KCW Summer 2013, Pattern Review

KCW Summer 2013 Day 3: Finished car shorts!

Well, I plowed through last night and finally finished J’s car shorts, which had been cut since sometime in April:

Creative Counselor: Clean Slate Car Shorts
Clean Slate Car Shorts

These actually went together relatively quickly, but I didn’t head down to my sewing room until 9:30 pm, so it was yet another late night — I think I finished up about 11:15.  Still, not too bad, particularly when you take into account the fact that I reinforced most of the seams and flat-felled the back crotch, inseam and outseams!

Creative Counselor: Clean Slate Car Shorts
Back view

The fabric is Echino Mini Cars in Royal Blue that I picked up a few months ago from Sarah’s Fabric in Lawrence, Kansas (awesomefabric store for anyone in the area).

The pattern is the Clean Slate Shorts from Blank Slate Patterns.  This is such a great, versatile pants/shorts pattern.  I hadn’t used it since I was a tester for the original Blank Slate Basics release last summer, so I had forgotten just how versatile the pattern is.

The beauty of this particular pants/shorts pattern is that it gives you all the options — the finished garment can be as basic or as souped up as you like.  I had originally cut the fabric for these shorts to include all the bells and whistles — front pockets, welt pockets, full functioning zip fly, etc.

But, when it came time to sew them together, I ended up omitting all but the front pockets and just went with a basic faux fly.  I really wanted to get them done in the 1-2 hours of sewing time that I had last night, and most of the additions that I had originally planned aren’t really necessary for a 4-year-old.  J loves having front pockets, but never uses back pockets.  And the functioning fly is really more of a hindrance at this age than anything else.   I love that I am capable of doing one, but having to fasten and unfasten a button impedes his ability to effectively and quickly dress himself unassisted, so I decided to omit it.

Creative Counselor: Clean Slate Car Shorts
Front pockets and faux fly

The length is a bit long — more jammer style — but he tends to like that, as does Albert.  And I think that the jammer length really goes well with the slightly funky fabric.

Creative Counselor: Clean Slate Car Shorts
Inside view
Creative Counselor: Clean Slate Car Shorts
Lovely flat-felled seams!

This is a really solid pattern.  I will definitely have to come back to it when J starts outgrowing his pants this fall!

Pattern: Clean Slate Pants/Shorts/Capris by Blank Slate Patterns. ($7.95).

Size: 4T

Fit: Really good.  As always, I used J’s own waist measurement for the elastic rather than the recommended amount in the pattern since his waist is quite small.  Currently, J’s waist measurement is 17″, so I generally cut my elastic to 17.5″ and overlap the ends by about 1/2″.

Fabric: Echino Mini Car fabric in Royal Blue.  The pocket lining and waistband lining is a basic orange quilting cotton.

Modifications: My only modifications were on the seam finishes.  I reinforced all the crotch seams and the inseam.  I also flat-felled the back crotch seam, the inseam and the outseams.  Options included were the front pockets and the faux fly.  I originally had planned to include back welt pockets and a functioning zip fly, but at crunch time decided against them for reasons of practicality and sewing time.

Physical Pattern: PDF pattern, not particularly small but not overly large.  This is kind of an “eh” area for me on this pattern.  Would I prefer it in print?  Heck yeah.  Is the PDF overly burdensome? Not really.


  • Really, really versatile.  This single pattern can result in anything from the most basic pair of elastic-waist shorts to a full-length pair of pants with front pockets, back welt pockets, belt loops, and a functioning zip fly.  It really would be the only pants pattern you’d need.
  • Gender-neutral.  Undoubtedly N will get a pair of two of these once she’s out of her super-picky wardrobe phase.
  • Good, clear instructions.  Confession:  I’ve made enough pants with pockets and faux flies now that I didn’t even get the instructions out for this pair.  But Melissa’s instructions are good, and walk you step-by-step through installing a zip fly which was AWESOME the first time I did it!
  • The fit is always good with Blank Slate patterns.  Melissa does a really nice job in the testing phase of making sure that all fit issues are worked out, so I’ve never had an issue with any of her patterns (and I’ve sewn a lot of them!).


  • I really can’t think of any, and I tried really hard.  I guess the front pockets could be deeper so that J’s cars won’t fall out of them when he takes them to school.  I might just go ahead and make them deeper next time, now that I think of it!

Overall Grade: A+. I don’t like to give the “plus” grade that often, but this pattern really does deserve it.  Like I said, it’s the only kids pants pattern you need, regardless of your child’s gender.  It has all the options to make a quality pair of pants that look RTW and goes up to size 8.  A steal at $7.95.

**Disclosure: This post contains Blank Slate Patterns affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if anyone buys patterns through these links. I received this pattern for free since I was a tester, but all opinions are 100% my own!

0 thoughts on “KCW Summer 2013 Day 3: Finished car shorts!

  1. Cute! You are so good about making the insides pretty. I’m so lazy when it comes to my kids stuff (outside of using my pinking shears) but I guess its a good way to practice so that when I someday want to make something for myself that also looks pretty on the inside I know WTF I’m doing. I’ve been curious about Rae’s Parsley pants and Made’s shorts pattern. But Syd is pretty much a dress wearer 95% of the time so I haven’t ventured into that arena yet. I do need to learn to make her the little biker shorts that go under dresses (she has to wear them for day-care) to hide her panties…I bought a bunch from Old Navy on sale because I didn’t have time to sew up 10+ pairs…maybe next summer I’ll be more prepared!

    1. Honestly, I don’t always take the time to do such nice finishes on N’s stuff, but J is so active and SOOO hard on his pants that if I don’t reinforce and finish the seams nicely, he’ll tear them apart!

      I’ve made the Parsley Pants (should have a post on those in the next few days as I finally snapped some pictures!) and I highly recommend them. Haven’t tried the KID shorts though because they’re just too similar to patterns I already have (including these and Parsley) for me to make the investment. The Parsley Pants could easily be shortened for Syd’s shorts though because those main pattern pieces don’t have the extra bit for the faux fly.

      A dress girl would be nice. Dresses are much easier/faster to make but N has now decided she won’t wear them!

  2. I think Syd just realized she could move better in dresses/tights than she could in jeans. Not to mention her jeans never fit well and she was always pulling them up. It was also hard for her to do self-toileting at school with jeans…she always had to ask for help with the zipper/fly snap and god knows a 2.5-year old NEVER wants to ask for help. I do notice she prefers the more billowy roomy dresses (like Geranium) over more fitted dresses (like jump rope) for the movement factor. You don’t want your clothes getting in the way of your climbing! Maybe N will come around. You could always do tunics and tights for the winter…they are almost like dresses. 😉 She also may just want to dress like her brother…

    1. Yes, she likes to do everything just like her brother! Currently, she has a hot pink t-shirt with butterflies and sparkles all over it that is her absolute favorite (she’s wearing it today actually). That with a little pair of shorts is what she would wear every single day if it was clean. I hope that she’ll consent to at least tunics by fall/winter. They go together so easily and there are so many cute options! Right now she has a closet full of adorable dresses and tunics that haven’t been worn in weeks! If this baby is a boy, I might have to start selling some of them off, particularly the ones that have literally never been worn!

    1. Thank you! I’m really coming to appreciate all the little construction details that take relatively little extra time for me to add but I just don’t see in RTW.

  3. Beautiful finish work and I’m in love with this fabric line (have a project of my own coming up with this). Featuring you this friday!

    1. Thanks! I love the Echino prints, too. I was drooling over all of them in the store and really had to exercise some self control to only buy one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *