all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann


In my humble opinion i would go as far as to say that the #sewover60 people, probably shouldn’t wear shorts. I have some knee length shorts for hiking, but probably haven’t worn any shorter versions for several years. But i had some shirting fabric left over from this; enough to make a summer skirt, but i don’t need yet another summer skirt.

Then Sew magazine produced a free sewing pattern which included some relatively smart shorts (S8891), which i thought would be OK for the garden, and very rare poolside excursions, but not for going to the supermarket, and probably not for hiking either. Except that i seem to have some regular size issues with SewDirect sourced trouser patterns these days. It goes something like this:

  • Measure, and find that i equate to an unflattering size 20 -22; unflattering because it is way over my shop size. It was also not the size given free with Sew. I had to pay for that size.
  • Cut a toile. In this case it was a real muslin, made from muslin!
  • Find that the toile is too big, especially around the waist.
  • Adjust back down to a range of smaller sizes.
  • Make an adjusted version from the chosen fabric, albeit, still nervous of sizing, so make in a different order to the instructions so that i have the opportunity to adjust the sizing further if necessary.


I quite like the waist and hip fit, but, as is often the case, the legs are probably a bit wide.

To check the fit properly, it is necessary to add the zip, which in the case of the toile and the final version, i hand tacked in place before trying on. With the final version i then undid the side seam, so that i could sew in the invisible zip the ‘proper way’, pre-seam, rather than the way described in the instructions. I have to admit that ends up a bit fiddly, as the zip ends at the base of the pocket, which is a tricky area to be starting to sew the side seam below the zip. I happened to have a grey, invisible zip that was the right length, suggesting that this garment was meant to be. And it is stitched in so invisibly, that i forgot that it was there when i was giving the shorts a final press.

I also hand stitched the waist band / yoke to the zip ends and body of the shorts, partly because i needed to coax it to lie perfectly flat, and partly because, i don’t really like ‘stitching in the ditch’. As far as i recall, it wasn’t a technique that existed when i learnt to sew 50 years ago, and it has the potential for a messy result. The hand stitching took ages!


Anyway, after that final press they came straight off the ironing board and i wore them for the rest of the day. And then two days later i was invited to a pool / beach holiday with friends next year, so that’s one item on the packing list already!

Perhaps i’ll also take the top, which is my 3rd version of the Maker’s Atelier woven top. I also made some elasticated wide legs trousers from the same fabric, which is the nearest i will get to a jump suit – matching comfy separates! Thinking about it, they will probably both come on holiday with me next year…….

One comment on “Shorts

  1. Janet
    June 21, 2020

    So glad I’m not the only one that hates the stitch in the ditch finish for waistbands! It can look great on the outside, but the inside always looks terrible on mine… I much prefer to handstitch it like you, or finish the raw edge with bias binding and then just stitch it down at the seams.

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