10 May 2014

Menswear: Shorts for the Hubby

My husband often complains that I make so much stuff for myself, and the rest of the family doesn't get that much at all. When he asked me if I could make him some shorts, he was expecting that I would say no so I could get on with some other stuff that I am working on. Much to his surprise, I actually agreed to make him something.

I let him "shop my stash" and of the fabrics that he chose I picked out two of them to use. I have only made up one pair of shorts now, and I'll get to the second ones when I have some more time to spare.

Fabric picked out and pre-washed, I needed to work out what pattern to use. Unlike patterns that I use for myself, our children, and the majority of my clients, I haven't made menswear blocks. The patterns that I have made for menswear in the past have been more of a pattern hack. I actually discovered that I have about four men's pants patterns, but to my recollection I have only ever used one of them. After the hubby tried on the previous pants that have been made using this pattern (which doesn't fit that well), I decided to try out one of the others.

I laid out two patterns on top of each other to see the difference. Not that you can really tell here because of all the sizing lines, but the leg lines are quite similar. The one on top is McCalls 7599 from the mid 1990's, which I have used numerous times already. In fact, when I found it there was fabric already cut with it for a pair of pants. (It was actually the hubby who was going to make these, not me, but that's probably a story for another time!) That fabric has a weird feel to it, but when I did a burn test, it seems to be a wool. Not what I'm looking for in a pair of shorts, so I rejected the idea of cutting them down to size for shorts. The McCalls pattern does tend to be on the short side as well, so if I do ever sew these up I'll probably add a separate cuff to make them longer.

The Kwik Sew pattern underneath (pattern number 2860) is the one that I decided to use for these shorts. It has a longer line (which of course I won't get to test out by making shorts), and a bit more room in the waist. I had planned on tracing this out to use as a basis for variations in the future if they turned out well.

For these shorts I ditched the more formal looking welt pockets, and opted for simple patch pockets on the back. I did have to read the instructions (shock horror!) to work out how to put the pockets in. Other parts of the instructions had me scratching my head as to why they would do things a certain way. Whilst putting the fly in was a different and possibly easier way to do it than I usually do, the order of construction has you trim off the excess fabric after sewing in the fly, which doesn't leave enough room for overlocking.

I managed to catch in a piece of fabric trying to overlock below the zip in the centre front. It made it sit all kinds of funny on the outside, so I unpicked just that little piece of overlocking so it would sit flat. I'll just have to deal with the fact that there's a little section underneath with no finishing on the seam. Most of it is covered by the fly anyway, so it should be OK. If I were to use this pattern again I think I'd have to redraft the fly and sew it up my normal way.

As far as the fit goes, he seems to think that they're fine, but they seem a little large to me! The crotch is sitting a little low, and they are quite baggy, thanks in no small part to the front pleats. Time to bite the bullet and make the husband his own pants block? Maybe, but we'll see what he thinks of these shorts after he's had a chance to wear them some more.

(Sorry, forgot to take a photo of the back!)

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