Flirty Fourties Seaside Shorts


1949 Simplicity

1949 Simplicity 2836

How cute are these??  Another pattern sourced on Etsy last month!   The pattern is a very tattered Simplicity 2836 dated inside to 1949.

Perfect turn-up shorts.

Perfect turn-up shorts.

I knew I wanted to make a pair of these cute shorts for Belle & was hoping her sister would love them too.  They’re nicely fitted on the natural waist and despite being lose at the hem, they’re not baggy.  They’re perfect!

Vintage Simplicity 2853 in striped linen

Vintage Simplicity 2836 in striped linen

I made a toile using the plain pattern (no turn-up).  It was so quick to make, the curved seams on the pockets look great and I’m tempted to highlight those in some way on the next make.  The pattern allows for a placket and poppers on the left side seam, but does have the “insert slide fastener according to manufacturer’s instructions” note as well.  This is good, because I think a row of poppers could be slightly dodgy on these shorts!  For Belle the waist was quite tight, this is unusual  because her waist measurement is exactly 25″, the right size for these shorts.  Anyhow, I graded the side seams only from the hip line up to the waist, going out 5mm at  the top on each side seam.  This meant lengthening the waistband too, but it did the job.  Belle’s hip measurement is usually a size up from her waist so I had wondered about needing to enlarge the whole thing, but the ease was enough to accomodate the larger measurement & I’m confident she can get away with them like they are.

DSC09530-1With no other adjustments needed, I was ready to cut!  I’d been given a linen tablecloth a couple of weeks ago to make the most fabulous 1930s sundress (which had a tablecloth on the envelope as suitable fabric!!).  Unfortunately there were a couple of markings that just wouldn’t come off which meant the dress wasn’t going to be made from that.  But I had a brainwave and tested out the pattern pieces for the shorts instead.  Bingo!!  The tablecloth is white with classic blue stripes along all four sides.  I positioned the pattern to take full advantage not only of the stripes but also the stable selvage edge to use as the hem.  I pinned all the stripes together so they had no chance of movement while I was cutting, placed the pocket pieces on the remaining non-marked white parts and cut the waistband on the paler blue stripe on the other side of the cloth.

seaside shortsAgain, the construction was pretty straight forward.  Pinning every stripe on the side seams to match made 100% sure those little blighters weren’t going anywhere (to be honest, the fabric helped – no slipping with linen!).  The pocket edges were topstitched in matching white – fancy stuff next time, to keep the look classic and crisp.  For the seam finishes I opted for the humble zig-zag.  This linen is tightly woven and gets bulky when doubled up.  I felt this was the best finish – apart from overlocking, & I was too hot & lazy to drag the overlocker outdoors!  I used an invisible zip in the left side seam, not worrying too much about keeping proper period details here as they are for Belle to keep.  She chose the sparkly blue button from my stash, not a vintage one!  The belt carriers were cut on the pale blue too and make good vertical breaks in the horizontal waistband.

Construction details

Construction details

Who knew an old tablecloth could look so good?


She loves these new shorts & I can’t wait to see them on the beach in Cornwall in a couple of weeks!  Of course, once she saw how fabulous they looked on Belle, her sister was convinced to try the toile too.  Again, the waist needs to be a little wider, only about 1cm this time, but the length in the crotch is too much, so I’ll shorten the shorts in the body and get started on another pair!  🙂  I’m glad they both like these shorts – now to convince them to have the clam digger length!

Beach ready!

Beach ready!

And just a few more photos, because I have them!  🙂


The “looking seriously into the distance” pose. Although I think she was watching the birds on the bird feeder.

And the "Does my bum look big in these?" pose.  :)

And the “Does my bum look big in these?” pose. 🙂

Now to find a suitable piece of fabric in the stash to make another pair for Belle’s sister.  Enjoy your weekend, hope the sun is shining as nicely as it is here.  🙂


8 responses to “Flirty Fourties Seaside Shorts

  1. Love the retro silhouette. So much nicer and classier than the silly trashy short shorts that everyone is wearing this side of the pond. And great use of a tablecloth! Do you have more planned?

    • Thank you! I definitely have more planned, need to find suitable fabric though. I know what you mean about the shorts, I had a conversation with a 20-something the other day saying she didn’t want her bum hanging out the bottom of her shorts.

  2. These are SO CUTE! I made some similar shorts out of a 1960s pattern, but they just don’t fit like I want. I’m thinking I may have to use a 40s pants pattern I have to create some shorts like this! They’re amazing, and the fit is just right!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s