Lobster Shorts for the Boy, and the Myth of Flat Piping

This isn’t a real post, so don’t get too excited.  It’s just a chance to show off a particularly successful pair of shorts I made for our son before we headed out of town on our mega-road trip.

Remember this photo?

handmade kids clothing group shot

Our girls are wearing their handmade jersey tees, and our boy is wearing his Lobster Shorts.  Which I looooooove.

lobster boy shorts with slant pockets

These were made with an altered version of the pattern I used for our children’s other summer shorts, but this time I had the good sense to include a little piece of “flat piping” along the seam edge of the slant pockets, and it totally makes the shorts for me.  Plus: lobster fabric!!!  I see no downside here.

whipstitch | lobster boy shorts

These have an elastic back waist and a flat front, which is my default setting for kids’ shorts (the shorts pattern I designed way back in 2010 for my Sewing Clothing for Kids e-course had both the elastic back/flat front and a mock fly, and I’ve pretty much been hugging that lane ever since).  In this pair, I realized I’d inadvertently ordered 30 yds of 1/2″ elastic instead of 30 yds of 3/4″ elastic, and so I used two channels of elastic–sort of a twinnie casing–and ran one length of the 1/2″ with one length of 1/4″ that was in my drawer.  I actually love it a lot, and found that it offered more freedom of movement for my son but more stability for the garment.  Am exploring the ramifications of this two-elastic-channels discovery; hold for details.

flat piping on shorts slant pockets

And as for that set of quotation marks around my flat piping comment above…see, the thing is, I don’t really think flat piping is a thing.  What I mean is, it’s not PIPING.  It’s TRIM, I don’t question that, but there seems to have been a trend in the past couple of years calling this piping, which I find disagreeable.  Or more accurately, maybe I just disagree, because I don’t think I care enough for it to be disagreeable, if that makes sense.  Again, it’s TRIM, yes, absolutely.  But for me, from my experience (I didn’t look this up in any Absolute Sewing Authoritative Handbook of Rules or anything, so what do I know?), piping is filled, usually with some kind of cording; if it’s flat, it ain’t piping, it’s trim.  So I trimmed out these pockets with a length of bias tape, folded in half and pressed, inserting the raw edges into the seam and matching them with the raw edge of the pocket pieces before adding the pocket facings and finishing out the shorts front panels.  I did NOT pipe them.  Or maybe I did, whatever.

flat front lobster shorts

Alright, so this turned into a little bit more of a real post than I was expecting.  Good for me.  I didn’t post anything during Kids Clothes Week (I don’t think I even sewed anything during KCW, since we were on vacation?  or had just gotten back from vacation?  one of those–my calendar is a little muddled), so I’m a bit surprised I have so much kids’ clothing to share at all, to be honest.  Will pat self on back and reward my labors with a nice coffee-flavored iced beverage and an episode of Bones.  Done and done.

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  • Alli
    July 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I totally agree with you — flat piping is really just trim! 😀

    • Deborah
      July 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Huzzah!! I’m not crazy!! One point for our team. Woot! 🙂

  • mjb
    July 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Isn’t that called a flange? Or does it need fabric on the other side too (ie not to be on the edge?).

    • Deborah
      July 30, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      You know, that’s a good question. I don’t think I’d consider it a flange unless it was on the edge, e.g. on a pillow with a seam around the body of the cushion insert but with a section of fabic (unfilled) all the way around. So I don’t think I’d call this a flange, just a flat trim. Right? Is that what you’re thinking, Meagan?

  • Samina
    July 30, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t care what you call it, those shorts are beyond cute! You’re right – you can’t go wrong with lobster print!

    • Deborah
      July 30, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Haha! Well, exactly. I think the “flat piping” thing bothers me, but who *really* cares as long as the project makes you happy, yeah? And these shorts totally, totally make me happy. Loved having him walk around our nation’s capitol in them! 🙂

  • Back to School Wardrobes: Inventory | Whipstitch
    August 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

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