I’m not even sure how I should start this post. What seemed like a small idea in my head quickly snowballed into a large project. I dove into this project, thinking I could easily alter the pattern using my pant block, but after one test pair, I realized I needed to step back and start from the beginning. I tested this pattern with muslin fabric until I was satisfied with the fit. I made my final shorts out of linen purchased at JoAnn’s. The pattern I am trying is a free shorts pattern from Peppermint Magazine: https://peppermintmag.com/sewing-school/issue-27-drawstring-linen-shorts/
ORIGINAL / UNALTERED PATTERN
I made zero changes to the pattern because I needed to get a better idea about where to begin with my alterations. First thing I noticed was the placement of the waistband. I’ve lost my waistline completely because the waistband is way too high. Some people may be able to play around with low- to a high-rise on their pants, but I have this “kill zone” that exists between my belly button (natural waist) and lower down where I usually wear pants. It’s about a 3-inch region where waistbands cannot reside because one of two things ALWAYS happens. One, the waistband falls below or two gets stuck above my natural waistline and makes me look like Steve Urkle. I call this region the “kill zone” because my waistband never stays in place. I don’t often go for the higher waistline, because I have such an incredibly short front torso. By the time my waistband is above, it is now dangerously close to my boobs. Too high!! It may be annoying, but I’m pretty set with exactly where I need all waistbands to sit. Sad that I don’t get to experiment, but this is about fitting clothes to the body I have!
TEST VERSION #1
For this first test version, I lowered the waistband where it needed to go. I dropped the center front by 2″ and graded it back to center back. I did not lower the center back. Before I make any other alterations, I need the shorts to sit on my waistline correctly.
Notice the change in torso length between the two versions. The original is nearly at my chest and lowering the waistline by 2 inches makes a huge difference.
TEST VERSION #2
I shortened the crotch length on both the front and back pieces. I removed ¾” from the front crotch length and 1 ¼” from the back crotch length. I also lengthened the leg by 3″ and then narrowed the leg opening.
Lengthening the shorts revealed a lot of fit issues for sure. Sometimes it’s nice how forgiving shorts can be because you only really need to worry about your lower torso. The moment you lengthen shorts, then you start involving fit issues with your legs. I’ve tried to use shorts as a pant block before, and the translation to pants turned into a hot mess. Just because shorts look good, doesn’t mean they’ll look good as pants.
TEST VERSION #3
Lengthening the shorts revealed issues with the crotch curve. I added ½” to the front crotch curve and I removed ½” to the back crotch curve.
I had just enough scrap fabric to make these shorts, but only just. I didn’t have enough fabric for pockets. I’m going to wear these around and see how I like them before deciding if I’ll make a second pair. The way that these shorts drape in a linen fabric is divine.
I think what threw me off when I tried this pattern the first time was that I didn’t need to make any wide hip / knock knee alteration. Once I got the waistline where I wanted it, the rest of my alterations were actually very straight forward if I used my pant block. The best part about this pattern is that it is free. Don’t be shy about trying it out.