The Shorts of Endless Aggravation

Finally, let’s talk about the shorts.

Warning: This post contains the words “crotch” and “riding up.” Faint of brain, look away.

My story begins back in April–but I’m not starting there. You’ve already heard about all my twill. Let’s start with The Avengers.

One Friday, let’s say it was May 8–because I think that’s when it was–my friends and I made plans to go see The Avengers. I love super hero movies, so I was pretty psyched. Maybe that’s why that morning I woke up with the mad idea to make myself an outfit to wear that night.

Some people can do this. I cannot.

I decided on the Iris shorts in fuchsia and a simple top out of some polyester shirting.

Can we just pause here so that I can admit that I really didn’t know much about fabric when I first started sewing. had this huge sale on Jolie Fleur shirting and I simply did not take into account that it was 100% polyester. I didn’t even think to check, really. So, now I have all this polyester and after sewing with it a couple of times, I am not a fan.

Anyways, I’m not even really fond of the fuchsia with that particular shirting, but if you’re going to panic sew, then you work with what you got.

And it was panic, indeed.

I probably should have sewn up something simple, like Colette’s Sorbetto, but I didn’t have any bias tape on hand and I didn’t think I’d have the time to make my own. Instead, I opted for Simplicity 2211. But, you know what? I’m going to talk about this blouse later. The pattern still needs some work and definitely a better fabric. I’m going to try again and talk it all out in one go.

So, back to the shorts.

I spent the morning and much of the afternoon making the blouse. I feel that it really shouldn’t have taken me that long, but it did. Of course, this is including all the cutting and tracing and interfacing and all that. So, maybe I’m not that slow after all. By the time I got around to the shorts, I had only a couple of hours left before I needed to leave. I decided to launch right in and see what happened.

What happened was I did not make a muslin. I also sewed a few pieces on backwards (oh, twill). I was about to insert the zipper with just a half hour or so left, and then I gave up.

The next weekend, I tackled the shorts once again. First, I took them apart so I could fix the glitchy bits. Then, I whipped them back together and tried them on.

Yes, this is a terrible picture. Yes, I was standing on a chair so that I could see the shorts in the bathroom mirror because I do not have a full-length mirror. Yes, I know I should get one. So sorry for putting you through this.

Holy. Blooming. Leg holes.

In the picture (the awful picture–I’m so sorry) the legs don’t actually look so bad, but in person they were ridiculous. Not the look I was going for. But, I suppose it shouldn’t have been surprising since my legs are a much smaller size than my waist, if that makes sense. It’s sort of tragic, but I’m working on it.

Anyways, I played around with the side seams until I got them under control.

The other issue I was facing was with the facing. I used a blouse that was too small because I like the idea of contrasting facings and pocket linings. I did not take a picture of this, but they looked truly tragic. TRULY.

If you can believe it, this is the corrected version.

I decided that they needed to be interfaced, but looking back, I’m thinking they weren’t cut on the grain correctly.

So, the shorts were dismantled once again. I modified the pattern to bring the legs in more. And once more, I sewed those puppies up. This time I made it all the way to the end and even wore them out in public.

Of course, wearing them gave me the opportunity to critique them further. I noticed that the top of the zipper was poking me in the side. I don’t know what the solution to that problem is. Also, the waist was a bit tighter than it had been on the first two incarnations. I can’t say that I know why. Also, I could have used a bit more room in the seat.

Then, of course, there was the issue of the riding up. Very, very annoying. Every two steps I had to readjust. Not attractive.

I knew that this was an issue I was determined to conquer when I did the yellow twill shorts. I put the fuchsia shorts on again and really scrutinized the problem. Here’s what I discovered: the crotch was way too low. About two inches or so, I think. (Apparently, I’m very compact on top.) I wondered if this was causing the problem.

This go round, I made a muslin. I ended up raising the crotch about 1 1/2″ and extending the back about 3/8″ I think. And I took in the front center seam just a tad to get rid of some of the fullness under the waistband.

When I felt content with my adjustments, I launched right into the twill version. Construction was super simple–especially since I’d done it four times at this point. I used some quilting cotton for my facings and pocket lining–paying special attention to grain this time around. And let me tell you, it makes a difference.

There was one tricky spot in the construction that I should mention.

I decided to do the version with the buttons. Because they’re so cute. The instructions tell you to sew together the front and the sides and then do the buttonholes. But, since I was planning to use my automatic buttonhole foot and couldn’t figure out how to get the fabric to lie down properly. So, I decided to do the buttonholes before sewing the two pieces together.

And it worked–sort of. Because the pocket facing was now sewn to the shorts front, it was hard to get them sewn to the pocket and side pieces. (Is this making any sense at all???) They didn’t turn out perfectly (of course), but it worked. So, if you plan to make this version of the shorts and you’re worried about sewing the buttonholes, you might want to think about trying it this way. If you are awesome and are sewing your buttonholes by hand, you will not have an issue.

Someday I will learn to sew buttonholes by hand, but that day has not come. Soon, though. One thing at a time.

The zipper gave me significant troubles. I did it twice and it was still off–even after I carefully marked the seam on the side of the zipper I had yet to sew. I mean, really. I didn’t realize how off it was until after I’d sewn the facing.

Sad zipper. Bad zipper.

When I tried them on in the end, they were still a bit tighter than I would like. I suppose I could have gone a size up and made all my mods, but my vanity said “no.”

Oh, vanity. You irk me.

I wore them around the house for an evening and thought that I had solved the riding up issue. So, I brought them out for their public debut on Tuesday. I threw them on after work and as I was walking down the long hallway, I noticed that they were still creeping up on me.They were creeping up bad. (By the by, I did a little internet search on this, and most people recommend buying bigger shorts. It was also suggested that people walk with their legs apart, spray hairspray on the shorts, and lose weight.

. . .

The problem with the internet is that even the idiots can use it.)

Blasted shorts.

Possibly blasted thighs.

Maybe I need to raise the crotch again?

These shorts were definitely a learning experience, a good place to start for those who have never done pants or shorts before. I have plans to use another shorts pattern with a front fly oh crap. I think I’ll be able to use the same sorts of modifications on these as well.

I guess for the most part I’m happy with these shorts. I definitely have a long way to go in the area of pants and shorts, but I have made a start and got a couple of projects under my belt (Question: Why are we putting things under our belts? Doesn’t it make us look bulky? Is it for easy access?).

When I searched for images, I didn’t see that many people who’d written about these shorts, so if you are going to make or have made them, I’d love to hear about it!


6 thoughts on “The Shorts of Endless Aggravation

    • I read recently that Colette patterns tend to favor the curvy, so you may be right.
      But, thanks! It was definitely a learning experience.

  1. Gosh, I’m working on these dadgum shorts as we speak and having a less than pleasant time. The fit just doesn’t seem quite right, and I can’t seem to identify exactly what’s wrong with them. Ugh!

    • Oh, man–I SO feel your pain! It was especially frustrating because it seemed that everyone else I read about who made them didn’t have any of the fitting issues I had. I hope you figure them out–they really are super cute!

I'm done. Now, YOU can talk :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s