Boldly going where we’ve gone before



It’s déjà vu in blue, dear readers.

I’ve been loving my Tigerlily Mk II shorts so much, that it made sense to try and squeeze another out of the leftover fabric… I made these inbetween starting and finishing my Blue Belladone robe, so you may recognise that dastardly rogue silk chiffon trim?


Keeping in line with my stash and scrap busting, I managed to squeeze some more pocket bags out of my leftover white cotton voile – awesome.

I did do a few things differently this time though… I whacked some white grosgrain ribbon into the waistband to provide a bit more stability, I sewed the button holes BEFORE sewing the waistband onto the shorts (great because the lack of bulk made for beautiful buttonholes), and I eliminated the ties at the leg for a band for a more streamlined look.  I also changed the orientation of the waistband a bit… but that wasn’t actually planned, I just wasn’t thinking when I started sewing. That’s always a bad sign. I think I prefer the waistband on the original pair.

IMG_5085 IMG_5092


You can read all about my first pair of Tigerlily shorts here. It’s a text light post today so I can maximise my time in the sewing room… so many ideas, so little time. So – if you’ll excuse me!

The Stats:
00:00  Pattern Preparation
00:00  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
01:40  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing etc)
05:35  Sewing
07:15  hours

Fabric Utilisation = 1.2m 
Stash total now = 95.0m (Goal = 50m)

red shorts avatar

Tigerlily Shorts


Summer has hit with a vengeance. I took these photos on Saturday morning – and I don’t think the temp dipped below mid 30’s (90 F) at my house all friday night. Hot Hot Hot! So it’s definitely time for some more summer sewing. I’ve had a pair of Tigerlily shorts on summer wardrobe rotation for the last 5 years – I loved them that much. And if I recall correctly, I originally bought them on eBay for $5 – quite possibly the best wear value for money a garment’s ever had in my wardrobe. Problem is, when I bought them I was about 16, maybe 17 kilo’s (that’s 37 pounds for the American’s here) heavier than I am now (long story), and I’d been getting around in them ever since with a safety pin cinching in the waistband. 

Sheepish? Just a tad.


So I was beyond stoked when at the Melbourne Sewists Meetup back in August, I came across a fabric almost identical to that from which the Tigerlily shorts were made – a gorgeously thick, textured and thickly woven white cotton. I would show you a picture of the originals, but something exploded in my suitcase when visiting the fam up north and my beloved shorts took the fallout. (That something was a delicious curry made from scratch by me, so there was never any hope. As a result, they are not deemed fit for public visual consumption. I have no idea what posessed me to put curry in my carryon, of all things.)

I took to the originals with my seam ripper, traced out the pieces to make a toile and ‘re-fitted’ them, adjusted my newly traced pattern then got to work sewing these up! About a third of the way through sewing them, I realised that fabric I bought was actually a stretch woven. I’m a little embarassed it took me that long to realise! It caused some headaches, as well as the stretched out look on the waistband due to having to pull the bulk through my machine. Sigh.





I recycled the buttons and zipper from the original pair (both untouched by curry), and used some leftover fabric from my Technicolour Dream Skirt to make bias binding for the trim (on the originals the trim was blue and yellow) and found some white cotton voile from the scrap stash for the pocket bags. I’m still gutted I didn’t buy more of that digitally printed cotton… But I’m pleased this is yet another creation that only required a thread purchase to make – a win for the fabric stash!

With all the gathers at the pockets and the cutouts at the sides, the front pattern piece did look a little awkward when flattened out, but the pocket bags were ungathered and so acted as the template for how much gathering was required. 


Interestingly, the waistband was cut on the straight (a low-wastage commercial cutting ‘strategy’) then shaped with a dart at the centreback, made to look as though it was a part of the flat felled centreback seam. There was two fake single welt pockets at the back which I copied also – I decided to keep the fake factor as A) I never used those pockets anyway and B) they’ll never sag this way. I also loved how the pocket bags stretch across and connect at the fly – this stops the pocket bag from peeping out.

Speaking of fly’s, I’m getting more confident with them now – this was the first time I didn’t sew the whole thing together by accident at least once – woohoo!

Looks like I’m set for the next 5 summers. Now I have a hankering for curry…

The Stats:
02:25  Pattern Preparation (seam-ripping/tracing)
05:40  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
01:40  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing etc)
05:35  Sewing
15:20  hours

Fabric Utilisation = 1.2m 
Stash total now = 81.4m (Goal = 50m)


Pattern Runway’s Sweet Shorts

Isla Bartolome, Galapagos Islands

I came across these shorts from the little independant pattern maker Pattern Runway a while ago (I’m a certified Etsy-a-holic). Gorgeous, huh? And a fellow Aussie to boot! I made them up specifically to wear whilst we were visiting the Galapagos Islands. 

