Silk Shorts, Deja Vu

My my, is it August already?

This has been one of the more pleasant summers we’ve experienced in Austin, but August is always the hardest, like an oven that’s been slowly heating for a few months. It’s that time of year I like to read more, just chill more, and generally halt all forms of pressure and deadlines. And really just enjoy basic Southern pleasures like sitting on the porch at night with a iced tall something. (I love making lemonade.)

One of those summer pleasures was going to include that floaty pair of silk shorts, the remix of last summer’s ill-fitting pair. You are about to experience a bit of blog deja-vu because here I am 10 months later, posting some pretty pictures again of pretty purple silk shorts with pretty interior details, but NOT on me.

These became an epic do-over. I bought more of the same gorgeous silk charmeuse (this time in stretch, just in case) from Mood. I made three muslins and redrafted the leg to my liking. I hacked off the fly and just like my last pair drafted my own with a fly shield. I changed the waistband to a longer and folded tab front. I spent even more time on the insides than I did on the last pair. Things were going so well…

And then, you know what’s coming, I did a try on before sewing in the final buttonhole and hemming up the cuffs. They were girnormous! So much so that I can’t model on me or I’d be indecent without a paper bag waist belt. An epic do-over turned into another epically unwearable piece.

I went back over my fitting notes and realized two things: 1) Don’t try on muslins at night and right after you eat. I’d made a good adjustment to the waist and hips but then decided against the changes after trying them on again. And 2.) Stretch fabrics can play a number on you. I made my muslins in a light rayon challis which has gave me an idea of the weight and drape, but I really didn’t think about how the stretch would strettchhh. I so wish it was easier to predict stretch behavior… and perhaps I need to get in the habit of fitting as I go.

However… I love this fabric too much so I am going to unpick. I will have to unpick quite a bit of understitching and somehow make my way into my very tiny trimmed waistband seams. Unfortunately, charmeuse is prone to needle marks, but I will have to live with that. Am I crazy? I don’t know what it is about this project. Normally I’d be really disappointed but I wasn’t the last time, either. More than anything I feel as if I’m getting the hang of trouser interiors and perhaps am ready to attack the satin tuxedo pants I’ve always dreamed of making…


  1. Evie says:

    I don’t think you’re crazy. I think these are simply too beautiful not to do the unpicking. I’m in awe of your phenomenal construction skills. The insides of my garments still have something of the dogs dinner about them!

  2. Wanett says:

    Oh, this sucks! They turned out so beautifully! I’ve been burned by stretch fabrics before, too. Making a non-fitted item with them is a huge no, no for me. They turn out massive each time. I don’t think it’s crazy to unpick them, though it will be a lot of work.

    • Amy says:

      Me, too. I just keep learning this lesson over and over. Why I thought stretch silk would be any different, who knows. I need to make a big sign in my room, HALT before you cut! (Same applies to bias…)

      • Amy says:

        I’ve made the opposite mistake before – using wovens for a stretch pattern. I was caught off guard when I tried to pull it on and couldn’t! At least you can save these. I hope the unpicking is relaxing. These shorts will be worth it!

  3. Katherine says:

    Oh, these are divine. The insides are impeccable. So sad that you have to re-do. I now use waistbands that have side seams and do a final fit of the side seams before I attach the waist band lining. Even non-stretch wovens can vary in their give.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! I should definitely get into this practice, because you’re right–no two fabrics are ever going to be alike in their fit. The good thing about this is that the waistband is four pieces….

  4. maddie says:

    Ahh! That totally and completely sucks that these did not fit you but I can’t give you enough credit for trying to go back and unpick the seams! You go girl! I have full faith that you can do. Also, from the photos, it sure does seam like you’re getting the hang of pant interiors. It’s beautiful!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Nooooo!! And they look so perfect! The insides are immaculate!

    I don’t think you’re crazy. I like to think that sewing is about quality and taking your time and making things you really, really love that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Silk, purple, custom-fit shorts are a great example of that. They are stunning and I want a pair.

  6. Sallie says:

    Oh bummer! But I’m seriously impressed by your cool as a cucumber attitude. They really are lovely. Especially all the beautiful interior finishes. I just finished a pair of pants that I made using a tnt pattern but I made them with a stretchier fabric. I did a fitting halfway through and realized I had to take something ridiculous – like 2 inches off each side. They’re still kind of big and it totally threw off my pocket placement! But they’re wearable. I also wish I could predict stretch better. It… well… stretches!

    • Amy says:

      Are those your white jeans? Can’t wait to see those! I think my mind has to be cucumber cool because the rest of me is not. :/ It was a serious melter today.

  7. Sarah says:

    As always I am envious of your perfect finishing! There really should be rules for stretch, shouldn’t there? I’ll try to remember to ask my designer friend about the ‘industry’ approach. I just made a playsuit in a stretch knit, and really had no idea how it would fit. I suppose the trick is to experiment…

    • Amy says:

      I’d love to hear any tips. I know so much testing goes into textiles. Like if a similar woven stretches 15% more, how much to reduce a pattern and where!

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