Hot! The “Questionable Inspiration” Shorts and Top

The Facts

Fabric: Knit cotton from Jo-Ann’s ~$10
Pattern: McCall’s 5553 ~$.25
Year: c. 1979
Notions: elastic for waist
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: July 2012
Wear again? Top, yes. Shorts, no (unless in bed)

Total Cost: ~$10.25


Now I don’t tend to give big life lessons here at The Sew Weekly. However, today, I’m breaking form and will give you all a lesson on preserving self-esteem:

NEVER EVER (I mean NEVER) utter the words “wouldn’t it be great if I channelled 1970s Bruce Jenner / Dorothy Hamill / Pete Rose for this week’s theme!?!”

Spoiler alert: this decision actually caused tears on the field of Berkeley High. In other words, my mascara did more running than I did. You can’t tell in these photos since I look so darn pleased and happy with myself. This was all before I decided to look at the photos. The combination of WAY WAY WAY too short shorts and my sad bowl cut hair-styling (a look I was actually going for!) was just too much for me to take and I quickly regretted my style inspirations.

There are so many media references that popped into my mind as I was making this get-up. For one, this most awesome quote from 30 Rock: “I was skating down the hallway, on top of the world, my new skates, a new haircut, which everyone thought was a Dorothy Hamill, but was actually a Pete Rose.” The second, far more disturbing John Ritter piece of trivia about how his short shorts were once too short and showed a little too much on an episode of Three’s Company. You can read more about that here, if you dare.

Regardless of how funny the concept might have been, I never want to be scene in public with anything that resembles a bowl cut. I recently cut my hair short (and dyed it back to brown) and I have to work hard to not have this happen.

And now, a little about sewing since this a sewing blog and all.

Oh, Marlo Thomas, you like your shorts short. I do have to say that I actually quite like how the shirt came out. Because I knew how short the shorts were going to be, I decided to make the tennis dress view. If I were to make the top again, I’d go with the shorter version. I try to avoid sewing with knits since I’m never good at hemming the bands. However, it all came together. That’s what happens when I make the effort to buy a ball-point needle and not rush through the sizing of bands and such.

I actually quite like the top and will wear them again. But those shorts? They make me sad.

Hey look! My hair is doing a little Bruce Jenner something!

Sad Mena is sad. Not shown, my running mascara.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. Hey, I think you look great in short shorts. I understand your feelings of low self esteem when you wear something that you are not used to, or changing your hair to an unfamiliar but bold style. Just remember, hair grows and clothing can be altered. No need for tears Miss Mena, you are beautiful and I love your choice of athletic apparel. P.S. my favorite quote from 30 Rock!

  2. Pretty cute retro look and your photos only tell the best story. They look like what they were meant for, running and sunning. I like how the yellow sleeves match the shorts.
    You could make a little skirt to go over the shorts, if you feel too self-conscious. But I bet they are comfy and cool enough to wear to places like the beach, running through the park, etc.
    For those hems and bindings when working with jersey or other stretch, it’s nice to use a serger. If you don’t have one, I recommend the Husqsvarna/Viking H/Class. It’s a dream!

  3. Aww. I think it is a super cute look, hair, shorts, top, the whole thing.

  4. This made me laugh. I actually think they look pretty good. :) But those photos do look pretty ’70s. :D

  5. Awwww :-( Poor Mena! But at least you got a really cute top out of it, and the shorts will be useful as pyjamas. I actually think you look cute in them, and you did, after all, achieve what you set out to do!

  6. Hey. Where’s that olympic spirit? You look awesome on the track. Yellow is great color for you.

  7. Mena..
    I really laughed , when I read your article..Too funny..
    I like the top ..It is super cute ..And looks comfortable.
    [like your new hair cut too]..
    You know what is funny.. We all wear shorts all the time,
    but I see you in the adorable dresses all time, and You just
    look like a dress.hahahaha

  8. Sorry you’re not feeling it in this outfit! :( It’s always so disheartening when you spend time and effort creating something only to find that the finished product is NOT what you wanted. I think that probably happens to me far more than it should!

    I actually think the outfit is awesome and I wish my legs looked like that in shorts! I have super muscley thighs that would just look terrible in short shorts. Which is unfortunate, as I have a holiday in Sri Lanka coming up!

    I hope next week’s creation leaves you feeling wonderful and confident!

  9. I think your outfit looks cute on you. I love the color. Yellow is one of my favorite colors, orange is the other one.

    But I can relate. Every time I make something for myself, I try it on and it feels sooo good. Then my daughter takes a picture of me. The image I have in my head of my body just doesn’t match the reality.

    Love the 70s.

  10. Are you kidding me? You look very cute in this outfit. And ofcourse you shouldn’t wear the shorts if they feel too short for you, but girl, you can rock those shorts. You are gorgeous!

    (And that pouty lip makes me want to give you a teddybear. Can’t help it. :))

    Love the yellow by the way. Very sunny and fun.

  11. The t-shirt is awesome! I love the 70’s vibe. The shorts could stand to be a bit longer, but with a pair of knee-high white running tube socks you could totally rock this look! And, I think your hair looks happy. :)

  12. Fun post Mena, great top and shorts even though they make you sad.

  13. I think I adore you even more for posting this piece. I really really do.