Hallowe’en Spotlight: High Waisted Shorts

I know. This post (and the next, where I will finish up the whole Hallowe’en costume craziness) are late. Late late late. Late enough that some organized person (not me) has the freakin’ Christmas tree up. This is the post where I tell you about one more bit of Tyo’s Hallowe’en costume: her high-waisted shorts.


Way back when, when Hallowe’en was just a misty possibility on the horizon, I doodled a costume sketch for Tyo. It included, as a bit of whimsy, a feature completely and utterly alien to children of her generation—high waisted shorts.

As an avid adopter of the low rise myself, I know for a fact Tyo’s never worn anything (pants, shorts, skirts) as high as even her bellybutton, ever, in her life. But there I was, offering to make Tyo her very first pair of high-waisted anything, ever.

Despite my doodling, I was hesitant. They won’t open like jeans you’re used to, I pointed out.

They will feel different.


She assured me it would be fine.

I went through a lot of different thought processes—even started to draft out a pattern using Pepin. Then, when I found Butterick 7759 in a vintage size 12 (33″ hips, within an inch of Tyo’s these days), it seemed like fate.

Butterick 7759

Well, I can’t say I’d call it fate. I’m not really super-duper-enthused with Butterick 7759. Although it clearly is supposed to rise about an inch above the waist, there’s no flare-out above the waist to accomodate what (I would think) most people’s bodies do. But my biggest quibble is the shaping of the crotch—back and front are almost identical, and there’s not a whole lot of “space” created. After comparing with the fit of McCall’s 5312 (Yes, I actually used that pattern as a fit comparison!?!), I added a crotch length extension. I considered adding my usual rear rise wedge as well, but figured there would be plenty of height in the rise anyway, since the pattern was probably drafted for someone rather taller than Tyo (who hasn’t cracked five feet yet, although she’s getting perilously close.)

Pattern pieces

So, aside from my small pattern mod, and adding the points at the front, I sewed them up as is except for the back darts. In hindsight I might’ve skipped the front darts and saved myself some headaches—they make the front of the shorts a bit poofy, which Tyo was not really a fan of.


I assume there actually is a person out there with a figure suited to front darts. I just haven’t met them yet. Or maybe that’s how pants/shorts like this are supposed to fit, all poofy in front? How the hell would I know—I haven’t worn anything but stretch denim voluntarily since I discovered the stuff.

This is an actual photo taken Hallowe’en morning before school. Shorts. With snow pants.

When I first started fitting the shorts, Tyo was suddenly very sceptical of the high-waisted fit, and I was very close to tearing her head off. Fortunately for her (and for my continued jail-free existence), once I had the zipper in and they actually stayed up, she really, really liked it. The only hitch came with me adding in my own (made up, half-ass) facing. I had incorporated some above-waist flare when I made the custom-fit back darts, but when I was measuring the facing against the shorts themselves, that flare kind of folded itself up. So the facing rectangle wound up slightly shorter than the shorts had been. It eased in all right and doesn’t really show, but the waist/rib section is a bit more snug. Most of the time she wore it, the zipper was down about one or two inches. Which actually looks pretty cute, but fit, it is not.


All in all? I don’t know if she’s a high-waisted convert (although my 15 year old niece was asking about shorts “to her waist, to tuck things into,” so you know the times they are a-changin’) but it was certainly an interesting exercise outside both our comfort zones. And the results were pretty darn cute. Even if I do still have a long way to go in fitting what we’ve affectionately dubbed the Gigi booty. (After the paternal grandmother to whom we can trace this particular figure in my husband’s family)

Also, anyone remember when Tyo looked like this? What the heck happened to my baby?



Filed under Sewing

29 responses to “Hallowe’en Spotlight: High Waisted Shorts

  1. Thats a really awesome costume. 🙂 Hmm – darts at the front – agreed on the confusion as to who they would suit. No one wants extra volume in that area surely. What is worse is tucks! Heh.
    Also – I LOVE her boots. Would covet a pair of those for sure 🙂

  2. I still say that a steampunk Christmas would be the best thing ever. And yeah, who said our girls were allowed to grow up so fast? NOT FAIR.

  3. kattheengineer

    I really love these shorts. And it’s a very cute costume! The poofiness doesn’t seem too obvious in the photos, and is probably less so when one isn’t looking for it…

    If I didn’t have such a gut, I’d be inclined to wear those kind of shorts too (as it stands, I’d need some serious corsetry). High-waisted is better for me than hipsters, as it’s physically impossible to show muffin top when the waistband sits at my smallest part 🙂

    • Yeah, I don’t think it really stands out to most people—it was just the first thing she commented on.

