There has been something of a heat wave in Britain for the past month, with tabloid newspapers warning of mass death due to soaring temperatures on our small but densely populated isle. Luckily the mass death hasn't actually come to pass and, rather than festering corpses, the streets of London have instead been filled with flocks of brightly coloured living beings, at long last given the opportunity to wear their summer wardrobes on home soil.
When I turned to my summer wardrobe to get through the sweltering days, I realised it didn't actually exist. Summer usually lasts for a week in Britain and I tend to soldier through it in trousers and small tops. I decided to tackle this problem using a pattern that Susan from Sew Box kindly gave me when I bought the Hot Patterns 'Diamond Life Dress' from her last year.
It's really a pattern for a kimono style top, but has the intriguingly named 'shorty shorts' pattern as an added bonus. How short, exactly, are 'shorty shorts' I wondered? I have noticed the quantity of fabric used in shorts seems to lessen by the year. Some shorts I spotted on the streets of London this year would more accurately be called knickers, I thought.
I cut the pattern at size 8 but I left the length at the size 14 mark, as I was afraid they might be a little too short(y). I also changed the shape at the bottom edge of the main pattern pieces, adding a flare so that I could hem the bottoms without pinching them.
The shorts do look a fairly respectable length when I'm standing upright.
I'm wearing them with a top I made using some irresistibly strange fabric I got in Walthamstow. It features pineapples, lettuce and something that looks a bit like a four leaf clover. I drew roughly round a top I already own to make this, adding a little dart on each side to create a bit of shape at the bust.
The print was frustratingly uneven, and no matter what I did I couldn't make the pineapples match at the shoulder seam. Still, wouldn't life be so much more dull if our purple pineapples were even?
I felt this top was exotic enough to wear to the By Hand London 1st birthday party, which was an exotic back garden barbecue, documented here by Karen from Did You Make That? Check out those beautiful homemade dresses!
This bum shot was taken as I tried to scrape pigeon poo from my garden steps with a brick. Though a bit of an unromantic 'blooper,' it does show the zip positioning nicely as well as my not-so-pro VPL.
I crashed a sociology conference at a friend's university wearing these shorts, and we did have a bit of discussion about appropriate shortness of shorts. I must say, mine felt appropriate on my way to the conference at about 14.00hrs, but less so travelling back across London in the cooler temperatures of the early evening.
I decided to use the same pattern to make a more modest pair of shorts. I just added a few centimetres at the bottom of my pattern pieces. The great thing about sewing shorts is that they are a super-quick make thanks to their smallness.
This fabric is also from Walthamstow. I don't have any making pictures as I was eager to sew them. I have pretty much been wearing them none stop since they were born as they are so comfortable.
Here they are on a frisbee and swimming trip to Hampstead Heath. For anyone thinking of going swimming in the outdoor ponds in Hampstead, I don't recommend going on an extremely hot Sunday. Oversubscribed is an understatement!
Product placement here is courtesy of the volunteer-run community shop in East Harptree, the village where I grew up!
We walked back to east London from Hampstead and discovered some pretty cool sights on the way, including this elegant Kew Gardens-esque walkway over a train track in a council estate somewhere near King's Cross...
... and some beautiful flowers basking in the sun in the middle of an industrial wasteland.
Here's to more none-life threatening heat and more teeny tiny piece of homemade clothing : )