Wool shorts are kind of a crazy garment for summer, but I’ve wanted to make the Knockout Knickers from Diana Rupp’s Sew Everything Workshop since I bought the book in 2007. 9 years is too long to make something people. Too long.
As it happened, I had a really nice piece of a wool/cotton/silk blend woven that I bought from Elliott Berman a few years back before I did my color palette work. I don’t wear gray for the same reason I don’t wear black. It makes me look jaundiced, and I generally hate it. I tried to sell the fabric some time ago on Pattern Review, and the fish were not biting. So you know how it goes. Not perfect fabric goes to the bottom of the stash and ages a while before you decide to determine its fate again.
I never could get over the quality of this fabric. It has the smoothest hand of any wool I’ve seen; this kind of smoothness you only find in the really pricey wools that are really worth every single penny. This one also has a really pretty drape to it. Patrick would call it “bouncy”, and as I was sewing it, that’s the only word I could come up with for it too. Sometimes I forget how nice wool is to sew. And this fabric was a good first garment to display my new labels that I got from Wunderlabel.
When I came across this pattern again for the upteenmillionth time I’ve considered it, a wool was the only thing that made sense. It’s a tailored style, and what tailors better than wool? In theory I like the idea of wool shorts with boots. For not being a horse girl, I really like equestrian kinds of looks. The clean streamlined tailoring works well on my short frame much more so than big voluminous styles which tend to look a little silly and out of proportion. The length of these particular wool shorts is definitely more practical for fall. With them hitting right below my knee, I might not have to don tights underneath them in fall, when I’ll pull out my boots again.
The pattern’s legs are a bit wider than I like or prefer wearing, so I narrowed them. Now they’re basically the width of the legs in my favorite Ottobre skinny jeans. I also changed the crotch length so that it’s consistent with my other pants that fit me as I like.
The vents and the buttoned cuffs are such a fun feature. I used some vintage buttons that I had leftover from my wool coat. The contrast of the buttons on the grey is nice, but I chose them with the idea that I might dye the shorts at some point. I still have some scraps to play with, and overdyeing it with a dusty aqua blue sort of combo might yield the grey into a better color for me. Working with dye is always a risk though.
I’ll wear these a while before I think about making them again. I have a beautiful piece of peach brocade that would make some nice fancy pants, but my weight is still in flux post baby. It could be that these pants will be too big by the time next summer comes around. Definitely as I wear them post laundering for a few days, the waistband relaxes considerably. Somehow I think that peach brocade fancy pants should have a tailored, not loosey goosey look to them. I would also want to make these in a stretch woven before I cut into the brocade which does have a little stretch to it. The wool has no stretch. The jury is still out on if I make these again.
As for these pants, I’ll be wearing them into fall and even now in the heat. The cotton and silk mixed into this fabric actually make it breathable and not too hot to wear. The other fibers also cut down on wool’s natural scratchy factor, so I was able to get away with not lining these. Win for the ease and a fast sew!
My pattern review is here!
Have you ever thrown caution to the wind and sewn up fabric that isn’t 100% right for you just because it was lovely fabric? Did you alter it with dye or sew it for someone else?