Tag Archives: jorts

Completed: Scout Tee + Gorts

10 Aug

Today’s post features a two-fer – a top AND shorts! Woohoo! Be prepared for a slight photo overload ahead.

Scout TeeI’ll start with the top. This is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. It’s your basic woven tshirt with a scoop neck and a relaxed, boxy fit below the bust. I know everyone and their mom has made this pattern already, and I’m only a few years behind on the bandwagon! Honestly, the pattern didn’t appeal much to me until recently – I generally prefer to wear more fitted shapes, especially at the waistline. This was a bigger deal in the past when I had a larger bust – but the girls have shrank over the years, which has made me feel a little bolder about experimenting with different shapes and silhouettes, since I don’t feel like my waist is being quite as swamped as it was in the past. Plus, loose styles are waaaay more comfortable in the summer heat, since they allow a better airflow (I know most of you are thinking, “No shit, Sherlock,” but I have ignored this for most of my adult life! Cut me some slack!). Scout Tee

Anyway, I quite like this style on me! I guess it’s still not the most “flattering,” but I’m kind of getting to the point where I don’t care quite as much about flattering. That’s one major difference I’ve noticed about being 30 vs being 20 – I don’t really give a shit about looking ~sexy~ every time I leave the house. I’m also sure my long-term relationship has a stake in this as well, but I’ve been in long relationships in the past and my attitude was definitely the opposite. Wearing loose-fitting anything – especially around my waistline – is a pretty new style territory for me, one that I’m starting to slowly explore and actually wear out in public. Also, it’s damn comfy.

Scout TeeBack to the pattern! I cut the size 0 and shortened the hem by a couple of inches to give it a more cropped length (but long enough so that it still covers the waistband of my pants). The pattern was really easy to put together – it’s just a front and a back, little cap sleeves, and a neckline bound with a bias facing. I like that it fits through the shoulders and the bust, then falls straight down to the hem. Even though it’s loose, it doesn’t look sloppy. One thing I noticed is that the shoulders tend to pull toward the front – since I used a different fabric for the back, this is a lot more noticeable. It doesn’t bother me at all – I actually like the way it looks, to be honest – but I’m also not sure if it’s part of the pattern, or a fitting issue. Thoughts?

(ps, sorry about the wrinkles – like most of my makes lately, these were taken after a full day of wearing) Scout Tee

The fabric is what really makes this top shine, though! It is GORGEOUS, amirte?! This is a pretty special piece – it’s handwoven here in Nashville! The company who makes this beautiful cotton fabric is Shutters & Shuttles. I don’t know if they even sell yardage anymore, but they used to. I believe they sell yardage to local designers, which – ding ding ding! – is where I got my little piece from. Back when Elizabeth Suzann used to sell limited-edition tops made with this beautiful handwoven fabric (and other colors/styles of fabric as well), she had a whole stash of it. Eventually, the limited edition ended and Elizabeth’s line moved in a different direction. And then she destashed the studio, and this piece ended up in that stash bag I was telling y’all about. It was a very small piece, so it took me a while to figure out what to do with it. A lot of Georgia Tees were made using Shutters & Shuttles fabric, and they all looked awesome, so I followed that lead with my own boxy tee. Scout Tee it was! Except that I didn’t have *quite* enough fabric to cut both fronts and backs, so the fabric sat on my shelf for several months while I looked for a good color match.

Scout TeeWhen I made my coral B5526, the coral voile was stored right next to this fabric, and I realized that they were perfectly matched. Which was lucky enough in itself, because this is a really weird (albeit beautiful) coral to try to match. I bought another yard on my next Mood order, and used the voile to cut the back of this tee. I also used the voile for the bias facing at the neckline – it’s a much lighter weight with less bulk than the handwoven cotton, so it sits on the neckline a little better (plus it looks pretty on the inside!). Scout Tee

I got these little tags in an order from Grey’s Fabric awhile back, and I think they are so cute! I wanna be a crafty fox!

Scout TeeTo crop the hem, I just folded up an extra-deep hem allowance and topstitched it. One, because I like the way the shirt hangs with the extra weight at the hem, and two, because I wasn’t sure if this whole slightly-cropped-tshirt thing was going to be my jam next summer. I might change my mind and want it to be longer (or even shorter, I dunno), so I left the hem allowance there as a bit of a safety measure. And also a big ol’ dangly thread, it seems.

