Monday, June 16, 2014

Miss Vera Taps Her Way Into our Hearts: K&L Tap Shorts

Good afternoon, kittens! Today, I'm back with an unusual garment for Chez Fancy. These are the brand new Tap Shorts from  Katy&Laney

That's right. I, Queen Swishy Dress, made shorts. What's more, I love them. Clutch your pearls, dear readers, for pigs may start hiring themselves out as passenger jets. 

When Katy and Laney approached the Curvy Sewing Collective about pattern testing, I was cautiously excited. As someone who went my teen and college years never wearing pants, much less shorts, they're not something I own in large numbers. In my wise old age, however, I've decided they're the perfect summer garment. When the sidewalk is hot enough to cook both chicken and egg, I want the easiest, lightest outfit. Shorts, paired with a breezy tank top, fit the bill beautifully. 

Katy and Laney's Tap Shorts are my dream pattern, in this regard. There are three views, the original pleated pair, an angled seamed version, and the classic fly front, faced pocket style I chose for my first pair. All three are high-waisted, with wide legs, optional back welt pockets, and a decided retro flair. 

For this testing pair, I chose a heavy, abstractly striped cotton twill from le stash. I'm not sure what compelled Mary of Future Past to buy such a modern, neutral fabric, but it works quite well as shorts. Paint stroke stripes of grey, cream, and tan sweep across a black background, resulting in a print that truly pairs with anything. Also, as luck would have it, it's one that proved impossible to pattern match. I ended up settling on matching stripes to each other and not worrying about aligning the amorphous parts perfectly. 

As for the pattern itself, I am SO impressed with Katy and Laney. These shorts were accompanied by, hands down, the best pattern instructions I've ever encountered. Both fly fronts and welt pockets are little practiced skills in my repertoire, but they were made so easy by the diagrams and instructions. I am a strategic worrier, so it's not uncommon for me to yell at patterns: "Why am I doing this!? The next step makes no sense! Surely, this diagram is fucked?!" Not so with these shorts. Every time I had a doubt about construction, K & L were right there with reassurances or elucidations of their methodology. Such attentiveness is rare in sewing patterns and so helpful, especially with tricky skills like zip flies. This is a pattern that makes supplementary sewing manuals fear for their usefulness. 

The only true deviation I made from the pattern was sizing. Based on measurements, I'm a straight 16, but I like shorts to fit loosely through the hip and butt area. (Reference: weathering the heat and abject hate of hip clinging.) To appease this mix of vanity and practicality, I graded from a 16 at the waist to an 18 through my hips and thighs. Everything else, from length to construction, was as directed. 

This was one of the most enjoyable garments I've sewn up in recent memory. I have a weird, ardent love for faced pocket construction and interesting waist closures. So, inserting the fly was a blast and looks awesome, if I do say so myself. So straight! Such pattern matching! This is mostly due to K & L's badass instructions, let's be honest. Both the front pockets and the back welt pockets are done in mustard yellow cotton and serged for reinforcement. All of my seams were finished with a serger, after pressing, so that these shorts stand the test of time. 

The fit of these shorts ended up being glorious. They nip in at the waist, skim the butt, and show just enough leg. Since the upper end of the fitting was done with the lovely Jenny, of Cashmerette, as a fit model, this comes as no surprise. Katy and Laney have fit their larger sizes perfectly for the curvy figure. 

 Do I still prefer my body in skirts and dresses? Totally. But for summertime casual, you can't beat the Tap Shorts. They super comfortable, flattering to curves, and full of design potential. Plus, they're way more practical than my usual swishy dress affair.  I have not one, but two, floral versions all cut out. One is the adorable seamed version, with coordinated flat piping in the seam. An array of shorts in pretty fabrics is definitely in my future! 

If you're jonesing for more shorts inspiration, check out the other lovely ladies in the Tap Short Tour! There are some amazing versions of this pattern out there already. 

Tap Short Tour

Thursday, June 12th: Heather at Closet Case Files

Friday, June 13th: Ping at Peneloping

Saturday, June 14th: Jenny at Cashmerette

Monday, June 16th: Mary at Idle Fancy

Wednesday, June 18th: Sarah at Grey’s Fabric and Notions

Thursday, June 19th: Jennifer at Workroom Social

Friday, June 20th: Kelli at True Bias

Saturday, June 21st: Mary at Young, Broke, and Fabulous

Sunday, June 22nd: T at Uandmii

Tuesday, June 24th: MacKenzie at Some Real Things

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