A brave and fun-ghi: the Chataigne shorts

Okay, a disclaimer before the post proper: I am rather.. apprehensive, shall we say, to put these photos up here. I don’t have the best bod and never have, although I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got (an in-proportion pear shape). While I do have a reasonably good body image, I do still get down in the dumps, and I know that I have rolls and my legs have dimples.

Being self-conscious is part of the reason why I’ve never worn shorts. That, it’s hard to find nice ones that fit me, and I always get the horrible inner-thighs-riding-up thing. Also, some people feel they have the right to question what people wear, because it “offends them”.

When Deer & Doe released their Chataigne Shorts pattern, I was torn. They were hella cute, and the corseted waist was interesting and probably would be flattering, but could I get away with wearing short-shorts? Was I allowed? For some reason I decided to google the matter and found this excellent website – sure these girls have rolls and dimples and white or dark skin, but they look FABULOUS. The idea that I shouldn’t wear shorts because someone else doesn’t want to look at my legs is surely another form of victim blaming, and I won’t have a bar of it!

So, I bought the pattern and have finally made it up, so here we go and please be kind: my Chataigne shorts.


The shorts are the first project I’ve made with my pants sloper (which I made at The Dreamstress School of Dressmaking – perfect fit pants class – highly recommended if you’re based in or near Wellington). I used the waist pieces as is, and traced the legs as a combination of the original pattern, and the sloper, making sure to get the crotch length/rise the same as my sloper, which worked well. I also lengthened the shorts by a few inches, else they would be super short. My muslin just showed I needed more room in the waist but otherwise the fit was adequate. You can see the crotch length is perhaps a bit short, or it may be to do with the style, but there’s a bit of pulling down there.

ImageI love the word crotch. Maybe just because everyone else hates it.

The waist pieces are also a bit small still, leading to horizontal pulling and a visible tummy button, although they actually don’t feel too tight. Funnily, these are actually remarkably comfortable, it’s like they just hold everything in place! The only thing I notice when wearing them is that the hems are a bit tight (maybe because of the way I’ve sewn them).

ImageOtherwise, I’m really comfortable in these. I’m not worried about the dreaded “muffin top”, and shockingly the inner thighs don’t seem to ride up!! I’m guessing this is because of the fuller thigh adjustment we did on the sloper, but I always thought it was inevitable (for years I battled with chafe, which is the reason that I never, ever went without stockings or culotte petticoats until I was 23 and lost a bit of weight and could get away with not wearing them). Sorry if that’s TMI!

ImageYou may notice that this is the same fabric as Mr. Guy’s trousers… and, well, I swear this isn’t on purpose:

ImageIn the middle is my face, when realising that we accidentally have quite a lof of matching outfits


Sorry rachelinred! I swear it wasn’t on purpose.

In terms of construction, I flat felled both the side and inner leg seams. Hems are overlocked, folded then folded again (therefore really strong, and the reason why I think they’re a bit constricting). Crotch seam and pockets were overlocked. The seams in the waistband we pressed open and left to reduce bulk. And because the cotton twill is quite thick, I lined them with quilting cotton:


The zip doesn’t match, because it’s all I had and it’s an invisible zip (although because they’re fitting I think you can see it a bit at the perfectly matching seam πŸ˜€


I am pretty sure I’ll make these again; probably using 10mm seam allowances to loosen them and perhaps in a stretch wool or denim for some winter shorts that will look great with stockings.


Pattern: Chataigne shorts by Deer & Doe

Fabric: Blue cotton twill, and quilting cotton, leftover from other projects

Notions: thread and zipper, stash

Total: zilch.

ImageSo, thanks for letting my bare my legs. With this kind of thing it’s tempting to put stockings on first (despite the heat), stylise the photos somehow or even avoid them altogether, but doing this sort of thing is how you really come to grips with your body image, and if noone does it, people think it shouldn’t be done! There’s not enough plus-sized sewing bloggers out there which can be hard, because you only see how certain patterns look on slimmer people. So there you go – I recommend these shorts for plus-sized ladies, although only if you’re comfortable with a fitted waist!


Oh, for Morgan and anyone else who cares, the lipstick is Flat Out Fabulous, by MAC cosmetics: one of my absolute fav colours.


