The Magnolia Shorts (and Wide Leg Crop Pants) by Sew Caroline

Last month I got to test the Magnolia Shorts from Sew Caroline and I totally dig them.  Here’s my official blog post of the Magnolia Shorts and Wide Leg Crop Pants:

The Magnolia Shorts are a flowy style shorts that resemble a skirt. I used a jersey knit with ribbing from Joann’s and I really like how they turned out. The texture of the fabric adds some interest to the fabric in lieu of a print. (This pattern looks great with a print though!) My fabric has excellent drape which I would highly recommend to achieve the “skirt” effect.

This pattern is a super quick sew as it consists of only four pieces: two legs pieces and two waistband pieces. This pattern is a simple sew with a cute result.

Another aspect of these shorts that is appealing to me is that they are very hack friendly. If you know me at all, then you know I love a good hack. During testing, Caroline casually mentioned in the testing group that I should hack a pair into some wide leg pants. As any perfectly level-headed person would do, I interpreted her casual mention as a full-blown triple dog dare. I retorted with a “Don’t tempt me!”…..and got to work on the hack. As one that spent my youth in the 80s and 90s, I don’t walk away from triple dog dares.

I sewed up the wide leg pants and it was super simple. I did not end up adding any circumference to the curve of the shorts, just length. I tested the waistband as designed in the pattern and they ended up looking a little “sweatpants-y”.

 I changed it up a bit to give them a more tailored look. I color blocked (because I can’t seem to stop color blocking) and I also left the elastic out the front panel and interfaced it instead. I used another drapey knit from Joann’s for this pair as well. Here’s a quick tutorial on how I hacked these fun pants!

  1. Cut the shorten/lengthen line and extend it to the desired new length. I moved mine down 16″.
  2. Sew the two pant legs together as instructed in the tutorial.
  3. The color blocking dimensions for the waistband are up to you, this is just what I did for mine. Find the total length of your waistband from the pattern piece.
  4. 28% of that total length will be your interfaced piece for the front. For instance, I wanted mine to have a finished length of 11″. So, 12″ to allow for seam allowance on both sides. This design feature is totally up to you, but if you use the 28% of the total length then you’ll achieve the same ratio as my version.
  5. The length of your back piece will be the remainder of your total length needed. My back piece was cut to be 31″. (43″-12″).
  6. Cut a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to match your front piece and fuse to the wrong side.
  7. With right  sides together, sew the interfaced front pieces to the back piece.
  8. Per the pattern’s tutorial, fold the waistband in half with wrong sides together.
  9. Pin the gathered pants (as described in the instructions) to the waistband. Be sure to match up the midpoint of the front of the waistband with the front seam.
  10. Sew pants to the waistband but do no attach where the front interfaced piece is.
  11. To find the elastic length, use the sizing guide in the tutorial and then subtract the length of your interfaced front piece. Pull the 2″ elastic through the attached waistband. Pin in place at the beginning and endpoints of the front waistband to ensure that you like the fit.
  12. Secure the elastic in place by stitching 1/8″ from the beginning and ending of the interfaced front portion. It’s recommended that you go over this at least twice with ensure stability.
  13. Top stitch the back portion of the waistband as desired or per the pattern’s instructions.
  14. Hem pants per the pattern’s instructions.

Now look at you galavanting around your office, errand-running, and/or snack-prepping in style! Enjoy these amazing pants! I definitely am. You can get this pattern for your new shorts or wide leg pants here.


A Two Part Blog Series: The Parkside Shorts and San Fransisco Swing Top

Part I: The Parkside Shorts and Skirt

I didn’t get around to blogging my very first pattern test (killer start, Marshall) which was the Parkside Shorts and Skirt from Caroline Hulse at Sew Caroline. Let me tell you, though, I was exhilarated that I got selected to be part of the testing team. After not getting picked for a couple tests that I applied for I was fully expecting this one to go the same way. Then came the “Push Notification” on my phone from Facebook which was shortly followed by rapid fist pumping and other unmentionable celebratory acts that only my lucky husband got to witness.

The test went smoothly and I over-zealously sewed up three pairs of these shorts because I was excited I got picked to test (you can chuckle, it’s fine) and I LOVED the shorts. Here’s why:

Versatility. Depending on your fabric choice and how you style them you can make these shorts casual or dressier. I made a chambray version, a sturdier cotton version, and an even more robust pair from an ikat print. Caroline also offers some tutorials on her blog for adding a drawstring or double welt pockets.


Union chambray from Robert Kaufman


Olive green cotton from Moda Fabrics

Style Features. The thick elastic waistband on these shorts is such a great style feature because  it makes the shorts really comfortable (even after consuming your body weight’s worth of Mexican food and margaritas) but also, because of the thickness, look really cute with your shirt tucked in and sitting a little higher on your waist.

The pockets on these shorts are a huge bonus. They’re lined pockets sewn to the front of the shorts and are deep enough to carry odds and ends….in my case, it’s pacifiers and legos.

These shorts have a bit of a wider leg which I love. I think the look is flattering and it’s beyond comfortable. Now, that said, for a dressier, I’m-going-out-for-a-girls-night look, I’d suggest sizing down as they do tend to run a little big in my estimation.

Quick Sew. These shorts don’t take any time at all to sew up. The construction is well-executed and methodically explained in the pattern’s tutorial. You’ll be walking out the door sporting your new shorts to your company picnic (boo.) or a lunch date with your new crush (yay!) in no time!

I haven’t even gotten to the skirt portion of the pattern. It has all of the advantages as those described above except an inseam. I used a textured chambray from Robert Kaufman for this one and I loved how it turned out. You can pair this skirt with a lot of different footwear and get just the look you’re going for. I put a thin cotton liner in mine. Caroline added a tutorial for doing this on her blog here.



The Parkside Skirt goes well with my next pattern test for Sew Caroline:

Part II: The San Francisco Swing Top

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I was excited that I got to test this pattern for her as well, my SFran Swing has been on heavy rotation since I finished it. I used a rayon, jersey knit from LA Finch Fabrics which you can find here. The fabric has excellent drape and a unique texture.  I think the geometric print brings a subtle interest to the large paneled front and back of the top.  I love how it turned out. I love even more how well it goes with my Parkside Skirt!

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The multi-faceted style of this high neckline top will get you through a myriad of occasions and has the flexibility to get you through all seasons. This top looks so cute by itself, festooned with a statement necklace or layered with a scarf or blazer for later this year. The back boasts a flowy (and flattering) silhouette that give you some breathing room but isn’t too “tent” like. If you don’t like the split back, the pattern offers a full back option.

The pattern also offers quick length alterations with a shorten/lengthen line. There is a dress option in the pattern, too, that looked very cute on the testers! Fun fact: We had a pregnant tester on the team and she looked so cute in her dress!  Like I said, it’s good for all of the seasons and all of the seasons of your life.

Well, if you’ve read this far then thank you and I just want to pass on that I would highly recommend both of these patterns. Caroline did a great job of developing the patterns and tutorials that will ensure you get some versatile additions to your wardrobe! You can find the patter on sale HERE!

Here’s to a weekend filled with stitching!

Leslie M.