Little Smart Summer Shirt and Kid Shorts

Last summer, I had hoped to sew Jude an outfit for his first birthday party. I had the fabric already and was in the process of picking out patterns when I realized that my time was limited and making him an outfit was just not a priority (especially when a package showed up from my mom with a perfectly-cute monkey-themed outfit he could wear instead).

Kid Shorts and Smart Little Summer Shirt (Ottobre 03/2019 #8)

The camp shirt patterns in the summer kids issue of Ottobre reminded me of my previous plans, and now I’ve finally made the little banana outfit I originally envisioned. As is typical with the Ottobre kids issues (at least with the boys’ patterns), they have a version of a basic camp shirt to fit their whole kids range—one in their infants/toddler sizes, one in smaller kids sizes, and one in larger kids sizes. I really love it when they do this with a basic, workhorse style. It’s nice to know that once Jude grows out of a pattern I’ve used, there is likely a larger version available in the same style. And I think they do a nice job of adjusting the details for the larger sizes so they have a touch more sophistication to appeal to older kids’ tastes. In short, I have endless love for Ottobre. This is nothing new.

Smart Little Summer Shirt (Ottobre 03/2019 #8)

Anyway. Jude is still at the top end of their infants range, so this is the Little Smart Summer Shirt (#8) from Ottobre 03/2019. I cut a size 86 based on my vague memory of his height at his 18 month well-child visit in February. In other words, I probably should have actually measured him again but was too lazy. Luckily, it fits him pretty perfectly right now, but it will definitely be a one-season-only garment.  I think he’ll be ready for a size 92 in the fall, which seems to open up a whole new slew of pattern possibilities from Ottobre, so I’m very excited about that.

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The instructions for this pattern were not the greatest. I mean, I still think Ottobre instructions are miles ahead of, say, Burda or Style Arc. But even with a close read, this pattern required some improvising and I felt like some of the instructions came out of order so it’s worth reading them all through very closely before you begin. The pattern wants you to hem the outer edge of the facing, which I was not interested in doing. I ended up just cutting away the seam allowance I’d added to the piece (per the instructions) and serging the edge to keep it clean. The pattern also calls for horizontal buttonholes and only 4 buttons, which didn’t seem like enough to me. I made vertical buttonholes and ending up using 6 buttons.

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He is definitely telling me about the trash cans in this picture. Jude is quite passionate about trash and recycling right now.

The fabric for the shirt is a Cotton + Steel cotton lawn print from a couple of years ago. I had 2 yards of this fabric in my stash and used way less than that for this shirt, so Jude might get a duplicate shirt next summer. It was really easy to work with and is incredibly soft.

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The shorts are made from some gray Kaufman Brussels linen blend fabric I’ve had in my stash for several years. I used the Kid Shorts pattern from Made Everyday–I cut a 2T and made the view with the lined pockets (using the banana print fabric for the fabric lining) and the fully elasticated waist. I think I’m done with this pattern for the time being. While it’s a perfectly fine pattern, I’m not in love with the fit and, more importantly, really hate that there aren’t instructions with the pattern. You have to track down the tutorial posts the pattern designer published on her blog, which also means having to click around to different posts to reference the instructions for different pattern views. Obviously, constructing a basic pair of shorts isn’t difficult but that’s all the more reason I don’t want to have to do that kind of work to remind myself of the pattern’s hem allowance or whether or not the pocket seams have a different seam allowance than the rest of the shorts. The next time I make Jude a pair of shorts, I think I’m just going to try the Sunny Day Shorts pattern from Oliver & S.

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Still, this outfit turned out really cute. Jude wore this when we took his granddad and his aunt Sarah to the zoo on a very hot and sunny day. This outfit kept him cool and he looked very sweet in it. He already has plenty of clothes to get him through this season, but I’m going to have to make him more shirts like this next summer!

Ottobre Woman 02/2015 “Gym and Sport” Sweat Shorts

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.)

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

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.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

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.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

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.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

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.

I can only imagine that there are neighbors near by and this is my “mind your own damn business” face.