Tuesday 20 August 2019

Basics: Loose Fit Shorts with Elasticated Gathered Waist

I love these shorts SO SO MUCH. They're like pajama shorts, but socially acceptable to wear outside of the house. They feel dreamy light and are so comfortable I can't even describe.

This is a copy of the shorts I made as part of this set, and if you compare the two, you'll see what a huge difference material makes. The linen in the previous version gives the shorts more structure and the fit is more boxy, whereas this pair I made from silk is more flowy and has less volume.

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Fabric, 1 m  |  Pins  |  Wide elastic  |  Scissors  Thread & Sewing machine

I. My cut pieces with measurements - 2 of each, 4 pieces total. My waist is 70 cm, but given the loose fit of these, with these dimensions they are good for EU 34/US 2-EU 38/US 8.
II. First place your front and back pieces right sides facing, pin the curved crotch line together, and sew.
After this step, I like to check I have my looseness right. I pin the sides and the inseam together, put the shorts on carefully, and then gather the waistline, pinning it to my top. This gives me a quick understanding of what the fit will be once the waist is elasticated, from the front:
.. And from the back:
I also want to emphasize the greatness of my pattern alignment on the back and front center seams:
III. Moving on! Next I pinned the sides and the inseam, and sewed them (you can see I finished all the seams with my serger, but if you don't have one, zig-zag does the job too).
IV. Now I had my shorts constructed, just the waistband left. I measured the waistline..
.. And then cut my waistband. I wanted to be super economical with the fabric so I cut it in two pieces..
..  Which I sewed together at both ends to create a circular waistband. I pressed in in half width-wise.
Then pinned it onto the shorts, right sides facing, and sewed in place..
Next I pressed the seam allowance upwards, and folded the waistband over it..
.. Sewing right along the edge of the fold. Make sure you leave a 3 cm or so gap in the stitch to insert your elastic!
First cut your elastic to the right length (comfortable to go around your waist but firm enough. It can be slightly tighter than you would normally do, as the elastic will lose a bit of its power through the steps that follow). Attach a safety pin to your elastic and pass it through all the way around, back out, and sew the ends together (making sure the elastic is not twisted). Lastly close the gap in the stitch.
V. Now comes the part of evenly distributing the gathering of the fabric around the waistline. I have a hack for this that I love, involving my ironing board. I start by pinning the elastic to the waistband center front.
Then I stretch the waistband to its full length like so that the center front is at the bottom. This way I can pin the center back.
I continue going around and pinning regularly until I have pins every 5 cm or so.
Then I have this:
VI. Time to stitch! I like to do 3 stitches, starting from the lower end of the waist band. Starting from a side seam, I do a straight stitch and keep stretching the elastic to 100% as I go.
Once done, I just repeat the same twice - one stitch through the center of the waistband, and another in the upper 1/3. 

Important note on the gathering: Following the above steps you get an evenly gathered waistline. In the below photo you see I have a less, almost non-gathered section at the front in my end result. I did this to achieve a flatter look at the front - in the step where I stretch the waistline with the help of the ironing board to pin all around, before starting I actually put my first two pins about 5 cm to the left and the right from center front. Then I stretched the rest to get the even gathering on the remaining part of the waistline. Up to you, depends on the final look you're after.
VII. Lastly, hem the shorts. I did a double fold.
And my ready shorts looked like this!
I really like this fabric too.. I have some left, enough for either a matching top or a mini dress, not both, and I can't decide. It's a horrible dilemma to live with.



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