June 15, 2018

Shorts: When It's Too Hot to Wear Anything Else

July Shorts Box Chataigne Flint Lander Megan Nielsen True Bias Deer & Doe

I don't know about people in other parts of the world, but for North America, it certainly felt like winter lasted extra long this year. At my house, we had snow on the last weekend in April, and I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. So, coming off this marathon cold weather, it may feel like it will never be hot enough for summer clothes. But I'm pretty sure we'll be singing a different tune in July.

That's why for our next month's theme, which ships on July 1st, I've chosen shorts.

Now, in some ways, I feel like this may be a controversial choice. I know that for years I stubbornly wore long pants all summer because I didn't like the look of my legs. And I also know that some people prefer to wear dresses and skirts to beat the heat. However, there are some great short patterns out there in the indie pattern world, and even if you never plan to wear them out in public, shorts make a great item to have in your wardrobe, if only to wear while lounging around the house.

The three patterns I've chosen offer different takes on what shorts can be: one is almost culotte-like, one is a classic casual short and one is a dressier pair that you could wear almost like a skirt. And for the Heavyweight Box, I've also included a top pattern to give you a complete outfit!

Lightweight Box: Flint Shorts from Megan Nielsen Patterns

If you've been following anyone on Sewing Instagram, you've probably noticed that culottes are everywhere. I mean, everywhere. And there are some awesome patterns out there for ankle length wide-leg pants. But, if you're like me, taking the leap to culottes can seem like a giant fashion step that you're not quite ready for. 

Enter the culotte short. Still wide-legged and flowing, but not quite as scary fashion-wise. On top of that, the Flint Shorts feature a unique cross-over side closure that adds a little extra touch to make you love your shorts. Honestly, what's not to love about this pattern?

For fabrics, I've chosen three beautiful options that have slightly different drapes, depending on how softly you want the culottes to fall. Check them out:

Lightweight Box Flint Shorts Fabric

  • Eggplant Essex Linen Blend - A mix of 55% linen and 45% cotton, this light to medium weight fabric has a full-body drape that is perfect for these shorts. The beauty of linen is that the more you wash it, the softer it becomes. Plus, it's eminently breathable in the summer heat.  Choosing this fabric option would create beautiful shorts very similar to the ones featured by Megan Nielsen on her site, but with a rich, heather purple hue that's sure to set them apart from anything you can find in stores.  
  • Mallard Lyocell Twill - Lyocell is mostly a fancy term for tencel, a form of rayon. With that in mind, you can understand how lovely the drape of this fabric is. Though it is medium weight and completely opaque, it has a fluid drape that will turn these Flint Shorts into culottes that almost resemble a skirt (without the worry of chafing in the heat or exposing yourself when sitting ; ) ). Plus, the saturated mallard green is dark enough to be worn on your bottom half, but vibrant enough that it's a step above basic black. (Hey, if it works for ducks, amirite?)
  • Charcoal Brushed Cotton-Tencel Twill - This option is the heaviest weight of the three options, but because of the addition of tencel, it's still light enough to be great in the summertime. Brushed on both sides, this charcoal grey fabric is amazingly soft (hello, secret pajamas) and oh-so-comfy. I've already made a pair of pants out of this fabric and I seriously never want to take them off. Also, the neutral color will let you show off colorful tops (perhaps one of the blouses from the April Boxes). Any shorts made with this fabric are sure to become a wardrobe staple.

Medium Weight Box: Lander Shorts from True Bias

I love a good high-waist. They are wonderfully slimming when you get to tuck your belly behind a fly-front (bye-bye, muffin top). So when you get a high-waisted pair of shorts, it's like a gift from the wardrobe gods. 

The Lander Shorts (and pants) are a relatively new pattern but they have become incredibly popular since their release. It's hard not to see why: with their 70s styling, patch pockets, longer inseam (yay, 4") and interesting button-fly front, they feel like a pattern that should have been around for a while but no one made one until now. 

For fabrics, this pattern calls for bottom-weight fabrics with little to no stretch so I've chosen two great twills and a linen blend, all of which will produce an awesome pair of shorts. So, let's look at what they are:

Medium Weight Box Lander Shorts Fabrics

  • Black Ventana Twill - This cotton twill is almost denim-like in texture, but in figure-flattering jet black. Soft yet durable, a pair of shorts made out of this fabric will go with anything and last for years. These will become the shorts version of your "little black dress." Style them with a graphic tee and you have your go-to weekend outfit. Put a patterned top and a wedge heel and you can fit in perfectly for a night out with friends. And, honestly, what more could you ask for from a pair of shorts?
  • Tomato Red Hampton Twill - Go bold or go home, right? Make a statement with this vibrant red fabric that will transform into an amazing pair of shorts. The Hampton Twill is a little lighter weight than the Ventana, but with the same softness and wearability. Think of the fabric of your favorite pair of khakis. Now dye it bright, "summer tomatoes on a hot day"red. I know, right? Just the best thing you can think of for a summer outfit. Sew up a pair with this fabric and you'll be ready to pain the town, well, red.
  • Navy Windowpane Essex Linen Blend - There's something so appealing about windowpane fabrics. They combine the contrasting colors of a stripe with the symmetry of a plaid without being busy or oppressive. This navy windowpane gets even better because it has the breathability and softness of linen. With a supple drape and smooth hand, your shorts will feel as wonderful as they look, and, I can assure you, they will look wonderful. Style your shorts with just a simple t-shirt and you have a unique and subtle summer outfit that can be worn for years.

