SWAP #8 – Bermuda shorts

I watched the Versace American True Crime documentary last night, by the same people who did the People v OJ (which I l also oved). True Crime is my guilty secret!

Versace American Crime Story

According to the film both Gianni and Donatella were dressed to the nines at all times of day and night. She in her head to toe, tight black outfits, or gorgeous satin dresses, high heels, lots of make up and false eyelashes. Even in his night or beach wear Gianni likes wonderful colours and fabrics. I loved his coral dressing gown and sandy coloured shorts. Set mainly in Florida I started yearning for sunshine, the beach and a chance to run around without a hat or gloves.

So my next SWAP item is a pair of shorts.

I wear shorts quite a lot – although rarely in photographs. In our beautifully warm new eco-home I wear shorts around the house.  I normally reach for sports shorts. Mine or someone else’s. Both my sons left their swimming shorts here, and I like wearing them: they are lightweight, comfortable and Gus’s have lobsters on them.

Mens swimming shorts
My son’s swimming shorts

I know both shorts as housewear and watching American True Crime is bit down at heel and ultra-relaxed; maybe you didn’t see me a slob who likes watching TV in a pair of men’s lobster shorts?  I like to be comfortable, the right temperature and suitably dressed if I fancy doing a few press ups or downward dogs. I had a piece of navy floral fabric containing red and grey. It is polyester and turned out bouncy during construction.

Navy polyester crepe floral
Navy printed polyester crepe

As I had previously had a disaster with a Style Arc elasticated trouser pattern I decided to freelance. I made a very simple pattern for elasticated shorts with a paper-bag waist.

it is simple enough to be cut straight into the cloth.

How to make elasticated waste trousers, or shorts, with a paper bag waist (UK 8-12)

  1. Use a piece of cloth that is 150cms wide.
  2. You are going to cut just two pieces. You need a fabric length of 60cms for short shorts, 80cms for Bermudas, or around 110 cms for trousers
  3. Fold into four lengthwise.
  4. At the top of your fabric measure 27cms from the folded edge to point A, and cut down to 34cms which is point B.
  5. Now cut a nice, crotch curve to the very edge of your fabric (which is 37 cms from the fold) which is point C. The depth of this cut is about 10cms.
  6. For trousers measure 22 cms from the folded edge to point D and connect C to D with a straight line.
  7. For Bermudas the width from the folded edge will be about 27 cms
  8. For Shorts the width from the folded edge with be about 34 cms.
  9. Mark you waist line which is 12cms down from the top of the fabric, on your fabric.

Here is a diagram that is not exactly to scale, but it is approximately correct.

Elasticated paper bag waist trouser pattern
Elasticated paper bag waist trouser pattern

The construction is very simple.

  1. Using French seams (throughout) attach the left and right leg at the CB seam
  2. Create the facing and elastic casing by folding over the top twice,  to match the waist line with a clean, folded under edge.
  3. Stitch close to the edge.
  4. Create a second layer of stitches above it in the facing, wide enough for your elastic (mine is 1cm wide).
  5. Sew the legs together at the CB seam.
  6. Sew the trousers together on the inside leg seam, creating a nice round curve
  7. Create a narrow hem on both trouser legs
  8. At the CB create a little slit either side of the CB seam so you can insert a large safety pin attached to your elastic. Thread it through to the other side of the CB seam and pin together so you can try them on.
  9. Adjust elastic to fit, then sew both ends of the elastic together on the machine.

Now they are done I don’t know how I feel about the length. I always like trying something new and I think these are quite fun, and look like a divided skirt from the distance. True Bermudas are more fitted, and actually above the knee, as these gentlemen below will demonstrate.

Bermuda shorts
Bermuda Wedding

I think i will wear them for work to see how I feel about the length. Maybe slightly above the knee, or short shorts is better? Let me know your views.



23 Responses

  1. Anne

    I like the length as is. It’s okay to me that they might resemble culottes but I guess not to you? Would that element change if they were a bit shorter? I’m not sure. I would be fine about wearing this length to work but not a shorter length (a large bit of that because I no longer like my legs) but again it depends on the type of day at work.

  2. Kay Alexander

    So cool! Beautifully made! I think the length is very good as is, Kate. I especially love the directions that you’ve included for your elasticated waist trousers. Thanks!

