Free Pattern Review & Hack – Women’s Shorts – Purl Soho City Gym Shorts

Who doesn’t love free stuff?! There are SO many awesome free sewing patterns out there (beware there are also lots of not so great ones!) I thought it would be fun to review some of the ones I’ve tried, so…here’s my first go at it! I’m going to try to do a new one every couple of weeks, so follow my blog if you want to see more free patterns!

For this first review, I tried a pattern and designer that are new to me. This was my first attempt at a Purl Soho pattern. You can get the pattern here: Purl Soho City Gym Shorts. I used custom cotton lycra knit to make these from here: Smoogie Fabric.

I made a couple of modifications, but overall I was very happy with pattern. It also comes in kids sizes, so it would be a fun pattern to use for Mommy & Me outfits!

The modifications I made:

  1. The pattern is designed to be used with woven materials. I used a medium/heavy weight knit – cotton lycra. I fall right in the middle of the size chart for the size I made and probably could have sized down. If you are on the lower end of a size, I would probably size down if using knit instead of woven.
  2. There is a lengthen/shorten line on the pattern. I am tall, so I lengthened by about 1.25″ at the line provided on the pattern pieces.
  3. I thought the method described in the instructions for the waistband might be too bulky when using knit, so instead of following the instructions provided I cut a piece 2.75″ x the length in the instructions (versus 4 3/8″ width), sewed the short ends together, folded with wrong sides together so that raw ends matched up, sandwiched the elastic between, and then attached with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Shortened the waist elastic by a couple of inches.

What I liked about the pattern:

  1. Love the design and look! I will definitely be making more, in knit and woven!
  2. It’s a pretty quick sew.
  3. The pattern is only 8 pages! I’ve had some women’s patterns take up to 70 pages, so this was a dream!
  4. I got a good fit with my first sew, even though I used a different type of fabric. I’m sure the fit would have been even better using recommended fabrics.
  5. Would be good for colorblocking.

Room for improvement:

  1. I wish the seam allowance was on the pattern pieces. Once I print a pattern I like for it to stand alone so I don’t have to go back and find the instructions later.
  2. The pattern pieces aren’t the trimless pages I have grown accustomed to in the PDF pattern world. But again, I’m not going to complain with it only being 8 pages (and free!).
  3. It’s not hard to measure the pattern pieces, but it would have been helpful to note in the instructions what the inseam length of the finished shorts was to aid in the shortening/lengthening process.
  4. Again, it’s free, so this is more of a wish than a complaint, but I loved it enough I wish it went down to smaller kid sizes so I could make a matching pair for my mini. 🙂

Here are some more pictures of my shorts (I’ll confess I took these before I gave them a good press, so don’t judge, there is a little waviness on my bindings :)):


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