Welcome to part 1 of the Tap Shorts Sewalong! Today we’ll be cover everything you need to know about fabric, notions, and supplies to sew this pattern. I’ve purposefully scheduled a week in-between part 1 and part 2 so you’ll have plenty of time to purchase the pattern and gather supplies.
So without further ado…
We recommend woven bottom weight fabrics for this pattern.
A bottom weight is a heavier fabric suitable for pants, shorts, or skirts. A pretty frustratingly vague term don’t you think? If you are new to the world of shorts I recommend pulling out a couple of your ready to wear pieces and inspecting the fabric for drape and weight. You’ll notice that bottoms tend to be made of thicker and more durable fabrics then shirts and blouses.
At the fabric store keep an eye out for linen, denim, and heavyweight cotton (heavier than quilting cotton). This pattern is designed for stable fabrics, but if you find something with a little stretch (but not a knit) that will work just fine too. Some fabric stores and online shops will have a bottom weight section which can be incredibly helpful. Another little secret I’ve learned, head to the upholstery section. It’s sorta Maria von Trapp, but this section is an oasis of heavy, sturdy fabrics. You may remember Tall Sarah’s metallic linen shorts? Upholstery fabric! Jenny’s gorgeous striped Tap Shorts? Upholstery fabric!
That being said we have made Tap Shorts in about every fabric you can imagine: eyelet, denim, silk, Jacquard, wax print, I can’t even remember them all now. However, if you’re new to garment sewing or shorts I still highly recommend you stick to woven bottom weights. If you’re in search of a challenge a drapey, flirty short might just be what the doctor ordered.
- Fusible interfacing
- Interfacing is used to stabilize textiles and add body to fabrics. In the case of Tap Shorts, interfacing is applied to the waistband, welt/welt facing, view C pocket edges, and fly extensions to prevent these areas from stretching during sewing and wear. Interfacing also adds crispness to pressed hems and seams. You can purchase both fusible interfacing with a heat-activated glue on one side, and non fusible interfacing. Most fabric stores carry a variety of weights. Very thick interfacing is good for adding heft to bags while feather weight interfacing is appropriate for projects such as silk blouses. We recommend using a light to medium weight fusible interfacing with the Tap Short Pattern. My all time favorite is Touch of Gold II. We’ll discuss applying fusible interfacing later in the sewalong (Part 6: Attaching Waistband and Hemming), but refer to the sizing chart to determine the amount of interfacing required.
- Any all-purpose polyester thread is perfect for this project. A good rule of thumb when shopping for thread is to purchase one shade darker than your fabric. When unwound a single thread will appear lighter than when wrapped around a spool.
- tailor’s chalk
- Glass head pins are nice because they will not melt if ironed over, but really any sewing pins will do.
- seam ripper
- hand needle
- single fold bias tape (optional hem finish)
View A – Angled Front Seams
- twill tape
- Twill tape is used to stabilize the angled front seam in view A. If you don’t have twill tape you can use a strip of fabric selvage instead.
- 12 inch invisible zipper
- Invisible zipper teeth are hidden behind the zipper tape. When an invisible zipper is installed it disappears into the seam becoming “invisible” except for the zipper pull.
- piping (optional)
- For sizes 0 and 2 you can get away with 2 1/2 yards of piping. For larger sizes purchase two packs.
View B – Angled Pleats
- 12 inch invisible zipper
- See view A for more information
View C – Front fly and Slash Side Pockets
- sewing machine
- A great thing about these shorts and most garments I’ve made is that you don’t need a fancy sewing machine. If you have a zig-zag stitch, straight stitch, and back tack (reverse stitch) you’re all set. You will need a specialized foot or two (see below), but many machines will come with these.
- invisible zipper foot (view A & B)
- For garment sewists an invisible zipper foot might be one of the best supplies you ever purchase. This foot makes your life SO much easier! If you don’t already have an invisible zipper foot google invisible zipper foot along with the make and model of your machine to find retailers online. The foot may be metal instead of plastic, but it will have a hole for the needle to pass and two channels underneath to feed the zipper teeth through. More on invisible zippers and feet in Part 5: Sewing an Invisible Zip.
- zipper foot (view C and optional piping view A)
- I believe every machine will come with a standard zipper foot. These can look quite different depending on your sewing machine. Consult your user manual to learn more about your particular zipper foot.
- rotary cutter and self-healing mat (optional)
- iron and ironing board
- Tap Shorts PDF Pattern
- scotch tape
See you next week for Part 2: Assembling Your Pattern, Selecting a Size, and Cutting Your Fabric. Happy shopping!