      You may have noticed she has some corsetry happening, too. (Albeit of the lightest kind)

  4. Lucy

    I need front darts! Not big ones like those though. About 2 – 2.5 inches long, slightly angled, and at roughly the upper and lower quartiles of the front, to accommodate the funny little dips between my pelvis and (quite protruding) hip bones.

    The way that Tyo’s figure is developing, I suggest you take note 😉

  5. Ohmigosh those shorts are amazing! The whole outfit is super cute and funky and I would wear those shorts in a heartbeat myself. Not sure if they’d look as great on me as they do on your super stylish wee one though! Just fabulous.

  6. they look great! but a christmas tree? seriously?

  7. OOOh! Tyo looks fantastic as a steampunk grrrl! Those shorts are shockingly flattering (I’m with you on the low rise)! But, yeah, I’ve watched my 14 year old niece go from little girl to teen in a heartbeat. It’s scary.

    Confess: you left that tree up from last year. Amirite?

  8. What a great costume. The whole outfit is just awesome. And my first throught with the first picture was how much older she looked. And those boots! I want!

    • Yeah—I mean, it creeps all the time, but every once in a while it seems like the “grownupness” levels up. She’s now in the same size category as my teenage niece and, frankly, quite a few adults.

      The boots have one tragic flaw, which is that there’s a serious “calf curve” that falls well below most people’s actual calf curve, creating an odd double-bump on my mother (and I, when I crammed my feet into them For Science). Fortunately Tyo is short enough that it’s not as pronounced on her… for now. 😉

  9. Seriously cute, maybe I need to look into some high waisted shorts for myself. BTW, I am totally jealous of your daughter’s boots, I think I need those for myself too.

    • Hey, they’re worth a try. She sure pulls them off… 🙂

      See above about the boots. They also came from my mother… she is really lucky I can’t steal her boots, I tell ya…

  10. I love how that final outfit came together…those high-waisted shorts really look great on Tyo, even if she looks more like a teenager than a tyo! I’m with you on those front darts; they’re only ever added poofiness for me, so I just draft them out now. Can’t wait for Syo’s pics!

  11. Ooo, I’ve been patiently waiting for the Steampunk Halloween costumes reveal! 😀 Tyo’s outfit is fantastic! Those shorts look great, and you can barely see the pouffiness. The suspenders are perfect with it, too!

    I’ve seen advice…somewhere about sewing the front darts so that it curves either concave or convex (instead of sewing the dart straight), depending on how your front curves. I’d have to do a convex curve, because I have a narrower waist, but a sudden bulge directly below it. This would take it in at the waist where I need it, but still give room for my tummy without causing stretching and funny wrinkles. Or so I understand in theory, because of course I Fear The Trouser Sewing. lol

    • I think it would be the same for trousers or a skirt, if that helps. Thanks for the insight. The problem for me (and Tyo) is that we basically go straight down and then in below the waist… there is no front “waist dent.”

      • Yeah, I can see how the darts would be useless for you two then. Might be better to just remove them. You’d probably have to remove some width from the side seams (???), but if you’re flat at the front, there’s no sense in adding curves in the fabric there.

        Lucky ducks, that probably removes a lot of the complications in trousers. Except for the curves on the other side! (No grass is really greener on the other side, you just don’t see your neighbours bare patches as much from your view point!)

  12. Man, that stylin’ is awesome. I LOVE the tights! She really wears it well.

  13. Amy

    What a darling costume! I love those goggles. Interesting that the younguns are going for the high waist!

  14. Oh my god she looks fantabulous! And I’m very glad you both managed to survive the high waist fitting process.

  15. That costume is great!
    From my personal experience (as someone who regularly wears high-waisted things which about half the time feature front darts), front darts are not necessarily evil 😉
    For someone with a considerable waist-to-hip ratio, they may be needed to shape something like a pencil skirt correctly. For the classic hourglass figure (for which patterns up to the mid-1960’s were made) they make a lot of sense. With that particular body shape, you might have a shadow of a tummy sticking out a little bit below your wasp-waist, and that can be fitted quite neatly with darts. Of course, they always have to be of the right length, carefully stitched and well pressed.
    In this case, I think the problem is just that the pattern was made for a different body shape than Tyo’s. She may be growing up quickly but she probably won’t have the kind of hips assumed in this pattern despite the matching hip measurement. So basically, she needed less shape at the front and more at the back (as you have already noticed, of course)

Leave a Reply to CGCouture Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s