Sewing, What I wear

The ‘Pants on Fire’ Shorts

Pants on Fire shorts

It’s definitely getting colder here in New Zealand, but I’m still trying to catch up on blogging about my summer sewing.

One of the things I really got excited about sewing was shorts.  I made the clamdigger shorts, and then I thought ‘let’s make lots of these!’

Pants on Fire shorts

Since I was on fire, I made two pairs of ‘pants on fire’ shorts.  One with pleats:

Pants on Fire shorts

And one pair without:

Pants on Fire shorts

The shirt is also a bit of summer sewing – the simplest, laziest T-shirt I could make, with a turned neck hemming instead of a binding.

Pants on Fire shorts

Both pairs of shorts have a really ease-y fit, and enormous pockets, so that I can carry around my camera and my phone and a lip gloss and car keys and a few shells or whatever other bits of miscellanea I pick up throughout the day.  They have been great for walks and gardening and tramps, and will also get lots of use as on-the-farm shorts in Hawaii.

Pants on Fire shorts

We took these photos on one of our Sunday evening walks around the coast.  I can’t claim it was entirely spontaneous as I brought both pairs. 😉

Mr D quite outdid himself as a photographer and got what may be my favourite photo series ever, as I played with a really cool piece of seaweed I found on the shore.

Pants on Fire shorts

Pants on Fire shorts

Pants on Fire shorts

Pants on Fire shorts

So why are these the ‘Pants on Fire’ shorts?  Not because of photos like these:

Pants on Fire shorts

But because they are lined in this fabric:

Pants on Fire shorts2 thedreamstress.com1

Obviously that fabric isn’t flame patterned, or anything else that would immediately make you think of fire.  Nope.  Nothing so obvious.

Actually, it’s even  more obvious: that fabric has actually been on fire.

About six months ago I walked past an op-shop and noticed that they had a box of fabric scraps outside with a ‘$2 a piece’ sign on the box.  I had a rummage, and unearthed a piece of very pretty 1950s embossed floral cotton – the fabric that is now used as the facing for my shorts.

I took the fabric inside, showed it to the salesperson, and set it down on the tiny counter while I pulled out my wallet to pay for it.  I was just rummaging for a coin when I noticed a funny smell, and suddenly the woman in line behind me shouted ‘Fire!’

I looked down, and my fabric was indeed ON FIRE.

I hurled it to the floor, stomped on it, and in a few moments we had the fire out.

I turned back to the counter, adrenaline pumping, stammering an apology, trying to figure out how on earth it had managed to catch on fire, and then I realised that on the teeny-tiny counter, the only possible and logical place to put your good while you paid for them, a small scented votive candle was burning.

I looked up at the salesperson, mouth gaping, and she laughed and said “You’re the third person to set something on fire today.”

And then she charged me $2 for the  charred fabric.

Not surprisingly, that op-shop closed less than two months later.

There isn’t much you can do with 1/4 of a meter of burnt fabric, but it did make pretty facings for two pairs of shorts!

Pants on Fire shorts

And every time I wear them I laugh as I put them on.

Pants on Fire shorts


  1. LOL, what a silly place to have a candle! At least you found a use for the fabric. 🙂

    The coast behind you is lovely and shadowy. What fun pictures!


  2. MayravB says

    Hah! Candles in shops always make me nervous. Those are some comfy-looking shorts!

  3. That is the best fabric story I’ve heard in a long time. The shorts are great too.

  4. HoiLei says

    Hilarious that she still charged you, when she’s the one who didn’t learn her lesson after the first two customers! But I think it was worth $2 to get such nifty fabric and a great story!

  5. Raquel fromJC says

    What? Did she charge you? funny story heheheheh. Love your shorts, the fabrics, the pictures and the lovely seaweed!

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