I do not wear shorts and yet here I am, modeling a pair of shorts for you on my blog. These are the Gym and Sport Sweat Shorts from Ottobre Woman 02/2015. Since I do not have actual gym or sport needs, I think of these more as my “lounge and laze” shorts. (Actually, I did wear them once on a walk but my thighs don’t play well with shorts and there was enough ride-up action for me to consign these to at-home only status.)
As far as lounge and laze shorts go, these are supremely comfortable, and I’ve been wearing them a lot since I finished them. I was drawn to this pattern because of the details—the ribbed waistband, the decorative raw edges, the top-stitching, the front patch pockets. I had fun sewing these up, they were a good way to practice some new techniques, and am happy overall with the way they turned out.
However, since I suspected these were going to end up being exclusively for hanging around my house, my bar for what was “good enough” for these shorts in terms of the fit and some of the aesthetic details was a little lower. I would have preferred a different color ribbing, maybe blue or purple, but I had the black on hand and wasn’t willing to go out of my way to get something different. The fit in the back isn’t ideal—I have some wrinkles at the back thighs, although they are still very comfortable while wearing so I just let it be. The position of the back pockets isn’t ideal but I also think the proportion of the back pockets is off. I actually enlarged both the back and front pockets to account for the fact that I graded these up a couple of sizes, but I think the back pockets still need to be a bit larger.
I would have made more adjustments if this had been a pair of pants that I was actually wearing out of the house, but again—these are good enough to meet my “lounge and laze” standards. I confess that I also decided not to press these before taking blog posts. I just couldn’t bring myself to iron the wrinkles out of what are ostensibly pajamas. Life is too short.
As far as fitting goes, I started a muslin for this pattern before I left NY, although the fabric I used had slightly more stretch than my fashion fabric so the muslin wasn’t as useful as it could have been. Before starting my muslin, I graded the pattern up by two sizes, added some extra width to the waist, and added about two inches of length to the legs. Then based on my muslin, I ended up raising the center back by about an inch, removed a two-inch wedge from the center front, added 3/8″ to the front inseam and added about 5/8” to the back inseam. I also enlarged the pockets by about 3/8” on all sides to make them more proportional to the size I had graded to. During sewing, the last fit change I made was to peg the legs of the shorts a bit to keep them from flaring out too much.
The main fabric is a medium-weight cotton blend sweatshirt fabric from Girl Charlee, and the ribbing is a rayon-spandex blend that is a medium-weight but also kind of flimsy. A ribbing with more body, like a medium weight cotton ribbing, would have been ideal but again—I just used what I had on hand. The instructions called for making your own drawstring, but I wanted to use black cotton twill tape instead. I didn’t have quite enough twill tape so I cut the length I had in half and attached each end to a length of ¼” elastic. The elasticated drawstring is nice because it doesn’t cut in when I sit down. The pattern also calls for grommets for threading the drawstring, but I just put in some buttonholes. Good enough.
This is my second Ottobre Woman pattern (my first was the Faded Stripes top from the same issue), and I’ve got three lengths of rayon jersey sitting on my ironing board that are all set to become tops from various Ottobre Woman issues. Ottobre Woman isn’t flashy but it’s pretty perfect for me—casual styles with clean lines. So expect to see more Ottobre soon.