Now for the shorts! Ginger Gorts

I made Jorts – or Gorts, as I am calling these (jorts is a really annoying way to say jean shorts, in case you were wondering!)! Remember when I utterly failed at that shit last year? Man, those shorts look fucking stupid in retrospect. What was I thinking? And if you were wondering – I never wore them beyond that blog post. They were just tooo uncomfortable and I was terrified the zipper was going to bust. They sat guiltily in my dresser for a few months before I finally chucked them.

Anyway, I’m glad I failed at that shit because I learned some very important Sewing Life Lessons:
1. Don’t make jorts out of a pattern intended for trouser shorts. It looks fucking stupid. Better to start with a jeans (pants) pattern and cut it short accordingly.
2. Jorts need fancy jean topstitching, or they aren’t proper jorts. And, they look stupid.
3. Until you figure things out otherwise, jorts need some stretch in the fabric, else they won’t be comfortable.
4. For zipper security, there needs to be a bartack connecting the fly shield to the front of the pants. This is EXTREMELY important. That’s why my zipper kept breaking on the fail pair – pulling the shorts on and off was putting way too much stress on the bottom of the zipper, which caused it to break. I eventually figured this out by inspecting a pair of my jeans – the bartack that hits right at the curve of the fly topstitching is intended to take the stress off the zipper, so you can pull on and off your tight pants. I had left that bartack off, which made my pants weak right at the crotch (kind of like most men lololol amirite)(sorry).

So, with those lessons in mind, I re-attempted the jorts. These are way better! Not perfect, but better. I know they look pretty wrinkly in these photos, but again, those are wearing wrinkles – not fitting wrinkles. Well, maybe a couple of them are fitting wrinkles. I am human, after all.

Ginger GortsI call these Gorts because I used the Ginger jeans pattern to make them! Ahahaha aren’t I clever! I just love this pattern and I spent a solid chunk of my time in Peru dreaming about making more jeans because I just looove all the detail that goes into the topstitching – but knowing that I don’t need jeans right now, because it’s way too hot! So I was happy to compromise with shorts instead. To make the pattern shorts-appropriate, I just measured the inseam of my favorite shorts and cut that length + 1″ from the inseam of the pattern. In retrospect, I should have added a little more length so that I would have a proper cuff (I didn’t plan these to have a cuff, but they were too long once I’d already hemmed them and I didn’t feel like-rehemming). Maybe next time! Also, if I go with the future cuff, I need to widen the bottom of the shorts at the hemline, because they are a little tight at the thigh (cuffs need to be wider so that when they flip up, they are the right width. This is hard to explain without pictures, so here’s an example in this book I found. Thanks, Google Books!). Giving them a good stretch when I put them on helps, though. Ginger Gorts

For fabric, I used a stretch denim from Mood Fabrics. The weight was perfect, but the stretch was a little less than what the pattern calls for (which I determined the unscientific way by comparing it to the denim I used to make my first pair of Gingers). I added 1/4″ to the side seams to accommodate for this, but they are still a little bit stiff. The other bummer is that this fabric has a severe bleeding problem – the first time I wore these jeans, they rubbed indigo dye all over the inside of my purse. I was carrying the only nice purse I’ve ever owned, which HAPPENS to be white. Wah!! I was able to get the majority of the discoloration off with a stain remover, but now I’m afraid to sit on anything remotely light-colored. I washed the denim a second time with a cup of vinegar in the wash to set the dye, but they are still rubbing off a little.

All in all, though, I’d say these are a good practice run! When I finally make my fancy Ginger jeans with the Cone Mills denim kit that I bought earlier this year, I am hoping that I’ll have enough leftovers to make some solid Gorts. We’ll see! Pants first!

Anyway, photos:

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Every time I make jeans, I want to experiment with different colored topstitching thread & serger thread – but I always punk out at the last minute. With these, I used bright blue thread for the button hole – baby steps! It also matches the lining and the serger thread.

