Pattern / Refashion / Sew

Circus Shorts Version 3.0

As of now I will now stop mentioning how long it’s been since I’ve posted something because the trend is now months between posts, and that’s okay. ALSO, Happy Canada Day!

Since January 2017, I have been in a serious relationship with….my hoops!

But seriously.  Hooping has become a daily routine for me. It’s meditative. It’s playful. It’s creative- there are infinite possibilities for new variations on tricks and transitions. That feeling when you drill a move so many times that it becomes something your body does naturally- YES! Hooping can always lift my mood. I’ve met some of my very good friends in hoop classes and workshops.

I didn’t always love hooping. In fact, it took LOTS of encouragement from my girlfriend Sam for me to join my first hoop class. The first 8-10 months I barely picked up my hoops outside of class. It’s not fun to be a beginner at anything.

My love for hooping escalated substantially during my visit to Costa Rica in January 2017. We glamped in a beautiful area of Costa Rica far, from the tourists. It was slightly unnerving but also so freeing to leave my cell phone at home. A break from social media and technology was needed. This was my early morning routine:

04:30: Howler monkey wake up call. It’s dawn. Too early to get out of bed though…maybe.

05:00: Alright, you got this…carefully crawl out of this bug net and climb out of the top bunk without making a ruckus. Coffee time!

05:15: Got hoops and coffee. Five minute walk to the beach.

And then I would hoop until I got too hot and too hungry. After nearly two weeks of daily hooping (*not just in the morning, what else were we going to do in the middle of nowhere in the jungle?), I came back to Calgary and the daily hoop routine stuck.

My girlfriend Sam also was one of the early inspirations for me to start sewing. She has designed and created so many beautiful garments that are also hoop friendly. With no experience in pattern drafting, I thought I could draft a reasonable pattern for some shorts, attempting to copy Sam’s circus/festival shorts.


Sam’s creation! Her brand is Free Aphrodite

The thing is, my brain has a hard time converting 2-D into 3-D….so I ended up creating the pattern like this (because patterns for shorts should look like shorts but flat, right?). I also made a pattern for a waistband which is not included in the photo below, essentially a big rectangle (without curves because woops, forgot about those too!).


Pattern version 1.0

After sewing the front and back together and trying them on, there was some serious bunching in the wrong places. I forgot about the crotch! Yup, these were crotchless. I tried to save these by adding a “crotch” rectangle after the fact, which sort of worked but it wasn’t great. On the wrong side of the fabric, I did this (also Sam’s technique!) to try and improve the fit:


Here’s a look at the botch job on the crotch:


And here’s what they look like on:

I liked the gather on the hips but there was far too much bum showing (I can’t even post a rear view!!) and the fit wasn’t quite right.

I tried drafting another pattern which included a crotch (sort of?), and 2 pieces of fabric in the front and back instead of just one piece for the front and back:


Pattern version 2.0, cut out 2 x each of these pieces

Here’s what version 2.0 looked like:

The crotch still wasn’t right. I took a hiatus from this project for months. I visited Sam in Toronto and she kindly lent me her circus shorts pattern, which I would have never been able to draft myself. Thanks Sam, you’re the best!!


These turn into shorts, whaaa?!

I used a thrifted tank top (4 way stretch cotton) and stretchy striped polyester blend from the fabric store. I didn’t take in the process photos for any of these (oops). I added giant ruffles and made the waist band higher waisted as compared to the original pattern. I love the final outcome. AND THEY FIT, yay!!!!


Sweet success.


A few weeks ago in Kananaskis


Giant ruffles are so fun!!

Now that I knew this pattern worked, I created another variation with different fabric. The front/back is made with remnants of a dress hemming and the ruffles/waistband are made with 4-way jersey stretch material.


I added some ruching in the bum seam to improve the fit (same technique as the hip ruching).


In the future I will avoid drafting patterns myself. There’s a reason why people go to school for pattern drafting, I’ll save myself the struggle and honour their expertise.







3 thoughts on “Circus Shorts Version 3.0

  1. so great! as usual! and good for you for taking expert advice; can save lots of time! Love the hooping story; Happy Canada to you too, doll!


  2. The shorts are great, I want to make some too! And yes, I tried drafting my own patterns too, but there was always something wrong with them. These days I copy parts from different ready made patterns when I want to create something new. Like you say, there’s pretty much skill behind paattern construction.


  3. Pingback: Ruffle Rage: Just hoop it out | sewjunkytofunky

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