The Long and the Shorts of It!

I’m going to make a confession here…I hate shorts.  Well, let me clarify.  I’ve never in my adult memory had a pair of shorts I’ve loved.  They are always riding up, skootching down, cutting me in half, rolling up funny in the legs, or just plain unattractive to behold.  So what I really think I mean to confess, is that I’ve gone my entire adult life with shorts that don’t fit properly.  There, yes, that’s it!

The real unfortunate thing that this confession highlights is that, for the last decade of my life (and, dare I suggest, perhaps even further back), summers could have been soooo much more comfortable!  I’ve been living in MN 10 years now, and our summers–they are ridiculously hot.  It’s not just the heat, it’s the swampy humidity kicked off from the lightly simmering 10,000 mosquito breeding grounds I mean, lakes.  It’s sticky folks.  Sticky and hot.  And I dread those days like none other.  Mostly I’d hide out in Air-Conditioned havens (my sewing room, work, movie theaters).  The idea of sitting in the back yard (in the shade–this pasty skin of mine does not do direct sun for long!) was abominable.  Remember that scene from the Little Mermaid where King Triton barks out “I abhor humans!”?  (Of course you do…I knew we were friends for a reason!)…That’s how I felt about MN summers.  Until I made myself some honest-to-goodness-I-measured-before-I-sewed-them shorts.  Shorts that were, I don’t mind saying, life changing.

So which shorts, I’m sure you’re asking?!  The Tap Shorts from Katey & Laney.  I actually bought the pattern for these last summer (le sigh…if only I’d known), but put off making them because I needed to grade them up a few sizes to fit me.  And, you know, grading sounds like work.  The grading turned out to be easier and harder than I thought.  Easy because, as A-line shorts, it’s pretty simple to just make them wider at the side seams and move the back darts over a smidge to re-center them.  Harder because I don’t need as much extra fabric at the legs as I do at the waist/tummy area, so the legs of the shorts ended up a tad…voluminous.  But so, so, SO comfy.  But voluminous–verging on culottes territory.  But they’re so breezy.  And the high waist means the waist stays put–no rolling or pinching.  I may try adjusting the width of the legs just a smidge on the next pair (as well as brushing up my invisible zip skillz–egad), but I really like the distinct A-line shape, so maybe not!

Apologies for the wrinkly fabric, this was after a few hours wear. And you can totally see the extra fabric flaring out at the sides, but oh well!

I did make these up in an upholstery-weight cotton sateen, so that stiffer fabric may have something to do with the fluffy silhouette of the shorts in general.  But it’s also a nice sturdy fabric and looks crisp and fresh even after a day of pedaling around in the heat from one taproom to the next (why, yes, I did field test my new shorts on a pubcrawl…awesomeness ensued).

Emboldened by my foray into shorts-ville (it’s a thing, m’kay?) I decided to try out the Nantucket Shorts that came in the last issue of Seamwork (I was a little dubious when they first announced these easy magazine patterns, but like all Colette stuff I’ve worked with, this pattern was solid!).  I picked out some mid-weight woven navy blue cotton that looks a lot like linen (but isn’t) from my stash (yay stash busting!…this had originally been earmarked for a shirt for John, but he rarely wears the grey one I made in the same fabric because he has to iron it first…puh-leez).

Me & my mutant sunflowers!

The Nantucket shorts came together really easily, though I probably could have gotten away cutting them out one size smaller–I was between sizes and opted up, so there’s a little more bunching around the waist than I’d like, strictly speaking.   For such simple shorts, they look really interesting (something about the combo of the runners’ shorts styling and the eyelets, I think).  And again, they’re super breezy and comfy.  All told, about 4 hours from assembling the pattern to finishing touches.

Rear view. Clearly these legs need more sun exposure in their lives…

This was my first time installing eyelets, and it was pretty easy (though my cat protested all the banging about).  I really want to make myself another pair (a size down, perhaps) in the orange chambray I have lurking in my stash…

And, of course, the obligatory awkward-rear-selfie as I checked fit immediately post-sewing…


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