The Strolling Shorts

Currently all of my new clothing choices are influenced by the impending summer heat. I’m still standing firm to wear less jean shorts and capris. So to add variety to the warm weather skirts and dresses I’m sewing, I decided to make a fun pair of walking shorts for Fresh Make #9.
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The pattern I used is Burda 8087. I bought this pattern on sale at JoAnn’s for $2.49. I choose this pattern because nowadays I only only wear long shorts, and I thought the wider leg cut would be flattering on my heavier thighs figure. I named them the Strolling Shorts because I imagine that these would be perfect for a day at Disneyland, a walk down Palm Canyon Boulevard in Palm Springs or Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.
8087-front-envelope I purchased the fabric from Michael Levine’s online store. It is from the Japanese Echino collection. I have drooled over Echino fabrics many times at Michael Levine’s downtown L.A. store. They range from $16 to $20 for their cotton/linen blends. I was alerted to a one day 20% off online sale, so I bought 2 yards of this fabric (amongst others!).
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I like the flap pocket detail and also how nicely the rounded waistband lays in the small of my back.

I like the flap pocket detail and also how nicely the rounded waistband lays in the small of my back.

DSC_0236 DSC_0240 I had probably not done a front fly zipper since high school when I used to make a lot of my own pants. But it came back, just like riding a bike – you never forget. I purchased the 5″ metal zipper at my favorite online zipper store, Zipit Zippers.

To secure the waistband, I used the "stitch-in-the-ditch" technique.

To complete the waistband, I used the “stitch-in-the-ditch” technique.

For the hem, I did a machine blind hem.

I did a machine blind hem.

LET’S BE HONEST:
1. Once again, this pattern is labeled “easy.” I would warn a beginner sewist not to attempt this pattern without access to help from an “in person,” experienced sewist, especially with techniques such as a front fly and waistband. I find the instructions to be a bit assumptive about a person’s knowledge and also found a few small discrepancies in the text and or illustrations that might be confusing without previous experience.

2. I’m not as big as I think. Erroring on the side of caution, I cut an 18! I did end up taking it in on the sides and back middle seam after my first fitting. I realize now that I was a little rusty at estimating my “wearing ease” for close fitting garments. 1″ at the waist and 2″ at the hips beyond your actual measurements should be fine.

3. I wanted the shorts to hit somewhere along my upper knee cap. I ended up cutting off 2″ of fabric before doing my 1 1/4″ hem.

4. Side note – I broke my boycott to not buy any “fast fashion” to have a shirt to wear in my photos. I bought the shirt on sale at Old Navy, and hemmed it up 3″. Hopefully I will find some time to make the perfect shirt to wear with my shorts.

Overall I am happy with my Strolling Shorts. I wore them to make puppets with third graders this morning! Thank you for reading my post and I welcome your comments. Lori

The Sandra Dress

Sewing others stylish is just as much fun as sewing myself stylish! That’s why I’m so excited to feature my beautiful friend, Sandra, as a guest model in this post. For Fresh Make #7, I have made a versatile shift dress.
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The pattern I used is Burda 7031. I purchased on sale at JoAnn’s for $2.49. A few months ago, I posted it to my Facebook page as a pattern that I thought would be flattering on all figure types. “Who would like to make it?”, I posed. And Sandra said, “I would!” Sandra’s machine and sewing skills were a bit rusty, so I offered to make the dress for her and feature it in my blog.
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Now here’s the super fun part about sewing for friends – the shopping trip to buy the fabric! We went to Mood on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles and had a blast imagining ourselves as designers on Project Runway.

Sandra is captivated by all the luscious fabrics.

Sandra is captivated by all the luscious fabrics.


We spent at least 90 minutes wondering up and down the aisles, drooling and touching fabrics. Sandra finally choose this luxurious knit wool jersey. The pattern requires 2 5/8 yards. I think the fabric was $18 per yard. And did Sandra care? No, it was gorgeous!

Fabric bought, time for lunch! We walked up four blocks on La Brea to Sycamore Kitchen and both had salads were to die for. The Sycamore Kitchen is also directly across the street from recent Austrialian transplant, The Fabric Store. What a great day!

Here’s the results of our efforts:
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LET’S BE HONEST:
1. I when sew for others, the size I make is confidential, even to my client! I want having a garment custom made to be a wonderful, feel-good experience.

2. Sandra wanted the sleeve to become narrower towards the hem instead of the slight bell shaped of the pattern. I took about 4″ total off the bottom of the sleeve width.

3. I thought an interesting element to this otherwise very basic pattern was the bust dart. Sandra loved the shape that it created, too.

This dart may look unusual, but it creates a great shape.

This dart may look unusual, but it creates a great shape.

4. I found a big surprise as I began cutting and sorting through the pattern pieces. There was a dart at the top of the sleeve.

I don't think I've ever encountered a sleeve with a dart at the top before.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a sleeve with a dart at the top before.

I considered manipulating the pattern to remove the dart because I was concerned that the sleeve might be a bit pointy where the dart ended. But then I decided I would go with it. It was part of the design vision for this pattern. To my delight, the sleeve actually turned out beautiful. This amazing wool jersey fabric molds itself like cake fondant when a steam iron is gently used on it. The dart is not even noticable.

5. I added 2″ to the hem when cutting the fabric to be sure I had enough length to create a hem that hit slightly past the midpoint of the knee. This is a flattering spot for a hem as it accentuates the narrower part of your upper calf without showing your whole knee.
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Sandra and I were giddy with excitement when I brought her the finished dress. We were thrilled with the perfect, flattering fit. For Sandra, wearing it is as comfortable as a nightgown, and no shape wear required!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. As always, I welcome your comments.