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Sewing Process: Bermuda Shorts

Sewing Burda Style Magazine, 02/23, No. 129, Bermuda Shorts

Burda Style magazine opened with fitting muslin of shorts 123

Last week I took a film study course and was reminded that each frame begins as a blank slate-every little detail is meticulously chosen and created by the director to achieve an intended effect, which got me thinking. Sewing design and construction also begins with nothing and slowly, countless decisions are made that lead to a final (and hopefully fabulous) result. I've decided to give you a peek into my sewing process.

Now, full disclosure: there will be no fancy-schmancy photos or perfectly polished writing here, just a real-life account of my design and construction choices, problems I run into (and solve!), and of course, my fair share of mistakes (we're all human, right?). But don't let that fool you - I'm hoping these posts will be just as informative and helpful to you as if they were written by a professional (maybe even more so?). My aim is to give you a peek into the process of sewing and inspire you to make your own beautiful garments!


Picture this: you're strolling on the beach, sun on your skin, cocktail in your hand, and you're looking effortlessly stylish in your new bermuda shorts. Someone asks, "How'd you get such a classic look with a laid-back vibe?" "Easy!," you say, "I sewed it yourself with Burda Style Magazine's no. 129 pattern from the 02/23 issue." Projecting? Maybe, because that's definitely how I see my summer going. The front pleats, zip fly, and pockets make the shorts tailored enough for any occasion, while the generous leg width and elastic back waistband ensure all-day comfort. Who's up for sewing bermuda shorts with me?

Slub Linen Rayon Blend Fabric in color Rootbeer

Let me tell you, fabric selection was everything for this project. I needed a material that was both flowy and refined. Lucky for me, I had just the thing stashed away: a dreamy Slub Linen Rayon Blend Fabric in the delicious hue of "rootbeer". It's a rich, earthy brown with a subtle hint of red, the perfect match for all my Autumn colored pals. The blend of linen and rayon gives the fabric that effortless, free-spirited vibe I was after.

Find your best colors at Color Guru

I always make a test version of my sewing projects, using muslin, to ensure the final garment fits perfectly. After measuring the pattern, I knew the biggest size wasn't going to cut it, so I did some math to figure out how much extra circumference I needed. After dividing that amount by four, I added half an inch to each of the four side seams, and it worked out perfectly! I made a few small tweaks, like shortening the rise and leg, but overall I'm happy with the fit. Sorry, no muslin pics to show off!

topstitching samples

Before I started sewing I had to choose the thread color and topstitching details. Unfortunately, I didn't have the exact thread color match in my collection and was too impatient to wait until I had a chance to go out and get it (the new joys of moving to a small town). So I went with a darker brown shade that I had on hand. I tried out various topstitching styles, but I ultimately went with a single line of stitching-using two top threads set to 3.5 mm length. This gave a more defined look without having to struggle with my machine for a specified topstitching thread.

Using two top threads is a simple trick to try. All you have to do is thread your machine as usual, but hold two threads together as one. That's it! They'll both slide through the needle without any issues, and your machine will sew like normal.

shorts front pleat, slant pocket, understitching, and topstitching

When I sewed the front slash pockets, I wanted to make sure they looked great and stayed in place. To achieve this, I inserted stay tape into the pocket seam which prevented any gaping. I then understitched the seam and topstitched it for a nice, clean finish. This pattern also has a front stay attached to the pocket bag. To secure it in place, I zigzagged the edge of the pocket bag down along the front stay. You can see the zigzagged edge as well as the actual construction seam in the photo below.

inside front of shorts showing pocket bags and inner fly zipper

I was feeling rebellious and decided not to follow Burda's instructions for the fly zipper. Instead, I turned to my go-to tutorial from Sandra Betzina. But, now I'm facing a little issue. Can you spot it in this photo? I made a mistake by cutting into the seam to create the fly opening, and since my fabric is prone to fraying, I used Fray Block to keep it in check. All seemed well until the Fray Block dried and left some unsightly marks on my fabric. Yikes! Any suggestions on how to remove these stubborn marks?

See the finished garment! Read Part 2.

finished front panel of sewn shorts

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