Thursday, 27 July 2017

Shorts for Small Girls (1)

I made these shorts for Fleur over two years ago, when she was about 18 months old. I loved the pattern I used, Summer Shorts by Caila Made (and recommend the pattern and tutorial). It's basically an Age 2 pattern, although it is suggested that you can try printing it bigger or small for different sizes within reason.

However, all my grand-daughters are growing! Where did the last 2 years go? So I thought I should do some research on alternative free patterns for shorts.

The first one I came across seemed perfect, size wise, so I launched into making new shorts for the girls. In this post, I'll tell you about my experiences with the Craft Passion Kids Shorts pattern, in size 3 and size 7. In the end, I think this pattern probably works better for boys than for girls, but the pattern and tutorial are offered free, and are straightforward to make up, so I still think they are worth a look. So read on to find out about my experience with this pattern.

I was very excited by the fact that this Craft Passion pattern comes in age 3 and age 7. The author, Joanne, says they probably come up a bit small, as they are sized for Asian children. I thought between the two sizes, I could cater for all my three oldest grand-daughters: a very tall 3 and three quarters, a tall 3 and a half, and an average 2 and a half.

The first pair I made was from the size 7 pattern, for Fleur (3 and three-quarters but very tall for her age). The pattern has two main pieces, front and back. I should step aside here and say that one of the reasons I liked the look of this pattern was precisely because the front and back pattern pieces are different. I have no time for patterns and tutorials that tell you to make the front and back the same (perhaps just adding an inch to the height at the back waistband). No child, not even a baby, is the same shape front and back!

There are also two pocket pieces, and a waistband. I must admit on the smallest size, I found the curve at the top of the pocket a little tight to get even a 3 year-old's hand in - I would scoop it a bit more. But it does look quite neat. (You can see I used a different fabric for the pocket backs - I like the look.)

This below shows the waistband being pinned on. I think Joanne attaches it already folded and serges round, but I don't have a serger, and I prefer the look of a waistband with no raw edges. So I pinned it round open, having already pressed the hem for the inside, I then sewed it, re-folded and pressed it in half, and sewed round all bar a couple of inches through which to insert the elastic.

Here are the finished size 7s, and in wear. It is almost impossible ever to catch Fleur in a mood to pose for photos, so you get what you get.

 Hanging out the washing:

And hanging out with her cousin and uncle:

I made two more pairs from Joanne's  pattern (thank you, Joanne!) One pair was from the size 3 pattern, the other, I made in a size 5 version. In case it is useful to you to know how I did this, you can find out in this post.

The size 5 pair are on the left, the size 3 pair on the right.

Now, here are some picture of the size 5 pair. 

They are a little bit big for Jane, perhaps, but that wasn't the main problem. They look fine from the rear.

 However, there was a strange bagginess in the front:

(And no, she's not wearing them back to front!)

I ended up thinking that these shorts might be a better cut on boys than on girls. I think they need a bigger curve both front and back to allow for little girls' more rounded butts.

In the meantime, Jane rejected her shorts. I'm not sure that this was entirely due to the shape. And she loves dinosaurs. BUT - she just prefers dresses. I have no trouble getting her to wear dresses that I've made for her, but, although she did gamely try these on, it was absolutely clear she was never going to wear them. So they've gone to the cousins to see if they are happier with them.

But shorts are SO practical! I've watched her playing in the sand and streams at Hampton Court's wonderful Magic Garden, in her favourite dresses, which get completely soaked. She also tried riding a bike in another long flowing dress, and playing tennis. Surely shorts would be so much better? So her mother and I decided we would have one more go - maybe shorts that were pinker and more feminine, with a pretty top might work? To see how we got on, see my next post!

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