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Jun 19, 2012

Peter's "Surprise" Linen Shorts!



Readers, is there anything better than being able to squeeze a second project out of the same two yards of fabric?  You don't have to answer right away; think about it.

Remember this shirt I made for Michael?



Well, I had enough fabric left over to make shorts for me.







These were intended as something of a throwaway project, but the more I got into it, the more invested I became.  I added mens trouser hook and eye closures (rather than an elastic waistband or drawstring) and even added hem facings to give the hem a bit more heft.





For these shorts I used Simplicity 5044 from 1972, the same pattern I adapted to make my corduroy Op style shorts last week.  This time I stuck to the pattern more closely.



I really enjoy working with linen, though it has its challenges.  Mine is what you'd call handkerchief linen, and it's a little shifty and frays easily.  I tried to handle it as little as possible so, for example, I opted for faux flat-felled seams rather than real ones.





For pocketing, I used that same floral shirting I've been using all month -- and I still have a lot of it left.



For the waistband, I used both fusible weft-weight interfacing and hair canvas. (NOTE: The line of stitching is just a basting stitch to hold the hair canvas in place.  There is no hair canvas in the seam allowance.)  This time, I added the waistband on the outside first, flipped it over the top, and stitched in the ditch (and around the top).  I made these shorts entirely on my Featherweight.





As you can see, I left these on the long side, which is more in keeping with the more formal look of linen.  The side pockets are more akin to mens dress pants too.





Not sure how I feel about the flower placement on my backside, but too late now!  You can see more pics of my linen shorts project here

BTW, I laundered my toile de jouy pants yesterday, and -- I kid you not -- they shrank three inches in length.  Thank goodness I had the length to spare (and they hardly shrank anywhere else).

In closing, friends, have you ever been able to squeeze a second project out of an earlier project's scraps?   Have you ever experienced major shrinkage on a project before you ever wore it? (Even if you pre-shrank.)

Have a great day everybody!

42 comments:

  1. LOVE the flowers on your derriere: very fetching.

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  2. My burning question is: Will you and Michael be attending any garden parties in your matching shirt and shorts? (PS I love the placement of the flowers on the back; perfect.)

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  3. The flowers on your backside are cute!

    P.S. Just noticed that the caption under your "Read me in Vogue" gifs say "Jan 2112" and May 2112.

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  4. Nice job on the shorts, and lol on the fanny flowers!

    I'm always trying to squeeze just one more thing out of leftover yardage, like the banded cardigan I made with scraps of two different knit fabrics ... had just enough navy for the sleeves and body, and just enough periwinkle for the front bands. Hey, colorblocking is in, right? ;-)

    When I'm laying out pattern pieces, if I find I have a lot of extra fabric, sometimes I'll stop, figure out what I could do with the leftovers, and then redo the layout with all the pattern pieces. Of course, I'm rarely that organized ...

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  5. Love the shorts. I also love when you can squeeze another project out of fabric which was earmarked for something else. I just cut an Edwardian dressing gown (for a steampunk look) out of a brocade and discovered at the end that I had just enough left over for a corset. It's like free, found fabric.

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  6. Great shorts. Most of my clothes have shrank, some ten years later, and am blaming the fabric not the fact that I may have had one too many Belgian chocolate cookies, takeaways and doughnuts over the years lol.

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  7. Peter - Love the shorts! I was surprised when I made J's shorts how much time they actually took - the same as pants! Somehow I thought they would be easier!! The pocket length was really a point of discussion (how far down the thigh on the inside). . Congrats on a complete success!!

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  8. Wow--those are great shorts! I agree that the placement of the ass flowers is a bit unfortunate, but . . . you're wearing flowered shorts. So really, who cares?

    You inspire me to sew more. Thanks!

    Jason

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  9. Great shorts....I'll bet you wear them a lot.

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  10. Oh I love these shorts on you! Perfect for the weather we're expecting this week!

    There is almost nothing better than getting a second project out of a cut of fabric! I've never had a fabric shrink so much after prewashing. Good you had room to spare!

