Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Captain America Goes to the Gym" Shorts

I've been experiencing a serious lack of sewjo ever since I sewed up SHB's Tako Hat (which was over a month ago). I've got a pile of underwear cut out but the thought of assembly-line sewing such boring basics (that nobody will even get to see!) was too boring to stomach. So I signed up for Gillian's sewing dares, hoping for a kick in the pants (shorts?). I think it worked, because her dare for me was to sew something 1) selfish, that 2) I missed from my pre-baby wardrobe. I haven't sewn a pair of pants since before SHB was born, but I didn't want to jump right back in with a fitted pair and have to deal with a fly front. I also only have one pair of woven shorts that fits me right now, and those are white, which is pretty much a no-no if you're running after a sticky-handed toddler all day. I knew I needed something relatively fast and easy to jump start my sewing, so I settled for elastic-waist shorts in a dark color to fit the gap in my wardrobe.



I used the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho (thanks to Leah of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam for cluing me in to this free pattern's existence!) and some scrap navy fabric leftover from my Han Solo pants. Since I was sewing the night before Independence Day, I figured I would patriotize them by choosing an appropriate color trim. I was going to do either plain red or white, but serendipitously Heather posted the tutorial that Sew Tawdry did for a two-color trim application. Her instructions were the perfect inspiration that I needed to dress up my shorts.

Exposure upped to show the crotch fit, although the actual colors are more accurate in the first collage.

Summary:
Pattern: The free City Gym Shorts by Purl Soho
Fabric: 1/2 yard of navy blue cotton twill from stash
Notions: A little less than a yard of 1" elastic, purchased at a grocery store in Italy, and vintage red and white bias tape inherited from another sewist's stash. I had exactly two inches of tape left at the end, which was good, because they don't make all-cotton bias tape anymore.
Hours: Four, mostly because of fiddling with the trim, then messing up irreparably and having to cover my mistake with a piece of grosgrain ribbon so that it looked like an intentional "label." And then having to unpick the waistband to shorten the elastic because I blindly followed the directions on the pattern without thinking to check the length first on myself.

And then my topstitching went all wonky on my "label," so I had to go back and fix that after SHB went to bed. 

Will you make it again? Yes, because I love the length and ease of these shorts! Although probably not with the fussy trim. I also want to smooth out the "J" of the crotch curve a little bit more, since I still see some pulling there.
Total cost: Free, because stash. Go me!
Final thoughts: I'm pretty sure my dad had gym shorts like this in the 70s, which is a thought that's neither here nor there, but still worth mentioning; it's probably why I find this look so vaguely familiar and slightly repellant? At any rate, I know these look like sporty lounge-at-home shorts, and not going-out shorts, but let's face it, all I'm going to be doing is chasing SHB around at the zoo this summer, so these are fine for that purpose.

This is what was going on in the background while I was taking pictures:
SHB was running around throwing his toy animals on the floor.

Thanks for the #SewingDare, Gillian -- it worked!


***
Okay, so I wrote everything above when I sewed up these red-white-and-blue shorts the night before Independence Day, and then I saw all the horrifying news earlier this week. Even though I had my pictures ready to go on the evening of July 5, I couldn't bring myself to post this entry yet; this was meant to be a patriotic pair of shorts, but I was having a really difficult time with America in general and it felt disingenuous to be posting something so rah-rah. I still don't have anything coherent to say about the tragedies of this week, but then I thought about Captain America: Civil War, and Steve Rogers' faith in people and how he tried his hardest to do what was right, his genuine grief over everyone who died on his watch, and I decided I was okay with making them Captain America shorts. I'd like to think Captain America would be all about #blacklivesmatter; also how dorky is it that I was vaguely comforted by a fictional superhero?

12 comments:

  1. Man, it's been a hell of a week. :(

    As for shorts, though, these are pretty rad in that 70s-hand-me-down way (and I mean that in the best way possible! ;) and look exactly like the kind of thing to live in while chasing a toddler around all summer! Also, thanks for the heads-up on the pattern! My teenagers (yes, they're both teenagers now) are both complaining about the lack of shorts in their wardrobes this summer...

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    1. These were a really quick sew minus the fussy trim, so definitely keep it in mind for _yo!

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  2. This has definitely been a rough week... I just can't understand what is going on in this country. It's truly baffling.

    Your shorts, however, are very cute! I'll have to check out this pattern. Love the trim you did, even if it was a hassle--it was worth the effort!

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    1. Yeah, I'm surprised this pattern isn't more widely known/used!

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  3. It makes total sense to be comforted by a fictional character. Isn't that what books are for, generally?

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    1. True. There's a deep quote in there somewhere...

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  4. It makes total sense to be comforted by a fictional character. Isn't that what books are for, generally?

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  5. My spouse came into our relationship with a pair of those, and perhaps I should celebrate his hard gym work with a pair for his birthday in October. Okay,that's far off enough to work.....

    Will flags remain at half staff all year? It feels like it. How can I find more tears? I seem to, daily. As for Cap'n, I have been reading him since the infamous Nixon/Watergate issues in 1974 (can comics go there? yes they did) and I think I much prefer the humanized version that Chris Evans portrays in the movies. It's not wrong to have a fictional hero to weigh things by ("What would Cap Do?") if my mental answer is:
    he'd do the right thing.

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    1. I don't know anything about the comics version of Cap, just the MCU movie version, and I like him quite a lot. I was really pleased to see how they had his character react in the Civil War movie.

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  6. I think it's perfectly reasonable to be comforted by Captain America. Even with his name being what it is, he's not a blind patriot. He actually says he's not loyal to any part of the US government except for the [American] dream. I find it difficult to understand how people can't grasp that you can criticize something you love, and so make it better by working on its problems. The #notallcops that's popped up is just as problematic as #notallmen. It barely acknowledges peoples' experiences and definitely does not do anything to curb or call out injustices. I'm incredibly frustrated by the state of things.

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    1. Yes, I think that's it -- Cap is not Captain the-current-USA, but Captain the-best-of-what-America-could-be.

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  7. I love Cap. It makes sense that legend/superhero cap comforts us, because unlike other nations, where its at least mostly based on blood/shared history, America is an idea. (7/8 of me is various immigrant blood getting here in the last century) But what they had in common was they believed in the ideals of America, and they came here. So it makes sense that an idea/story/legend/superhero comforts us, because it is about ideals.
    My incoherent 2 cents :)

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