Sunday, June 5, 2011

Guy stuff

Otherwise known as the man has new pants.  I picked this pattern, Simplicity 5581, up at the pattern swap at PR Weekend.  Talk about madness.  Never dump a hundred or so patterns on a flat surface and then let a hundred or so women at them simultaneously.  Someone could get hurt.

Here's the pattern review:

Pattern Description: Men and boys shirt, cargo shorts and hat.

This review is specifically for the shorts. I have two TNT men's shirts - both KwikSew - and didn't want to try out a new one. But he's in dire need of shorts, and I picked this pattern up at the pattern swap at PR Weekend Chicago. Free pattern? I'll try it.

Pattern Sizing: Boy's S-L and Men's S-XL. I made size M, which corresponded to a 34" waist.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! The pic of the shorts on with his shirt pulled up shows the faced waistband and belt loops, front and back.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Mostly they were very clear. There are 36 steps for these shorts, from start to finish. I was with them until step 33, a particularly strange way of handling the waist facing (the shorts don't have a waistband, but a faced waist that somehow - I did it and I still don't know how - is folded one way, sewn to the zipper area on either side, then flattened out and sewn at the waist seam. I think they neglected to mention the flattening out after doing the odd seam at the zip, which makes it look like there's no way the thing will EVER fit. Once I stopped puzzling over the instructions and just played with the fabric, it made sense. Almost.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I grabbed this off the pattern swap table because Mario has been complaining he can't find any shorts that he likes. Maybe if he went to the store, he'd find some, but he's enough like me that he goes to the thrift store, and they've been lacking in his size. Eventually the complaints turned into a request for shorts, and when I saw this pattern, I figured it was fate. I like that they aren't "standard" shorts - the faced waist was interesting and less bulky than trying to sew a standard waistband, and I liked the pockets. The upper pockets were applied, so no pocket bags (and no bulk) and then the cargo pockets were applied beneath.

No dislikes, other than the slightly unintelligible finishing instructions.

Fabric Used: Poly-cotton blend twill bought at Jomar. We went on a shorts-fabric buying expedition and got a nice tan khaki and a brown denim. I grabbed this piece to use for the first pair, not being sure they'd turn out. DH doesn't know what a wearable muslin is, and I'm not telling. I figured it was good enough for the first version, and a little lighter weight if the multiple thicknesses of fabric got finicky to sew. No problems, and the fabric looks better made up than it did on the table.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No changes or alterations for this pair. On an unfamiliar pattern (especially when not sewing for myself) I usually try to work up a pattern exactly as is. This was very well drafted; everything matched up as it should and the only problem was one that I hadn't - and should have - anticipated.

Mario is 5'6". I'm 5'3". However, we both have a 30" inseam. I've only ever made shirts and jackets for him before, so it didn't occur to me that the inseam on a pair of SHORTS would need to be adjusted. But they do. The shorts, unhemmed and as drafted, hit him almost mid-calf. I'm not letting him out of the house in capri pants. I'm not letting him near the door!

Hemming them to the knee, and still a smidge longer than I would like, takes the length exactly to the bottom of the cargo pockets. I was going to pick out the bottom seam of the pockets, shorten them and restitch them (couldn't remove them entirely and move them up because the top pockets are applied, and they would end up on top of each other). He convinced me to leave well enough alone - they ARE a muslin, after all - so I did. But they bother me.

For some reason, there's only one back pockets on these shorts. I added another one for balance.

The BEST thing about this pattern, and something I will take with me onto the next pair of jeans I make, was the fly front. I hadn't made a pair of pants before with the extra flap sewn on the fly. I've done the fly shield, but using the extra piece adds more stability to the fly and gives more layers for the final stitching. Much better, and the zipper is set back like a proper RTW zipper, instead of the too-close-to-the-edge effect I've gotten a few times with jeans instructions. Here's the inside of the fly area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? They have his approval, and mine, once I adjust the length to suit him. He requested that the next pair have different cargo pockets - instead of the neat, folded pocket that gives expansion without being bulky, he wants real bellows pockets with the extra strip of fabric around the sides. Okay, honey, whatever you want. Catch a woman adding lots of fabric to the outside of her thighs. Not very likely.

Conclusion: Great shorts, good fit and not a long process even with all the topstitching involved on the pockets.


SEWN said...

Looks great!!!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Wow! These look good!

Lori said...

great looking shorts!

Connie said...

Nice shorts Karen! Cute rear end Mario!

Gail said...

Great fit. I'm currently experimenting in men's wear and collecting pattern ideas, so this post is timely.

Michelle said...

Great job! I have also made these pants and was equally confused by the waistband.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Super deluxe shorts! If I were nice I would do something like this. But I am not nice.