Sewing Shorts!

That’s right, y’all – I finished the shorts! and I’m officially launching the Sewing category on mere-et-filles!

the front

I’m going to wait until the top is finished to model them for you. But they fit – elastic is good that way 😉 – and I’m proud of how nice they look on the outside and the inside. I was also surprised how quickly the “actual sewing” was. I spent a few hours cutting the pieces, a few more hours researching seam finishing techniques*, half an hour practicing seams and the overlock stitch, and just a couple of hours sewing (even with having to rip and re-stitch the second hem twice).

There were a few moments this afternoon where the sewing felt comfortable, like something I knew how to do. But sewing clothes has changed a lot in the last 25 years (the patterns, the machines, the internet!) and my skills are rusty. Mostly I felt like an awkward newbie. Having a success under my belt is a huge boost for tackling another project…tomorrow!

The top is up next. It does have a few more new-to-me techniques (neck and armhole facings, interfacing, stay-stitching). Hopefully I’ll be ready to “actually sew” by lunch-time. If any of y’all have advice to share, please feel free!

the back

* I debated about flat-felled or french seams for the sides and inseam. Kat shared this really helpful tutorial with me and recommended flat-felled. The woman at Purl Soho who cut this fabric said she always used french seams (instead of felled) because she had an old machine that couldn’t make that second seam (from the wrong side) look nice. I’m not so confident in my ability to stitch two 1/4″ seams, so I compromised: flat-felled, but I stitched the second seam from the right side.

The crotch seam was my biggest – and last (since I only decided to make the shorts on Tuesday when I realized I had enough fabric) decision. I didn’t think felled or french seams were appropriate because the seam is really curved. Turns out there are lots of opinions about finishing crotch seams (seriously pages of Google results!) and after reading through a dozen or so, I ended up with this one. My machine has an overlocking stitch – and after a bit of experimenting, I figured out a good stitch length and width to work with the linen.


  • Kat

    Go you! Those look adorable!! I am not sure what top you are sewing tomorrow… but you might not need interfacing if you are sewing Esme. I can’t wait to see it all put together!

  • Bonny

    Just lovely, and it certainly looks like something you know how to do! I know you don’t want advice from me; I could sew my gathered skirt in home ec. in high school, but all I’ve done since then is mend and patch clothing that my boys were tough on growing up. I was also the person that helped a friend in that home ec. class staple her zipper in and hold up her hem with masking tape. 🙂 I can’t wait to see you model the outfit!

  • Margene Smith

    I sewed all of my clothes for many years (no Tall sizes available when I was in high school), but it’s been years since I’ve sewn clothes (yay for Tall jeans!). I loved hearing terms I forgot I knew such as “felled” and “stay stitching”! You go, Mary! I love seeing what you’re creating!

  • Kym

    As a former 4-H sew-er (THOSE judges are PICKY!), I can tell you that you’re doing great! Just remember — you’re not sewing for 4-H judges. (I have to remind myself of that All.The.Time.) Just like with knitting, trust your instincts and don’t get too bogged down with the “shoulds.” (And overlock seam finishes are the way to go with curved seams.) Happy sewing! XO

  • Vicki

    Wow. That’s pretty awesome, Mary! And tricky. I’ve sewn shorts for the kids (back in the day) but never for myself (and probably never will).

  • Honore

    Oh my! It’s been decades since I made an article of clothing for myself (shhh: don’t tell, but I do have one pattern patiently waiting —maybe three years, so far) and I’m right proud of you for your very successful venture. The shorts are cute – and look very well constructed! Congrats! I’m looking forward to seeing the top/finished ensemble, modeled by you. Stitch on!

  • Lydia

    These are super cute! Maybe I need to make shorts vs trying to buy them then I can customize them to my shape.