Monday, July 28, 2014

Shorts on the Line! - KCW Finale Edition!

Or should that be "Shorts on the Line: Oliver + s Edition"? Or perhaps, "Shorts on the Line: Uncooperative Models Edition"? Or "Shorts on the Line: How to Get Your Sensy Kid to Wear Something Halfway Decent for a Wedding, You are Very Welcome Edition."

Whatever. I am so pleased be included in another Shorts on the Line, people! It's an awesome party where everyone makes ... wait for it ... shorts! Wahoo!

This year, I am dealing with a very specific challenge. Joe will only wear shorts these days, so that part is good. In the past couple years, Joe has gone through shorts-only phases, and pants-only phases. It's funny because these phases bear no relationship to season or weather. His pants-only phase lasted all of last year, and he wouldn't wear shorts no matter how hot it got. He waited until the dead of winter and then decided that it was time to switch to shorts. Okaaaaaay ...

Joe is also hyper sensitive to fabrics and comfort these days. Right now, he will only wear knit shorts. Preferably the athletic, baggy kind. There is nothing stylish about these. Other people's kids may enjoy dressing up in button-down shirts, bow-ties, skinny pants, and vests - Joe is apparently so hipster, he is anti-hipster.

It all makes perfect sense to Joe, I'm sure. 

The challenge is that we are going to my cousin's wedding in a couple of weeks, and while I am lax on dress codes and generally not willing to die on the clothing hill, so to speak, knit athletic shorts and a ratty old t-shirt seem a bit too casual for a wedding, even for me.

So I decided I would make him some nicer, less casual shorts. But still in knit, for comfort.

When I think of "polished shorts," the Oliver + s Sketchbook Shorts immediately come to mind. They have a British schoolboy look to them that makes them appropriate even for nicer occasions.

I have made so many pairs of Sketchbook shorts over the years, although not so much recently (because Joe wouldn't wear shorts at all for a while, and then he would only wear knit shorts). In fact, I had not yet broken out my copy of the larger size range. I decided to try them in size 5, in a very soft but stable deep green ponte knit. 

And then I made the Sketchbook Shirt, which I have never sewn before, in Cloud 9 Palos Verdes La Venta, just for good measure.

Sketchbook Shorts in knit ponte

This is Shorts on the Line, so first, let's talk about the shorts! In case anyone was wondering, these sew up GREAT in ponte, and they are, indeed, super comfortable. As comfortable as baggy knit athletic shorts, I reckon. But much more polished.

Sketchbook shorts and shirt

I assembled the pants on the serger, but since the pockets, hems, faux fly, and waistband are roomy and under no stress, I just used a long straight stitch for those. Ponte is a very stable (read: not very stretchy) knit, so I am not too worried about my stitches popping out. You can almost treat it as a woven, although I am glad I serged the inseams and crotch to allow for Joe levels of activity. For example, you want your pants to have a little give when the top edge of the couch is your favorite place to sit while Daddy assembles a kite.


Easy, breezy. I've always loved how fast the Sketchbook Shorts come together. It was one of the first Oliver + s patterns I ever tried back when Joe was a chubby toddler (the Sailboat pants were the first), and it has long been one of my favorites. At this point, I think I've said all that there is to be said about this fantastic and straightforward pattern, and now I know that it works in a knit fabric as well! Joe is set to dance his heart out at my cousin's wedding.

Can we talk about the shirt now? Even though it's not shorts?

You guys, I am so proud of this shirt.

Sketchbook shirt

How is it possible that this is the first Sketchbook Shirt I've made? I dunno. I guess I was a little intimidated by the details, and it seemed like a lot of work to put into something that my kid would put aside in favor of t-shirts and then quickly grow out of. And I'm gonna be honest. It is a lot of work, although the instructions walk you through the details with such care that it doesn't seem so daunting. And Joe probably will avoid wearing it unless he has to, and he will probably grow out of it pretty quickly.

But look at it!!! AHHHHHHHH.

Sketchbook shirt


Right??!! It is so nice. So nice. So here's a quick review, feel free to scroll down a bit if you'd like to skip straight to the photos of both of my kids refusing to pose for the camera.

Pattern: Oliver + s Sketchbook Shirt.

Fabric: Cloud 9 Palos Verdes La Vente, bought from Hawthorne Threads, which is actually a sponsor of Shorts on the Line! Joe helped me pick the fabric, which he likes because "green, blue, and orange are my favorite colors; actually all of the colors are my favorite, but blue and green are my most favorite; also I like triangles." I was so pleased at the very speedy delivery, and this fabric is so nice. So, so nice. I wondered more than once whether maybe I should have used it to make a top for me rather than my generally ungrateful child, because it must be like wearing butterfly wings.

First time? Yes!

Size: 5.

Modifications: Based on what I have heard about the length of the pattern, I added a couple inches to the body. I probably could have added a little more, actually, as it is still a hair short to my eyes. The sleeves are the perfect length, though. I also did a line of stitching on the one piece collar where the band/collar would ordinarily go, to help it roll back better.

