Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Shorts/culottes copied from RTW finished.

I have a new internet connection which seems a lot faster than my previous one. Hurrah!! It wasn’t purely speed that decided us to change but rather a combination of very slow speed, useless customer service and service fallout. Hopefully things will be better with  our new provider. At least we have been able to change over apparently without problem. David previously had a 31 character password which irritated the kids no end but our new one is shorter, so they’ll be pleased when they learn that. By the way, the Russians are now ignoring my blog, as predicted, so my viewing numbers are back to their usual.
The shorts I made

It's easier to see detail in this photo

I’m having a rest after our evening meal and thought I’d connect up my laptop with the new connection and start drafting my next blog post. So this will be bitsy as I add sections.

I’m making shorts from an RTW pair for Joanne as posted last time.
Original RTW shorts

I had made a toile for Joanne to try for fit but realised that I had concerns about construction, so started another toile.

The problem for me is that I was using two layers of fabric (georgette in this case). However, at the hem, lace is inserted between the layers and the side pockets are also between the layers. One side pocket also has the zip inside. I struggled with the idea of using the fabric and a self underlining - but it wasn’t really this as there is the need for separating the fabric. I also wasn’t sure I could just use the fabric as a lining.

I decided to practice the zip in the side seam pocket. I started using the fabric for the front of the shorts doubled. I was using the tutorial I linked to previously - but of course this was for single fabric.

I took to class but unfortunately, Rory got the wrong idea about what I was trying to achieve - she thought I wanted an inseam pocket with a zipped closure. I had nearly completed that (beautifully) including invisible zipper when I realised I was going down the wrong route. I was doing this with the fabric backed by self fabric.

Ultimately, we decided I really needed to do this as a separate inserted lining rather than as a backed fabric.

So I went ahead and constructed a whole outside with the exception of the waistband.


Rory advised a different way of constructing the pocket compared to the tutorial I was using (and had printed out and taken to the class). She felt that cutting the seam allowance under the pocket into the seam line was okay for cotton but not for georgette as there was a great risk of fraying. She advised creating a box.

I attached the front pocket piece to the front of the shorts, using the boxed method as advised by Rory.
I then attached one side of the invisible zip as close as possible to the pocket edge but obviously needed to avoid catching the pocket edges.

I attached the other side of the zip to the back. I have to be more careful with the real thing and have more match points, as I ended up with a discrepancy in length at the side seam. It appeared that the application of the zip to the front where the pocket was had really drawn that part up.

My pocket was a little small as the marks I had made disappeared. So I guessed.  Wrongly. Again I need to be more careful with these.

I was pretty pleased with the result despite this.

Open zip; case in pocket; zip stops at waist seam (waistband not attached here)
Closed zip; case in pocket

My original intention was to copy the RTW shorts and have the zip extending right up through the waistband (which sits below the natural waist) to the top. That wasn’t what I practised though! I know that with the bridesmaid dress for Joanne which had that type of finish, there was a lot of strain at the junction between skirt  and waistband .  I've asked Joanne if she would be okay with me stopping the zip at the waistline seam and having a more standard buttoning waistband but she hasn’t replied as I type here. (She never did reply as she was okay with it; just as well as I had gone ahead)

I have cut out the main pattern pieces now and tomorrow will start to make up the final garment.

I took some photos of the made up toile to show the pocket.

Next installment!

Today I posted the shorts to Joanne. I'm pretty pleased with them and hope they fit. She likes the photo I sent her. I think they're a reasonable substitute for the original.
Poor photo - strange angle - but I don't have them anymore to retake the photo. They were actually upside-down and I rotated photo to put them the right way up which is weird to say the least!

Some details:

I made up the outside, including side invisible zip and in-seam pockets. I did use more match points and so my ends matched. I worried about the fabric fraying so overlocked all the edges.

Zip. I used interfacing in the zip area. I did use a 10 inch invisible zip stopping at the waist seam (which is below natural waistline). I didn't have any major problems. I didn't find the georgette too difficult to deal with; it's pretty stable. At a later date, I did have to trim the end of the zip as it stuck out a bit. That helped.

Pockets - I used two layers of the georgette. I trimmed and understitched the pocket edges. The top of the pocket bags is caught into waistline seam

Lace - I attached the lace to the right side of the fabric. The edge of the lace was extremely narrow and I couldn't actually stitch along it - I found it easier to use my edgestitch foot and stitch to one side. I finished the lace at the inseam. I pressed up the small hem to allow a better edge when I came to add the other layer.

Finished item showing right and wrong side of hem. You can see understitching on lining side. The lace is caught between the two bagged layers of fabric.

Lining - my lining was cut from the same pieces as the outside but I made some changes to seam allowances. (I won't go into the fact that I sewed wrong pieces together,  trimming etc and having to redo as best I could)

Bagged lining.
I fitted the lining inside the outside fabric and made sure I had matched all points. I then worked it how to attach lining at lace edge (right sides together,  lace inside) and basted then stitches using the previous stitching line as guide. I used the basting to make sure I had sewn it together properly before committing to the machine. I hadn't yet attached at the zip or along the waistline so bagging was possible, though I did get confused at times. This was quite tricky. I understitched to try to keep the lace from turning under or flipping out. I wasn't able to understitch the whole seam

I then smoothed out lining, basted at waist and zip. Everything looked okay so I committed to stitching.

See photo above.

This was a contoured waistband in two pieces, interfaced on one side, with a side fastening. The original had an invisible zip padding through right up to the upper edge.  Rory asked me how I intended to close and following discussion,  I decided to ditch in the ditch from the right side; the back edge of the waistband was overlocked and caught down by this stitching. I added an underlap to the back and finished the front flush with the side seam. At this stage I was thinking of a button and buttonhole but I ended up using a skirt fastening and a large poppet. I'm not sure why, just seemed right at the time.
Left side of shorts from front showing waistband, waistband fastenings, plus zip and pocket
Zip finish
I handstitched the lining to the zipper tape. Other than the closure and all my tacking,  this was my only hand sewing.

I was now finished!  The culottes look pretty good. I washed them again,  dried, quickly photographed and popped into the post for Joanne,  though they won't get picked up until Monday so she should get on Tuesday. One condition of me making the shirts was that she'd let me use a photo of her wearing them in my blog. We'll see.

New techniques learned
1 Zip in in-seam pocket.   I'd use this again - it's not too difficult. I think it wit look nicer in a fabric with more body,  like cotton. The zip is quite heavy for two layers of georgette.  
2 Inserting a bagged lining in pants and of course inserting lace within hem seam

I'll add a photo of Joanne wearing them if she sends one at a later date.
I like them, am rather pleased with what I achieved and now just hope they fit her. The first toile did fit so fingers crossed!

Edited to add photo. I'm surprised that these look much closer to the natural waist than I expected but she appears to like them so that's good. It's difficult for Joanne to photograph these without help, indoors, especially when they're black. This is from a Whats App photo on her phone so I reckon that technology is pretty good!


  1. These shorts are beautiful. I really appreciated the details.

  2. Thank you, Kate. I still don't know if they fit though Joanne has now received them.


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please leave a comment. I welcome each and every one. I value criticism (constructive of course! ), love hints and tips and would appreciate suggestions for future direction.

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve f...