Ginger GortsOh, right, and the backside of the button hole is emerald green 🙂 Ginger Gorts

For the topstitching, I used my new 1/4″ foot. THAT THING IS AWESOME. There’s a dull blade that sits exactly 1/4″ from the needle, to help you align your stitching and ensures erfect parallel lines every time. Totally worth the $$$ I spent on it. Although I should probably focus on my bartacks next – those clearly need a bit more work. My machine doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, so I have to trial-and-error with experimental zigzagging.

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsYou can also see that I changed up the positioning of the rivets – they are only on the front pockets. The pattern has you put 2 rivets on the back pockets, which I did with my first pair, but I never really liked the way it looked. RTW jeans don’t typically have rivets on the back pockets – ok, ok, SOME DO, but not the majority! – and I thought it made them look sort of homemade. I also recall reading, like WAY back in the past, that the original Levi’s didn’t have rivets on the back pockets because they would get too hot when the gold miners sat next to a fire. Full disclosure, it was a research paper on the history of jeans/Levi’s that my cousin wrote for one of her classes in high school, and I found it because I was snooping in her room when she wasn’t home (what? She had a really cool Barbie Dream House that she wouldn’t let me play with). That one statement was really fascinating to me and has stuck with me through the years (although I don’t remember anything else about the paper). This would have been around 1992-1993, so yeah, a while ago (and yes, I realize we are talking about a paper written by a high schooler, back before you could use the internet for research – so obviously I can be completely off my mark here). A quick Google tells me that the rivets also scratched cowboy’s saddles, which might be another reason why the back pockets ones were eliminated. Either way, I think they look weird and out-of-place on the back pockets. So front pocket rivets only for me! Scout Tee

And that’s it for this outfit! Tell me – has your style relaxed as you aged? Do you find yourself experimenting with new silhouettes, or do you stick with the tried and true? How do you feel about rivets on the back pockets of jeans? Do you think the cowboys were onto something?

Completed: Jorts Fail

28 May

Jean shorts (or jorts, as I like to call them – because it’s ridiculous and hipster and sounds completely stupid) are something that have been on my to-sew list for a looong time. Super long. In fact, my jort supply has long run dry – I used to get those the old-fashioned way, by waiting until summer to hack the legs off my jeans so they’d be warm weather appropriate (and later realizing my huge mistake come fall – argh! Whyyyy!!). Jean shorts are an American thing – and I haven’t worn a proper pair in years. No wonder I always see pictures of bald eagles crying:


Anyway. Back to jorts. I knew I wasn’t going to get them by way of cut-offs (I love my jeans too much to do that to them!), so I figured I’d make a pair from scratch and call it a day.


My denim is a bit special – I actually bought it during Imogene + Willie‘s big yard sale. I went because I knew they’d have markdowns on jeans (although, when I finally got there, they’d put all the pants away due to threat of rain, wah), but I didn’t realize they’d also have leftover yardage of fabric! For cheap! I got 4 yards of this ridiculously amazing denim for $5 – yes, it’s super narrow (it is selvedge denim, after all), but still. That’s cheap as shit.


The denim was really nice to work with. I always complain that good-quality denim is really difficult to find for the home sewer – either it’s too lightweight, it has too much stretch, it has awful stretch recovery, it feels cheap, the color is awful, etc etc. And while I have found some really great denims that make fabulous skirts and dresses, I’m not so convinced when it comes to pants. This fabric, though, is really good. It’s very sturdy and luxurious, with absolutely no stretch.



Honestly, I think the lack of stretch is what did me in. These jorts are, unfortunately, a fail for me. Wah!


They look WAY better in these pictures than they look in real life – so much, I’m almost second-guessing my fail label. But, no, they’re pretty bad.



I had a somewhat traumatizing experience while making these. Things were going along great – I’d unearthed my Featherweight to do the topstitching (which is BEAUTIFUL, btw! Well. Beautiful where it’s not crooked lolz), I was having a lovely time stitching that denim, I was confident in my TNT shorts pattern, Grainline Maritime shorts. I love my Thurlows, but these are a fab casual shorts pattern if you don’t want all the fuss of the lining and welt pockets! I’ve made them a couple of times before, and while I’m not going to discuss the sizing and construction in detail on this post, you can read all my thoughts on the pattern here and here.

Anyway, I decided to try them on before attaching the waistband, and the zipper immediately popped in half.

