White Chi Town Chino Shorts

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!







15 thoughts on “White Chi Town Chino Shorts

  1. These are SO good! I love them. Do you know how much you tapered the legs in toward the hem? I’m just curious because I want to make a pair and I will also be lengthening them. So sorry about the black pair; the finishing on them was so nice; I hope you can save them!


    1. Thanks, Masha! I’m so sorry it’s taken me forever to get back to you about the amount I tapered the shorts. I am not sure exactly how much I tapered them since I modified the pattern that I printed and assembled instead of tracing it. I feel like it was probably close to an inch on each side, but my memory could definitely be failing me. The front leg of my shorts measures 12″ across at the hem and the back is 15″ across at the hem. (Those don’t include seam allowances and I tapered down the size 14 legs.) I hope that helps somewhat! So far I haven’t touched the black pair again… I’ve got to try to fix them soon!


  2. These look so good!!!!! Bummer about the black pair though. Hope they are salvageable. I bet you’d be great at sewing v necks and swimwear!!!! I’ve only sewn a few half welt pockets but they are cool.


    1. Thanks, Emily! I have actually made my first v-neck since I wrote this post and I’ve got the Grace Tankini pattern to try out when I get some time. The v-neck was much easier than I expected and I’m hoping I’ll feel the same way once I get to swimwear!


  3. These look so professional!! I totally agree on the more difficult projects. But right now (with a 2month old baby) I’m in the fast and easy camp.
    I’m still scared at bra sewing, I’ve got suplies for 10 but still to scared to start…(and I tell myself it’s not useful right now because of the nursing/shape changing).
    What a pity about the black pair! I’ve been in the same position to many times, I always think I will remember my changes (yeah right, should write them down!!)


    1. Thanks, Anne! I remember those newborn baby days– I was definitely into the fast and easy sewing projects for many months postpartum! I haven’t ever tried bra sewing, either. That’s another thing I’m a bit scared of, but I’d like to try eventually.


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