erica’s art museum-inspired lisboa walking shorts

Erica used some of the details from our Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers pattern to make the new Lisboa Walking Shorts her own. Here she is to show you how.

The Art Museum Trousers pattern has always been one of my favorite woven fabric patterns to sew for my sons. They love the ease of the elastic waist, and I like the clean look of the smooth waistband in the center front.

After I made a version of the Lisboa Walking Shorts as a tester, I knew that my next version would include some of my favorite features of the Art Museum Trousers: a mock-fly front and a smooth center-front waistband.

Sew your own summer shorts.

To make the mock-fly front, I taped a rectangle that was approximately 2 1/4″ wide by 7 1/4″ tall to the shorts front pattern piece. I then folded it along the center front edge of the pattern piece to trace the top edge of the rectangle to be a mirror of the waist contour. I curved the bottom corner of the rectangle to mimic the shape of a zip fly.

DIY shorts to sew.

I sewed the mock fly just as the Art Museum Trousers are constructed. This means that I had to construct the center-front and center-back seams of the Lisboa Shorts first, then the side seams, and finally the crotch seam. Although the top-stitching is hard to photograph with my fabric choice, I think the mock fly makes the shorts appear a bit more tailored without much additional sewing effort. I’m still debating whether I should add a button to the center to more closely mimic a zip-fly front.

Easy shorts sewing pattern.

To create a smooth center-front waistband without a paper bag waist, I made the following changes:

I reduced the height of the waistband pattern piece by 1 1/2″ to eliminate the paper bag waist of the original Lisboa design. I estimated that I wanted the smooth waistband section to be 6″ across the front, so I fused a 6″ piece of interfacing in the center front. I also reduced the waistband elastic by 6″. Just like with the Art Museum Trousers, I secured the elastic to the waistband and hid those top-stitches under the front belt loops.

Simple women's shorts sewing pattern with pockets.

I’m usually not one to make a fuss about including pockets, but since I was trying to make a more dressy pair of shorts, I was sure to include the welt pockets of View A.

Simple women's shorts sewing pattern with pockets.

When I’m sewing clothes for myself, I occasionally enjoy slowing down to hand-baste a few parts, and this time, I hand-basted the stitching lines for the welt pockets. I also find that pulling out hand basting stitches later is easier than unpicking machine basting stitches.

Simple women's shorts sewing pattern with pockets.

I used a Japanese cotton canvas fabric from my stash that feels almost like a mid-weight slub linen blend. It is not stiff at all but still has body to make the shorts feel structured and not loose.

Simple women's shorts sewing pattern with pockets.

I am sure I will enjoy wearing these new shorts throughout this summer with my recently blogged about white linen Verdun Woven T-shirt!


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  1. Love the shorts Erica, and I think I may go with a similar fabric choice when I make mine. With the white top the pairing is summer perfect!

    1. Erica

      Thank you, Asmita! I was really happy with the weight of the fabric for a pair of versatile shorts. The first of any pattern always takes the longest to make, but I can imagine that this will be my go-to pattern for summer shorts!

  2. Dyann

    I love these shorts, Erica. I’ve just starting working on my Lisboas and I appreciate your tips. I think I may give the mock fly a try.

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