Aimee always says- no one will be getting that close and if they do, they won't be looking at your seams! Ha, well she's right..... Indeed no one will be getting that close.
It was well worth the faff (as always), so happy with the fit on the waist and bum area. The stretch of the denim makes for a really great fit all round! The only thing left to do was turn up the bottoms- I made them a little shorter than the pattern (because legs), and put a few sneaky stitches in to stop them unfolding. Then I picked 6 of my best buttons- I surprised myself by not picking anchors, but instead a more regal, golden affair which really zings up the front whilst still rocking the nautical.
Summer may have faded, but teamed with a pair of tights and a breton jumper, there's still chance to get some wear out of these guys before the snow sets in.
So come on sailor, what d'ya say?
Currently listening to: Stray, Son Of Sam
Location: Derwent Valley