I’ve got seasonal whiplash.
It’s not even Halloween, but we’re seeing Christmas stuff. It gets dark so early and I want to drink my annual pumpkin spice latte, but it’s 70-some degrees and I’m wearing shorts — my new Weston shorts from Seamwork magazine. I’m so confused.
I’m getting through it, thanks to the Weston shorts pattern, which gave me the opportunity to learn a handful of new skills — manipulating darts, installing jeans buttons (so easy!), and sewing a fly-front zipper. Following is the the blow by blow, sewists!
Why I’m loving the Weston shorts pattern
|The jeans buttons are two pieces, a back and a front. The back has a pin, which you push to the front, and the front snaps over the pin. It’s that easy!|
Let me count the ways I’m loving this shorts pattern:
The fabric: The cotton twill is soft and presses like a dream, in spite of fraying easily. And — could hot pink be my new neutral color? Heck ya. Think about it: Hot pink adds a satisfying pop to outfits with solid-color tops.
The design: The high waist makes my waist look trim, and it also adds an air of formality. Plus, if I’m not feeling like it’s a high-waisted day, I don’t have to tuck my shirt and no one is the wiser. The length of the shorts makes these bottoms well proportioned, too.
The possibilities: I would like to make these shorts in faux suede or another mock animal skin with a fair amount of weight and body. I envision something lederhosen-y that would look fab with tights and boots.
Shortcomings with Weston shorts
As much as I like this shorts pattern, it’s not a unicorn for me. Here’s where I see weaknesses:
|We have matching poochy bumps.|
The poochy bump
Let’s be honest: The high waist and long zipper create a little poochy bump below the buttons and above the crotch. The model for the pattern (above) even has this issue, so it’s not just me and my abdomen.
For the pockets lining, I could have used a thinner, slippier fabric. I used cotton seersucker because it was thin, but it’s not the smoothest under the cotton twill. The good news is that the pockets minimize pantyline. The bad news is that I have to smooth the pockets over my posterior when I put on the shorts. This is not an uncommon problem, for women or men, I reckon.
These shorts wrinkle like crazy. Even though I ironed them for the detail photos in this post, once you put them on a human body, it’s all creases, all the time. On a similar note, I’m curious about the recovery for this fabric. The second wearing without a wash could be saggy baggy; we shall see.
The waistband itself is tall — about 2 inches. I found that even with interfacing, the waistband’s shape softens and folds a touch in the middle near the buttons. (You can see this in the post photos.) This makes the waistband look more strained than it is.
Friends, if I felt like I was going to bust out of my waistband, I’d be real with you. I think this could be solved (or at least improved) by moving up the top button by 1/4 inch. The button then would give more support to the waistband.
Tips for sewing the Weston shorts pattern
If you’re hot to sew the Seamwork Weston shorts pattern (maybe you’re in the Southern Hemi and it’s heating up in your postal code!), please take these tips into consideration:
1.) Practice the zipper.
If you’ve never sewn a fly-front zipper before, first practice on a muslin. In my opinion, the steps for zipper installation in this shorts pattern come up short (pun intended).
Seamwork could improve its fly-front zipper instructions with the follow additions:
- When matching the right side of the zipper to the right fly extension, pin only to the extension. The following step calls for sewing “only through the right extension.”
- After stitching the zipper to the right extension, close the zipper with the pull up. This will make it easier to move the zipper as you sew around it.
- After pinning the left side of the zipper to the left fly extension, push the zipper down slightly. This will ensure that your first stitches on the left extension don’t run into the zipper. Pull the zipper up after you’ve smoothly sewn the first few stitches. It’s all about moving the zipper foot and zipper around each other so stitching is as straight as possible.
- When it comes to topstitching the fly front, the J-shaped line should be 1 inch from the edge of the fold. (The instructions omit “from the edge.”)
- End the J-line of stitching just below the zipper teeth. The instructions say to end just above the zipper teeth, which basically is calling for you to sew over the teeth (and break a needle or worse). I stared and stared at this step for a long time, until I finally ran the topstitching BELOW the teeth and concluded this was a typo.
- Stitch the J-line from the bottom to the top (the instructions call for the opposite). I think starting from the bottom of the zipper could help get the zipper foot around the zipper stop more smoothly.
|The redrawn dart on the tissue paper pattern piece shows how the dart point is in the middle of the bottom of the welt pocket opening.|
2.) Embrace trial and error.
Adding welt pockets around darts is futzy. I was tempted to go with patch pockets — a perfectly acceptable pocket style — but I searched my heart and admitted that only welts would do.
I used these directions for adding welt pockets over darts as a starting point, and then I freestyled. The gist is that you have to adjust the depth of the darts. The dart point must end at the bottom of the welt pocket opening.
Here are my steps for adding welt pockets:
- Stick strips of tape to a muslin to decide where to place the pockets, like this pic from Instagram.
- Transfer the welt pocket location to your pattern piece.
- Redraw the dart. I placed the bottom of the dart at the bottom of the welt pocket opening (in the middle). I made the dart narrower by about 1/8 inch on each leg. I added about 1/8 inch to each side of the pattern piece.
- Continue making the garment with the redrawn pattern piece. Baste darts with pins or stitches to refine fit.
My dart alterations gave the back of my shorts a major waistband gap. That’s when my trial and error started. I would pin the darts to take out the excess, try on the shorts, assess my work, and try again. In the end, the darts ended up wider to eliminate the gap. Tedious, yes; but I’m glad I took the time, because my fit is really good.
(It’s worth noting that I used the pocket pattern piece and welt pocket instructions from my Prefontaine shorts.)
|My Weston shorts were so nice and wrinkle free before I started to wear them!|
3.) Don’t jump the gun on finishing seams.
My sewing machine has some stellar overcasting stitches. I’ve been exploring them lately because they give my seam allowances a professional touch.
The thing, though, about overcasting unfinished edges is that overcasting stitches tend to swallow notches. And ya kinda need notches to match pattern pieces.
It’s not impossible to find notches under overcast stitching, but it’s extra work. Examine how pattern pieces come together before you start overcasting.
A shorts reflection
I’m mighty pleased with my shorts trilogy, and I’m looking forward to wearing my makes when the weather steams up again next summer. Right now, though, I’m jonesing for that pumpkin spice latte!
Over to you: What are you sewing out of season? Have you had conflicting feelings about sewing out of season? What’s your favorite installment of my shorts trilogy — Prefontaine, Nantucket, or Weston? Sound off in comments!
P.S. If you liked this post, check out my other shorts in the trilogy: