Quick shortcuts for woven shorts

I recently tested a pattern for woven shorts/pants, and employed some shortcuts to help with the process. Perhaps these will encourage you to push your sewing skills a bit too?

There are so many variables with pants fitting, that it is easy to fall back on knits for an easy fit. I loved the details included in 5oo4’s latest, Chelsea Chinos. I took some shortcuts with the details for my first pair. Just so I could get a super quick fit photo, or two.

The Fly. Some kind of zip opening is needed to get a woven pair off and on. Love the fly extension or fly shield. This is a detail seen on higher end garments. I added a bar tack to the end of the fly in this pair.

The Fly Shield adds a really nice upscale touch and weight to the Chelsea Chinos. Take it slow and read through the directions a few times before hopping to it.

I chose to fall back on a fast fly insertion for my first pair. Sandra Betzina is a big name in garment design and construction. One of my favorite sewing gurus! She made this video for threads magazine. I used this technique on many pair of pants I made in college (without fusible interfacing). If the thought of a more detailed fly overwhelms you, try this one out.

Love the look of a slash pocket. Since this is not on the straight grain of the fabric, I stabilize the seam with seam tape or a strip of selvage, under stitch and top stitch to make it a sturdy opening that will not stretch out or go baggy. Three passes on this seam may seem like a lot of work but it pays off in durability. In the purple pair, I added a bias flat piping to the seam of the slash pocket to go with the contrast of the back pocket. The top I am wearing is quilting cotton cut on the bias, so I took advantage and made lots of bias strips. Hong Kong finish anyone?

Front Pockets – The front slash pocket has the upscale detail of extending all the way to the fly. If you choose this option, be sure to stitch the zipper after you have inserted the pockets. I remember owning stretch denim jeans where this front panel was made from power mesh, food for thought. On my first super quick pair, I skipped all pockets, but ended up adding a patch pocket to the outside leg, after getting the fit as good as I could.
Most of my favorite pants patterns have pockets that do not extend this far to the front. Those would work too.

There is a sneaky phone sized patch pocket just about where my right hand is. These shorts have the fast fly version.

Back Pockets – I wrote a blog post for Stitch Upon A Time about inserting a double welt pocket in the side of one of their sweat pant patterns. I love this pocket, it fits my phone perfectly. I personally prefer to make it one long rectangle that is folded up at the bottom, so there is a smidgen less bulk of a seam at the bottom of the pocket. If this pocket gapes open, you will see the fabric of the pocket lining. Since my fabrics were lightweight, I used the same fabric for the pockets.

Finished back pocket.

I added the pocket after the pants were completed. Best practice, once the fit is nailed down, is to work on pockets (front and back) before side seams, fly or waistband.

In the last pair, I had only enough fabric for patch pockets on the back. They still function as pockets, and are less noticed on this wild print. Planning to hone my skills and try a narrower welt – maybe contrasting on the next pair!

Darts, full belly adjustment and waistband. Since I need more space for my tummy, I bypassed the front dart. I added 1/4 to 1/2 to the center front for a full belly adjustment. My waistline varies a lot (thanks food sensitivities). So I questioned having a fixed waistband. What was I thinking? The shaped waistband worked out to be pretty comfy in a stretch woven. I only interfaced the front sections. On the non-stretch pairs, I opted to cut the waistbands as rectangles, using the wider line as my guide. When stitching the side seams, I left an inch of the inner waistband unsewn. That allows for elastic insertion at a later point. This also could work for someone with a swayback. Since the elastic does the same job as a dart, I opted not to stitch the back darts on some pairs, and lengthen that portion of the waistband accordingly. Since I rarely tuck in my shirts, this is not an issue.

Elastic in the back of this seersucker pair. Allows for breathing room.

Serging or clean finishing the inside edge of the waistband allows for a different technique, and tidy top stitching. More on that in a later post.

Oh, fit! 5oo4’s tinfoil method is genius. There are flexible rulers that are also helpful in determining your personal crotch curve, then adjusting out from there. I projected the curve from some favorite pants on to this pattern, and made those adjustments to my Chelsea’s. Plan on making a couple practice pairs. Both for the fit and trying out some of the cool details.

Small tweaks make a difference. On the fourth pair, I ended up shortening the front leg about 3/8 inch in the center, tapering to zero at the side and inside leg. They do not have the front pulling that this pair does.

In summary, I completely recommend this pattern. Once you pin down your fit, you can make them in different lengths, add belt loops, choose your options. A classic well fitting trouser? Yes please!

This post contains affiliate links, your purchase means the pattern designer may send me a small monetary thank you. I appreciate your support. Happy sewing! Joan

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