Hot! ‘The Mad, Bad, & Dangerously Green’ Shorts

The Facts:

Fabric: Echino by Kokka ‘Bon Bon’ cotton linen blend.
Pattern: 1970s McCall’s 4687 pants with LOTS of alterations.  Basically I altered everything.
Year: 2012 does 1950 with a 1970s pattern.
Notions: Invisible zip, 3 hooks and eyes, white cotton cording, yellow bias binding.
Time to complete: 3 hours (+ the half an hour to go to my local sewing shop to get a zipper which didn’t actually match after all)
First worn: For this photo shoot, and lots of prancing around the house saying “OMG, I love it!”
Wear again? Yes!  I love these shorts!  I’m taking them with me to OZ in April and home to Hawaii in June.
Total price: Erm.  Somewhere around NZ$45 (US$35ish).  I bought this fabric as a holiday splurge in Australia, and spend more on it than I have spent on any other fabric, ever.  And since my stash is 80% silk, that says a lot.

The Mad:  Have you seen the print?  I can’t believe I have grass green and mustard and vermillion and aqua and mint and white shorts covered with bright spots and birds.  I’m usually pretty restrained in my fabric and clothes.  And, despite all this, I like them.  Actually, I love them!  (Have I mentioned that before?)

The Bad: OK, so the fabric was ridiculously expensive.  Very, very naughty of me.

The other bad is that my camera croaked taking photos of the construction (just before I was about to go do a photoshoot on the perfect late summer day!), so I had to run around, research a new camera, fork out for a new camera, and then the weather crapped in, and I had to wait a day and a half for more good weather!  And the weather wasn’t that good after all – despite the sun, there was a cold wind blowing, and Mr D was wearing a wool coat and jeans and complaining about how cold he was, while shooting me, in this:

And the Dangerously Green should be self explanatory ;-)

I saw this fabric, along with the fabric I used in my “Love at First Flight” Dress while in Australia, and I had to have it.  But what on earth could I make with bright grass green birdie and spottie fabric?  How about the least likely thing possible: shorts?

I don’t have any short shorts that I like.  I haven’t worn short shorts since I left Hawaii for university.  Time to remedy that!

I looked around for inspiration, and found a bunch of images of early 1950s shorts.  I liked the clean styling, the high waistbands that flattered the waist and showed off the hips, and the clever little details, like waistbands with split fronts and cord ties.  So cute!

My inspiration: shorts from the 1950 Sears Catalogue

That’s what I wanted.  So I rummaged around in my patterns, found McCall’s 4687, a 1970s pattern with a basic pants patterns, altered it for shorts, altered the waistband for the split front, and there I was!

You’d hardly know that I started with this pattern:

McCall's 4687

And ended up with these:

The shorts went together really quickly, even though I altered every single seam.

I finished the inside with a combination of French seams, fold and sew seams, & yellow bias binding.

The inside of these shorts makes me soooo happy!

So does the outside!

Sewing win all around!  Green is definitely a lucky colour!


Leimomi Oakes - The Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes learned to sew as a child in Hawaii, and hasn't spent a day without doing it in the-more-years-than-she-would-like-to-admit-to since. When she was 18 she was nicknamed 'The Dreamstress' and bought the domain name, and now she's stuck with it. After getting degrees in Art History, Costume Design and International Relations she worked in a number of fabulous museums before going freelance as a textile and fashion historian and historical seamstress. She lives in Wellington New Zealand with a lovely husband and a world-famous cat.


Comments are closed.

  1. Those shorts are amazingly cute! I think that your fabric choice and the vintage style that you were able to create using the seventies pattern and the old Sears picture reflects your creativity and vision. I’m so impressed!

  2. I love these!! That fabric is adorable! (I may need to find some!) Great job reworking the pattern.

  3. That is a really attractive fit!

  4. I love these!!! I love how you altered the pattern and your pictures came out great!

  5. I don’t wear shorts, but if I had shorts like these, I totally would! I’m *green* with envy!

  6. I love the fabric with your pattern! I have some in my stash, but in another colorway – the pink/brown/tan version. Are you pleased with your alterations? The end result looks great!

    • Oh, I loved all the other colourways, and wanted them too, but just couldn’t justify it! What are you going to make with yours?

      I’m tickled pink about my alterations. The only thing I don’t like about these shorts is that I don’t have enough tops to wear them with, and enough excuses to wear them! I’m wearing them again today.

      • I’m wearing my Clovers again today too! I only have about 1 meter of it, and originally I though about using it with a panel or gore skirt. But, now you’ve got me thinking about shorts. I do have a pattern for some sailor-y type shorts. Hmm. We shall see… In the meantime, I’ll admire your use of that lovely fabric!

  7. These are wicked!! So cute, great job altering the pattern!

  8. How awesome that you took a risk and ended up loving it! Fantastic shorts and so cleverly made.

  9. The shorts are adorable and I love that fabric! Great fit too!

  10. Wow they look great! Love your pose in the first pic – you might make me reconsider shorts!

  11. Very very cute. So summery and happy!!! Great job.

    So…. Are these flared or tapered? ;)

  12. Don’t you just love shorts weather. The sun is out and it feels great to be out doors. Love the alteration.

  13. Looking great! What inspired, flattering, well-made shorts.

  14. Lovely shorts, and great photos. I love the inspiration too. Great fit. Where abouts in Aus are you going – might be a bit chilly for Melbourne in April!

  15. Oh I love these, you did a magic job, and your photos look fabulous.

  16. Lucky Green! They are gorgeous!

  17. I love your shorts. The cut is very flattering and the pattern so cute with the little birds.

  18. These are just fantastic! I love that fabric – indeed, how could you resist? And those are perfect shorts – fabulous for traveling, and even better for the beaches of Hawaii!!! Love them so much!

  19. Eeek I love your shorts! The fabric, length, cord belt, everything is wearable and something I would def wear. Loving your photos too!