Friday, 28 July 2017

Shorts for Small Girls (2)

In my last post, I wrote about some shorts I'd made this summer for my grand-daughters, using the Craft Passion Kids Shorts pattern. Nice though it is, the shorts from that pattern hadn't entirely worked to my satisfaction. I think the pattern probably works better for boys. 

In fact, Jane completely rejected her pair. And normally, she loves the clothes I make her. But shorts are just so practical for these hot sunny days, So I thought I'd have another go, making something she would think a little bit more feminine. (She wasn't supposed to be a pink, frilly girl. But her childminder has several daughters older than Jane, and I think the girliness of these older girls has caught her imagination.)

Well, she looks happy enough with this outfit - and did actually agree to wear it for an outing to Ham House. I'd used a different shorts pattern this time, and I think these shorts do seem a better fit. To find out more about these shorts and the top she's wearing with them, read on.
Jane is three, and has a mind of her own. If she doesn't like a pair of shorts, she will probably not be persuaded into them. So I started on the basis that she might find pink shorts more acceptable. 

This fabric is lovely. I used the same thing in blue for a number of outfits a couple of years back. On the post referenced, you'll see the dress and and matching knickers.                                                                                                                                                      

The flower pattern is overlaid on a pink gingham, and, as it happens, I also had some plain pink gingham. Once I'd made the shorts, there wasn't much of the flower pattern left, but I was able to make a matching top with sleeves of the remaining bits of flower material and the rest in plain pink gingham. 

So, let's start with the shorts. 

After my experiences with the Craft Passion pattern, I wanted something that had a more defined crutch line, to avoid the bagginess in the front that some other shorts seem to suffer from. (The Craft Passion one is not the only one.) I had had very good results from a couple of patterns in the past, but neither were quite right for this project. The two patterns are:

These had produced very nice shaped shorts, but the free pdf pattern is designed for a 2 year old.
Actually, these are not shorts but a full romper, but in a wide range of children's sizes. I have used the bottom part of the pattern, with the waistline raised, to make shorts in the past. I never quite raised the waistline enough, however. It is intended as a drop waist design.

So I made my own pattern for a (nearly) 4 year old, using the shaping of the Caila Made pattern and the sizing of the Purl Soho pattern. I added in a side pocket based on another pattern, as I thought maybe having side pockets would increase the appeal. Below, you can see that I have attached the front part of the pocket to the shorts front, and the back part of the pocket to the shorts back. I have now pinned front and back side seams together so I can sew down the side seam as far as the pocket, round the pocket, and down the rest of the side seam. You'll see I somehow miscalculated the length of front versus the back, but not a problem, I just trimmed the back a bit. However, note that with this design, the front waistline dips while the back waistline rises, and there is a strong curve for the crutchline, especially on the back, which is longer..

I folded and pressed the waistline (1/4" and 1") and the leg hems (1/2" and 1/2") before opening out the folds and stitching the inner leg seams. I then stitched up the leg hems. There is a piece comes off my sewing machine to make it easy to get small circular things like cuffs and legs on for stitching, but I could have coped without that.

Next, I put one leg (the right side out) inside the other leg (the wrong side out) so right sides were  facing, and stitched the crutch seam from front waist to back waist (or vice versa).

All that was left to do then was to sew down the waistband, apart from a couple of inches at the back, and thread 3/4" elastic through. Oh, and I included as usual a small tag of folded ribbon at the back waistline to mark it.

Now for the top.

For this, I used the Flutter Sleeve Top from Its Always Autumn, This pattern only comes in size 4, but that was just what I wanted! There are only two pattern pieces, the sleeve and the bodice. It's basically a peasant style top or dress, with an elasticated neckline, but with a pretty sleeve detail. To persuade Jane into her shorts, this top had to work very hard! (And indeed, her Mummy told her it was a 'dress top', or she would have demanded to wear a dress.)

I used the plain pink gingham I had for the body, and the little bits of the pink floral material from the shorts were just enough to make the sleeves.

Autumn used some 3/8" pom pom trim to make her version. I didn't have any to hand and didn't have time to get to the shops, but I did have some nice pink trim.

I used this to edge just the sleeves, which you can see in this photo below.

Well, overall, the shorts and top seem to have been a success - she did wear them for a day out! Let's hope she will wear them again.


  1. A lovely little outfit. It has inspired me to try making shorts. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Joy.

  2. A lovely little outfit. It has inspired me to try making shorts. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Joy.