Um, I do. For a very long time a 1″ inseam was my standard. And while I’ve gotten considerably more shy about my midriff over the past decade, my legs have stood the test of time up much better. They remain one of my favourite physical features. (Not to toot my own horn)
Of course, the last few years I haven’t had much opportunity to wear shorts, period. The summers here are, well, chilly by my standards (blame elevation or proximity to the mountains or just a run of bad luck); it only broke 30C once last summer. Add that to spending my days in an air-conditioned lab and, well, shorts just kinda got left for weekends and visits home. (The two or possibly three people reading this from my home town can protest all you like that your summers have been beastly the last couple of years. They were still better than the summers here.)
Lekala 5465 Sailor Shorts, pattern here.
Anyway, my shorts history aside, this seemed like a good way to tackle the fit of the Lekala pants block without sacrificing a huge amount of fabric (obviously I was not thinking in terms of topstitching- and machine-rethreading-time). I may also have been feeling kid-project-ed-out. Or possibly crack smoking was involved*. Anyway. For whatever reason (reason really played no role in this decision), the other day I found myself printing out the pattern (only nine pages!) and laying out the pieces on the denim remnant left over from my bellbottoms.
One bonus to this particular set of pants is that the directions on the Lekala website have, in fact, been translated to English. Now, I think translating sewing directions has to be one of the hardest things in the world, as the technical terms are both a) highly specialized and b) unique to each language (translating scientific stuff, on the other hand, is much easier, since most of the important words come from Latin anyway. I don’t speak a word of German but can still often pull the major details I need out of a German research paper. Not so a German issue of Burda.) All that being said, I made it to about halfway through step 6 before my brain blew out. I had no idea what they were trying to get me to do.
What exactly are you telling me to do?
So I stood there with my pieces, laying one on top of the other, this way up, that way up, trying to figure out what to do.
There was a slit involved. I knew that much.
In the end I didn’t do it exactly right—the piece which they call the “Fly Panel Facing” (this would’ve been more helpful if the names of the pieces on the pattern hadn’t still been written in Cyrillic) is supposed to lap out and make a little overlap on the front, which I didn’t get. I’m still not sure how you would make the bottom of that neat, by the way, without adding a crapload of bulk, anyway). But I did manage to get the fly panel and the four “inner front parts” together. I am too lazy to actually put together a tutorial for how I did it—if you really feel the need to make this pattern, I can do one, but I’d really recommend you make the 5742 pants into shorts instead. Or use this tutorial for creating a sailor-button look with a continuous lap placket. Or even pay for the Hot Patterns pattern (which I haven’t used but have seen some very nice pairs made up). Or, y’know, email me and I’ll do my best.
What it basically came down to, though, is that you end up with a slash down the middle of each front piece, with the “Fly Panel Facing” making a facing for the inner side of the pants and the “Inner front parts” sandwiching the edge of the slit, some frighteningly narrow seam allowances (I had to re-stitch several of mine), and nothing but a bit of fusible interfacing reinforcing the bottom of the slit. And I’m not convinced there’s anything at all you can do about this with this kind of pattern, unless you incorporate a front seam (as they did in the 5742 pants) or add a seam from the bottom of the slash over to the side, maybe with a pocket in it. Maybe I’ll try something like that next time.
So that’s my issue with the pattern itself. On to my own failings.
Crappy topstitching AND buttonholing!
Partly because I was really unhappy with the slit feature, and partly because I was trying to slug away at the piece and get it done before I had to reathread the machine for a kajllion kids’ projects, I sorta gave up trying hard. My topstitching around the inner part of the front fly panel isn’t symmetrical. I didn’t place my buttonholes properly, AT ALL (at least the topstitching I can fix if I come to my senses). My machine really doesn’t like zig-zagging with the top-stitching thread, so the buttonholes themselves are pretty dodgy as well (I tried buttonholer attachment, machine’s proper attachment, and manual—it just really doesn’t like to zig-zag with heavy thread). I added patch pockets to the rear, mostly on the principle that my butt needs as much decoration as it can get. Those are actually all right, although I forgot to do any topstitching designs before I sewed them on, so they look a little plain.
So those are my issues, purely self-inflicted. I should’ve taken more time, been more careful, not expected to bang out a pair of jean-shorts in a couple of hours. One thing the instructions do emphasize is topstitching carefully and evenly.
On me: front
And in the end, I don’t really like the shorts at all, for a reason that has nothing to do with the design features, the construction quality, or the instructions.
I don’t like the rise.
Now, the pattern illustration shows a moderately low rise. It’s hard to gauge things like this from illustrations (or even other peoples’ bodies, rise being a fairly individual thing). And I like low rise. The problem is, I like low rise.
These are more like mid-rise. They fall just below my navel. This is at least an inch or two above where I like my waistbands to fall, as it hits right in the middle of my jubbly bits. I’d rather have my waistband lower, where my hip gets bony. I realize that this isn’t most people’s preference, but it works for me, with my particular narrow-hipped, short-waisted body.
On me: side view
The bright spot of light in this is that the fit itself is more-or-less perfect. I didn’t even have to make any kind of gaposis adjustment to the back, which I had to in both the Ellen pants and the Jalie 2908 jeans (granted I think the Jalie pattern is drafted to the flattest common denominator, possibly because they figured this was an easier adjustment to make than the flat-butt adjustment). The only alteration I made upon trying them on was to take in the outseam of the leg a little bit below the hip, so they are not quite so loose around the thigh. Which is more of a style issue, again, than a fit issue. The illustration shows quite loose, slouchy shorts, rather than my sturdy denim version (and the fabric they call for is “sheer flax”, by which I assume they mean a lightweight linen. They use the word “linen” for fabric.)
I also used a smaller number of buttons than called for, because it “looked right” and I thought it would be okay on the denim. So there’s a bit of gaping that shouldn’t be there. Lesson learned.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the finished inseam wound up being about 2.5″.
Finished interior, with bonus threads. I'll snip those some time when I give a shit.
I don’t even know for sure that the rise will be an actual wearability problem, since I wouldn’t normally tuck a shirt into these anyway.
Oh, yeah… the pattern also calls for a zipper. I have no idea where this is supposed to go or why it would even be necessary.
In Me-Made June news, here’s yesterday’s outfit.
Me-Made June 23
This photo was taken in the glorious sunshine about five seconds before the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up. I was expecting one of our June thunderstorms, but it never quite materialized. Maybe today (if not tomorrow in the midst of the kids’ birthday party).
Jalie 2908 CaprisHmm, tired of these yet? Obviously I need some other pairs… (and it just so happens I got some summery cream stretch twill at the Fabricland Canada Day sale yesterday…)
Oh, the earrings are a pair my mother and I put together back when we were making jewelry when I was in high-school. The bottom is a little malachine elephant a friend brought back from Zaire.
*Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I at any point, smoked actual crack. Or been been in a room where crack was being smoked. Or seen crack, except on a movie. I didn’t even smoke pot in high school, which is practically a rite of passage.**
**largely because my friends all smoked pipes and I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to use a lighter. Yes, those cheap Bic lighters. It wasn’t until I had been married to a smoker for several years that I learned how to use one. Mostly by practicing when he wasn’t around.