So my biggest goal of the Fall/Spring Essentials Sew-along was to get a pair (or a few) of wearable shorts. I thought it was going to be a long and complicated process. Turns out, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would and it wasn’t really as complicated as I thought it would be. It was an awful lot more emotional than I thought it would be though!
So, I started with a straight out of the packet Thurlow Shorts pattern to get an idea of where I’d need to make alterations. These were the very first pair of pants I’d made for myself, so I had no idea what kind of alterations would be needed. Then I played with a flat lower belly adjustment, a full butt adjustment and some low butt tweaking and ended up with a muslin that made me cry.
Then it was onto the real thing. I used a fabric which I think I picked up at East Coast Fabrics. It might be a suiting fabric? (I’d definitely still learning my fabric types). It feels divine, anyway and is a really good weight for shorts.
As well as the shape alterations, I lengthened the legs (I’m not a fan of short shorts on me – I definitely prefer them to head towards the knees) and tried to make them less flared at the bottom. I also changed things slightly in making them, adding the belt loops at the same time as the waistband which looks so much neater.
And here they are . . . (And apologies – the photos seem much darker than when I took them. Just squint a little, tilt your head to the side and it will look like the seal of the President . . . oops, bad West Wing joke)
(Obviously the photos I take are not as good as the lovely photos my husband or father in law take . . . )
They’re not perfect. I’m still trying to find a finishing technique which makes me happy. I bound some of these seams, but that’s not practical for the whole construction. I’m thinking I might just use the overlocker to get a consistent finish. I think I need to make them longer again – I’d like a longer hem – and I still need to work a bit to get the shape I want at the bottom of the shorts. I also had a few strange wrinkles in the fly, which was obviously a sewing issue, but I couldn’t figure out where the issue was!
Fitting wise, they need to be tighter at the waist. I think I’ve taken them in all I can at the back centre seam, though – any more and I’ll get a funny shape around the welt pockets. I think there’s 2 options I can take – making the darts a bit wider at the top or taking the seams at the side in a little more. Either way, I think I’ll need to drop the bottom of the zip down a little so I can get the shorts over my backside.
The fit over my backside was really good, but I could possible curve the back crotch seam down a little more, just to reduce some pooling. I could also make some alterations to the front since there’s still some wrinkles there – however, I’m a little cautious about over fitting the shorts and having no ease for sitting. I think I’ll get the waistband right first, then reevaluate.
I have washed these pants (they’re currently on the line) and they seem to have held up to my ‘chuck it in the machine’ washing techniques well. I’m really, really excited about making more – living where I live, shorts are practical about 8-9 months of the year and necessary for around 6 months, so having a collection of well made and well fitting shorts will make my life so much easier.
I know a lot of people are nervous about making shorts or pants – I definitely was concerned about how much time the fitting would take me. The truth, however, is that I could try on every pair of shorts at my local shopping centre and not find a pair that fits like these. They look really strange off my body – no one would ever be able to sell them as ready to wear. But when I put them on, they fit and they’re flattering and they make me happy – worth the time to achieve that. In the end I made 2 1/2 pairs of shorts to get a wearable pair – 1 unfitted, 1 muslin, 1 final product. In terms of making, the first ones took the longest – I had to get my head around the instructions. The fitting took a long time in terms of tracing and adjusting, but the muslin took no time at all to sew up. The final product was really quite quick to sew – I knew what I was doing much more than before and I didn’t have to fret over things so much. And subsequent pairs of shorts will just get quicker. (Plus I can transfer my shorts fitting to pants fitting next winter – score!) It’s hard to guess how much time it took me altogether – I grab sewing time around nap time and evenings when my husband works away – but definitely not as long as I thought it would take. I highly recommend trying to make your own pair and I recommend the Thurlows as a starting place if you’re a pear/hourglass shape. Hopefully you have an experience as happy as mine.