  3. Jennifer Miller

    Well, the current length is good for me. I can see though, that a shorter length would work for you! That floral fabric is lovely, and directions so simple, maybe I’ll try a pair! The lobster shorts are just the best!

  4. mrsmole

    Many of my work pants are like yours but I make 2 inch side slits so I can kneel in them. My grandmother used to make and wear the same shorts and I called them “pirate pants” as no other woman wore them in the 50’s. They are my go-to pants when trying to stay cool with the brides. Love the floral fabric!

    • fabrickated

      The issues of staying cool are rarely ones that trouble us! I am not used to living in a warm home as so many of our old properties are drafty and energy bills are high. Love from the land of the wooly!

  5. Vancouver Barbara

    Love the new “shorts”. Really love them. Bermudas, by definition, are 1″ above the knee. I think yours look great at the current length. I also love the “Lobster” shorts. Hope you can find some lobster print and make your own after your son reclaims his.

  6. Claire

    Love your blog and have been following for quite a while. Been meaning to comment, and do not have a good enough reason why not, so here goes! Love the longer length Bermuda which I think can be used on many more occasions than the shorter length. Here on the other side of the pond, I would wear them for work, dinner, baby or wedding showers, etc. The fabric chosen adds an elegance to the whole outfit. Great look!

    • fabrickated

      Hello, dear Claire! How nice of you to follow and to comment. Funnily enough the British idea of an American tourist is a rather unflattering image of an overweight couple dressed unfashionably in brightly coloured shorts, sneakers and peaked hats with lots of cameras! (I dread to think what the British stereotype is for Americans!). On the whole Brits don’t do shorts as it normally too cold. They are rarely worn for work and lots of men only have a pair for the pool or holidays in warmer destinations. I like them as they are as comfortable and leggings without the clinginess.

      • Cheryl Designs

        This is so funny 🙂 I am USA MADE 🙂 I have lived here for my ENTIRE life 🙂 I live in Southeastern Ohio. I wear shorts when I am working in my yard/garden 🙂 I NEVER wear shorts in public-never have 🙂 My hearts’ desire is to travel to Britain and I would NEVER-EVER wear shorts or anything TOURISTY 🙂 I am NOT overweight or elderly (acting). I am a slender 60 year old 🙂 I just seem to be a ‘modest’ dresser since my teens 🙂 I like to keep my body, I guess…private 🙂 No tank tops or shorts or sandals. Well-sandals are OKAY on the BEACH 🙂 I do think that a LONGER LENGTH on ‘shorts’ is MORE flattering for anyone over the age of 21 🙂

        • fabrickated

          Ha ha Cheryl! I hope you come to the UK and that we can meet. I think after 60 the skin quality is a bit less beautiful than before so maybe we don’t want to see acres of it. Thank you for your interesting comment.

  7. Ruth

    Your shorts are so unexpected that I think the longer length is much more interesting. Just change the name and instead of Bermudas. call them bloomers!

  8. Karen

    Love these. I think I might have a go. I’m booked on a trip to Palma in June with a friend and in an attempt at frugal living, I’ve not added a hold case to the flight. Trip to Palma / frugal living! I can’t ever imagine not working however, if I’m still at it at 67, I would like to hope I might have more choice/control/flexibility over the details than I do now. If I can live on less now its good practice for the future and I also might manage to save. Slight digression there. Need to work out a perfect capsule wardrobe. Thank you as always for the inspiration. I am currently mulling over the yoke pattern for my third Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater. I am booked onto a sock knitting class on Wednesday and I went to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last weekend. The yarn festival was brilliant. Strongly recommend it. However, please note, frugal living, it’s not. X

    • fabrickated

      Thanks for your nice update Karen. I always travel light as I can’t wait to get out of the airport! I very much support your frugal living attitude and I am very keen to manage with less. I have recently realised that I have such good fabric in my cupboard I never need to go shopping again. I have started another yoke sweater myself, as I really like the roominess of my navy one. I chose a mid blue which is difficult to match with other colours. I want to do red, yellow and pink but I don’t have those colours

  9. ceci

    The current length which looks culotte-ish to me would seem work appropriate.

    Or the true Bermuda inch above the knee length.

    A mid-thigh or shorter would be cute in the fabric, and more like the lobster shorts, but wouldn’t have worked in any of my work places……


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