Be prepared to unpick your work

Students always seem to take it as a failure when their garments don’t fit. But you have to fit your work and make adjustments, that’s just life, no one is a perfect size. What is the point of the garment if it doesn’t fit and most of the time, it’s not actually that much work to sort out. I want to share these shorts I made myself. They’re quite hilariously big and my husband was EVER so encouraging (he laughed and called them clown shorts! Thanks for that darling).

Afternoon Fern Shorts

I bought this fabulous canvas fabric from New Craft House (one of my fav fabric suppliers), the final metre. Then I found the Fern shorts pattern by Afternoon Patterns. I needed 1.3 metres but I’ve managed to jiggle my lay to work and I’m making my belt from a contrast fabric (when I get around to it) so a metre was fine.

Just so you know, it is a great pattern and I love the straight forward instructions and the drawings. However, there is a fault. The pockets don’t fit and it took a vast amount of swearing, trial and error to figure out that I needed to cut off the 1.5cm seam allowance on the inner pocket piece. I think an extra seam allowance was added somewhere or maybe one wasn’t added somewhere else. I don’t know but the pockets didn’t fit as per the instructions.

After looking at the sizing chart, my waist was size F (88cm), whilst my hips were size E (109cm). As these were being made in my beginners class I decided to make the size F (hips on F are 114cm) as I wanted to make a straightforward size without too much explanation. However I’ve lost weight so now they’re just big everywhere.

First lets have a good giggle at my skinny little legs in massive shorts compared to the lovely model.

Well the overriding issue is that the front darts are on my Mum-tum (which I’m never going to budge). So I have all this excess fabric under my tummy and being in canvas it’s sticking out. The waist is too big where I’ve lost weight and the legs are just all round too wide.

What’s my plan?

Well I spent ages doing the concealed zip and pockets in the side seams so I’m loathed to touch those. And the size grading is on the centre front and centre back so I’m going to make my adjustments there. And I’m hoping that I don’t have to touch too much of the zip.

I’m going to show my adjustments on the pattern pieces because it will be a lot clearer for you to understand. First I want to take 2 inches (1 inch from the front and 1 inch from the back) off the waistband. This means I need to take half an inch from the left and half an inch from the right of both the front and back pieces. So on my pattern pieces I’m going to take half an inch from my centre front and half an inch from my centre back. See the photo below.

Next I want to remove the front dart. This measures an inch and a half. I’m splitting this between the front and the back so that my side seam stays in the same place it should be. So I’ve taken 3/4 of an inch from centre front and 3/4 inch from centre back.

These adjustments have brought me down to the size C line. So I’m just going to follow this line all the way around the crotch and inside leg. This should’ve sorted out the slimming down I need over the hips. Following the size C line has taken in the front leg an inch and half and the same on the back leg.

However I want to take 3 inches from both front and back legs. So I’m going to take a further inch and half in. This means 3/4 of an inch from inside leg and 3/4 inch from outside leg. On the outside leg I’ve tried to taper it back in before the base of the zip.

Right now, I can actually apply these adjustments.

Get unpicking!

I’ve unpicked the majority of the waistband (I’ve left one side in the zip but otherwise its completely off). The inside legs, crotch and front darts have been unpicked too. I did these in front of the tv. It was all done waaaay before the end of a Poldark episode. Easy!

First, I cut 2 inches off the waistband. It’s a straight piece so it was simple enough to rule a line and chop off.

Second, the leg adjustment. Here’s a little trick. I’ve laid my fronts together and then I’ve pinned what I’ve cut off the paper pattern directly onto my shorts. I’ve done the same for the back and the outside legs. Now I can cut exactly what I cut off my paper pattern. Alteration done.

I overlocked the edges, stitched the inside legs, crotch seam and reattached the waistband. Ok I had to get my concealed zip foot out to re-attach the top of the zip into the shortened waistband but the fiddly bit was unaltered. From cutting my excess off, it took me 1 hour to finish the shorts completely. So actually it wasn’t all that bad even though it looked rather drastic after all the unpicking I had done.

And now…

Just look at these! They look so much better and much closer to the model on the pattern instructions. I think the back of the legs are a little tighter than the front but I don’t care, it’s so hard to fit yourself and anyway I absolutely love them. I like the concealed side zip, its really flattering and less bulk than the conventional fly front. I will definitely make them again, maybe in a linen… Not sure yet.

Thanks for reading.

Rosie xx

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