Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simplicity 1887 - Gathered back converted to darts

I didn't want to accumulate any more UFOs around here, so I forged ahead on my shorts and made it work, Tim Gunn style. Since the gathered back was obviously not working, and since I didn't want to scrap the whole project, and since I didn't have enough extra fabric to redo the back pieces.... I did what my amateur mind thought best:

  • Unpicked allll the stitches on the back waistband (sigh) and all the stitches on the cuffs
  • Inserted a zipper on the left side
  • Cut a line straight up the back of each leg...

Then I sewed that gap right back together again with 5/8" seams, thereby removing about 1 1/4" excess from each leg. I used flat felled seams again, and I'm just going to call those "design elements." There are no mistakes, just design elements waiting to happen. This made the fit much better in the butt, but there was still a lot of excess in the waist, of course. So I added in some darts, one on either side of each newly-made back seam (four in all). That did the trick!

They're pretty wrinkly from wearing, but you get the picture.

As for the back waistband, I had to draft a new one. Instead of using a straight rectangle (like the original pattern), I curved the bottom edge downward because this is how the back pieces curved once the darts were added and I tried them on. I measured carefully with my tape, first the length of the top straight edge and then the length of the bottom curved edge, drafted it, cut it all out, and somehow it fit perfectly. It was a very pleasant surprise, because I really expected it to be harder than this. Not so!

I also chopped off some of the extra length and redid the cuffs. While I was doing everything else, might as well.

I used a heavier fabric for the facing. I think it's a home decorating fabric. It's sturdy enough that I didn't need to interface the waistband. I've never tried this before, but I kinda like the result.

So, in the end I've wound up with a pattern that only half resembles the original but is much more flattering than my baggy bloomers of version 1.0. And most exciting, I think I just made my first pair of fitted (short) pants.

Here's a photo of the top of my head, in case you were wondering what it looked like, and the shorts...

 Oh okay, and the bum shot. Sorry everyone, but I have to prove they fit.

I added pockets on the back, because I wanted them, and also because I think they do a good job of hiding how there's one too many seam lines on each leg. Two darts plus a seam up the center of each leg seemed like a lot.

'Nother bum shot...

I really ought to be more excited in these photos. I've been dreaming about making my own pants forever!

Josh's patience for the fashion shoot lasted about three minutes. After that, he started picking peaches.

 Hey, are those delicious? Nope. Phbbt. Not ripe yet.

Last photo I got outta him before I went and got my tripod and finished on my own...

More shorts shots...

Oh wait, there's something more interesting in these photos...

Who's that little fuzzy dude? Oh yeah, it's our ADORABLE NEW KITTEN.

Say hello to Pidgin. He is small and soft, but getting bigger every day. He likes to look outside at the cars that go by.

He totally steals the show, I have to say.

We adopted Pidgin from the shelter last week. I went there with the intention of getting an adult cat, but Josh went straight to the kitten room and started falling in love with them, and that was that. I couldn't say no to one of those little furballs, plus seeing an adult guy playing with a tiny kitten is pretty adorable.

Pidge is awesome. He's rambunctious and sweet, and very brave. I also feel like adopting a cat is kinda like a badge for me as a seamstress. It seems as if every other sewing blogger out there has one. There's Pip and Henry, over at Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing...

Echo, Debi's companion over at My Happy Sewing Place...

photo from this post
And my personal favorite, Walnut from Cation Designs.

how awesome is this photo?
And I can't leave her out, even though she is far from feline... Lucille from Lucky Lucille...

a dog worth naming a blog after
Welcome to the club, Pidgin!


  1. I just googled this pattern and stumbled across your blog. I'm glad to see all the work you did on the back of view of these. I was concerned about how the elastic/gathering would look. I really like the way the flat felled seam looks on the back! It totally looks like you did it on purpose- like it was planned from the beginning. Nice job!

  2. Thank you! I always hope when a post goes up that someone else will find it useful.

  3. Super cute shorts, I love your attitude and your fix! They look fantastic on you. :)

    And the kitty! He's so fuzzy and precious... :) I want one so badly!

  4. Waaah this makes me miss kittens! I only have adult cats in my life right now, and while Walnut is adorbs, I still miss the tiny cute fuzzy babies. Consider yourself awarded with the Sewing With Cats blog award!

    And thanks for the correction re: archaeology -- obviously I was right in not becoming one, because I would have been severely disappointed to be studying people, and not dinosaurs :)

  5. 1. great shorts! you got an awesome fit! no weird crotch lines at all (a common problem for moi). i'm jealous. and i like the idea of back leg seams - it's an extra place to get a good fit and it looks cool.

    2. that kitten is adorbs! and you're right, pets seem like the perfect companion to a sewing machine. ;)

  6. These shorts look so good on you. Summer's coming up here and I don't really have any decent (ie. am willing to be seen in public) shorts, I really should get myself into gear!

  7. I love these shorts and they look great on you! The extra seams on the back give it an interesting look and are definitely different than other shorts. I love your adjustments. Want them for myself :)

  8. I LOVE the fix. I've had this problem in the past and will surely remember this. Thank you for sharing and they look AMAZING!!