May 19, 2012

Since it is starting to get hot again, I’ve decided that I need a new pair of shorts. I used to have a pattern that I really liked for shorts, but that was over 10 years ago and in a fit of cleaning I got rid of all my old patterns. ūüôĀ ¬†Looking back, that was not such a good idea. But, what’s done is done and time to move forward!

Looking at all of the new patterns, I’m still not good about telling where on the waist the items will be. Looking at the pictures and description on McCall’s 6403 pattern I thought the basic straight shorts would work (but I would make them just a bit longer than the pattern calls for though). ¬†Knowing that my ¬†hips are a pattern size bigger than my waist, and that shorts/pants are hard to fit, I decided to make my first pair out of an inexpensive brown material. At the fabric store I thought the material was very lovely. After getting home, washing it, and cutting out the shorts, I found I really, *really* don’t like the material for shorts. But I decided to finish sewing them anyhow and use them as a muslin for fitting. I cut the smaller size, looked at the ease measurement for the hips on the pattern, and decided I needed to just add 1″ around. To do this, I just moved my seam line from 5/8″ at the waist to 1/2″ at the hips. Well, the shorts fit, but yuck! Not only was the material not right for shorts, but the waist came up WAY too high.

Brown Shorts

Brown Shorts

Okay, I said to myself, this is my pattern and my shorts and I can adjust and alter this pattern however I want! That said, I took 2″ off the top and redid the waistband. I looked around what little extra material I have, and decided to use the leftover linen blend from my jacket (I did cut out the skirt first, to be sure I had enough for that). ¬†I sewed it up fairly quickly, using some leftover pink and brown material that my daughter had for the pocket lining. ¬†I even had a 7″ zipper (in black, but I figured, why not?!) to use. But in making the shorts start lower on my waist made the zipper too tall. Now I realize they say to make a zipper smaller, you sew down at the bottom where you want it to end and cut it off. But I had just gone through this with my skirt (that I was sewing up at the same time), and I didn’t know how much I wanted to cut off because of the waistband, so I left the bottom alone and ended up cutting off the top. I figured that when I sewed the waistband on, that would stop the zipper piece from coming off the top. Well, yes, once you actually sew the waistband on. . . but I was showing my daughter how well I put that zipper in the skirt and made adjustments and showed her how it zips up with the cover down flat. . . and yes I pulled the zipper pull right off! I did figure out how to get it back on, but I did not want to do that with these shorts. So I was very careful. Even though the zipper edges were way above the top.

Shorts Zipper

The long zipper on the shorts!

After that, I carefully measured the top of the shorts, and cut a waistband a couple of inches longer (in case of mistakes in measuring, even though I measured twice). I attached the waistband, tried them on, and found they were too big in the waist! But they fit really well in the hips. I didn’t want to take out seams, especially since I was just using leftover material, so I took them in at the waist by 1/2″ and in the very back by 1/4″. Now they fit great! I should show you a picture of me wearing the shorts, but I haven’t had a chance to take that yet. And since I am packing them for my mini-vacation, I won’t have a photo until after I get back! But, here is a picture of the finished shorts, as well as a shot of the lining I used for the pocket (I actually like the contrast a lot!).

Green Linen Shorts

Updated Shorts

Green Shorts Pocket Lining

Pink and brown material for the pocket!

I’ve since taken the pattern alterations that I made and traced them onto another paper. Then, I changed the darts in the back to each take in 1/8″ more, and graded the side seams in by the amount I took in at the dart. I have not tried making shorts with these new pattern pieces yet, but I plan to as soon as I get back from my trip and buy some more material. And this time, I’m thinking about maybe using a denim type material and making the lining of the pocket match the waistband! It’s just a thought. I like to be creative, but maybe I shouldn’t get over creative with my clothes!!


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