** Disclosure: This post contains Blank Slate Patterns affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own!
My failure to blog my original pair of BIBS (Big Island Board Shorts gets really long!) was not because I didn’t like the pattern. To the contrary, I think this is a great pattern, and J loved the first pair that I made him. He wore them so much that they were quite literally ripping at the seams.
No, my complaint about my first pair was the fabric. The recommended fabric for this pattern is polyester microfiber, or boardshort material. The problem that I ran into was that my local fabric shops don’t carry boardshort material, and because of the quick turnaround required for testing, the fabric I ordered wouldn’t arrive in time. So, I went with plan B and picked up some polyester nylon at Joann’s for that first pair.
The nylon was sufficient to make a pair of test shorts, and J loved that I had made them blue. But, in my opinion, the fabric was not great, and for that reason alone I wasn’t thrilled with that first pair.
These, however, are made from proper board short material from the Fabric Fairy. And dragons? I mean seriously, how awesome is that for a 4-year-old?
This pattern is an easy sew. The construction is straightforward, and the use of bias tape gives a nice, retro feel to it. I like that it uses a separate waistband, since that provides so many more options for modification.
Specifically, the modification that I made to these shorts — adding front pockets. J loves to carry things around in his pockets, and the BIBS as drafted include only a back patch pocket. That back pocket was almost completely useless for J in his first pair of BIBS, so this time I added the front pockets.
Adding front pockets is such an easy modification, particularly if you already have pocket pattern pieces that you like. For these, I used the pockets from the Clean Slate Shorts, and widened and deepened them by about an inch so that his cars won’t fall out of his pockets at school. Adding these did not impact the rest of the shorts construction at all.
The other modifications I made were on seam finishes. As I’ve mentioned before, J is really hard on the seams in his pants and shorts, so I’ve started reinforcing and doing nice finishes on his things. For these, I flat-felled the inseams, and then encased the crotch seam with bias tape. I also used bias tape to bind the pocket pouches. Isn’t the inside pretty?
I omitted the optional liner. J has about 4 pairs of swim trunks from last summer that still fit him, so I didn’t really anticipate him using these for swimming. And I didn’t feel like trying to make bias tape out of proper boardshort fabric, opting instead for storebought.
Fit: Perfect. I guess it’s no mystery why I love Blank Slate for kid patterns — they fit my kids perfectly, with only minor changes to the length of the waist elastic.
Modifications: I added front pockets and omitted the back patch pockets on this pair since J loves his front pockets! This was really easy to do. I used the pocket pattern pieces from the Clean Slate Pants/Shorts and deepened them a bit so that J’s stuff is less likely to fall out.
Physical pattern: PDF pattern, but it’s not overly burdensome. There are only 4 main pattern pieces (5 if you include the optional liner), so it’s not that much to piece together.
- Another really versatile pattern from Blank Slate. These are designed to be swim trunks made with boardshort fabric and a mesh liner, but can easily be turned into a pair of easy retro shorts simply by using a different fabric. How awesome would these be made out of athletic mesh for a pair of baller shorts, or a great print tempered with solid bias binding?
- Easy construction. The bias binding eliminates the need to hem or finish the outseams and is a really easy technique. It would probably be faster to simply hem and sew a traditional outseam (since the bias binding requires two passes at the machine), but they would lose that retro look.
- Lack of front pockets. It would have been an easy thing to add and it seems that most kids are way more into front pockets than back ones. Though on a pair of swim trucks, it probably doesn’t matter much and they are easily added!
Overall grade: A. Great pattern and it’s nice to have a boy swim trunk pattern in my stash. Someday J’s behind will be big enough that he’ll need new swim trunks, and when that day hits, I’ll be ready!
And N was outside with us when we were taking pictures of these shorts, and her getup was just a hoot. I couldn’t resist a few pictures!