Project MyWay #11–Green Linen Shorts

I wanted to make a pair of shorts to go with my DVF knock-off blouse and fatigue green linen was the way to go. I think the brown shorts paired with the blouse on the Bloomingdale’s site are cotton, but I wanted my shorts to be a little dressier. (See the original outfit in my post Project MyWay #9–DVF Knock-off blouse.)

For me, making pants fit well was frustrating. I’d always be sure to match my measurements to the pattern before I cut, but since bodies are 3-D and come in many shapes with the same measurements, it was a hit or miss proposition. From time to time, I found patterns that fit my body really well, so I usually stuck to those patterns, but depending on the fabric used they still fit differently. I used to just hold my breath and hope they’d turn out wearable as I’d spend hours carefully constructing and topstitching and sometimes never even wear the finished product.

One of the best things about getting older is that now I’m a little more careful and a little more patient. Now, I cut the pattern large in the places I usually need more room (for me that is crotch length and waist circumference), I add 1″ to the center back for fitting adjustment and I “fit as I go”. I get much better results.

For my green linen shorts, I started with McCall’s 5633. This pattern has a facing instead of a waistband and from the look of the sketch on the pattern, I was hoping a slightly below the waist fit. (Always look carefully at the sketch or picture on the pattern envelope, it gives hints of things like full cut, wide leg and low or high waist.)

I made the pattern in old cotton fabric first and as it turned out, it is quite generously cut and the waistband is at the natural waist.

I marked a lower waist line on my practice shorts and pin fitted the side seams (the shorts were too big because I had added a little extra to the sideseams at the waistline, tapering into the hip). I transferred these changes to the pattern. I added 1″ to the pattern’s centerback seam allowances, tapering into the back crotch notch. I made new front and back waist facings to match the new lower waist.

I didn’t want cuffs because it shortens my legs, but I did want some hem detail. I copied the hem from a pattern I used before, McCall’s 3132 which has been discontinued. It is basically a 1 1/2″ hem with side vents. I found this article from Sew News that is the same idea, though they put buttons at the bottom of the vent, but you can get the idea, just skip the last steps:

I liked the pocket and flap on the pattern, but wanted back pockets instead of the side pocket. I reduced the size of the pocket and flap pattern pieces by taking 1″ off each side and sewed them on the backs, just below the darts.

So here’s my best pants fitting tip:  I sew the crotch seam up to the back crotch notch, then I sew the waist facings on in 2 pieces, from center back to center front, then I pin fit the center back seam and sew that last. Yes, I do end up with a seam in the middle of the back waist facing/band, but this is covered up by the belt loop and it makes altering the pants at a later date very easy. It’s kind of an insurance plan in case my “fit as I go” technique is less than perfect.

These shorts turned out so well and they look great with the DVF knock-off blouse, that I’ve worn the outfit 3 times this summer (a lot for me!). They will also look great as fall approaches with a tank and sweater.

Ta-ta for now!