47 thoughts on “A brave and fun-ghi: the Chataigne shorts

  1. I think they look great on you. I especially like the sailboats on the inside — fabulous detail. With all your adjustments, a pair of winter shorts will rock!

    • Hehe isn’t that fabric fab? I have a dress made out of it that’s waiting to be blogged – I’m trying not to blog more than every two days (is even that too much for everyone, though?) but, erm, I’m sewing faster than that…

  2. You should never have to apologize for posting pics, or for how you think your body looks! This is your blog, post what you like and wear what you like. I think those shorts are super cute and they draw attention to your slim wasteline. Definitely make more pairs!

    • Oops, I didn’t mean to actually apologise! Although it’s interesting that so many of us feel the need to do so. I’m supposed to be LOUD AND PROUD of my body – because (usually) I am, and I think those of who can be brave enough should put ourselves out there so others can get inspiration.

  3. So gorgeous on you, Soph! I adore the seaming on these shorts – super interesting. That waistline is amazing on your shape! Love them, every inch.

    Also, no woman should be shamed out of wearing anything – shorts, bikinis, whatever. I went years avoiding pools and oceans, for fear of wearing a swimsuit in front of people. Ridiculous! I have just as much right to enjoy water, as someone smaller. Believing the media hype of “bikini bodies” is so easy to give in to, however. So, huzzah for you! You look gorg!

    • I’m lucky that SOMEHOW I didn’t have hang ups enough to stop me from doing anything when I was a teenager, even though I’ve been overweight since puberty and most of my friends were very slim (I think it was some kind of motherly magic, thanks Mum). I do remember always wearing board shorts and full togs though (until I realised that board shorts actually made me look bigger), and I must admit I once almost cried when I watched the “baby you’re a firework” Katy Perry video where the bigger girl decided to go swimming at the pool party.

      I love the advice that’s gone around for how to get a bikini body – “put on a bikini”.

  4. These shorts are fantastic – you should *absolutely* wear them with pride. I’m still getting over my fear of showing my legs – I’ve never been in love with them, but you’re so right that we shouldn’t let other people’s opinions of what we “should” wear define our wardrobe choices. Great post!

    • It doesn’t help that we get constant reminders that we shouldn’t be showing our legs off if they’re not perfectly smooth and tanned! But stuff it, I dress for my, and my husband, and he said the shorts look good so I’m going for them.

  5. I think these look nice! I’m also a shorts-phobic pear. I like the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern for shorts, but I’m kind of afraid of all commercial shorts. I did recently buy this same pattern, though, since the lady in the pattern photos looks a bit pear-y and the shorts look lovely on her. And they look great on you! Never apologize for wearing shorts. You look lovely. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Aleksandra! I also have the Thurlow pattern (well, a friend has my copy of it) and I’ve been wanting to make trousers for aaaages, I like these a bit better as shorts but will be looking to make pants as soon as I get the fabric for them (and the pattern back).

  6. Thanks for letting ,me know the lipstick brand πŸ™‚ You shorts look wonderful! That pattern is so intriguing, I might have to try it soon. I imagine styling it with an airy white peasant blouse (I’ll have to make that too if I want to wear that outfit!).

    • Hehe, no problem – I love my bright lipsticks and try to encourage others to try them too! The problem with this colour is the “retro matte” formula is REALLY dry. Instead I would probably recommend Smashbox’s “Fuchsia Flash” instead, it’ll stay longer!

      Yeah I have it in my mind that an Archer blouse would look great tucked into this, so I ought to buy fabric for one πŸ˜€ (and should get around to printing, cutting, cellotaping and tracing the pattern, darn)

    • Thanks! And yeah, totally unintentional matching (but I love it). So far it’s so subtle that noone will notice (except when I wore my spotty Cambie, and Guy wore his Negroni shirt with the spotty fabric as trim)

  7. Love! Makes me want make my “winter” shorts, ’cause I’m a tights and shorts kinda gal. Although if I get them done in the next month I’ll have to put the bare legs out there. Great photo shoot. Pips.