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  11. Peter:

    What do you think caused so much shrinkage to the toile de Jouy pants? Because I know you pre-shrunk that yardage, right?

    I really enjoy seeing the close-up photos of your work - there's a couture quality to the precision and finish. Years after we're all gone, pieces you made will turn up somewhere, and it will be obvious - this was no ordinary clothing.

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  12. I always err on the side of caution when buying fabric, so I can nearly always get a bonus second project made out of the remnants.

    Nice pattern placement ;)

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  13. I love the perfectly positioned posies on the back. That's what I call flower power!

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  14. jeans always seem to keep shrinking in length. I waited a month before hemming a pair of RTW jeans so that they could be washed multiple times--I finally hemmed them last night :) I try to pull my jeans from the dryer when they are slightly damp to avoid over drying that seems to lead to unnecessary shrinking.

    The shorts are fantastic! i thought for sure the backside flowers were placed on purpose, LOL :)

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  15. Yup. Like I said in the previous comments on toile, that happened to me when using a similar cotton fabric. I had pre-shrunk it, made curtains from it, and the next time they were washed, they shrank again--just not as much as the first time. I had to re-jig the lining of the curtains as it had not shrunk and was now too long.

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  16. Sometimes I love getting a second project out - it is a bit like getting something free. Other times I can hardly face the same fabric again!
    Loving the shorts, laughed hard at the flowers on the rear. Hugs
    Shona

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  17. You do beautiful work, and are inspiring me to take a less slapdash approach to sewing. Sometimes when I have leftover fabric that I still like I make napkins or a small drawstring work bag out of it. I work in a fabric store and last weekend someone called and asked for "toile de Jouy" instead of just "toile" and I wondered, but didn't ask, if she had seen your post with the gorgeous pants.

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  18. oh wow beautiful work. i am totally inspired to get in the sewing room. thanks again, Peter.

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  19. You are on quite a streak! I love the cheeky floral derriere! Glad you had length to spare on the toile trousers. Three inches is a shocker! Did you dry them differently than the prewash?

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  20. boocat:I love these! They look wonderful on you.
    I'm going to use hair canvas next time.

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  21. Cheeky floral derriere!!! Such well-placed flowers.

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  22. There is little that gives me more joy than squeezing an extra garment out of a piece of fabric! These shorts are really sweet and I bet they're really comfortable in a sticky New York summer.

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  23. Your shorts look terrific, and the sewing is awesome!!!!!!! Love those straight stitchers!!!!!!! Re: small fabric left-overs, I have several goregous smaller pieces of fabric from charity shops (someone else's left-overs). I have been selecting patterns from my stash that take little fabric. One Burda skirt actually takes .80 of 150. I also made a lovely slipdress, in the 90's, out of .80 of vintage cotton sateen. A sad day it was when I realized it was too small. Now to hang pre-shrunk vintage cotton sateen, about .80....

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  24. You are on a sewing frenzy!! Love them and love the flower placement.

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  25. The shorts look great, but handkerchief linen being lightweight and stretchy, I would have used an underlining. Almost anything should be preshrunk. Most sewers recommend preshrinking in the same manner as you plan to wash the garment. Often, to be on the safe side, I will wash and dry cotton on a hot setting even when I plan to wash my garment in cold water. Some surprises you don't need. Denim should be preshrunk (washed and dried hot) a minimum of three times. I would do the same with cotton home dec fabrics when using them for garments. This, of course, will remove the finishes and change the "hand". I save all my scraps. Leftovers too small for whole garments can be used for collars, cuffs, yokes or other small sections. I specialize in applique, so even tiny pieces can become flowers and leaves. Waste not!

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  26. Those are great! And I'm truly amazed that you could wring a shirt AND shorts out of 2 yards of fabric. Nicely done!

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  27. I LOVE the tushy flowers. My first thought when I saw them was that you planned it--seems so very you to be making some kind of statement(even if that statement is, "Hey look, I have flowers on my tushy.") AS always you are an inspiration Peter.