With this box, I'm also offering two button options; choose from antique brass jeans buttons for a contrast look or pick the color-matched plastic buttons to make the button fly blend in more. It's up to you!

Heavyweight Box: Chataigne Shorts and Datura Blouse from Deer & Doe


Like last month, I'm featuring two patterns instead of one, allowing you to sew an entire outfit out of one box. (Yay!!). For this box, it's the shorts pattern AND a cute sleeveless top that can be paired with the shorts or worn with pretty much any other bottoms you can think of: jeans, trousers, skirts, you name it.

I think I gushed last month about how much I love Deer & Doe Patterns. But if you don't remember that, let me reiterate that this company has beautifully drafted patterns in styles that you can't find anywhere else. Such is true with their Chataigne Shorts and Datura Blouse. The shorts are unique with their yoke waistband and scalloped hem, and the shirt elevates the simple woven sleeveless with a button-back and two different collar options. 

In keeping with Deer & Doe's styling, I chose fabrics that are rich jewel tones and classic neutrals. Oh, and I threw in some curveballs with lace and florals. So let's take a look:

Chataigne Shorts:

Chataigne Shorts Heavyweight Box Fabrics

  • Olive Rayon Gabardine - Having not lived through the seventies, I don't have any bad associations with gabardine fabric. In fact, I think the weave is kind of awesome. It has all the qualities of a simple twill, but with the added durability and wrinkle-resistance. And, with the gabardine, it's made of rayon, trading the scratchiness of polyester for the soft hand and drape of rayon. For this choice of fabric, I love the contrast of the olive green, a typical  utility color (think the army), with the feminine style lines of the shorts pattern. It's the interplay between these two elements that lifts this option out of the ordinary so that your pair of shorts will be both fashion-forward and incredibly wearable. 'Nough said, if you ask me.
  • Shiraz Brushed Tencel Twill - Nothing like ending a long summer day with a glass of red wine. And nothing like enjoying that wine in a pair of super-comfy shorts that match your delicious claret. The addition of tencel to this fabric adds an extra level of softness as well as lightness, while the cotton makes it washable, wearable and long-lasting. With a soft yet tailored drape that will just flow beautifully over your hips, you'll feel like you're wearing your favorite pair of pajamas when you wear these shorts. 
  • Navy Serge Twill - For those of you who are not familiar with serge, it's a "type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides made with a two-up, two-down weave." Translation: it's a twill that has slightly deeper ridges that look almost like a corduroy wale, minus the nap. This navy serge is medium weight with a smooth hand and deep, saturated color. A pair of shorts made with this fabric will become a classic. Fool all your friends into thinking that you bought your new favorite shorts at J Crew or Banana Republic, when, in fact, you can say, "I made it myself" (something I never tire of saying)

Datura Blouse:

Datura Blouse Heavyweight Box Fabrics

  • Deep Teal Satin Cotton Shirting - It's hard to describe just exactly how luxurious this fabric feels. With the tailored drape of shirting, the softness of high-thread count cotton, and the smoothness of a satin-weave, I feel like this lightweight, richly hued fabric has it all. The crispness will hold the shape of the triangle cut-outs or the peter pan collar beautifully; plus, it will feel amazing against your skin (my #1 criteria for any piece of clothing). Oh, and the color will compliment any skin tone and look great with a pair of jeans!
  • Lost Roses Floral Rayon Challis - I've really been digging the dark florals that have been cropping up in the past few years. This muted floral featuring blush-toned roses reminds me of tragic Victorian novels and melancholic poetry. And even if you don't see that when you look at this lovely rayon challis, you can still appreciate how amazing it would look as a sleeveless blouse, paired with the shiraz shorts or a tucked in to a cute pencil skirt.  You'll feel both feminine yet slightly badass when you wear the blouse you make with this option. 
  • Ivory Cotton Shirting/Black Cluny Lace - The yoke feature in this pattern just screams for a little color blocking, and in keeping this the Victorian mood I seem to be in (see above), I've fallen for the idea of pairing crisp, classic ivory shirting with black, cluny lace. The beauty of this lace is that it's cotton, aka machine washable, and it boasts a scalloped hem that you can use when overlaying it on the white shirting. Oh, and did I mention that the shirting is the same fabric as the deep teal one from above meaning it has the same luscious feel? Yeah, that's right. A no-brainer choice if you want to up your wardrobe game.

Well, that's it for this month. Head to the product pages to check out what else is included in the boxes and to see more photos of the fabrics. Then get these boxes before they're gone! They're on sale now through June 14.

Happy Sewing, 


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