Hi, everyone! I hope this finds you well. As you may have noticed, posting to the blog gets a bit patchy in the summer, so after taking July off, I’ll probably post a bit in August, although not as regularly as usual. It matches my sewing though. Even though I LOVE summer sewing, I also love being outside with my family and cooking and baking with summer produce, so the summer sewing never ends up being quite as plentiful as I imagine it will be.
Last summer, my youngest daughter and I spent a lot of time exploring the area around where we live. Sometimes we were in the woods, sometimes we were at the beach or by a river where we might want to swim. I hoped that by making us some shorts in woven Supplex, a texturized nylon fabric that feels a lot like cotton, but is wicking and breathable (etc., etc.), we would have bottoms we could wear on our adventures this summer that could get wet and then dry quickly. It was all about versatility! The shorts from the Vero Beach Set by Hey June Handmade seemed perfect for this.
During the winter, I ordered several cuts of woven Supplex from The Rainshed with the intention of making our adventure shorts, as well as a few other things I had in mind.
(You can see the “sweatshirt” I made with the yellow Taslan/Supplex as part of my Spring Outfit here.) Normally when I batch sew, it is groups of different patterns, but this time, I made three of these pairs of shorts at once–two for me, and one for my daughter.
For my shorts, I sized up one size from where my measurements put me. The instructions suggest doing this if you have a fabric with no give to it, and that definitely applies to this Supplex. I also like a good bit of ease, and sizing up made these fit just right. For my daughter, I chose a size based on her waist and hoped the shorts would fit, as she isn’t quite in adult sizes yet. We used the line drawing as a coloring page, since we had gotten two colors for her shorts, and she colored in everything the way she wanted it as a guide for me.
One thing to note, that I didn’t initially realize, is that the binding for the shorts is not visible on the outside if you follow the pattern directions. Of course you could reverse the directions around Step 19 if you want it to show.
After cutting out her shorts and mine, I realized that I still had enough fabric left from hers to cut out another pair, and since I liked her colors, and she didn’t mind, I cut out some shorts with her fabric, but with the colors in the opposite positions for me.
When it came time to sew, I started with a Microtex 90/14 needle, but that made my machine sound like it was punching through the fabric, so I switched to a Microtex 70/10 needle, and that was better. I also found that my thinner silk pins were easier to use than the pins I normally use (which are actually quilting pins). I threaded my serger for finishing seam allowances since this fabric doesn’t press well, and frays a fair amount, and was careful to choose thread colors for both my sewing machine and serger that would look good on all three pairs of shorts so I wouldn’t have to switch (plus I love a good contrast thread color). As far as elastic, I bought what Joann’s had in the appropriate width, which turned out to be Underwear and Pajama Elastic.
A slightly higher machine tension (five on my machine, rather than the normal four) gave me more balanced stitches. I rarely change my tension, but it did help on this project. I ran into a little bit of trouble part way through with skipped stitches. Everything had been going fine, and then I started to have problems. After trying a bunch of things, I didn’t know what else to do, so I called the sewing help hotline (i.e. my Mom) and she suggested cleaning my machine and then changing thread brands. So, I cleaned everything out and switched from Coats & Clark to Gütermann, and it worked! I hadn’t thought of that, but after she said it, I remembered that my machine has the same issue, but in the opposite direction with topstitching thread–Coats & Clark works, but Gütermann doesn’t. Funny, huh?
When it came to interfacing, I attached self fabric with a washable glue stick, since I didn’t want to try fusing interfacing to this fabric. Ironing nylon fabric like this sounds like a recipe for melted fabric!
I also serged the top edge of the back pockets since my serger is set at a 1/4″ wide stitch width (Have I ever actually changed that? No! Haha). At the time, I wondered if I should have serged other areas in the pockets to eliminate fraying, but after having worn the shorts a lot, it hasn’t been an issue, so I guess whatever I did was fine.
Here are a few tips for this pattern: make sure when you trim your seam allowances in step 20, that you use a washable marker or chalk to mark the notches on the curved sides/bottoms of your shorts in a way you can still see after trimming–you will need those marks to help you line up the sides.
I also recommend marking the drawstring holes even if you aren’t inserting a drawstring, just so you know where the front of the waistband is for when you are attaching it to the shorts. I had planned to insert drawstrings in mine, but changed my mind. I was still glad I had those markings, though.
So…how did they turn out? Well, I wish I had about five more pairs, so they are great! And my daughter’s fit well, too. I wasn’t sure how hers would fit since they are a women’s size, but she loves them and they fit great! We have worn them to the beach, wild blueberry picking, for exercise, and as every day wear. I usually wear them as soon as they are out of the wash. I love them. I was afraid the pink and orange ones would be a bit see-through (something I began to worry about after I had cut them out since they seemed fine before that), but unless you are wearing really dark or patterned bottoms underneath it’s not an issue, and if it’s a swimsuit, well, who cares? The magenta ones are completely opaque.
I didn’t take pictures of my daughter since I don’t share pictures of my kids on my blog, but here are some she took of me when we went wild blueberry picking. Try not to be jealous of my outfit–fashion + protection against ticks and mud! What more could you want?! Hahaha
These shorts are so versatile and comfortable, I would love to sew them up in a bunch of different fabrics–everything from linen to lightweight denim and maybe even athletic knit (worth a try!). They would also make great pajama shorts. The instructions were excellent and the pockets are so nice and large. I really, really recommend these. Knowing my love for nearly always trying new patterns, I can’t say for sure that I will circle back to these, but I hope I do, because they are great.
The pullover that’s included in this pattern looks nice, too, so we’ll see if I try that someday. Wouldn’t it be great in double gauze? The more I sew with patterns from Hey June Handmade, the more I love them. The instructions are so good, many of the styles are a great match for me, and I am coming to really trust Adrianna’s expertise and advice in each pattern. She knows what she is talking about!
I’m also really glad that I have tried out woven Supplex. Sometimes I want to sew a garment because the pattern is intriguing and new, and sometimes it’s the fabric I find tempting. I still have some uncut blue-gray yardage that I hope to make into the Itch to Stitch Sequoia Cargos so I will have some woven hiking pants, but we’ll see what happens. Technical fabrics are so interesting, and being able to make your own outdoor gear feels like such a win!
And what’s up next in the queue? I’m working on a rash guard and bathing suit now and am hoping to make the Fibre Mood Lola Top and Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Work Pant pattern in linen after that, but we’ll see! I’ll keep you posted although it may be a bit patchy through the end of summer. 🙂