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  • Writer's pictureJenni Beth

5oo4 Kids' Swim Trunks

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I signed up to promote 5oo4's Kids' Swim Trunks, because I knew my kiddos would be needing some new shorts for water-play this summer (not yet sure if we'll actually be able to use them at the pool or not, but as you can see, they are super-fun at the local creek!) When this fabric arrived from, it turned out it was very polarizing fabric. The three younger kids loved it and all needed shorts from it, and the three older kids all said, "No thanks, Mom. I'd rather have solid colored fabric." But it ended up being perfect since I just had one yard of this awesome board short fabric :) (I have enough left for a pocket on some solid shorts if the big kids change their minds...)

Anyway, about the pattern. I knew I was going to like this one, because I have made the men's swim trunks for my bigger boys before, and they loved it. And this time I decided to try out all the options!! None of my kids fit into exact sizes. My daughter is a size 2 waist, 3 hips, and 5 height in 5oo4. My younger son is a 3 waist/hips and 5 height. And my older son is a size 5 waist/hips and 7 height. So I mostly graded between those sizes, except I knew that I wanted the boys to have a little growing room, so I sized up a size on the width for theirs, figuring they'll be a little shorter at the end of the summer/next year, but they should still fit. For my daughter, I made a size 3 width, 4 height, figuring that I wanted the girl version to look a little slimmer (more true-to-size).

The pattern has two lengths for each size, and I made the shorter length for my daughter. I didn't have quite enough of the dino fabric for her shorts, so I color-blocked the back pattern piece with a stripe of solid teal. I didn't change the front at all, because she wanted inseam pockets for her hands to go into, and colorblocking the front would have messed that up. (FYI, I sewed the teal strip onto the short backs first thing, double checked it against the pattern piece, and then proceeded with the pattern as written). The most fiddly part of this pair of shorts was the pocket, but the instructions were great, and it was fine as long as I went slowly. Something great about this pattern is that it has you stitch the pocket to the front leg so it doesn't float out into the water when you are swimming. I really appreciate these instructions, as my bigger kids have had issues with floating pockets in the past )

The pattern has two pocket options: the inseam pockets and the cargo pockets with a flap. Both the boys chose to have a cargo pocket (I told them they could just have one, because it's a little bit of work, and I didn't want to do it twice for each pair of shorts). I followed the pattern suggestion to put grommets in at the bottom of the cargo pockets, and I think it gives it a real professional touch, in addition to allowing the water to flow out when they swim. Both the boys' shorts have the typical swim liner, and I thought the instructions in the pattern for that were great (although, when it says "right sides together," that's what it actually means...ask me how I know!)

5oo4's Kids Swim Trunks will be great shorts to wear this summer, both at the creek, and eventually in the pool!

This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. The commission helps to fund my fabric costs, and is very appreciated.

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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

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