“Of the three pants fastenings these remain: fly front, wrap, and elastic. But the greatest of these is elastic. No wait, fly front. No, elastic! Hmm, am I bloated? Elastic!”
Those are my favorites. Invisible zippers can take a flying leap (I still use them, I just dislike and mistrust them). And can you beat elastic for comfort and flexibility? Madams, sirs, and otherwise, you can’t.
Though, I’m not so sure that elastic is easier to sew neatly than a zip. It’s sort of wobbly and stretchy and twisty and if your safety pin comes off while threading you have to dive into the casing head-first with a pair of tweezers. On the other hand…
Beat that with a stick! I don’t typically wear print at all, and especially not as shorts, so I didn’t want any barriers to wearing these. So the way these pop on and then feel like nothing? Hooray! The pattern is the Peppermint Shorts (variously Spring shorts or Drawstring shorts) and another downloadable freebie. So far, so good! And yet…
The first time I sewed this pattern, I sewed a straight size 14. I didn’t have enough fabric for the pocket bags (scrapbusting!), so I skipped them. Possibly this increased the emphasis on my stomach. My stomach is not a state secret. I’m not ashamed of it, or trying to hide it, but this trial pair of shorts…it sort of cupped it? Like hands in a pregnancy photo shoot? I don’t want to be cupped.
But I was happy with everything else. Back fit, leg fit, crotch curve – I just wanted a little more fabric in the crucial location so I wouldn’t be held tenderly by my own shorts all day.
Also, I mostly don’t like shorts that widen at the hem, possibly because they make me look like I’m teetering around on a pair of parsnips; meanwhile, nice close-fitting shorts legs showcase the curvy aspects of my pins. You could probably talk me into a zookeeper/Egyptologist inspired pair, but for these, my priority was making keeping the leg shape the same while adding moreso for my torso.
And since they’re cinched with elastic, it was as easy as snip-spread-tape!
The shorts are hemmed with a facing, so I taped the front leg pattern piece and front leg facing pattern piece together before making my changes. Altogether I spread the shorts at the top 1.25” per leg.
I imagine if you were outside the limited size range (the highest size available is 16), some combination of horizontal and vertical slashes would grade these nicely. This pattern is free – which represents a significant gift from the designer – but also so, so narrowly sized – why are people with 33” waists ineligible for gifts?!
I think this style could feel comfortable and nonrestrictive on many shapes and sizes. The ‘drawstring’ is looped through two buttonholes (or grommets, if yah fancy. I was not) and tied in a bow, so it doesn’t actually constrict at all. I ran a wee line of stitching between the buttonholes so my tie would stay put. It’s a piece of self-fabric double-fold bias tape, stitched shut. Turning tiny tubes is my Waterloo.
Hem facings, on the other hand, turn out to be my waterpark. Fun, I mean, not heavily chlorinated. Tidy shape, no flare, easy to sew around curves. I find this to be the easiest way to prep these:
Then attach as normal. And the result:
Those flashes of white are because the block printing stopped a couple inches before the selvage of my fabric, but I am a fabric miser who will use every inch.
I talk a little more about their style over on the Sewcialists. In short (shorts!! Yuk yuk yuk), I won’t know for sure until the weather gets hot, but I think this pair of shorts will end up being a friend indeed, and a welcome departure from my summer norm.
Bye for now!
Pattern: Peppermint Shorts
Pattern cost: $0.00
Size: 14, with variations, above
Supplies: leftovers from my Ruth blouse, fabric costs placed there; thread and elastic from stash
Total time: 3 hours
Total cost: $0.00