Monthly Archives: September 2016

Silk Shorts – Sewing Pattern Review Sewing Bee 2016

I wasn’t planning to enter the Sewing Pattern Review 2016 Sewing Bee. Until I saw the first contest was woven shorts. Shorts made from woven silk suiting have been sitting on my “to-make” list for most of this summer. I wanted something a little dressier than the knit shorts I normally wear, but still offered the comfort and coverage of shorts. I explored this idea by making a couple of skorts. Now, the Sewing Bee is the Round Tu-It I need to get these silk shorts ┬ámade!

Fabric Tag

Fabric Tag

I already had the fabric. I like the Style Arc crotch, and I’ve tweaked the Elle pattern to fit nicely as pants or shorts. But, Elle is designed for stretch wovens! My silk suiting doesn’t stretch. So, I decided to cut the Elle pattern in a larger size, the size I used before tweaking the fit. I can take things in in if necessary.

Fabric, zipper, pattern

Fabric, zipper, pattern

The second problem is the Elle pant is a pull on. SB rules clearly specify no pull-ons, and require a closure. Adding a fly with a cut on extension is not too hard. A quick look in my stash turned up a suitable blue zipper, and I had pants hooks-and-eyes. Thank goodness the rules allow elastic in the waistband, because I’m a big fan of comfortable elastic waistbands.

My silk suiting has some lovely, wavy stripes. The question is, which way should they go? I was planning on horizontal until I actually laid the pattern pieces out. At the last minute I changed my mind and made them vertical. I think it was the right choice.

The stripes wobble a bit making it tricky to get the grain straight

The stripes wobble a bit making it tricky to get the grain straight

Next, I drafted a simple fly shape, onto non-woven, non-fusible interfacing. I shortened the pants to the length I wanted, and added the fly extension to both front pieces.

I’ve worked with similar silk suiting before (a lovely pink!), I know how easily this stuff can ravel. So I serged all the raw edges of each piece as I cut them out.

Waistband

Waistband

I cut two pieces of fly shaped fusible interfacing. I applied the pieces to the cut on fly extensions on the inside of the front pieces. I also interfaced the waistband. After interfacing the band, I stitched the short edges together.

Usually I make pull-ons, and my next step would be side seams. But, stuff like flies are easier to work when the sections can be laid out flat. So I sewed the crotch seam from inseam to the point where the zipper base will sit, then basted the rest of the crotch seam to the waist. Normally I might need to snip at the point where the seam ends and basting begins. But, the serger knife already made the cut when I serged the raw edges to prevent raveling. So, everything already lays flat.

Fly installed

Fly installed

I turned the pants to the inside, lined up the edge of the zupper tape with the basted seam and stitched the zipper to the fly extension only. Then I turned and stitched back up, again stitching the tape only to the extension. I flipped everything and stitched the other side of the zipper tape to the other fly extension.

I left the crotch seam basted shut for the time being. I sewed the side seams, inseams, and back crotch, connecting to the base of the front crotch seam. Then I removed the basting stitches so I could open the fly.

Inside the shorts, showing the zipper

Inside the shorts, showing the zipper

Time for the first fitting test! The length was good, there was plenty of room in the waist. But, they were too big through the hip and thigh. I took them in, and tried again This time the fit was relaxed and comfortable without bagginess.

I applied the waistband, folded it right side out, and anchored it by stitching in the ditch. I left a gap in the ditch stitching just in front of each side seam, so I could insert elastic through the back of the waistband only. I added a pants hook-and-eye closure to the waistband.

Heming was the last step, I simply turned and top stitched.

Me wearing my shorts at the festival

Me wearing my shorts at the festival

Close up of front closure

Close up of front closure

The front of the finished shorts

The front of the finished shorts

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