Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sewing shorts - Zipper fly, baggy crotch, long crotch, tight butt and other alteration issues

I decided when it comes to jeans (or medium weight woven) bottoms to start with shorts instead of pants, This way if it did not fit right I would save fabric and money. Smart thinking on my part. This blog post will show my experience with my first and second ever pair of shorts, the problems I found, the fixes I discovered, and where I am for next time. Hopefully it helps someone else.

To kick things off I decided to start with McCall's pattern 7165 view A.

For my first go-around I decided to just complete the pattern as-is. No adjustments, just to see how it would end up fitting on me.

Of course, never having done shorts with a zipper fly I had to pause there to figure it out. My McCall's book for beginner sewers had completely different instructions than what came with the pattern. Then, when I looked online, people has additional different ways on how to do it. I was so confused. I decided to just do what the pattern called for. 

After basting the front pieces together, with the wrong side of the shorts facing me, I placed the zipper facing up under the left side of the fly. The fly is folded along the fold line. Here I used the zipper foot to sew it to the fly. The top of the fly sticks up past the top of the shorts. Eventually the part sticking up will be hidden in the waistband.

Once the zipper is sewn to the left side you flip it over facedown. The zipper should land in the center. The zipper edge will not line up with the right edge of the right fly. Here I sewed the zipper to the right fly.

That's really it. I didn't have much of a problem with making the mock fly zipper. I can get into more details on my next pair of shorts if requested.

Of course when I was making these I was not thinking of how hard some of the stuff I would be talking about would beto see in photos. These are the shorts. From a distance they are no too terrible. Honestly I was just happy they fit around my waist and my legs could go through them.

Look at all that extra fabric in the crotch area though! Talk about baggy crotch problems! The crotch of the shorts was about an inch or two lower than it should have been. 

The back was a little too baggy. No butt profile at all. Definitely mom shorts. But I'm not even a mom! Haha. Other than that the back fit wasn't too bad. Much better than the front.

Because the fabric is black this photo isn't much help. But not too bad. Just a little looser than I would prefer.

I have to do something about all this fabric.... So what do I do? I had no clue at the time. Internet research to the rescue!!

These are the websites/blogs that helped me out the most:
Lladybird's blog post on trouser fitting.
This picture from afashionablestitch.com
The Colette patterns pants fitting cheatsheet

I can't recommend them highly enough and probably would just be wearing super baggy pants and shorts if it wasn't for their help.

So for my next pair of shorts I knew I needed to shorten the crotch and adjust the crotch shape. Since this was my first time doing it I had to eyeball and guess how much (because I still have no idea how to measure myself on this stuff...)

Can you see where I folded the pattern? I ended up taking out one inch of fabric. I did this to both the front and the back pieces. I did this where the pattern said lengthen/shorten here. This will shorten my crotch line. Then, where you see the blue ink is where I adjusted the crotch curve. I put an arrow to the thick line that I ended up using. I decided to not go as aggressive as I originally drew the line.

My second pair! Not perfect, but sooo much better in the front than the last pair! I don't look like I'm reserving room for anatomy parts I don't have... Plus the crotch doesn't hang down ridiculously.

Side view is also much better. It doesn't just go straight down in the back. I actually have a profile.

The back is a tad too tight. It is wearable, I don't think I'll bust the seams. But on my next pair I'll add just a touch to the back crotch line.

It's so nice to be able to make my own shorts!

I'm thinking my third pair will be near perfect. I just need to go to the store and get more fabric. I still don't feel comfortable cutting into my nice organic cotton. I'll do one more purchase of the cheap stuff for shorts #3 and will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I have Peg Legs! (otherwise known as leggings)

Somehow randomly surfing the internet I came across this company called Patterns for Pirates. They also call themselves P4P. They have some very cute patterns at affordable prices. I notice most patterns (maybe all?) are for knit fabrics. They were doing a special on their Peg Leg pattern and I was able to get it for free. What better way to try a new company and pattern?

This was my first time printing a pattern off of the internet. It takes some work to piece it together. I wasn't a huge fan of having to do this. But for this simple pattern I can't say it was all that difficult. Maybe if I wasn't sitting on the couch and watching TV it would have been easier... After printing and piecing I used my regular scissors to cut it to my size before laying it on the fabric for cutting.

Being new to online patterns and printing I was lost when the waistband didn't have a pattern piece. Turns out I had to make that on my own. Not that it was hard. But for a minute I thought the download was wrong or I was missing a page.

I don't know why I always seem to lay the pattern wrong size together when I go to cut. It's a bad habit. But luckily it doesn't change the results. I just risk getting it all dirty.

Do you notice the wrong size showing because of the terrible cut job on top? Yeah, I am mad at Joann's Fabrics for that one. They shouldn't allow that to happen. Luckily I didn't need that missing piece of fabric for the pattern. The fabric though I do like. It is Nicole Miller's Rayon-Spandex Fabric-Feathers Black. It is 94% rayon and 6% spandex.

This pattern calls for 50% 4-way stretch fabric. They say if you have at least 5% spandex you should be okay.

I wear a size 10 US and ended up cutting a size Large for the pattern.

The pattern comes with lengths for shorties, bike, capri, and full length. I obviously went to the ankle. I've heard people have made shorties as bathing suit bottoms.

I did make one edit to the pattern. Instead of a 7" waistband I made a 9" waistband. I wanted it a little higher on my belly to hold the fat in :)

I look so angry in this last photo.

I can see myself wearing these all of the time. They are so comfy. And there are so many fabrics I can find that work. The other good thing is, at least for my size, I can make these out of 1 yard of fabric. Now off to find a good pattern to make a top to go with these. My RTW shirt isn't cutting it.