Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Phin is Hot! (Shorts)

Just in time for Columbus Day, I finished sewing shorts for Phineas.

For anyone else, this would be tragically out of season. However, Phin's internal thermostat has always been stuck on high heat and as a result he wears shorts year-round, at least around the house.

The genesis of this project is that Phin's favorite shorts finally sprung a leak. He wore them to a point where the pockets, belt carriers, and other details had a large amount of wear, and finally one area of stress tore.

So, I dismantled the shorts and used the pieces to create a clone. When I started the project, I thought how long could it take to sew shorts? Not long, I'm sure. Afterall, they're shorts! But I hadn't taken into account the amount of detail on these particular shorts. Sewing actually stalled at one point because I ran out of thread from all the top stitching. Also, shorts are really just trousers with shorter inseams. All the work on the fly and waist and crotch is just the same.

What I enjoyed about sewing these shorts was reverse engineering the pockets. The back patch pockets have a very cool pleat in the center which allows them to expand to hold whatever you put in them. The front pockets have a gusset that runs down the seam (the one not enclosed in the side seam) that allows them to expand. The pockets are actually one of Phin's favorite features of these shorts, so I was glad to recreate them. The only change I made to the pockets was to eliminate the smaller set of patch pockets that had been located on top of the front pockets. Phin never used them. However, I did make pattern pieces for them in case I want to include them in future versions.

Here are some of the details:

Back patch pocket with flap. I offered buttons, but the original has velcro. So, velcro it is.

Front slant pocket with gusset. Belt carrier. 

Front fly and waistband. I used hardware for the closure.

I think I may actually be even happier about these shorts than Phin. They really are one of my most beautifully finished projects, with attention paid to every detail. And I feel like my top stitching - and my confidence in my top stitching - has really come a long way. One of the reasons I have not sewn dress shirts for Phin is my lack of confidence with top stitching areas like the cuffs, placket, collar. So, maybe a shirt is at long last in Phin's future. Also maybe trousers...

And this brings us to fit. Another reason I haven't sewn more for Phin is that he doesn't have much patience for trying on and the fitting process. This is a challenge since Phin has some fitting challenges; he has a rather flat bum. But these shorts fit rather well. So I have a template I could use to adjust the fit of any trouser pattern that I might want to tackle for him.

Phin has a rather flat bum

The only other change I made was that the original waistband had a few elastic sections which I replaced with a normal straight waistband.  In order to get a good fit, I sewed the side seams after attaching the waistband, basting first and adjusting as needed. I learned this trick from Simplicity's Amazing Fit collection.

Last, but not least, the fabric is a cotton/linen blend twill from Fabric Mart. With the linen content, I was afraid that it would grow and grow. But is seems like the cotton, plus the sturdy twill weave, keeps it in check. Phin reported that after several hours of wear, the waist was still fitting well. It also doesn't wrinkle too badly, even though you can see some creasing. I assume that with more washes, this will soften.

At the end of the day, Phin seems pretty happy with his new shorts and, when I mentioned the possibility of trousers, he seemed enthusiastic. So, job well done, me!

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