Crazy for Chambray – Simplicity 1887

Hi guys! I am so excited to share my first post with you as a Cali Fabrics contributor! For my first project, I decided to try out a fabric I’ve been meaning to for forever because of how cute and versatile it is – chambray. Specifically for this blog, I did a little research on the fabric, and learned some pros and cons of working with it along the way, that I will be sharing below.

So what is chambray anyway? It is a lightweight usually cotton fabric that is woven with colored yarn in the warp and white yarn in the weft. The result is a pretty, speckled appearance that is similar to denim but less heavy. It is popular in shades of blue, but can also come in other colors, and is the perfect fabric choice for spring and summer wardrobes!

The first thing I did after placing my order for this Pink Designer Chambray was to find some inspiration, which there is plenty of both in RTW and in the sewing blogging world! Below are my favorites:


1 – J Crew Keeper Chambray Shirt 2 – Proenza Schouler Chambray Pants 3 – Old Navy Chambray Romper 4 – Anthropologie Chambray Rufflec Dress 5 – Saks 5th Chambray Shorts 6 – The Sara Project Winslow Culottes

I mean, look how versatile it is! You can make anything out of chambray – from shirts to pants to dresses. It also seems to be the perfect fabric to practice some new skills such as sewing a placket, patch pockets, welt pockets or showing off pleats. For me, I have a TNT Simplicity 1887 shorts pattern that I wanted to add welt pockets to, so I chose to go for a look similar to Inspiration #5 (though you can’t see the pockets in this view). The D-ring faux belt was something I wanted to try out as well.

Before the fabric arrived, I focused on the pattern adjustments. I turned the curved pockets into slant pockets and added welt pocket markings to the back pattern pieces using this awesome free template by Nicole At Home. Lastly, I shortened one of the waist ties for holding the D-rings by about 7″. For more details on the original shorts pattern and adjustments needed, check out this old post here.


Once the fabric arrived, it was immediately clear what some of the pros of chambray are. For one, it is machine washing and drying friendly! I did not notice any shrinkage of this particular pink chambray. The right and wrong sides are identical. It doesn’t shift around as you cut, which was big for me since the heavy crepe de chine I used for the first pair had to constantly be adjusted. Lastly, it takes to ironing well so all my seams are nicely pressed.


As for the cons, I only noticed two. The first is that it frays, although that is nothing the serger or Fray Check can’t solve. The second is that this cotton pink chambray wrinkles very easily because it is 100% cotton. The shorts look pretty beat up after an hour or so of wear. That being said, I will still wear them everywhere as they are still cute and so comfortable! For those of you that might be a little more concerned about wrinkles, I read that tencel chambray is a great option for wrinkle-resistance. Check out Cali Fabric’s chambray selection here, and tencel here.

Now on to the finished product!


I’m a fan of the D-ring detail. For reference, the D-rings should be size 1 1/2″ to fit the waistband. In the first version of these shorts, the ties would often come undone, although that might have to do more with the slippery fabric. Nevertheless, the D-rings make this tie feel more secure.


Who knew welt pockets were so easy to sew? The hard part is making them perfectly aligned. They’re not 100% this time…


The elastic sometimes bunches funny in the back.


But with a little adjustment, we’re good to go!

All in all, I’m very happy with my spruced up version of Simplicity 1887 in chambray. What do you think? Do you love chambray? Are there any additional pros and cons you can think of? If so, share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

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14 thoughts on “Crazy for Chambray – Simplicity 1887”

  1. Super cute! I love chambray — it’s such a nice break after drapey, shifty fabrics. And you can’t beat a pair of pink shorts for summer 🙂

  2. Great shorts. Have you tried applying some starch to see if it would keep the wrinkles at bay? I was also wondering if you basted the welt pockets closed as you sewed the shorts. I always remove the basting that keep welt pockets in place until the very last step.

    1. Thank you Don! No I haven’t but now I will have to! Thank you for the suggestion. 🙂 No I didn’t baste the welt pockets closed but that seems like a good idea too.

  3. I love these! Fun fact….I have never sewn with Chambray before, but may need to get some so I can make these shorts!

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