HI, Fashionistas!

Happy end of summer! Hope you had a lovely summer and are enjoying cooler temps! My kid started pre school this week and I am REALLY enjoying the structure that comes with drop offs and pick-ups and planning my day around it.

So I am hoping to catch up on sharing some summer sewing projects with you. One of my favorite makes this summer was this pair of tailored shorts. They are so simple yet so chic. Sometimes easy projects can be so rewarding to make.

I have always wanted tailored shorts made in denim, a dressy pair of shorts if you will. So here is what I came up with based on my inspiration picture 🙂 I am recommending some pressing tools towards the end of the post if you want to go for a more tailored look on your garments. 

How do you plan your sewing projects? Do you browse patterns on sale, and get inspired based on what you see in the pattern catalogs, or do you look for a pattern to match your inspiration picture or your sketch? I typically tend to find my inspiration from people watching or Pinterest, and then go hunting for the perfect pattern that can either be sewn out of the envelope or modified to match my inspiration picture.

Here is my inspiration picture

It was not too hard to find a pattern for these shorts, I needed to look for a pattern that has a slant pocket so that I could add the gold shank buttons like my inspiration picture. I found Simplicity 8391 view D.

I wanted my shorts to have slightly more wearing ease than the inspiration picture. I also wanted them to be slightly longer.  I did make a muslin to get the fit perfected, but other than that, I did not need to make any pattern alterations. I cut the size 6, which was larger on the hips.  After I made the muslin and tried them on, I ended up removing ½ inch from the side seams.

For the fabric, I chose a denim that had 1% spandex in it. Personally, I like to work with wovens that have a small amount of stretch. In my opinion, it makes the fitting easier because you have some flexibility when the fabric has some stretch.  My happy place is 1% to 2 % of spandex in the fiber content of the fabric.

Here are some more pictures of the shorts

Loving the slant pockets.

Here is the back and side view:

And a view from the side 🙂


Sewing Tips

Here are some sewing tips I would like to offer when making a tailored pair of shorts:

  • Use pressing tools to get that crisp look on seams, edges, and hems. I like to use a tailors clapper and press cloth to get defined, crisp seams. I have described both the tools below:
  • Tailors Clapper: I like to use a tailor’s clapper .When pressing my seams. A clapper is made of wood and it helps to seal in the heat and the steam from the iron and gives you that impeccably tailored look!
  • Press Cloth: While pressing, I like to use a press cloth and give the seams a good amount of heat and steam while pressing. A press cloth will help eliminate shine and protect your fabric. I like to use a sheer press cloth so I can see what I am pressing, but a scrap piece of muslin will do too!
  • Gravity Feed Iron: I am going to list this one as “optional” only because while you don’t need to invest in a gravity feed iron, it a gravity feed iron is definitely a professional tailors iron. A good domestic iron with steam when combined with a clapper and press cloth will also elevate your sewing, but put if you can add this to your sewing room, I HIGHLY recommend it. They are very sturdy and can last you 5 to 10 years!
  • Sewing Shank buttons: When sewing on shank buttons, you can stabilize them by sewing a small two hole or four hole button on the back. You would loop your thread through both the buttons. This will prevent the shank buttons from drooping. I used shank buttons with a 3/4 inch diameter on the front and four hole buttons with a 1/2 inch diameter in the back.

Simplicity 8391 Pattern Review and Suggestions

This pattern is easy and simple to use.  The instructions were pretty clear and straightforward. I noticed that the shorts instructions did not include applying the waistband, so you will need to refer to the skirt instructions (view B) on applying the waistband.

While making the muslin I also realized that it was best for me to replace the pocket facing fabric with a thinner cotton in a similar color as the fashion fabric. Once I had attached the pocket and pocket facing to the shorts front, that was 3 layers of fabric. Once the short front was attached to the shorts back, that was 4 layers of fabric and was noticeably bulky. So when I cut the actual fabric, I cut the pocket facing in a dark blue cotton sateen as opposed to the fashion fabric. I am glad I did that!

Overall, I am pretty pleased with this pattern, and now that I have the fit perfected, I will probably trace this pattern onto thicker pattern paper and hang it up on a garment rack for re-use!

I hope that you found this pattern review helpful and enjoyed reading this post! What has been your favorite summer make and what are you planning for the fall? I am planning on doing a lot of cardi’s and lose coats for the fall/ winter. I have pretty much decided that my uniform for fall is going to be black and denim and I plan to sew more outerwear.. but more on that later.. 


-Vatsla 🙂


7 Comments on Tailored Denim Shorts- Simplicity 8391 Review

  1. Nice shorts and review! I liked your sewing tips too. Have you given tips on buying thicker pattern paper and hanging it up? I’d like to know more about the thicker pattern paper and hanging tips. I am planning fall-winter tops. I especially like Loes Hinse funnel neck top for fall & winter it is View B of 5205 and it’s a TNT for me.

    • Thanks Janet! I don’t have a post on this but someone asked the same question a while back and here was my response.. I hope this helps you

      ” I would not worry about brand much but I would take the thickness and width into consideration. Tag comes in varying widths and is called tag or oak tag. Currently I have some in my studio that is 54″ wide. You can get it as wide as 60 inches I believe.. but you may not need it that wide. If you are planning on tracing off your patterns and committing them to tag, tell me if your patterns will be half of the garment (example patterns that say “cut 1 on fold”). If your fabric will be cut on fold, you will be able to get away with tag that is not the widest. If you are planning on cutting your fabric without folding (how it is done in production in factories), then you will need to make sure that the tag is wide enough to cut the entire skirt . Let me be more specific. Lets say you have designed a a skirt. Your final garment has a 40 inch hem from side seam to side seam. Your fabric is to be cut on fold, so your pattern will need to be 20 inches at the widest plus seam allowance on both sides. Lets say you have a SA of 1/2 inch, then your pattern will be 21 inches at its widest. In this case, you can use a 36 inch roll of tag and never have a problem.

      Now lets assume that you have a pattern for the same skirt on tag, but you are cutting out the entire skirt (not on fold), then you would not be able to use a 36 inch wide roll of tag. Your pattern at the widest would be 40 inches plus SA on both sides = 41 inches. So then you would need tag that is 48 inches in width. Make sense?

      In summary. How wide your tag should be depends on how wide your patterns will be. So take that into consideration. Also if you have asymmetrical garments, those cannot be cut on fold (example asymmetrical skirt). In this case you will need to consider the width of our pattern without folding it.

      For the thickness, I recommend something this weight:


      I have never purchased online but I have bought from this seller before and I now they source to fashion schools. Also check out PGM Pro on eBay. Let me know if that made sense and if you have any more questions.


Leave a Reply