The vision was….a pair of tailored black shorts to wear with tights and boots and maybe some contrasting facings inside to jazz them up a bit. These would be worn during the day casually with flat knee length boots or perhaps on a night out with some ankle boots or heels. Well I eventually got there (hooray!) but not after a ‘failed’ attempt first – a pair of black shorts that resembled more like a pair of boy’s PE shorts than anything I would ever been seen wearing in public! Definitely not the look I was after!!
I’ll begin with the fabric. The fabric I bought was from John Lewis and I think it is a cotton drill. I thought it would have the right level of structure to hold the features of a tailored shorts but not be so heavy to wear as denim. I have a variety of different coloured/patterned tights that I like to wear with skirts in the Autumn/Winter so also thought that plain black would go with those.
I looked for shorts patterns that weren’t obviously limited to the summer season – these needed to look good with tights. I found Simplicity 1887. They have a flat waistband at the front and elasticated waistband at the back. This bit I was a bit dubious about as I really wasn’t sure about the elastic waistband part. I did a bit of searching for people who had made this version and found a couple of blog posts with descriptions of problems with the look of them/fit from the back. I did choose to carry on and make them and see how mine turned out. I won’t show you a picture of them on (won’t do that to you or to me!!) but here are a couple of shots to give you an idea…
SEWAHOLIC THURLOW SHORTS
Bring on the Sewaholic Thurlow shorts! I can’t remember quite how I stumbled across this pattern but I was really excited when I started looking at versions online and how well people had achieved a good rear fit!
I just had enough of the same black fabric and fortunately I had already decided to do the facings and pocket linings in a contrast fabric which helped! I decided to do a toile of the shorts first. I learnt through doing a toile for my Megan dress how useful it was in order to test the fit and also to practice new techniques. The Thurlow shorts have welt pockets and a fly zipper, neither of which I had done in a garment before. This was my first time making shorts or trousers so also knew how important it was to get a good fit around the crotch. So I took my time and made a toile with one front pocket, one welt pocket, a full waistband and zipper. I labelled the pieces clearly which helped me to establish which pieces I wanted in black and which pieces I wanted in the contrast fabric. I cut a size 4 based on the finished waist measurements of the pattern.
The toile went well and I really enjoyed the process. It really is a great opportunity to practice new skills without the pressure of doing it in your final fabric. At this point I have to mention the amazing sew along that Lauren from Lladybird did. I virtually followed her sew along to make the shorts. The instructions from Sewaholic are OK but I really liked the clear photographs that Lauren took, especially as she used contrasting fabric for some of the inner elements. The only adjustment I made was to shorten the hem by 3.5cm. This was in line with the bottom fold line for the cuff.
Enough of the mistakes and the toile…let’s see the final version!!
To me they feel a good fit and are super comfy to wear. They are a little creased in the above pictures but if anyone spots any areas where you think they could be fitted better then please do comment! I would welcome any advice!!
The construction felt much more straightforward having taken the time to do the toile first. I particularly enjoyed doing the welt pockets – the part where you ‘post’ the two pieces of fabric through to the wrong side is very satisfying and very clever!!
The only issue I had was I had to trim the fly facing down as the waistband seemed a little short. I also couldn’t get the centre back portion of the waistband and back pieces to lie flat so I eased out the back extension a bit, it then lay nice and flat.
I used a contrasting white and grey polka dot fabric for some of the facings and pocket linings to add a bit of interest!!
I am really really pleased with my Thurlow shorts. If my legs aren’t really pasty then I may even consider wearing them with flip flops and a vest in the Summer!! I didn’t include the belt loops in this version as I didn’t think I would wear a belt with them however, I may add on belt loops at a later stage as at least it then gives me the option of jazzing them up a little, especially being plain black. I already have plans to make the full length thurlow trousers so watch this space!…
Thanks so much for reading along. If you have tried these or indeed the Simplicity 1887 pattern I would love to see your results.