“Well, that was probably a shitty zipper. It looked kind of old, probably just gave up on life right as I was pulling them on. I’ll put in another zipper, should be fine.”

So I unpicked the zipper, inserted a new one (have you tried to insert a zipper into a front fly that’s already been assembled? It’s… weird. Not a fan.), attached the waistband, and was getting ready to stitch down the waistband facing when I decided to try the shorts on again.

Oh, right. I popped that fucking zipper too. DAMMIT!

This is when I took an emergency trip to the fabric store (guys, I never do this – but desperate times call for desperate measures and I am DESPERATE for some jorts ok) and bought the strongest denim zipper I could find. I figured the shorts were probably straining against the bottom of the zipper because there was no give in the fabric, so I decided to let out as many seams as I could. I gave myself as much extra room as I could squeeze out, and then reinserted the (third!!!) zipper and finished the waistband.

Then I tried them on. Meh.



The fit is just… weird. I’m guessing my emergency unpick didn’t work as well as I had anticipated, so now I’ve got some weird lumps in seams that shouldn’t have weird lumps. They also just feel vaguely uncomfortable – I get that selvedge denim is pretty tough, and needs to be worn in a bit before it’s actually comfortable, but I don’t like it. Not in shorts, anyway. I know it looks like they are painted on, but they are honestly not that tight (except I guess somewhere around the base of the zipper, where it strains when I pull them on). Then there’s that whole issue with me being terrified that I’m going to snap this zipper every time I pull them off.




Here’s a closer photo of the shorts and the way they fit. You can see they’re kind of off – it’s not horrible, but it’s enough to bother me. Actually, I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that the damn waistband isn’t lined up. I have NO idea how that happened – it matched up perfectly the first time I attached it (right before I popped the second zipper), but it looks terrible. Oh well.


Aside from the fit – and the laughingly terrible waistband assembly, seam pucker and all (fyi, that’s where I gave up) – the construction is something I’m moderately proud of. While I didn’t go as far as doing flat-felled seams (and thank GOD for that, since I ended up unpicking them. Well, it didn’t help in the end. But, you know), I did topstitch them with proper denim thread. It looks so good!


Well, I guess it would look better if the topstitching were straight, haha! Oh well! Like I said, I used my Featherweight to do all the topstitching – I figured it would be better than unthreading my Bernina every couple of seams. I’m really glad I did, because being able to switch machines made things go a lot faster. Plus, the Featherweight just produces some of the prettiest topstitching! Now I understand why people flip their shits over these machines. They’re pretty fun!


Of course, that machine handles entirely differently than the Bernina I’m so used to, so I definitely went through a bit of a curve with this project. My topstitching isn’t straight, but that’s ok. It was a good practice and I’m over these shorts anyway 🙂

I’m totally ashamed to admit that I’ve barely used that Featherweight since I bought it, btw. I used it to make a failed Amy Butler bag right after purchase, and after that it just sat on my cabinet as decoration… until I pulled it out to make these failed shorts. And now I’m wondering if this is a jinxed machine ohgod.


Anyway, here’s that damn fly that gave me so much trouble. At least I have lots of practice sewing flys now! Haha!!


Sorry for all the unclipped threads and general messy inside. I think I just mentally gave up on this project after the first zipper broke.


So, overall – these jorts are definitely a fail for me. Not entirely happy with the fit, I think the topstitching looks sloppy, the back pockets are weirdly in the wrong place, they’re uncomfortable, the stupid waistband looks stupid, but most importantly… I will always always be afraid I’m going to break that zip when I’m taking the shorts off. Not worth the stress. Also, as a side note, that’s my Briar I’m wearing and I’m thinking it looks too big and droopy on me now 😦 Sad.

I’m not entirely bummed with this project, because I had a good time making them (despite the multiple zipper incidents) and I definitely learned a lot during the process. This probably makes me look bad now, considering I just announced my pants making extravaganza, but you know what? Mistakes happen. None of us are immune to the occasional sewing fail, and even if I don’t get a completed outfit out of it, I at least come away with the knowledge to improve on future makes and not repeat those mistakes. I’m also really happy that I reunited with my Featherweight! Maybe I’ll get around to actually fulfilling my sewlution of using that machine to make an entire garment. Sure, it was set for 2013, but… better late than never, right? 🙂