    • Are you in the northern hemisphere with spring and summer coming along? I’m really looking forward to wearing these (and another pair) with stockings! I haven’t made anything shorter than my knees in a while and I used to love wearing short skirts with tights, so these should be good

      • Yep. I’m down Melbourne way in the land of Oz. I did a sewing course with Leinomie a couple of years ago for an under bust corset. Have you crossed bloggy paths with her? She is hawian/NZ. Love your blog. Pips.

      • Oh but you’ll be getting the cold weather shortly, surely! You’ll probably be at a simliar latitute to me, in the Far North region of NZ.
        And yep, Leimomi is who I referred to in the post – “The Dreamstress” is her blog and school name – I did the pants block with her, and have also done her “know your fabrics” course. I’m hoping to do the under bust corset class when I return to Wellington, so long as we can lure enough people to it that she’ll run it again this year

      • I wish she would come back to Australia and do some more teaching. Would love to do one of her 1920’s dress workshops. The dreamstress. She Rocks! Looking forward to seeing more of your creations. Pips.

  8. You rock those shorts! It’s definitely flattering. Not a muffin top in sight! I read on other blogs that these shorts don’t chafe so I am also tempted to try these because I have the same problem.

    • Be aware that I did use a sloper though that had a full thigh adjustment done, although I don’t think I added THAT much to that area! And I forgot to mention that I lengthened them a couple of inches (will go back to add that in the post), otherwise they would be shooort

  9. Thank you for your review. It is totally hard to translate makes from slimmer bodies. I appreciate your blog. thanks! Keep posting. You are gorgeous.

    • It’s annoying, I know! It’s lovely seeing all the versions of patterns in terms of fabrics etc. but is very difficult to imagine what they’ll look like on us bigger ladies (or gents).

  10. I think these are super cute! I’ve been waiting to see some Chaitagnes in the wild so I can decide if I want the pattern or not. Your version is definitely making me want it!

    Anyway, props to you for posting the photos. I felt the same way recently about a dress that I made (McCall’s 6887 with the back cut-out). You can see back fat through the cut-out, and at first I was embarrassed, but then I realized…who really cares?!? Most people have back fat, even skinny girls, and really, it’s just fat. What makes our society think it needs to be covered up and never exposed? I agree with you, the more people start just wearing what they want, hopefully there will be less and less weight/cellulite/flaw stigma. Society’s definition of flattering is basically “makes you look skinnier”, which is so messed up.

    • Thanks Nicole! There’s not many versions out there but there are some gorgeous pairs (check out the red houndstooth ones on google images/kollabara)

      One of the worst things about the popular media (magazines etc) is that they try and pretend like “famous people/the people we should aspire to be like” don’t have any bodily imperfections – and when they do show those imperfection, they vilify them like they’re monsters, circling the circles under their eyes or the 2-3 thigh dimples.

      And yeah you’re right about society’s definition of “flattering” – related, I did a makeup education evening a while ago, run by some Smashbox hot shot. I asked her about contouring because I kind of wanted to try it, and she told me “the ideal face shape is an oval, so contouring is used to hide parts of your face so it looks like an oval”. That’s BULLHICKY!

  11. You look great! The shorts are very flattering, I love the fitted waist. I will check into this pattern. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks! I also love the fitted waist though next time I might try the slimmer waistband – because these are so high and my legs are quite long, they’re shortening my torso a bit (which isn’t big problem, but it’ll be nice to see the other version)

  12. I don’t mind looking at your bare legs when you’re wearing shorts that fit you! I do mind looking at anyone’s bare legs if they have squeezed themselves in shorts that are too narrow (whether the person wearing the shorts is thin or has a fuller figure). It’s like when boobs are trying to escape a too tight top/bra.
    I think the shorts and you look great and you definitely should wear whatever you feel like wearing! People should be able to express themselves without worrying about what other people might think, and clothes are just one of many ways to express yourself. But I have to admit that I hardly ever wear shorts, because I think my thighs are not my best asset, even though I like wearing shorts on hot summer days…

    • Och yeah that’s a good point, NOONE looks good when wearing the total wrong size.

