A Review of The Iris Shorts PDF Pattern by Colette Patterns.
I've been on the search for a Pdf Pattern for a pair of woven shorts for a while now. There are plenty around but I had specific requirements:
side fastening - I find zips at the front add bulk to my belly
flat front - see above
pockets - at least big enough for phone and keys while walking the dog
no elastic - I've made plenty of the Emerson Pants by True Bias and they are lovely but I don't find the elastic at the back particularly flattering.
I eventually found the Iris Shorts by Colette Patterns and was drawn to the simple shape and side zip. Interestingly, the pockets are set into a front seam rather than a side seam which makes them a bit different. There is the option to add buttons to the pockets which I politely declined. The inseam is 4.5" (approx 11.45cm). I worried that this might be too short but actually its the perfect length for me.
Recommended fabric according to the pattern is:
... medium-weight such as stretch cotton twill, poplin, suiting, gabardine, pique, wool blends. For the pocket lining, choose a lightweight lining fabric such as batiste or silk crepe de chine ...
For my first try I chose to use some left over denim I have - it has a small amount of stretch and I found it lovely to work with and wear when I made my York Pinafore by Helen's Closet.
The instructions for the Iris Shorts are very clear and nicely ordered with clear diagrams. I liked the little extras such as hints how to customise with piping or fabric covered buttons. This pattern gives clear directions when to finish your raw edges which I really appreciated especially when you have pockets to negotiate. The outcome is a garment that looks as finished on the inside as the outside and which washes well.
The Iris Shorts pockets sew neatly in to the front seam and you can add a contrast lining for a fun feature but they are small. I can fit my phone and keys in them but not my hands comfortably and I don't have big hands. If you like to walk with your hands in your pockets you may want to resize them. I chose to add bar tacks to the top and bottom of the pocket openings as I felt that that could be an area of weakness. It looks like they have done this in the pattern photographs but it isn't mentioned in the instructions.
My invisible zipper sewed in beautifully and the method of sewing on the waistband gives a very tidy finish around the zip. However, I found that the thickness of my denim fabric at the junction where the waistband is sewn to the shorts made it impossible for the zip to run up the zippers smoothly. On reflection, I should have used the same fabric that I lined the pockets with for the inner waistband rather than the denim. I had to cut away a lot of the fabric leaving a very small seam allowance to reduce the bulk. As it turns out though, because of the stretch in the denim, I can pull the shorts on and off without undoing the zip!
I opted to topstitch the waistband of my denim shorts in a pink thread and chose to use this for the bar tacks around the pockets and hems. This makes my denim Iris Shorts a little less plain even if I'm probably the only person who will notice!
I was happy with the finished fit of my Denim Iris Shorts - the sizing appeared to work out perfectly for me. The waistband is lower than the style I would normally opt for but actually its very comfortable. However, after a few washes I feel that the denim version of my shorts look a bit baggy and ill-fitting now. I will still get plenty of wear out of them though.
For my second pair of Iris Shorts I chose to use some bright orange cotton with no stretch. They went together smoothy, like my first pair, and the zip was much less of a struggle with this thinner fabric. As well as bar tacking the pockets I ran a double line of topstitching around the waistband and topstitched the centre seam too. The fit of this pair feels a smidge tight and without the stretch the pockets feel even smaller than my first pair.
Overall, I'm not sure about this pattern. I do now have two pairs of wearable woven shorts but I'm not as in love with them as I wanted to be. I can't fault the actual pattern as the instructions were very clear and concise but I'm not sure how much this style suits me. Also, the pockets are just too small to be useful. Perhaps I will try another pair in the colder months in a wool like fabric - they may look nice paired with black tights and boots.