Getting Sporty

Ok I know I know I know it's November. And you don't need shorts in November. But back in August as I was sweating my ass off on an 11-mile hike I realized that I really did need shorts. How did I not have a pair of shorts? Or at least a pair of active-wear shorts to hike in. Luckily I was able to make these up in time to get a few wears in before the weather turned cold. And then I made a few other outdoor essentials to go with them. 

Pattern: Closet Case Files Pietra Shorts and Pants
Fabric: Robert Kaufman stretch suiting and other remnants
Cost: free from remnants

Pattern: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee
Fabric: cotton knit
Cost: gift from my mom

Pattern: Style Arc Baseball Cap  
Fabric: upholstery-weight cotton
Cost: $20

Let's start with the shorts. These are made using the new Pietra Shorts and Pants pattern from Closet Case Files. However, you'll notice that these are a lot narrower than the pattern shorts. As I wanted something no-frills for hiking, I cut mine from the narrower pants pattern rather than the wider shorts pieces. It was a bit of a process to calculate given the unique pocket construction and my limited fabric, but I got there in the end - even if the side is pieced together.

To allow for maximum movement, I used remnants I had on hand of Robert Kaufman's stretch suiting. I just love the drape and stretch on this fabric - so comfy! This is probably the fourth time I've sewn with it and it's great for pants. However, as you can see I didn't quite have enough, so the pocket insert is made from an upholstery-weight remnant I had on hand. While I thought about trying to use a matching fabric, in the end I like that the subtle variation in texture between the two pieces. Together, the fabrics feel really sturdy for hiking and allow lots of movement.

Another reason that I wanted to make these shorts was to test out the fit of the Pietra Pants. From this sample, I quite liked the fit and could see myself making the full length version. As a pear-shape, however, I knew I couldn't do my usual grading between sizes as the pull-on style wouldn't fit over my hips. Instead, I cut the largest size according to my measurements and cut the elastic shorter to get it to fit at the waist. This works well for these shorts, although there is a lot of gathering back there. 

In this photo I'm also wearing one of my Tessuti Mandy Boat Tees, which is an absolute staple in my wardrobe. It is as easy to wear as a regular knit t-shirt, but somehow feels more interesting. I find I can wear it to work and on the weekends with ease. My mom spotted it and so I recently traced off a copy of the pattern to send to her as well. The pattern is free on the Tessuti site. The fabric was a gift from her and is a lovely heathered texture with little blue flecks in it. It's not super stretchy but works well for this pattern. 

Finally, I made a baseball hat. Why? Honestly, I'm not really sure. Somehow I got it in my head that I wanted to make one after seeing a cool cap my friend was wearing and just couldn't let the idea go. I liked the idea of having a more fitted one than the typical baseball cap and being able to use whatever fabric I wanted. Style Arc makes a Baseball Cap pattern and you can get a 10-pack of brims for $5 online.

Of course, sewing one was not as easy as I imagined. Aside from printing the pattern at the wrong scale, there are lots of fiddly bits and I have a small head so there was actually some fitting to do. We'll call this version a wearable muslin. I think I have the process figured out a bit more now though and will give it another go. Just imagine the fabric possibilities!

 Here are some more detailed shots of cap. The hat is topped with a button from the stash and the inside is lightly interfaced. The seams are hidden with bias tape in the style that my friend's hat was, although the Style Arc pattern recommends fulling lining it. Using the store-bought brim was especially fiddly. I think a zipper foot was involved.

You can see some rippling at the brim and my husband says it's a little off-balance, but I'm excited to try again next time.

It turns out, hats aren't just good for sunny days but for all manner of bad hair days, so this one might last me through the California winter as well. Anyone else making unseasonable clothes out there??


  1. those shorts are cute, and I agree with you, a bit too much gathering in the back. I'm playing around with modifications, putting darts in the back, a zipper and then just small sections of elastic.

  2. As a Minnesotan (I saw you mentioned you were in Mpls!), I pretty much skipped fall sewing :-/ meh! I do get the bug for lighter (in color and weight) tops come March (when there's still 6 ish weeks of cold weather left) and tend to just go for it.

    I've sewn 1 hat and it was sort of a driving cap style and it was SO fiddly! I can't imagine a hat with a brim!! You did a great job! And I really love that tee!

  3. All looks good from over here in the 'bushfire' induction to our summer. Shorts and T however with a wide brim hat. Thank you for the inspiration. Sam the Aussie


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