I am a chino shorts kind of girl! Every year in late spring, I stop by the Gap, Old Navy, and Target and buy myself several 5 inch Chino style shorts to rotate through all summer. Sewing shorts and woven pants with zipper flies, belt loops, and welt pockets just intimidate me to be honest. I would look into the insides of my favorite pairs and just marvel at the pockets, bias tape, zipper finishing, and all the little details.
This year was a little different; I just could not bring myself to buy chino shorts. I knew I needed to get over my intimidation and just make some. It also helped that when I spied into this year's selection at Target that they only had high waisted jean shorts and a few 3 inch inseam chinos. Whew! They didn't even have what I was looking for.
Well, last month, I tackled the Greenstyle Taylor shorts, which was my first official pair of handmade zipper-flyed woven shorts, and it gave me so much confidence. They were surprisingly rather quick to make, and the instructions were so straightforward. I seriously made three in a week in the middle of all my other testing and sewing commitments and have worn them nonstop and have gotten so many compliments for them. I blogged about them here if you are curious.
Then, I saw the testing call for the Sew a Little Seam Linden shorts for women a few weeks ago. The designer, Kelly Ballou, included photos of the insides of her shorts, and I literally gasped. They had all the inside finishings of my store-bought chinos. The difference in these and the Taylor shorts is that you need to be prepared for MANY pattern pieces. You have facings, welt pockets or patch pockets, topstitching guides, back yolk options, bias tape, belt loops, coin pockets, flat felled seams, skirt options, jeans options, knit comfort options... I am not even sure I named all the options! This is not a quick pattern, but it is so worth it! It took me at least 3 days to sew up one pair, and that includes several really late nights (some with a seam ripper in hand).
Another challenge for this pattern for me was fabric choice. I really had to force myself to sew basics. On my pretesting pair, I used a bright apple green and instantly regretted it. They are the perfect most comfortable shorts fitwise, but they are in a color that I don't often wear. I used my least favorite fabric first since it was a pretest, but looking back on it, I should have jumped for the capsule basics first. The seams on the pattern are 5/8 inch, which gives plenty of room for fit adjustments if you need to make any (I did not need any!!)
If you are going to invest this much time in a project, use fabric you know will coordinate with a lot in your wardrobe. For pair number 2, I chose a navy twill that goes with so many tops in my closet. I know navy is not terribly exciting, but I learned my lesson from my first pair (keep reading and you will get to see my bright pair too!)
I love how professional the welt pockets are on this pattern and how deep the front pockets are.
Here are the BEAUTIFUL insides. I made my own bias tape to finish the inner waistband on both pairs of shorts I made. The pop of pink and orange just makes me happy, even if I am the only one who will see it.
Next up, I made a mini skirt. I used velveteen for it and used the jean style option with a back yolk. I did not use the jean patch pockets, though, and opted for welt pockets again.
The jean style option on the pattern has a back yolk and curved front pockets. You can also do a coin pocket to make it look like traditional jeans. On the jean-style waistband, you topstitch around to finish and have a inside waistband piece that is the same size as the outer. On the chino shorts, you have bias tape to finish the inside and stitch in the ditch around the outside of your waistband to secure it.
The skirt feels a little short for chasing kids, but I think it is the perfect date night skirt. I can't tell you how excited I was to recreate my favorite J Crew skirt!!
I love how soft this fabric is and how the welt pocket turned out! I have been saving this velveteen for the perfect skirt pattern! I have a few other prints in this velveteen so I may need to make more of these skirts!
My favorite part, of course, are the details on the insides. I did not do the flat felled seams everywhere on the inside of the skirt. After doing the flat felled on the yolk, I realized how thick this fabric was and decided to finish the rest with a serger.
Last, but not least, is my bright apple green pair that I made in pretesting. I have actually been wearing them a lot. They are just so functional and comfortable that the green may just be growing on me.
I made a size 0/2 based only on my high hip and full hip measurement. My waist and thigh measurements were actually in the next size up, but I did not take those measurements into account. If my high hip and full hip measurement were different, I would have need to grade accordingly. I felt the sizing was perfect on this pattern. If you are using a stable knit, you may need to size down.
This fabric base is a cotton sateen. It is a twill weave that is incredible for chino shorts. It is soft, has a great weight, and is easy to work with. I think if I use it again, I will get the maize or magenta colorways because they coordinate better with my wardrobe.
These shorts are so comfortable! Instead of buying a stack of chino shorts at the end of next Spring, I am just going to need to add a few more of these to my collection. I will also get a lot of wear out of them this fall. Texas falls are still really mild, and on a chilly day, I can wear a button up or sweater to keep my arms warm.
Those insides though...
Resources - Patterns
1. The Linden Shorts/Skirt Pattern can be purchased here. There is a coupon code to get a discount on the pattern through the rest of September. You can find that code in the Sew a Little Seam Facebook group.
2. The top that I am wearing with my Blue shorts is the Toaster Sweater #2 by Sew House Seven.
3. The top that I am wearing with the velveteen skirt is the 5 out of 4 Camilla that I blogged about here.
4. The top that I am wearing with my green shorts is a slimmed down Sewholic Renfrew top (which was my first V-neck that I made several years ago before I knew about PDF patterns!)
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Resources - Fabric
1. The Navy 6 ounce twill came from Imagine Gnats
2. The quilting cotton that I used for lining the Navy shorts is Juliana Horner Rosette.
3. The velveteen is Anna Maria Horner velveteen Innocent Crush Maybe
4. The quilting cotton that I used to line the velveteen skirt is Anna Maria Horner True Colors Filigree in Coral
5. The Green Twill is Free Spirit Cotton Sateen in Apple.
6. The quilting cotton that I used for the lining of the green shorts is Anna Maria Horner Field Study Raindrop Poppies.
7. The zippers came from Wawak.
Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.