Hi! Today I’m back with another installment in pants making adventures! This time, though, I’ve made shorts. My mission this Summer is to make some basic, neutral colored shorts to replace the threadbare ready to wear shorts I’ve been wearing for years. After I had success with the Alina Design Co Chi Town Chinos skirt and pants I figured I should give the shorts a go. Hopefully you’re not sick of hearing me talk about this pattern yet. I just really love it and I think you should rush over to Indiesew and get a copy if you haven’t already!
A lot of the time when I’m sewing I’m excited about quick, easy projects that give me instant gratification. All of us sewists love the thought of having a new dress or t-shirt to wear the very next day– or maybe even that same day, right? But I have also really settled into big love for projects that take some time, have great details that you’d find in ready to wear, and that improve my sewing skills. I remember the first pair of shorts that I made with a zip fly and welt pockets almost exactly three years ago. I actually only sewed one welt pocket because it took me forever to work up the nerve to make that welt and I didn’t know if I would ever finish the shorts if I had to make two!
I had pretty much avoided welts since those shorts, but now, between my Hampton Jean Jacket, my Chi Town Chino pants, and 2 pairs of Chi Town shorts, I’ve made 8 welt pockets this year! Each time I make them they get better and I really feel so proud of how professional my finished garments look with these more advanced techniques. I am certainly not trying to disparage elastic waist shorts or quick projects but I definitely encourage you to try out that sewing project that might scare you. Who knows, you might end up a welt pocket addict like me! And there’s really no way to get better at these techniques other than practice. (Full disclosure, I’m scared of swimwear and making a v-neck t-shirt. I’m hoping to give both of those a try in the near future!)
The original Chi Town chinos pattern includes a few different options for back patch pockets. If you want to give the welts a try the Chi Town expansion pack has the pattern pieces and instructions for making welt pockets and can be used in conjunction with the original pattern. Both of the patterns are available at Indiesew.
I made these white shorts from a stretch twill that I got from Joann fabrics. The pattern is designed for non-stretch fabrics but the skirt and pants I’d made previously were all made from stretch fabrics. I went with the same size I’d used for my other Chi Towns, a 10 graded out to a 14 at the hips. I lengthened the shorts to have a 7.75″ inseam and tapered the legs in toward the hem to keep them from being too full in the longer length. Since this fabric was stretchier than my other Chi Town items I basted my pieces together before I did my real sewing and tweaked the curve at the hip a bit.
I am really happy with the fit of these shorts, but I think for future pairs I need to either scoop out the back crotch or add a wedge to the butt to give me a little more crotch depth. They feel like they are giving me a bit of a wedgie but they are totally wearable since this fabric loosens up a lot throughout the day. (Here is a helpful hint– when you realize you need to make an adjustment to a pattern it’s a good idea to make it right away. Or at least write yourself a note to do it before you cut your next fabric. I just made myself a second pair of Chi Town shorts, this time in black non-stretch twill. I totally forgot to adjust the back crotch depth and didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut the back pieces when I realized my mistake. They give me a major wedgie and I’m not sure they’re wearable. I’m feeling some mild devastation since I pulled out all the stops and did my best finishing on them. I’m going to see if I can save them by scooping out the back seat. Looking on the bright side, I guess if I have to remake them I will get another opportunity to practice my welt pockets!)
What are your thoughts on more advanced techniques versus the quick and easy projects? Do you like to mix it up and sew some of each, like I do?
Thanks so much for reading!