      It’s funny, I have a couple of “hot spots” where I can wear a hem and look good. Just below my knee, and half way up my thighs. In between my knee and the half-way-up-thighs spot looks awful, as does in-the-middle-of-my-calves. Maybe you just need to find your hem hot spot for shorts

  13. Hahaha! Yup, I see more matching outfits in your future… I knew it all along, you’re an elderly lady with a match-fetisj, hiding in a young body! πŸ™‚
    I think your shorts look cute and they fit superb. Best fitting Chantaigne i’ve seen so far! I’m happy that you put these photo’s on your blog, by the way. Enjoy all the lovely comments, let it sink in and rejoice your beuatiful body! Really though, I mean it. You. Look. Good.

    • I totally am an elderly lady in a young body. Stuff partying, I want to do crafts!
      And thank you for your kind words (I feel like an old lady saying that too). A few of the chataigne shorts I’ve seen so far have a rather too short crotch… which I totally would have had, if I hadn’t had the sloper to go off

  14. These shorts look great on you, because they are a really good fit. This is a sewing blog, so we’re just a bunch of ordinary women in awe of the fit and finish, and not in least bit concerned about how much your body differs from a supermodel’s.
    I totally understand your issues with shorts – finding flattering shorts was one of my 52 goals last year, and the best I managed was Tania culottes.
    Well done

  15. Pingback: Ships ahoy! Sew Dolly Clackett #2 |

  16. Ah I think I missed this post of yours somehow… The shorts look super cute on you and they fit so well!
    Some people will always have opinions about other peoples clothing it doesn’t really mater what clothing size, I’m very slim and even I get looks when I walk around in shorts. I don’t care really, I love shorts, they are perfect for sunny days: airy, light and awesome for playing with the dog outside. So enjoy your beautiful new shorts!:)

    • Yeah I think I need a pair that are a bit looser/more floaty, to run around in. The hems on these are a bit tight still – but I do have plenty of time until summer hits us again!

  17. Aah, the torment we put ourselves through. My 10 cents worth.

    Body image is a tricky thing. The messages we get are pervasive and endemic. And crap. And even when we think we’re doing it right, there are little things to trick us up. And I think it’s in the language we use. My lengthy treatise follows…

    You start off by saying “you know you don’t have the best bod but you’re happy with what you’ve got.” Not the best by what standard? According to whom? I think your bod is absolutely perfect the way it is. And it would be perfect any other way too

    Different people’s aesthetics will vary and some people will be more attracted to your shape than others, and some people will be more attracted to other shapes, but that’s not a sign that your bod is not the best. It’s just right as it is. But that also doesn’t mean you can’t want to make changes to it. Piercings, tattoos, hair, makeup, and clothes are all ways we change our look, and some people want to change their shape as part of that. Also acceptable, but there’s still no right and wrong, no better or worse. I love tatts. My step dad loathes them. Neither of our opinions should influence anyone to get or not get tattoos! Only the person in the body should have any real concern about how the body looks.

    You also say you’re “overweight”. Over what weight? Who says what weight is the ideal weight?

    And I totally and passionately agree with your commenter above who said “flatters” is code for “makes me look skinnier”.

    So things I try to do: avoid using comparitive or judgemental language. Facts are fine – I have a big ass, a tummy pouch, and upright boobs. Recognising my emotions is fine, as that’s also factual. I don’t like my tummy. But I’m trying to stop short of judgements: each time I want to tell myself I have a horrible tummy, it’s ugly, etc, I stop myself. I don’t use the word overweight. I’m heavy, or a bit fat. Those are facts, not judgements. And I don’t decide if things flatter or suit me, I decide if I like hope they look on me. Because what I like on me someone else might not and that’s OK because it’s not their opinion I care about.

    Please read all of the above with an “imho” at the beginning of every sentence!

    Now, I should also add that I do all this and I think about all this because I do deeply dislike my body. But I don’t feel that way about other heavy, curvy, or tummy-poochy bodies (in fact I think a tummy on a lady is sexy). So, my scientific mind knows my emotional response to my own reflection is the result of the deeply ingrained training we’ve all had for years and I’m determined to change that training. I’ve worked on changing my visual diet (more sewing and body positivity blogs, less fashion mags, more photos of myself) and I’m constantly seeking to remind myself that my responses exist in my head, the place where I am supreme overlord and dammit They Will Change.

    Sorry if I’ve waffled on too much or shared too much!

    TL; DR: Shorts are cute. You have a great ass. Rock it baby!!!

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