This all started when Brandon complained that he needed new shorts at the beginning of summer. He had his cargo shorts from college, but wanted something a little nicer. I took forever to follow-up on this request, and in the meantime he bought 3 pairs from Old Navy. Nevertheless, I still wanted to try my hand at making a pair for him. I used Thread Theory’s Jutland Shorts pattern, after seeing Meg of Cookin’ & Craftin’ make a great pair for her husband.
I really wanted to make a nice pair of shorts, after failing to make him a shirt, so I went to Joann’s intending to buy some fabric to muslin these. I knew I’d be making them out of fabric thicker than traditional muslin, so I started in the clearance aisle, searching for any fabric of the right thickness. Nothing stood out to me, so I went to the bottom weight row and found this khaki material. It was on sale cheaper than anything suitable on clearance, so I figured, hey, why not make this muslin wearable? The lining fabric (used for the inside of the waistband and pocket bags) came from my stash, as did the button.
The first step was to take Brandon’s measurements. To my delight, they aligned with his RTW size. Why doesn’t this ever happen for women’s patterns?? The pattern is for pants, and Brandon wanted shorts, so I measured the inseam from his favorite pair of shorts, and based the length on that. I cut out size 32, shortened to a 10″ inseam plus hem allowance, and got to sewing.
While sewing, I had a number of debates about the techniques I should use. The shorts were technically a muslin, but I also wanted them to be wearable. I ended up serging all seams, and used French seams on the front pocket bags.
The pockets were the the most time-consuming part of the whole project. There are 4 pockets: 2 front pockets, and 2 rear welt pockets. Neither are especially difficult, but they do take time. I contemplated leaving out the rear pockets (since this was a muslin), but practice makes perfect, so I went ahead and put them both in. It took me one sitting to sew up the front pockets and another for the rear pockets.
Another detail I debated (muslin vs wearable) was topstitching: to topstitch or not topstitch, that was the question. I ended up starting by topstitching around the front pockets in grey. I didn’t like how it looked, though (too casual), and removed it. The remaining topstitching is minimal. I didn’t do flat felled seams, so there’s no topstitching on the sides.
Once all of the pockets were in, and the side seams were sewn, it came time for the zipper fly–my first! I read the pattern’s directions before starting, but they didn’t make a lot of sense, I dove in and hope for the best. It almost worked. All of the parts went together smoothly, but once I was done the waistband was 3″ longer than the top of the pants. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I did wrong, so I decided that I must have been inaccurate with my seam allowances, and conceded to cut off the extra waistband length. MISTAKE. After staring at a pair of RTW shorts, I figured out what I did wrong. The zipper guard was folded back behind the zipper instead of coming out underneath it to protect the wearer from it. I figured this out only after the waistband was attached and trimmed. At that point, knowing that this was a muslin, I decided to salvage the shorts by jerry-rigging a waistband extension. It doesn’t look great, and is a little floppy because I forgot to interface it, but it does the job.
So, the money question, do they fit? Unfortunately, not quite. The waist size is correct, but they are a little tight in the thighs. Brandon frequently has this problem, apparently hockey thighs are a thing… It will be easy enough to fix, though, and the next pair should fix like a glove.
Pattern: Jutland Shorts by Thread Theory
Fabric: 2 yards of khaki from Joann Fabrics @ $5.99/yard
Cost: $11.98 in fabric + button from stash + $1.99 thread = $13.97 ($22.34 if you count the cost of the pattern)
Time: 8 hours