I’ve never really been a shorts wearer. This is due to a combination of things, but a difficulty finding shorts that fit me (and look good) and not wanting to show off my thighs are the main two reasons. When I was a teenager, the only pants that fit me were from the men’s store, Hallensteins, rather than their sister store where all my friends shopped, Glassons. So, any pants I did wear were “Planet 8” branded, navy-with-fluoro-orange-trim cargo pants. It’s no wonder that I started wearing skirts and dresses almost exclusively!
I’ve not really been much into pants, either (see: Planet 8 description above). I’ve had a few pairs over the years , with the most successful pairs being thrown out when I lost some weight a few years ago. And jeans? Well, I always got “jean envy” at the start of winter and bought a pair, only to discover at by the end of the season that they looked TERRIBLE on me. I made a pair of jeans last year but they were … not great. Construction was good, but fit was bad. So when I made the Ginger Jeans Pattern (not blogged) and they looked great, my thoughts were “YES! A well fitting pants pattern that I can alter to my heart’s content!”
Well, apparently not. Here’s a reminder of something I really should know by now: fabric choice makes all the difference in how things fit.
My pair of actual Ginger jeans were made from a cotton-lycra denim I bought from The Fabric Store. Straight after making them (and after a wash) they fit amazingly, but they become baggy within 2 hours of wear. So, when I decided to try making a pair of shorts from the same pattern, I wasn’t too worried about them being too tight.
My fabric choice for the shorts was also a cotton-lycra twill, but a lot thicker than the denim and with a stronger recovery. I didn’t properly take that into account and, as a result, these shorts are not the dream shorts I was expecting.
Here are my problems with the shorts
- They’re too tight! Even though I let out the side seams and inner leg seams (so they have a 5mm seam allowance rather than 15mm), they’re still a bit tight. You can see this particularly on the side seams and the crotch (and the bum! Eurghh) – those drag lines aren’t present on my jeans at all. Also, there is some serious camel toe! D:
- Waistband is too small. I used a contrast fabric (black cotton twill) because, err, I couldn’t find where the rest of my leopard print stuff went. Obviously, I went a bit overboard on trying to shape the waistband to my pear shape, because it’s really constricting, and consequently I get quite an obvious belly roll above the waistline
- Hem too constricting. I decided on the length after trying them on (I cut them at the “lengthen and shorten” line, knowing that would be too long), so I wasn’t able to angle the hem to accomodate the sloping sides. This just means that the hem is a touch tighter than I would like. Perhaps a cuff would have fixed this issue. I do like the length, though.
- The zip is TERRIBLE quality. It’s a real struggle to do the thing up – it’s bad enough when I’m not wearing the shorts but once I’ve got them on it takes about a minute to do that damned thing up
- I also messed up the pocket stay slightly – I trimmed back the stay on the wrong side of the fly. Not a huge issue but I ended up needing to stitch it down.
Things I do like? Well, the fabric is cool and I like the length. However, all in all, I won’t be wearing these out and about – they’re much too uncomfortable around the waist and too hard to get in and out of!
- I made the size 18, tapering to a size 16 in the waist. These shorts were sewn with a 5mm (1/4″) seam allowance rather than the 15mm (5/8″) seam allowance the pattern calls for.
- Back center yoke seam was taken in a lot to account for my faux-swayback (the slope from my bum to my lower back is quite pronounced)
- Waistband was curved more than the pattern by cutting and overlapping the pattern piece at the top – I initially did this with my jeans, but found that a lot of the waistband ended up on the bias -> drag lines. So I changed it to have side seams to get a better fit. Which resulted in a worse fit (pooh).
- For reference my measurements are: 102-81-117cm (40-32-46″), and I’m 178cm tall (5’10”)
Honestly, after this (and my previous attempts at shorts), I’m just going to stick with baggy elastic waisted shorts! I’m fairly sure I have this one lying around, from when I made my brother a pair). As for the pattern, I still love the jeans, and I have a MORE stretchy fabric to make another pair from. Fingers crossed they look better than these!
What are your experiences with shorts? Any patterns you can recommend?? I’m desperate for some culottes/gaucho pants and have a muslin have done but I’m not sure it’s the best pattern…