Many of us on the Yahoo Sew for Kids group have been discussing patterns and ideas for the girls since April is their month. Dresses are at the top of the list for those that are sewing and some are making the plus sizes as those girls usually don’t find anything that fits them when the monthly NAHA trucks come in. We have members from the organization “Dress A Girl Around the World” joining us on this project. Member Carol BJ will be telling us about that charity in a future blog and sharing their patterns and sewing tips. However, today I want to talk about making shorts for summer.
Making shorts may not seem like a very exciting project to sew but you can make it more interesting by choosing character prints for younger children and solid colors, stripes, plaids, etc. for older kids and adding embellishments such as ric rac, piping, appliques, etc. Most kids like to have pockets in their shorts by age 3 so they have somewhere to put their “stuff”. A lot of patterns have side pockets, if yours doesn’t directions are on the web for adding your own or why not add patch pockets, they’re easy and a good way to use contrasting fabric to customize your project.
I tend to make shorts longer for younger kids, they play a lot outside and scrape up their knees so the extra length gives them a little more protection and most boys now prefer the longer “board” shorts. In fact for my grandkids I make them more like capris to protect knees and skin from the hot CA sun. It’s hot in SD as well and sunscreen isn’t something you can purchase with food stamps so kids don’t wear it. Check your stash before buying new and if you’re short on fabric (no pun intended) color block your shorts, use coordinating fabrics to make pockets or make each leg different, add cuffs, etc. I’ve promised my husband (fingers crossed!) that I’ll try to whittle down my stash before adding more fabric but I can always justify buying more because kids wear out their shorts over the summer so I know I’ll be making more next year.
Fabrics I choose for shorts are cotton wovens or knits as they’re cooler to wear, blends are good too but aren’t as cool as pure cotton. A sturdier fabric is important as kid’s clothing takes a beating as they explore their environment, especially the older kids. Many kids on the Rez wear cut off’s for shorts (last year’s school jeans) and while they wear well can be hot in the summer unless they’re full of holes which is the current fashion statement. The more holes in your jeans the better and seems department stores charge more money the holier they get! Ironing isn’t important on or off the Rez, just ask my son and daughter, and most of the younger generation don’t even own an iron, borrowing one only if absolutely necessary . Wrinkles are in with this generation. Laundry on the Rez can be a problem but with the hot sun of SD clothing dries fast, so if they have access to water and a little laundry soap (again not payable with food stamps), they can quickly rinse their item out and hang it out to dry, ready to wear the next day.
My ideal pattern for shorts is one with an elastic waist and side or patch pockets. These are easy to sew and can be mass produced once you get into a rhythm. Many patterns have a fly but most of the younger boys don’t use one and researching the web and the males in my family has convinced me they aren’t used at any age so why go to that extra work. Some patterns have a false fly which is much easier to sew, zippers and applied waistbands with buttons take too much time and I wouldn’t even consider them for play shorts. Use the standard measurements on the charts shown here for elastic length since we don’t have the actual kids to measure, and add an inch for overlap. I use a lot of elastic (non-roll usually) and buy it by the roll when it’s on sale. Remember to sew down the center front and back of your waistband to prevent rolling and add a size tag if you can.
There are plenty of free patterns on the web and don’t forget to check out my own Pinterest page , our SFK site and our pattern page. Commercial patterns go on sale regularly at your favorite craft/fabric store and can be had for 99 cents. You can also make a pattern from a pair of kids premade shorts, directions are everywhere online. Since we’re all interested in saving Mother Earth, refashion/upcycling items is encouraged as long as the finished product meets our donation requirements. Garage sales are starting up across the country so time to head out and look for bargains, shop your kids closet for outgrown clothing or check out your favorite thrift store for good buys.
We’re making shorts in various kid’s sizes including plus sizes. Lightweight knit shorts are needed for the younger girls (tomboys) to wear under their skirts and dresses. Whatever size you make Jerome and Theresa will find a child to fit them. We’ll be discussing tops to go along with our shorts in future blogs. Please share photos of your projects, patterns you use and ideas for inspiration and thanks to all for your continued support. Please send your donations to the High Horses here.
Some short patterns to copy if you have a printer or have a pair of shorts to copy
Some top patterns