Heya. About a month ago I was contacted by Joanna from Zierstoff - Simply Sew and I was asked whether I'd review one of their patterns. I browsed through their 137 patterns and decided to give the MINAs Shorts a go.
At first I cut out size 36/S based on my hip measurements from this blue patterned jersey I had in my stash and then started thinking that the fabric would look great color blocked. So I cut out the pieces in some black jersey as well and made two pairs. The instructions don't say what weight fabrics you should use. They recommend using knits or other stretchy fabrics but I think they should also say what type, because there are SOOOOO many types of knits with different amounts of stretch, weight and recovery out there. I used more lighter fabrics as I wanted to make something to sleep in, but if you'll want something that doesn't stretch out of shape and has better recovery than mine, I'd recommend using medium weight with medium stretch and great recovery. Lightweight sweatshirt fabrics would work great. In fact I am thinking about making another pair in the same fabric I used for this dark sweater.
The pattern is a PDF pattern which comes with three files. One for the pattern pieces, one for instructions and one for test print for the pattern pieces. There are also different videos on their youtube channel for various tutorials that give you an option to choose how you'd like to sew a certain step. For these shorts there are different options on how to sew the waistband.
The pattern printing was a challenge for me. I've printed my fair share of PDF patterns. Most of the patterns I have are PDF and I haven't had any trouble with printing before(unless I have been a dum-dum and forgot to check "Print Actual Size". But this time I had some issues. The pattern printed slightly off scale. The 2cm test square printed up 1,7cm even when I had the scaling to Actual Size. And as the pattern pages don't have free space on the edges of the paper like most patterns do, there was no play room with scale. I either had to print slightly off scale or lose a bit of the pattern on each page. As the shorts are drafted for a knit fabric, I decided to hope for the best, print off scale and hope that it would turn out okay. It did, mainly because the pattern pieces are so small and I tried to add the missing space by not taping the pages together, but I left space between them. The taping process took little to no time as the pattern is only nine pages which seems like nothing compared to 25+ page patterns which take a loooooooooong time to piece together. And finding my size on the pattern was super easy. All the sizes are drawn in different colours which makes tracing and cutting so much easier if you have a colour printer however the border pattern was the same for all sizes, only the colour differed between sizes. So if you don't have a colour printer or run out of some colours, you'll have a bit of a challenge on your hands. I hope in the future, they can make the borders different in pattern as well and not just colour to make the process easier to those who can't or don't want to print in colour.
When I started to cut out my size, I discovered that the gals had solved the pockets/no pockets very smartly, by just adding cutting lines for the pocket opening on the same pattern piece as the no pocket option, saving you time and paper of having to print two front pieces. But after I had cut all the pieces out of the fabrics and started sewing, I discovered that the pocket facing and opening didn't match up. I checked the pattern pieces, and confirmed that they were the same size, just different shape. The bottom of the facing matched the same size pocket piece, so I thought that maybe the facing is smaller so it won't let the pocket opening stretch out of shape. So I eased the main piece to the facing and it turned out fine. No issues with stretched out pocket openings. Yay! I sewed everything together on my sewing machine and overlocked the seam allowances for a more clean and professional look.
The instructions were clear and had helping pictures on the side of all the steps and were mostly in logical order. If I had to make a change to the instructions, I would sew the pockets as the first step. According to the instructions you are supposed to sew the center seam of the front and the back pieces first and then assemble the pockets to the front pieces. I am taught to sew all the little things first and then assemble the small pieces to big pieces. And that's what I did. I think it's much more easier to maneuver the pockets seams under your machines when the main pieces aren't sew together.
As you can see my two versions fit me quite differently. The black shorts are much more tighter and fitted than the blue ones. That's because I had slept four nights in the blue ones before taking pictures. They had stretched quite bit. But they are super comfy to sleep in. It feels like I'm not wearing pants at all. Overall I am very happy with these shorts, they have become my favorite PJ bottoms and I plan on making another pair in a more stable knit so I can wear it in the summer when walking or playing with Kessi. Or when working out(read: Playing Just Dance). There were a few mistakes to the pattern, but in the end everything worked out fine.
In conclusion these are my notes of this pattern:
- Printing slightly off scale
+ Different colours for different sizes
- Same border print for different sizes
- Recommended fabrics lack recommended weight.
+ Helpful instructions for printing out the pattern
-+ Pocket facing is smaller but in the end works out fine, I'd add a note to the instructions about this
+- I'd change the order of sewing the center seam and pockets
+ Very few pattern pages
+ Fast project
+ Helpful Youtube videos
Also as a treat to my readers, the lovely ladies at Zierstoff are offering you all a 15% discount on all patterns with the code "Spring15" (Code is valid until March 31st)
*Disclaimer. I was offered a free pattern in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and reflect my own thoughts*