Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Colette Iris: Review

So I kept seeing the Iris Colette shorts popping up during imagine gnat's Shorts on a Line competition and elsewhere, and the reviews kept mentioning how easy they were, and I am really, really hard up for shorts post-pregnancy. One thing that no one ever told me about having kids is that I would no longer be able to wear my clothes more than once (and sometimes not even for a whole day). Anything I wear inevitably ends up spit up or snotted on, used as a human napkin, or as a towel to wipe muddy hands. And those are just the less disgusting accidents my clothes see daily. All that say, I really needed some more shorts.

During the World's Largest Garage Sale, I picked up a cute button-down chambray tunic that Jana suggested would like good with red shorts. I then saw a pair of Iris shorts made up in red and decided I would give it a whirl.

Iris Shorts
Crazy eyes!

The PDF pattern: Instant gratification girl that I am, I opted for the PDF version of the pattern. I will say, this was NOT my favorite PDF to put together. You have to print 16 sheets and trim them all down and then tape the resulting rectangles together that gives you one giant sheet with all the sizes on there. Now that I've seen how Sis Boom does their PDFs (all pieces for each size given separately), I want all pattern makers to do the same. I realize there are far fewer sizes on the Sis Boom Jamie Dress, but I'm not sure why it couldn't be done like that all the time. Maybe for serious sewists, they need to be able to have the patterns overlaid so they can grade? Not sure. Anyway, putting the PDF together was a chore. I had a hard time matching up triangles when I got toward the end (when being off by a fraction starts to make a difference because all the fractions of inches are adding up). I am glad I did the pattern assembly the night before or I would have been sorely aggravated to waste probably 1.5 hours on assembly/pattern cutting.

Fabric cutting went considerably quicker, and the pattern showed me exactly how to lay out pieces. I ended up having quite a bit of fabric left over, probably the whole extra 3/8 yard the pattern calls for.

Pattern Instructions: The instructions were great. Although I still consider myself an advanced beginner sewer, I was able to follow the instructions easily. The only part I had any problems with at all were sewing the waistband pieces together. I never did figure out if the diagram was off or if I was just misreading/understanding, but it took me a couple of tries to get my waistband and facing pieces put together on the correct end. And then when I went to attach the waistband, I was confused about which long edge I should be stitching on, but I just trusted the pattern and matched notches, and it worked out great. Also, my zipper side-seam did not get finished, and I'm not sure where I missed the instruction for that--I guess I need to go back and read it. Overall, though, I was extremely impressed with the clarity and thoroughness of the instructions. The diagrams were also clear and helpful and plentiful enough.I loved the instructions for the waistband finishing--it came out looking so nice and neat!

Unflattering pictures of rear and belly included for scientific purposes. My self-esteem sacrificed on the alter of a thorough review.

I used a linen/cotton blend from JoAnn's and a .25 cent silk shirt from the thrift store for the pocket linings. I'm not sure silk was a good choice, but I found  that adorable shirt in my "refashion/fabric harvest" pile as I was clearing the cutting table and wanted to use it.

Fit: These fit me very well with no changes. I measured as and cut a 10. Not too baggy and not too tight! My main "complaint," which is minor, is how short they are. I knew they were going to be shorter, I just didn't realize how short 4.5 inches apparently is. They looked longer in the pictures I'd seen online. I could already tell they were going to be shorter than I wanted, so I just serged the bottom edge and turned it under that amount and hemmed to try and save as much length as I could. Next time, I think I will try to add just a bit more length. I'm also not crazy about the pockets. It's a nice idea, but my giant man hands do not fit in the tiny pockets, so they are kind of worthless for me.

Alterations: None (except not hemming as instructed). I did use wonder-under 1/4 hem tape (I think it's called) to stick down the waistband facing instead of hand basting it. I learned that trick from the SFB Little Heartbreaker Pants, and it worked well!

Iris Shorts--invisible zip
 See my zipper?? No? Good!

New skills: Invisible zippers! I was very pleased with myself for getting it in properly on the first try (at least, I think it's in there right). I did go and read the Colette invisible zipper tutorial and watch a video or two to help out. I didn't have an invisible zip foot, but the regular one worked just fine. The waistband method was new to me, but worked great!

Next pair: I've already got another piece of natural linen (100% this time) and some stretch denim I'd like to use. My plan is to flat-fell those seams instead of using the pockets and add some welt-pockets in the rear. That will also help break up the great expanse that is my butt...

Overall: I'd definitely recommend this pattern! It was a bit pricey ($16), but the result is very good. I think anyone with a good sense of sewing basics can do this one. 


  1. Thanks for the honest review! The shorts look great.:)

  2. They turned out great! I in the midst of making mine right now! I think I cut mine out too large...but that's better than small! I might try the hem tape, like you suggest! Thanks!