Harper Shorts

Hello, friends! I figured it was time I dusted off the old blog and showed off some of the things I’ve been sewing recently. I really didn’t mean to stay away from here for almost a month but somehow that’s how long it has been. I am happy to be back with this fun pair of shorts!

These are the Harper shorts from Megan Nielsen patterns. If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that 3 of the patterns on my (currently completely abandoned) Make Nine list are Megan’s patterns. I’m happy to say that I’ve made two of the three that I put on my list, the Acacia Undies (free pattern!) and the Flint trousers. I’m hoping to get to the Matilda dress before the end of the year!

This month on Megan’s blog the Harper shorts is the pattern of the month. They have been running a sewalong for the pattern and even posted a really cool wide leg trouser variation. This pattern sort of slipped under my radar when it was released, I think maybe because I wasn’t sure how I would like the back zip. But I was excited to give the pattern a try since Megan’s patterns tend to fit me pretty well.

You know when you go to Google to look up something how you instantly start getting ads for similar things popping up all over the place? I am pretty sure I’d barely opened the listing for the Harper shorts in Megan’s shop when I saw an ad for a really cute pair of black shorts from JCrew factory. The shorts had slash pockets and a scalloped hem that made me swoon. The Harper shorts pattern lists various options for customization and one of the ideas was a scalloped hem. I knew right then I wanted to try it.

I ordered some of this black chino twill from La Mercerie to make my shorts. It’s a great weight for shorts or pants and I love that the color is a true, dark black. I did make a muslin because I wanted to check the sizing and length. I cut a size L graded to an XL and it fit me really well. I decided to lower the front rise by 1/2″ but otherwise made no fit changes beside adding length.

The Harper shorts are finished with a waistband facing and are fully lined, unlike my inspiration shorts. I haven’t made a pair of lined pants or shorts before– I definitely think the lining bumps these up to fancy shorts status. I toyed with moving the center back zip to the side seam but I thought it might be tricky to try to insert the invisible zip into an area with a slash pocket. The bottom of the pocket opening area can get bulky, so I left the zip in the back. I added faux welt pockets to the back of the pants to look like my inspiration shorts and to break up the expanse of my backside.


The Harper shorts have front patch pockets but I modified my pattern since I wanted slash pockets. The skort version of the Harper pattern has slash pockets so I used the pocket pieces from that view as a guide to make the changes. I really like the clean look of these shorts with the slash pockets and no front zip.


I was a bit nervous about figuring out how to do the scallops but when I did a google search for how to create a scalloped hem Megan’s blog showed up! I was happy to find this tutorial, which worked so well for me. I ended up having to add 3.25″ in length to the pattern to get the shorts to be as long as I wanted. Adding the scalloped hem really shortens the hemline quite a bit. I wish I would have made them about 1/2″-1″ longer, actually, but it’s too late to change that now!


It seems to me that there was a bit of a scallop miracle when I made these. I used an Offray ribbon spool as my template, since I wanted my scallops to be wide and shallow. I was worried about marking my scallops and ending up with a weird fractional scallop at the end of my leg opening. Somehow the circumference of the leg opening and the width of the scallops matched up perfectly and I ended up with my last full scallop ending exactly where my first one started. Yay for not having to do any math on this pair of shorts!


My fancy shorts turned out just as I hoped they would! I am so pleased with the fit! I used rayon bemberg as my lining and it’s sort of a hot mess on the inside. One of the pieces got really distorted and I had to do some free hand cutting as I was sewing to get things to match up. Thankfully no one will see the inside but me! When I make these again I think I will probably skip the lining so that the shorts will seem more like my everyday shorts I can wear with flip flops and not just a pair that I should wear with my platform sandals.

I would love to try the wide leg pants variation a try soon and I think next Summer I’ll be revisiting the Harper shorts since these fit me so nicely. Have you made any Megan Nielsen patterns lately? Newsletter subscribers were offered a discount on the Harper pattern this month– I’d recommend signing up for her newsletter if you’re interested in future pattern discounts!

Thanks for reading!


p.s. The Harper pattern was given to me in exchange for review. The opinions expressed are my own. (I am a big fan of Megan’s patterns and have purchased many of them previously.)

p.p.s. My tank is the Durango tank from Hey June patterns. This is a free pattern that I waited far too long to try. I love this pattern and highly recommend it! I modified the armholes to be finished with bands instead of bindings. The minute I finished this one I cut another one and I have been wearing both on repeat.




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