Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sewing Project: Thurlow Shorts part 2--troubles

Is it blasphemous of me to say I don't like Sewaholic Patterns? Probably. It's especially unfair since this is the only one I've ever tried! I don't know how long it should take someone to make a pair of shorts (see my week of muslin fitting and flat pattern alterations here) but it took me two weeks to get these finished. I made approximately 1,354 mistakes along the way, but I hope that by sharing them, I can help someone else avoid the same swearing screaming hair pulling frustration!


First of all, if you haven't bookmarked Lauren at Lladybird's Thurlow tutorials, do it. Now. I'll wait. That leads me to my first issue, the pattern instructions will NOT teach you how to make a pair of pants. Okay, I guess that's not really the job of a pattern company. You'll probably need a book to help you with fit (I reviewed what I used here), or prior experience with pants will help, but don't expect the pattern instructions to do much for you. Lauren's tutorials are worlds better. The skimpy instructions put me off from wanting another Sewaholic anytime soon. If I buy another (and YES I love them all, okay?!) I'll do it knowing that I may need outside assistance if I need help.

Welt Pockets

In particular, the welt pockets were a challenge. I've never made them before, but I have read about them and watched videos online. None of that knowledge helped me make the Thurlow welt pockets, which are constructed differently than I've seen before. Here's a photo of the pattern piece:

In simple terms, the instructions tell you to sew the top welt piece on, between the red line and the dart. What?? Then you cut on the red line and flip the top and bottom welts to the inside.

What's supposed to happen here is that the ends of these two welt pieces are supposed to neatly butt up against one another. Did. Not. Happen. They totally overlapped. Honestly, I thought it was supposed to be that way until I studied Lauren's photos more closely. To me, it seems like the only way these will work properly is to sew on top of the dart. I've never heard of any such thing. Am I missing something??

Anyway, I ripped them all back out and had to sew them again (yes, both sides, I was working on them in tandem). It was difficult, since I had already cut my opening. Here's the finished result:

Notice anything wrong? left-hand welt ended up slanted. That was the first one I redid, so then I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to purposefully slant the second one! Haha. As you can see, I didn't.

If you still have your muslin sitting around, I recommend doing a practice run with the welt pockets on your muslin. In the future, I'm almost positive that I won't do the pockets this way again. IF I do a welt pocket at all, I'll use a different method.


Ohhhhh the waistband. It's a good thing that this was towards the end of the project, or I might have bundled up the whole thing and buried it in my closet behind my prom dress and my bag of old purses. I mentioned in my muslin fitting post that one waistband piece was too short.

This is my finished pair of pants (by the way, I sewed this incorrectly, so this part looks different than it's "supposed" to). I don't know how it ended up too short. Thank goodness I didn't need the full length of the waistband, otherwise...okay, fine, otherwise I would have had to cut another piece. But seriously, I can't be troubled to cut extra pieces! Oh wait...I did! The other awful bit is that this is my second waistband! I managed to cut my pieces, apply my interfacing, sew my waistband to my lining, understitch, and THEN notice that the pieces were backwards (but NOT notice that one was too short). I followed the cutting diagram! Ugh. I still haven't figured out how it happened. Thank goodness I had extra fabric and interfacing!

One last bit about the waistband. I think I used too small of a seam allowance when I attached it to my pants (to be honest, by that point I was SO over this project and just flying through it to get it DONE). For some reason, I didn't try on the pants until my waistband was all the way done, and then I noticed that the rise was sort of high. Higher than most other pants I own. If I had used the proper seam allowance, the rise would probably be fine. It's fine now, really, it's just higher than I'm used to.

I don't want to sound like this pattern totally bombed for me. It was just HARD. I've been sewing for a year now and had gotten a tad...smug? These shorts brought me back down to Earth. They're not perfect, they challenged me in more ways than one, but dang if I'm not happy with them! I'm wearing them now as I write this post, and they are comfortable, flattering, and fit well. I think they look as close to RTW as anything I've ever made. I KNOW that during round two, if/when that happens, the next pair will be improved greatly.

Next week: a short and sweet (maybe??) post of the completed shorts!

Ready for Thrift Thursday at Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop? Today only, the Lazy Days Romper is on sale for only $4! I may have to snatch that one up, I've had my eye on it for a while. Rompers are so cute and practical!


  1. Thanks for the honest review. I think a lot of people feel they can't criticise Sewaholic or other small pattern makers at all, but I think it's better that people don't pretend if there are problems and give others an unrealistic expectation. Especially for beginner levels. You did well with the shorts. They look good.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I'm torn, because the fit and style are great. It was just the instructions (and those welt pockets!) that bothered me. It's definitely an ambitious project for a beginner, so I hope I can help anyone else thinking of making this pattern.

  2. My daughter and I are working on these Thurlow shorts and I am already regeretting it. My daughter loves sewing and she made the comment, "I HATE working with Sewaholic patterns!" Very unfortunate that we didn't read your blog before committing to these, but this was the last of my daughter's Hart's gift certificates, and I imagine it's too late now to return...So I will go over your blog carefully and check out Lladybird's site as you recommended. Glad that you did 3 posts on these shorts!

    1. How funny, I got my pattern from Hart's as well! It's sad, because I love reading Tasia's blog and she seems very sweet, but I really had a hard time with this pattern. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help!


I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below.

Newsletter sign up