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  • Jenni Beth

Malia: One Shorts Pattern for the Whole Summer Long!!

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Once upon a time, Jessica, the designer at 5oo4 Patterns decided she was going to design a pair of swim shorts. Never satisfied with a basic pattern, she decided to include all the options she could think of in the pattern. This pattern includes four inseam lengths (2", 5", 7", and 9"), three rise heights in front, an option for binding or hems at the bottom and sides, plus an optional brief swim liner and two pocket options!! It really has it all!

The Grammar

In case you don't know, let's go over a couple definitions.

Inseam - This is the measurement that you would normally use when you buy dress pants (particularly men's pants). It goes from the crotch seam to the bottom of the shorts/pants. This pattern has four possible inseam lengths: 2", 5", 7", and 9". I made the 2" version (pink and black) and the 7" version (blue and blue)

Rise - This is the measurement that goes from the center of the front waistband, through the legs, to the center of the back waistband. On this pattern, the back rise is the same for all the options, but the front can be high-rise, mid-rise, low-rise, or maternity-rise. I chose the high-rise version for all of my makes, because I like the stretch marks on my belly to be covered (plus high-rise is really in right now!)

Binding - The binding is a strip of fabric that is sewn around the edge of something to finish it off. On this pattern, the binding goes from the top of the front outseam, around the bottom of the leg, to the bottom of the back outseam, where the pattern overlaps. The pattern can use knit or woven fabric for the binding. All of mine use knit fabric so it can stretch a little bit (except for the option I made that is hemmed instead).

Sewing it Up:

This was a super-fun pattern test. It started out as a pattern for just stretch-wovens (with at least 10% stretch), but as the test progressed, the pattern was changed to allow for any woven fabric for the shorts. The waistband needs to be a knit fabric so they can be pulled on without a closure in front.

My first test garment was these blue shorts with white binding. This was a stretch cotton-poplin from my stash, paired with cotton lycra for the waistband and binding. I was going for an "80's vibe" with these. When I saw the blue, I couldn't resist pairing it with white to look like those shorts that everybody wore all summer long in the 80's. I absolutely love these shorts!! These are the 7" length. They are super-lightweight and will be perfect for the hot summer weather we have in this part of the country. Here I have them paired with my Resolution Swim Top and another 5oo4 tank: the Cecilia.

So after I made those ones, my husband said he liked the 80's vibe idea, but if I wanted true 80's shorts, they would need to be shorter. I had just enough of this pink fabric to get some "shorty-shorts" out of it. Again, I used some white binding to get that same look.

At this point in the test, Jessica had changed the size chart (to move to numbered sizes to get better fit) and changed the fabric requirement to allow for any woven fabric. The pattern also now had an option for hemmed bottoms with regular side-seams. So that's what I tried next. This pair is made from a stretch-twill. It is lighter-weight than a denim twill, but considerably heavier than the cotton poplin that i used for the previous two pairs. I decided to try the patch pockets on the back of these, and I really like them, but next time I use them, I will adjust the shape of the pockets so they can hold my phone better. And I'll also adjust the placement a little. Nevertheless, I will wear these the whole summer long as well!

My last pair (and final one for now) was a swim pair as the pattern originally intended. I used a very lightweight stretch-woven fabric from It was marketed as a fabric for running shorts, but it will work perfectly for swimming this summer. For these ones, I used a swim binding and added the brief liner underneath. The swim I used was leftover from the Agility Tank I made as a swimsuit last summer, and was originally from (I had to adjust this one a bit, as I have lost some weight since then).

I also made a Resolution Swim Top out of 5oo4's Resolution Bra and Tank pattern to match. I can't decide which version I like best: the tummy-covering Agility, or the super-fun two-piece look! I'm sure I'll wear both.

This one was a super-fun test! If you're looking for a shorts pattern that will work for the whole summer long, The Malia Shorts Pattern is it! I'm sure I'll be making more!!!

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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