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)



  1. Totally impressed!! How did you get the waistband looking so professional ie no bulk in the seams. This is something I'm trying to eliminate – bulk. Love your shorts. The curry – I probably would have done the same – sounds like the curry was too good to leave behind. Also love a good curry!!

  2. How did you know? There is – I have enough fabric left over for another pair – but with a different colour trim, methinks. Easier to mix'n'match the wardrobe that way!

  3. Hi Evelyn – thanks! I did trim back the seam allowances, but unevenly so they finish at a different level. Otherwise, take your clapper (I used a mallet) and beat it out – actually makes quite a different. Oh, and plenty of pressing too!! The curry WAS pretty yum :)

  4. Seriously gorgeous. The gathering details and cutout look so good. I wish I could wear shorts- I would be begging you for the pattern if I did. And the finish is so well done. An all round 'wow' real from me. (plus I used be 18kg heavier too preblog days so well done on that front as well)

  5. These are great-so well made! I've had a pattern traced off from my fav. pair of shorts for over a year now-never found the right denim to sew 'em up with – they're made from a super light summer denim and have really broken in through the years.. *sigh* maybe I should just make 'em up in cotton twill or something.

  6. These look amazing! The cutout detail is really nice. (And I empathize on the curry explosion, I'm always optimistically mixing food with clothes in my bag… with mixed results!)

  7. They're a very impressive pair of shorts – the tie detail on the side and the touch of colour on the pockets really kick them up a notch. They'll be perfect for all this heat we're having at the moment.

  8. curry in your suitcase? oh jeeze… that stuff stains everything it touches! but hey, you got a new pair of great fitting shorts out of the deal so i guess it's a win! these are so cute! i love all the gathered details.

  9. That is so cool! I always admire your skills. And I definitely laughed about your curry comments.. Note to self… no curry in carry-on. Got it, lol!

  10. Your shorts are fab!!! Glad I read this blog too. I think I like the fake welt pockets better. Its easier too!! I'm going for this idea for sure. Thanks for this tute!

  11. Thanks Liza, but I'd have to say they look a lot more complicated than they really are. And when you take something apart so they're all flat, it's pretty easy :P

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