This Week in Wadders


Wadder: Does anybody know the origin (national, internet?) of this sewing term? It’s related to “wadding something up”, right? For my non-sewing-web friends, it means project bust.

Sewing is such a practical art. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a garment is, how impeccably done, if I can’t wear the end result, there’s not much use for it. Should I frame my bombs? Open an Etsy shop for wadders? What do you do with yours?


In this case, I made these adorable shorts over the weekend using the Maritime Shorts pattern from Grainline. They are a great “short shorts” style, a lot like a pair of some ikat store-bought shorts I’ve practically lived in for three summers. But I made the mistake of cutting them from a size which I’d already traced last summer (when I originally intended to make them), and it turned out to be too small of a size. Oops. It’s a great pattern so don’t let me stop you from trying. It does fit closely, so I’d recommend going by your hip size, which I did not do. I may also measure out the thigh on my next try.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made shorts that don’t fit, or the second. In all three pairs, I spent a lot of time on the tailoring details (using bias binding to around the pockets and things like that), because as you’ve probably noticed, I love being detail-oriented. And I have a hard time just tossing something so pretty. So my shorts have joined “The Rack”: my place where unfinished unfitted things go. I need to be motivated to go on a hemming binge, because that’s mostly what needs to be done here.

unfinished rack

I am going to make them again, after taking some time off (more lingerie!), with the yardage I have left. In case you’re wondering, this is aguayo fabric from Argentina. It unravelled at the speed of light, so that meant serging every edge before even stitching any pieces together.


I stole the idea for these from a friend who asked me if I thought it’d be possible to make some shorts out of her vintage Mexican blanket fabric. I thought it was the weirdest fabric for apparel and especially for shorts (it’s acrylic and quite woolly), but I fell in love with the colors and weave, and went hunting for my own blanket material. This got me researching and crushing on all sorts of South American prints and textiles. I’ll be sharing a bit more about this fabric in another post, so you can share my love!


  1. Sara says:

    What pretty shorts! You did a lovely job on them, I love the fabric choice 🙂 what size are they? If they’re my size I would love to buy them from you

  2. Kim says:

    Gorgeous shorts and fabric! I was thinking the same as Sara 🙂 I had some tight fit issues with my Maritime shorts too, and I sewed them up using my current measurements (between 0 and 2) now for my next pair I’m cutting out a size 4, lets see what happens then..

  3. Maureen says:

    I expect you have been inundated with responses to this one! It probably means something different to each one of us. To me it means ‘WAD on earth did you think you were doing?’ or ‘WAD the h*** is that supposed to be?’ – I suspect similar meanings to be everywhere. I like the shorts – I only wish I could wear them – ah! those were the days.

    • Amy says:

      Interesting! I didn’t think of that – Wad on earth… Haven’t heard any other response yet, but I’m hoping to hear more.

  4. Becky says:

    Wow, your wadders actually are wearable! Mine are always do to some mistake on my part in trying to make a pattern fit my “unique” physique. I usually try to re-use the fabric. If the wadder just doesn’t fit me but is still good, I give it away.

    You are too funny! I love your post. BTW, what is bias binding on the pockets? I’d love to learn some more details. Thanks!

  5. Allison says:

    I could live in those shorts they are so beautiful! If you want to sell them I am interested!!!

  6. Bummer, they look pretty sweet. Anything I sew that doesn’t fit right (on me/in my wardrobe) gets finished off properly (hems, zippers etc) and donated to the charity clothing shop. Same deal for wearable muslins. They’ve gotten used to me showing up with a bunch of handmade clothes and none of my donates are ever hanging on the rack the next time I’m there so presumably there are people walking around Melbourne wearing stuff I’ve made XD

  7. Carolyn says:

    Ooh, they are so pretty, what a pity they don’t fit! If I make something too small my daughter gets it, if it is too big I alter it to fit me. So luckily there’s not much that doesn’t work out eventually in some way or another 🙂

  8. poppykettle says:

    Bummer. What a stunning fabric though!!!! Just incredible. Here’s to the second pair being wearble 🙂
    I think the term ‘wadders’ is isolated to American sewing bloggers – but I really like it 🙂

  9. Stephanie says:

    The patterns and textures from other cultures, I find they really know how to make color wow! I can spend a lot of time looking at loomed cotton blankets and I do like the idea of incorporating these into wearable items.

    Anyway, those shorts are lovely and finished so well. The next ones will be equally smashing!

  10. emily marie says:

    Hmmm… I had never heard the term ‘wadder’. I suppose I’m hoping that these sorts of projects happen so infrequently that I don’t need a term for them. 🙂 (Yeah, right.) I do have a section on my garment rack for stuff I need to go back to as well. Kudos to you for finishing the shorts all the way even though they didn’t end up fitting- maybe they’ll make a great gift for some lucky person!

  11. L.A. says:

    Those are ridiculously cute. If you don’t end up selling them or giving them to a friend, and the length is ok , why don’t you cut down each side and add a colored strip of a coordinating fabric through the sides and waistband? People will think you did it on purpose.

    I’m American and I’ve always heard the term wadder used to mean something that came out so poor we throw it in a trash can wadded up into a little ball! I always thought the term was American…

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