Last year I bought a piece of linen in the renmant bin at Fabricana. Since I only had very little of it (less than a meter I think, my original idea was to make a safari-style vest with it. But this summer got unusually hot, unusually early here in Vancouver (unfortunately causing a lot of forest fires). So by end of May, I already had all my summer wardrobe out, and realized I needed a critical addition to it: a nice pair of shorts that i could wear to work (as opposed to denim cut offs :P)
For the pattern, I used Burda Magazine #115 from june 2010, which I already had in my stash. It is a cuffed pair of shorts with front pleats and single-welt back pockets.
(apologies for all the wrinkles...I tried ironing them in a hurry before the photos but i obviously didn't do a very good job. Also, it's linen, I doubt they will ever be wrinkle-free again)
I made a muslin first and managed to figure out alterations pretty easily. There was way too much fabric at the crotch (which seems to be a constant for me with burda pants patterns that involve pleats...actually any burda bottoms involving pleats, i don't know why I keep making pleated bottoms...).To fix that, I pinned a horizontal pleat accross the whole front, from side seam to side seam (about 2cm). I also took in about 2cm at CB at the waist, tapering to nothing at the crotch.
After that the shorts came together really nicely. I really took my time for each step. I made the welt pockets first, then assembled the front pockets. On my wide-legged pants, I struggled with the front pocket lining peaking out took much. This time I was careful to press it in properly, with a slight turn-of-cloth of the main fabric from the front, and careful understitching. The lining does tend to show a bit through the welt pockets in the back, but I'm ok with it.
A few weird things happened while constructing these shors. First, I thought that because I had shortened the front crotch, i also needed to shorten the inside pocket piece...but even after I'd done the alteration to the front on the pattern piece, the pocket still matched at the notch...I wonder if I traced the wrong size to start with...obviously not a big deal since it didn't create an issue, but I was a bit puzzled...
The secone puzzling thing that happened had to do with the waist band. I cut the outer piece and inner piece exactly the same, but after I attached the outer piece to the short, the inner piece ended up too short (the side seams didn't match at all). Again, pretty puzzled about that, looked like the outerpiece might have stretched out after i stitched it to the short or something, but I clearly had to recut the inner piece longer. I ran out of main fabric so I used the lining fabric instead (which was probably better anyway in the end).The lining fabric also came from my stash - remnants of the rayon I used for this skirt.
Aside from that, no big problems putting these shorts together. I did change the construction of the cuffs. In this pattern, the cuff pieces are integarted to the bottom of the shorts. (If I understood correctly) Burda will have you fold the bottom portion towards the inside, sew the edge to the inside of the shorts, then fold again towards the outside, and secure the pleat with a slip stitch. That's kind of a weird construction in my opinion as you technically end up with a seam accross the short leg, even though it gets hidden by the cuff.
Instead, I mesured where I wanted my cuffs to hit, and chopped off the necessary amount from the leg, and used it as a seperate cuff piece. I used the Inari Dress construction for sleeve cuffs to attach them back to the bottom of the shorts. Much cleaner.
In the end, I am so happy with these shorts. They fit perfectly, and they are exactly what I wanted: a pair of simple, work-appropriate (for my casual-dress work everonment anyways) shorts, that can be paired up with anything. I'm also feeling a lot more confident diving into my next pair of pants now that I have sort of figured out my basic alterations with Burda pants - although my next pair will most likely NOT involve pleats.
I finished these shorts back in early august, just in time to put them in my suitcase for my trip to Montreal. I've worn them quite a few times since then. We didn't get a chance to take photos in august though, and all of a sudden Vancouver weather changed from hot summer to cold, rainy fall (we actually had one of the strongest wind storm in recorded BC history that day, with thousands of homes without power over the week-end). I had kind of lost hope that we would be able to take outside pictures of them, but suddenly around 7:00pm, we noticed that the sky had cleared up. We rushed outside to our photo spot and managed to get this really nice sunset light (only lasted long enough for the photos).
As a side note, and in the spirit of the recent #UnsungSewingBlogHero trend on the blogosphere, I just wanted to reaiterate my thanks to B, for being such a good sport in not only taking my blog photos - especially that day, when the poor guy was still sore all over from running a 50km trail race a week before, but also for spending the time processing them so I really get the best result (and by processing I mean enhancing brightness and colors and maybe hiding a couple of blemishes here and there. No crazy body enhancing photoshop action here, this is really what I look like :P).
There's always a bit of bargaining when it comes to processing:
Him: Really, you're going to put 20 photos of your shorts on your blog? These four are basically all the same, except for the direction of your face!
Me: But they're all so great (cause you're such a talented photographer, wink wink), it's hard to choose!
Him: well, let's try to cut it down to 15 at least.
Me: ok, fine...I guess i can live without this photo of my (cut-off) face looking to the right...
I'd done a post about B. a few years back, to acknowledge how grateful I was that he took all these photos, but it can't hurt to say it again, can it :)
Now I'm currently finishing up my Inari Dress, and then I have a bit of a crazy project of sewing up running gear for the both of us for a race in October...and potentially pants in the mean time...yeah my sewing list isn't getting smaller anytime soon...