Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I have not owned shorts for many years. I mean, I have the old denim shorts I use for painting and really dirty chores, but nothing I'd wear in public. Even my exercise shorts are years out of date and therefore worn only in extremely dire (90+ degrees) circumstances. But when I planned a hiking vacation, I figured it was finally time to bit the bullet.
I knew Burda had been publishing some cute shorts styles, so I went through back issues and found Burda 06-2011-111 in the Brigitte Bardot feature. While shorts are not the first thing that come to me when I think of Ms. Bardot, these are nice shorts. I like the side zip (no scary fly situation), back darts, and front released darts. Pleated pants are always a gamble, but in this case that front released dart is small and looks nice rather than Mom Jeans.
I cut the shorts straight off the pattern sheet in a 36 at the waist and a 38 at the hip with no alterations other than lengthening. The inseam is meant to be 4 inches; mine is 7. Actually, that's not true. Given my experience with Burda pajama pants, I added 1.5 inches to the top of the back at center back, tapering to nothing at the side seam, to accommodate the booty. But when the shorts were put together it turned out I didn't need the extra height and I cut it off to the originally drafted line.
I was pretty impressed with the fit, given that I made no alterations. The back crotch fits well. The front crotch is slightly long, at least I assume that's the proper description when the back crotch hugs the curves (with comfortable wearing ease) but the front crotch hangs down about an inch too low.
When I saw the back photo I was slightly less pleased. I mean, for the adventure shorts I think the fit is totally fine, but if I were making real pants, which I am considering doing this winter, I would want to deal with that folding that goes toward the inner thigh. Wrinkle-reading gurus?
The fabric is something I found in stash. I have no idea how long it's been in there, but I'm certain I've had it at least five years and likely much longer. I have no idea where I got it or how much I paid, nor the fiber content. It is a really interesting fabric--it's a double layer fabric and when you look closely there are rows of tiny pinholes spaced fairly close together. They obviously have something to do with how the layers are kept together.
While the fiber content is a mystery, it is a natural fiber according to the burn test and I think it is probably a linen or linen blend based on how it behaves. Whatever it is, despite the double layer it is a fluid fabric that I did not trust to stay stable, so I stitched a length ribbon at the upper edge of the waistband, where the outer and inner waistbands are joined at the top. The waistband did not stretch while wearing it during fairly strenuous activity on the trip.
I realized while stabilizing the waistband that I probably should have stabilized the crotch as well. However, as I mentioned in my Ecuador post, these were Adventure Shorts in more ways than one! I took my sewing machine into the shop several weeks ago and borrowed a vintage machine from a friend. The machine was not enjoying sewing through all the layers of the shorts, so I fired up the treadle machine I bought for my birthday a couple years ago. The topstitching on the waistband is too bad to show--the treadle has incredibly heavy presser foot pressure and it created diagonal wrinkles between the upper and lower edges of the waistband. The treadle got the job done, but I did not want to try to get too fancy and go back into the crotch seam to add a stabilizer.
It turns out that shorts are not as bad on me as I feared. I do not think I will be adopting them as any kind of uniform, but for occasional outdoor activities they totally work.
I think I will use this pattern again if shorts are still in style next summer. There's a limit to how short I can wear them, given the extreme whiteness of my legs, but I think I could take a couple inches off the inseam and be both stylish and flattering.
This review is a little late in the year to be useful for the Northern Hemisphere (though shorts with tights and boots can be cute), but Aussies looking for summer patterns should have at it!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.