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  28. I purchased a red cotton shower curtain at Savers earlier this summer and was pleased to get a bonus pair of capris out of it, after first cutting out a paneled pencil skirt. I paid $2.49 for the shower curtain and really love telling people what it was before it became my summer wardrobe. (I've seen Sound of Music and Gone With the Wind a few too many times!)

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  29. Love the shorts, but, going back to your popular "matchy-matchy" posting, I have to say that you wearing your shorts with Michael wearing his shirt would be a bit much if you were planning to spend the day together. Hope you can coordinate so as not to match on any given day.

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  30. Ah! Effecient cutting! I always try to squeeze as many projects as possible into any piece of fabric, although I won't sacrifice cutting on the grain.
    As for shrinkage... it doesn't happen a lot. Some fabrics seem to shrink, but get (almost) all of their old length back when ironed. That said, my lovely tangerine tango skirt shrank about 2 inches (which is a lot of a well-above-the-knee length skirt) which made it unwearable. And I once thought I could wash a vintage polyesther jumpsuit on the delicate cycle. It went into the washing machine slightly too large for me and black with a cream white top. It came out more of a doll's size: if the width and the body length would have allowed me to put it on, it wouldn't have reached past my knees. And that top bit had turned a muddy brown.

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  31. Oh, your beautiful sewing! How do you get your shoerts and oants to fit so perfectly! Your backside must be a pattern-makers dream... and on the subject of your backside, I actually snorted (loudly) when you pointed out the flower placement and I scrolled up to check!

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  32. Peter - that fabric is absolutely fabulous and that you were able to squeeze another project out of TWO YARDS is unbelievable....are you sure you weren't doing a little weaving?

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    1. I think it's because I cut the (short sleeve) shirt on the cross grain to catch the border of the border print, which left a lot of the fabric untouched, or at least enough for short pants.

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  33. Hi Peter- Those are some fetching shorts! Love 'em! I took a look at your photos of construction, and your precision is amazing! I do have a question I hope you can shed some light on for me. It's regarding the installation of the closure. How do you put that style closure in and not have frayed fabric? I'd truly love to know a step by step!

    Enjoy your shorts!!

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    1. Marcia, I'll show this in detail on the pants I'm currently making for Michael. Stay tuned!

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  34. I don't think I would ever be caught alive wearing shorts of that material. However, I find it very interesting in re-creating styles from years ago (I'm also spending way too much time reading all your articles). I like the details in sewing and it generates ideas. There are hundreds of thosands of those Simplicity patterns kicking around at garage sales and ebay, this article screams "hey you bums, get off your butts and make something!"

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  35. Wow, these are seriously so snazzy. The fit is perfect! I had to make a tailored pair of shorts for one of my sewing classes last semester, and it's definitely not easy- especially the zipper fly. If I saw someone in those shorts walking by my on the street, I'd HAVE to stop and compliment them. Nice work!

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  36. Well it could be worse...those two flowers could have come together as ONE flower right at the centre back seam; I think THAT would have been a little "beyond the pale" in terms of wearing in public, unless one ENJOYS being followed by nudges and snickers and people pointing!

    Dunno why I keep hearing how 'hard" fly fronts and lapped zippers are; admittedly, I haven't made many of them but I never have had any difficulty! I guess I just didn't know it was supposed to be "hard", and so I just went ahead and did it!

    One thing I recommend is BASTING, however you do it, with needle and thread, tape, glue , fusible thread...a lot of people would rather stick pins in their eyes than do any hand sewing, or anything that extends the sewing process, but me, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than have to sew-rip-sew-rip-sew...I would rather do it once and get it right!

    So, basting things in place so that they don't shift or get pushed out of alignment by the machine foot is my go-to technique!

    However tedious whipping that thread through about-to-be machine-stitched fabric by hand and having to tear it out afterwards is, it is bliss compared to turning over one's work and finding out that something stitched up wonky because the layers shifted under the foot, and ending up with either a "destroyed" -looking seam because of having to rip it out, or leaving it as is and the piece having forevermore, that oh-so-uncharming "home-made look"

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  37. I thought the backside flower placement was deliberate. I think it's great. Congrats on getting two garments from just two yards!

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