Colette Iris: A Shorts Pattern Review

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Sew Happy With My First Pattern Choice!

I was so excited when I awoke this morning to the sound of rain.  Being trapped inside offered the perfect opportunity to start on my first pattern.  I decided the new Colette Patterns that arrived in our store last week would be a great start since I have never used this pattern line before.  I picked the Iris shorts pattern because they looked adorable on-line, and I can always use a pair of cute summer shorts.

My only concern about making shorts was that I didn't want them to be this short because I am very self conscious about the appearance of my legs.  I also like the more sophisticated, mature look of longer shorts (at least that is what I keep telling myself when I enviously see how adorable Brooke and Elizabeth from the store look in shorter shorts).  I assumed that just adding a little length to this pattern wouldn't be too difficult.
The next challenge for me was to pick out my fabric.  Picking out fabric is so much fun, but I love all of our fabrics so much that the task becomes daunting.  I finally decided on seersucker, but then I had to choose a color.

I chose the brown and white seersucker to keep with the classier look of my longer shorts. 
When deciding on which size pattern to cut out, my waist measurement gave me one size while my hip measurement gave me a different size.  I hate when this happens, but the pattern made it very clear to choose the larger size if this occurs because these shorts have a more tailored fit.  I chose the larger size and cut out the seersucker, but the pieces looked really large so I went down a size. I also added 4 inches to the length of each piece to get the longer version I desire.  I also had to cut out lining since you would probably see through the white seersucker if I chose not to line.
For those of you who have never used a Colette pattern, let me give you a little idea about them.  I have used all types of patterns from the typical Simplicity and McCalls to the higher end Amy Butler ones.  The Colette pattern is by far one of the best I have ever used especially for the beginner sewer.  This pattern is packaged like a small book with simple, easy to follow directions on each page.  This was so much better than the usual fold out style I usually have to deal with, and like the maps they resemble, I can never get them folded back correctly.   It was so much better to flip page after page to get to my finished product.  This pattern had very clear illustrations along with most directions and even a glossary in the back like you would find in a textbook, a feature this school teacher really appreciated!  The pattern also lists websites that link the sewer to instant directions on putting in zippers, finishing seams, and other sewing skills the beginner sewer may not feel completely confident completing.  I did not go to any of these sites because I didn't need the help, but I definitely used the other tips and reminders found throughout the pattern like to finish the pocket seams before putting them on.
So, how does the finished project look?

I think they turned out really well considering it was my first time using the pattern.  Usually, I like to sew a pattern a couple of times before I am really happy with the results.  I would like to add, shamefully, that the size is a little tight, and I should have listened to the directions that clearly explained why I should have picked the larger size.  The pockets in the front pull a little to accommodate for my hips, and this wouldn't have happened if I had only followed the sizing suggestion!  Other important tips that may help you when using this pattern:
1)  If you are going to make your shorts longer like I did, you will need to taper the width of the leg.  The shorts do not look good if you simply add length to the width of the pattern.
2)  I chose not to use the buttons on the pockets, but I definitely will next time.  I think it will really make the shorts look fun.
3)  I will use a different fabric like some of the Art Gallery or Michael Miller fabrics (shown below) for my next pair.  It will make the shorts look more playful. 

I really loved this Colette pattern, and I strongly recommend to all of you to give this pattern a try.  The pattern is listed as beginner, and I will be tackling an intermediate one soon to give you feedback on those.
I can't wait to make the second pair of shorts in the right size and in a great fabric!  I may even ignore my hang-up with my legs and make them shorter!


  1. There is nothing like being a couple of years behind! I discovered the Iris shorts and downloaded the pattern yesterday. This morning I am looking for inspiration for the piece and hope I can make multiples. I LIKE the length of your shorts. I know this will be the direction I go. I think they look great on you. Did you make more?

    1. Thank you Linda! It is such a versatile pattern. I have even seen people use a knit band as maternity shorts.
      I have made a few pairs, but would love to make more!

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