The good: Um, so nice! Great instructions, classic shape, slightly easier than a full-fledged two-piece collar pattern. The fabric is heavenly to work with and the colors are perfect on my Joe. Joe was initially a bit on the fence about wearing a button-down shirt, but he seemed to forget about it after a few minutes (probably because it is like wearing butterfly wings) and I think he'll willingly wear this outfit to the wedding. I hope so, anyway!

The not-so-good: I will be honest, I don't really like the one piece collar. I appreciate the ease, but in the end, for all of that pains that I took with this shirt, I wish it had been two pieces. I think it would lie better. Perhaps I will draft a two piece collar next time.

Make again? Yes!! In the short sleeved version! Or maybe with some sleeve tabs? Like, today! HA! My only hesitation is that Joe's not likely to wear this very much. Maybe I should sew a button-down for Steve instead.

So yesterday I took both kids out to a local game shop that sells kites, and then to pizza in their new KCW/Shorts on the Line outfits, hoping to get some good photographs for the blog, but most of my shots ended up looking like this.

Sketchbook (with kite)


Unwilling model

Or my absolute favorite, this.

Unwilling models

Or this.

Unwilling models

Seriously? Seriously? The shorts are cute, but neither child would look at the camera.

Unwilling models

This was the best I could do.

Unwilling models

Oh well, my children were clearly not in the mood for a photo shoot, but we had fun buying a rainbow kite and eating pizza!

It wasn't windy enough to fly our new kite, unfortunately, so we came home. And then I crashed! I did a lot of sewing in the past seven days! Tired mama!

This post is part of the Shorts on the Line sewalong.  Shorts on the Line 2014 is sponsored by: Britex FabricsHawthorne Threadsmiss matatabi, and Soak Wash.  Hosted by imagine gnatssmall + friendly, and Kollabora.


  1. Wow, those are both beautiful. He'll be such a dashing wedding guest! My little brother went through a phase of a couple of years where he would only wear long sleeves, long pants, and a hat, no matter what the weather was. (We grew up in Dallas, so the weather was often not pants weather.) He never had a corresponding shorts phase, as far as I remember.

  2. Ha ha. They look like those dolls that if you tip them upside down maybe their eyes would open!
    The shorts in knit are great and yay for a sketchbook shirt. I completely understand how happy it makes you to sew such a lovely shirt. Well done.

  3. Both outfits are gorgeous! I had to laugh out loud at the staircase photo...excellent. The shirt looks very professional. Maybe you can make it stretch till Christmas- the green triangles COULD be Christmas trees...

  4. the pictures are cracking me up!! and the shorts are perfection. you won't be shocked to hear that Kahlin is also picky about how her clothes feel, so I can appreciate the extra effort. luckily, we can get away with dresses which she seems to be fine with as long as they're lined :) thanks for joining the shorts party! xo

  5. Oh how I love that outfit on Joe! He is looking so grownup, in a totally lovely-yet-heartbreaking way.

  6. I love all the clothes and the fabrics you used. Your kids are so cute. I have a sketchbook shirt cut out now. It will be my second. I am now wishing I ad cut it a little longer since my son is long in the torso. I always make him a bigger size but I should have added some length too. Oh well - next time. What did you mean by two piece collar? I think the only collars I have made must have been one piece though I thought it was two. I have made the sketchbook shirt before. Thanks!!!

  7. I adore these, so fancy! ;) What a clever use of material and pattern. And that shirt is perfection!

  8. Beautiful work. The clothes and the kiddos! I adore the fabric you used for Joe's shirt!

  9. So cute! I've never sewn with ponte before. Is it kind of like sweatshirt type knit? Or like french terry? It looks sturdy, which must be perfect for pants/shorts. Hope Joe gets lots of wear out of these!

  10. Inder, first you should definitely make a shirt for Steve! I just made one for Brian and I love seeing him wear it! The shorts are amazing and I am so glad Joe likes them! And it looks so great with the shirt--high five on that! Love it!

  11. That is one amazing outfit, Inder! I love the knit sketchbook shorts and that shirt is to die for!

  12. What an accomplishment, Inder! I love it! It looks so professional and modern! Also, Joe looks so dapper in it - and so grown up too! He is a handsome boy! Your kids are real cuties!

  13. So, Julia is going through a very similar phase - she currently won't wear underwear at all - only bike shorts. And, not all bike shorts either. There can't be any "itchy" seams whatsoever. I bought her about 10 dance leotards of varying sizes and she claims they all itch. She goes to dance class in bike shorts and a t-shirt and all her friends are wearing tutu's and leotards.

    Joe's outfit is so cool - I like his anti-hipster stance!!

  14. I just love everything about this outfit! Your son sounds so much like my boys, so I love that you made these out of ponte! And they look so polished! Wow! And I never would have thought to use that fabric for a boys shirt, but it is absolutely perfect!


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