Lace shorts have been ubiquitous here.
I've been meaning to make some for my daughter for a year or two now. I even bought some nice sturdy cotton lace yardage about 12 months ago (Pittwater trading), and although I have only the slightest tendency towards keeping up with current fashion, my daughters are much more interested in being in style. I thought I'd better get around to making this type of garment before the fad disappeared completely from the shops.
The problem was, that I didn't really know how to manage the hems, lining and waistband, so easier projects kept rising to the front of the queue.
I looked at some ready to wear lace shorts.
The RTW available for my viewing were uniformly tacky, poorly made, mostly polyester - and pricey. $80-100 for shorts with raw seams visible through the lace!. This gave me some confidence. Mine could not possibly be worse.
I decided to try underlining with faux Hong Kong seams, as per Laura Lo's tutorial, a method that I had used with some success in a skirt a few years ago. The underlining fabric is a very pale pink imperial batiste.
Underlining shorts though, is not the same as underlining a skirt. That dratted crotch curve! There was a lot of fiddling before the seam width at the centre seam was even throughout the curve and not too obvious through the lace. I must have unpicked it at least five times, and that was before I started working on the zip.....
The pattern, naturally, was one I had tried earlier, an experiment with this project in mind, as usually, shorts in our house require a lot of fitting. This pattern is a very simple style with few pattern pieces, in order to avoid interrupting the lace. Burda Style 03-2011-131 seen previously in cotton twill.
I used a thick elastic, marketed as "elastic waistband" which solved all my waistband concerns other than the actual finishing technique- there's some RTW worthy overlocking there :)
Originally, I used an exposed metal zip, but neither my daughter nor I liked the appearance of this, and the shorts were a little loose at the back, so I was able to unpick it and subsitute a lapped zip instead, with a little help from some black bias tape on the underlap edge. The waistband is closed with two buttons and an elastic loop. Fortunately black hair elastics are more readily available than black elastic loop tape
The lace fabric had a wide strip of cotton selvage on the edge. I cut out the shorts using this edge as the hem, and trimmed away all the woven selvage before overstitching the lace edge with a very fine zig-zag. This has proven quite a robust hem finish and has even survived being put through the washing machine by mistake. The batiste underlayer is hemmed with a machine embroidery stitch, so there is a pretty finish visible through the lace -however, in real life, this is one of those sewing secrets visible only to the wearer !
My daughter loves these shorts. I actually finished them a few months ago. Being mostly cotton, they are cool and comfortable to wear, and in fact they have been worn everywhere, from the beach to parties, and I consider them one of my most successful projects despite my initial trepidation about working with lace in a utilitarian garment. Sometimes its good to work outside my comfort zone.