finished project - plaid wool tap shorts

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I finished the tap shorts this weekend!

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What I used for this project.. less than one yard of lightweight vintage wool fabric in green and red plaid, grosgrain ribbon for a waist stay (to keep the waistline more structured), a 9" zipper, and the usual - iron, good scissors, matching thread, etc. I used pattern weights (my flat washers from a home improvement store) since I can't use pins on my thick kraft paper, which I used to create new, graded down pattern pieces last week.

First steps - lay out your pattern pieces evenly along the grain of the fabric (important when you're sewing with plaid), then cut.

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The shorts have three darts to both back pieces, so I marked the darts with chalk and sewed them in, pressing them flat and towards the center afterward. Then, I sewed the center seams of the front and back pieces, then the side seams (the left side, I sewed only up to the prescribed notch - as the zipper goes in above).

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I then sewed the crotch pieces together at the 1/2 inch seam allowance, creating leg openings. Then, time to serge. I serged the leg opening edges and waistline edge. I measured out the grosgrain to match the waistline seam, then serged the ends. I tucked the ribbon into the waistline, folded the serged edge of the waistline over the ribbon, and stitched it in place at the top to form a waist stay. I then folded the serged edges of the leg openings inward and stitched them to finish the seams (can also be finished by using pinking shears or regular zig zag stitch, pressing opening inwards at seam allowance, and stitching).

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I left the zipper for last (I don't think I was supposed to but I didn't follow the exact rules with this pattern). With my invisible zipper, I unzipped it and lined it up with the side openings, right side of fabric to right side of zipper. Using my zipper foot, I stitched as close as I could to the coils, so about 5/8 inch in (actually, the first time I didn't and it turned out horrible.. the second time, I did). I think I'll do a quick invisible zipper tutorial soon. I don't know about you, but I hate sewing with zippers. Buttonholes are best.

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The last step is to sew a hook and eye closure above the side zipper before I wear them. Then.. all done! The back darts are my favorite part, as they fit the back region perfectly.

Now, I knew these shorts were going to be short - just not super short. So I'll have to wait and wear them when it's tights season in Nashville again. Maybe not the transitional fall piece I was hoping for? Either way, I'm excited to wear them.

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We've been in the middle of a mad house search (we might be buying our first ever home soon! if you could say a quick prayer for us, we'd really really appreciate it), and it has taken over our lives a bit - so I'm sorry if I haven't been posting as regularly. I'll be back in a set schedule in no time! A couple of other big projects in the works, as well.. a back-to-school vintage look book hitting the blog and store in just over a week, and my fall collection coming early next month.

Shop update later tonight!