Getting amorous with a Frigate Bird that hitched a ride on our boat
The second I put them on my immediate thought was “ah, so that’s why she named them the sweet shorts!” They’re gorgeous! I’ll admit that I had my doubts when I bought this pattern – I thought it might be a case of they look lovely but could be a tad ridiculous on me in real life. How wrong I was. The second thought that came unbidden to me was “Hmmm, I wonder what they’d look like as pants…?”


Usually I’m quite precious with clothing I’ve made – in my mind it’s always more delicate than RTW stuff! But I’m sure that’s mostly just a mindset because these shorts have been hiked in, afternoon-siesta-ed in, sweated in (oh, the insane humidity!), exposed to copious amounts of UV and zinc sunscreen, drenched in a torrential rain downpour and basically worn for 3 or 4 days straight. And they’re still alive! (the welt pockets suffered a bit after being rained on though).

Single Welt Pocket 1
Single welt-pocket mere moments after completion

I used a pale blue japanese cotton with a printed white polka dot pattern, called ‘Sky Yuki Small’ from Tessuti. I wanted a bit of contrast too though – so used some of the leftover stretch yellow from my Caramel Slice Marfy to make some piping for the man-style pocket edges. I love the two fabrics together! 

Single welt pocket slightly saggy post torrential downpour, and contrast pocket piping!

I’m still in shock that these shorts fit so well straight out of the packet in the areas that pants haven’t fit me well in the past. No bunching or smiling at the front crotch, it hugs your backside, the pockets make it so sitting in them is comfy and not-restrictive too! The fit is quite snug across your waist and hips, with a nice amount of leg room for ease of movement.


The pattern has the front legs with an inverted ‘V’ shape and the length of the back legs are slightly longer in length. I particularly love the man-style pockets; it also has a side zipper, a waistband that sits at the waist and single welt pockets at the back. I wasn’t overly happy with the instructions for how to complete the single welts – so after a bit of research and trial-and-error, I did it my own way (you can see this here) which involved using one less piece than Pattern Runway would have you use.

I made two small changes – I reduced the amount of fabric at the back leg by taking out a dart to get a slightly closer fit around my thighs, and pinched out a bit of a gape underneath the front waistband by reducing the height of the front rise slightly.


In addition to the instructions – I applied interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric along the scallop front and the hem at the back – this makes the edge crisp and also allowed me to effectively ‘blind hem’ the facing (or in normal cases – the hem) to the fabric. The japanese cotton is tightly woven so I didn’t want any puckers from errant hand stitches showing though. The interfacing takes care of this nicely.
a Sally Lightfoot Crab


The Galapagos Islands have been an incredible place to visit – the wildlife is plentiful and the animals aren’t afraid to get a closer look at you! I had a white-tipped reef shark swim about 1.5m away from me whilst snorkeling – it swam away completely disinterested before I had the chance to comprehend the situation! For those of you who aren’t familiar with their importance – these islands are the reason d’être for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Over many, many years – species of plant and animal have immigrated to the galapagos, most probably carried by the tides, or seeds which have been eaten by birds and pooped out on these islands. But because it is geographically isolated, over time the species of flora and fauna have evolved differently (to suit their living environment) to their cousins on the mainland.

A sea lion nursing her pup

It’s also a pretty amazing place from a geologist’s perspective – there’s heaps of volcanic activity! We walked over cooled lava/magma flows that were just 200 years old!

Mr poppykettle being cheeky with a bit of Volcanic Rock
(it doesn’t actually weigh much at all)

One last word on the shorts – what I really loved about this PDF pattern, is that the printed out pages have grid lines on them – which makes it a hell of a lot easier to match, rather than single match points. I’ve found that in the past the more pages you have to stick together, the more likely that after a few pages, they don’t match perfectly. The grid pretty much took care of that :) Thanks Pattern Runway!

PR Sweet Shorts 1

Ok, So I’m most likely extremely late to the party on this – so I’m assuming  everyone seen the new Colette Patterns? LOVE! I’m so buying the Iris shorts the second I get back home. It kills me to think I still have to spend another 6 or so weeks apart from my sewing machine… then I remember I’m on holidays, and it ain’t so bad :P
Colette’s Iris shorts, via