Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Leonora Shorts

This is the face of someone you would inherently trust, a kindly grandma-type who probably knows all about sewing, someone you would never expect to lead you astray. Well, the previously-maligned Leonora is not to blame for all of my fit issues, but I can't help but think she could've at least warned me that I would be coming up with my own waistband and dart placement. That, and she should probably have drafted a less pointy back crotch piece. Anyway, in all likelihood it's probably my fault for not reading her 22-page booklet more carefully, so I'll stop blaming my problems on her and get back to my shorts. Here they are!

There are still some minor issues, like how it's a tapered leg and I didn't think to redraft the pattern to allow for turning up at the hem, so I had to do some creative maneuvering in order to get the hem to sit right. Even so, there are some minor puckers. If you see them, please don't point them out to me; I don't think I could bear it. There's also the ridiculously long and wide front fly, which has an extra flap of cloth haphazardly cut open and bound, because I managed to sew the facing to the zipper at first, thereby rendering it unusable. But it's pretty hard to argue with how ridiculously comfortable these shorts are, so I'm willing to forgive them their faults. Forgive it its faults? Are shorts singular or plural? I mean, they're/it's referred to as a pair of shorts, but as far as I'm concerned there's only one article of clothing being discussed...

I just checked...and it's still just one finished garment I'm wearing.

Back view. Ignore the weeds at my feet.

I'll wrap up by saying that I wasn't sure how to style these once I was done -- they're a bit long for the shorts+tights+boots look, and the material looks quite formal. Thankfully, Shayna came to the rescue and suggested that a white button-down (which I don't have, but could ostensibly make) might go nicely, or something pink. Well, I don't have pink either, but fortunately I was able to steal this sweater from my sister for pictures...it makes me think of River Tam. Time to make me a shirt like this gorgeous one.

I love when blind-stitching actually turns out invisible!
I also love how the seam binding looks against the suiting.
Fabric: 1 yard remnant of very nice, buttery-soft suiting of unknown material, at $4.39 from Fabrix. There were four tears in the material and the stripes mean I couldn't place my pattern pieces any which way, so I had a hard time squeezing out these shorts.
Notions: Two hooks and eyes, a tiny metal snap, a 7" zipper, and seam binding. The waistband badly wanted some interfacing, but I don't have any here in SF and I keep forgetting to buy some.
Techniques: My very first zipper fly, as well as blind-catchstitching the hem.
Hours: A lot. Please don't make me go back and count. Okay fine, if you insist: probably close to 20. Yikes.
Will you make this again? You look so sweet, Leonora, but no, I will not be making your pants again. Does anyone want this pattern and the accompanying instruction booklet? I traced it so it's still intact! I reserve the right to keep the pattern envelope, though, as I want to frame it eventually.
Total cost: $7
Final thoughts: Not bad, for my second pair of shorts ever, but still not great. The quest for a good basic pants pattern continues. In the meantime, this pair will be good for those times when one needs to be vaguely formal, but still cool (temperature-wise, not socially speaking). Only thing is, I'm not really sure what such a situation might look like.

As the sun went down, we had to keep moving further down the hill to keep catching the light.
Good thing there are so many garage doors and fences for more or less neutral backgrounds around here!

And can I just say that I hate working with cheap lining? This prom dress is giving me the fits. What can I say, I was bewitched by a sale at Discount Fabrics.

This is happening all over my dress. At every seam. Hhhhnnnnhhgh.


  1. I think these are the epitome of cake---simple, basic, the kind of thing that's absolutely invisible to a non-stitcher. And that's not exciting, but it is fabulously useful. They look great---in that invisible way. (I find my self-stitched jeans equally invisible...)

    And, frustrations aside, it sounds like it was a very interesting experience---which is what we're here for, right? Onwards and upwards!

    1. Oh, it was definitely an interesting experience! I would've been quite enamored of the whole process if it wasn't that the shorts were taking waaaay more time than I had allotted for them, and I had other things I wanted to get to.

      I think this is the most invisible thing I've made...and you know what, I can see why it's fun to make such cake-y garments. I still have high hopes for jeans like yours!

  2. That they're comfy is enough for me :)
    Maybe you could wear them to a brunch or lunch when you have to look not fancy but not like a slob?

    1. Yes, these are definitely brunch shorts! Thanks for helping me pinpoint it!

  3. I agree with LLBB! Perfect for semi casual type summer events. Evening out at a patio resturant/bar...brunch with some chick friends in a fancier than McDonalds place. They are perfect. Better than anything I've found in a RTW store.

    1. Well, good thing I'm going on a girlfriends trip! These will be perfect for that. I think as long as I can tell myself that this is better (both fit and price-wise) than anything I would have gotten at a store, I'm content.

  4. I also hate cheap lining. I keep buying it thinking that the price is worth the hassle ... but it never is. When will I learn?

    1. So true!! There needs to be some kind of card we can put in our wallets that says "CHEAP LINING ISN'T WORTH IT!" as well as a picture similar to mine, just to stop us from succumbing every time there's a sale.

  5. They look better than a lot of store-bought shorts and pants I see people wearing! (Yes, for some reason I believe "pants" takes the plural - kind of like "I" uses "were" when there's an "if". Crazy English grammar rules!) You're right, the outfit you have on in the photos is rather River-like, hehe.

    I hate fabrics that do that spiderweb fraying! Too bad you don't have a serger to make it stop - if you lived closer, I'd insist you come use mine just to save your sanity. (I can't wait to see the finished dress though!)

    1. If only I could justify a trip out to Texas for the use of a serger...then I could meet you too!

      Thanks for agreeing that this outfit is River-like! I was hoping I wasn't just wishfully imagining it :)

  6. Aw man but if you are going to do River you need to switch those flats out, stat, for some big angry combat boots. Only way.

    (Also, I keep getting distracted when you talk about Leonora and I think I've read my name, haha)

    1. I didn't realize it was such a River outfit until I was looking at the pictures...unfortunately, I don't own big angry combat boots. Would faux cowboy boots do? ;)

      You know, the first time you commented I had a mini heart attack thinking that the real Leonora had found my blog and was angry at my comments about her!

  7. I'm a little bit of a grammar nerd (although i do make mistakes and typos). I'm always going nuts about "their" "they're" and "there." And now I get annoyed when people use "everyday" and "every day" incorrectly. But i still start sentences with the word "And"!! (And "But"!) =)

    "Shorts" would be plural.
    "Your shorts are awesome!" is correct.
    "Your shorts is awesome!" is not correct.
    Are = plural, Is = singular

    If you say "Pair of Shorts," "Pair" makes is singular because it's one pair (not multiple pairs).
    "Your pair of shorts is awesome" would be correct.
    A lot of people would say "Your pair of shorts are awesome" because they are trying to match the verb to the word "shorts" but you would match the verb to the word "pair". I think I even say it the wrong way sometimes, oops!!

    You'll just have to throw a party with a dress code of "vaguely formal, but still cool" =)

    1. ugh, the grammar nerd made a typo… *… "Pair" makes IT singular…

    2. Thanks for the very detailed lesson! And yes, a "vaguely formal, but still cool" party sounds like just the thing!

  8. It's funny you say that you didn't know how to style it, becuase the first thing that came to mind when I saw the first picture is that you styled it well :) I'd have trouble with shorts like these too, I'd say steal the sweater! Or make the shirt, it's my favourite anyway ;)


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