Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shorts for Steve-o.

Hi everyone! The past couple weeks have been such a whirlwind. After some bureaucratic wrangling, Joe is getting assessed by the school district to determine whether he might benefit from additional services when he starts kindergarten this fall. This is both wonderful and nerve wracking, and we've been scrambling to get to the appointments. Luckily, most people who work with special needs kids for a living are like, the nicest people on the planet and know how to get children to warm up, and Joe has been really cooperative. He reports that "I am SO GOOD at puzzles." Yes, yes, you are!!! Love it!

We've also had visitors and lots going on and I have been hopping busy at work (a generally good sign for my city). Whew!

So once again, I have actually been sewing plenty (it helps keep me sane), but blogging is taking a back seat. I'm here today to share a really exciting make, though - actual men's sewing, with an actual functional zipper fly!

Jutland Shorts

Don't mind Steve's grimy shirt. He's a hard working guy! That's manly dirt right there. ;-)

For years I've wanted to sew something for my wonderful husband Steve, but ... well, I didn't. For a variety of reasons, including that he is a guy of simple but particular tastes. He likes his clothes to be just so. About six months ago, I asked him if he would like me to sew him a shirt, and he said "No, I'd like some pants. You know, like real pants." Um. I was like, "I've never made real pants. Not for Joe, not for myself. Like, never!" I showed him the Thread Theory website, and tried to steer him towards the Strathcona Henley but it was a no-go. He wanted pants. The Jutland Pants, to be specific, a pair of work pants with all the bells, whistles, and pockets a man could want.

So I bought the pattern, but then it sat for a really long time while I contemplated the zipper fly and all the little details. Then, earlier in June, I saw Meg's version of the Jutland, made as shorts for her guy, and a light went off. I was like, hmmmmm: "If I make these as shorts using some fabric from the stash, and they don't turn out, it won't be such a big deal. And Steve does need shorts! And I've been wanting to try a zipper fly one of these days!"

Jutland Shorts

Sometimes when I'm facing an intimidating project, it helps to find ways to reduce the emotional/financial stakes associated with the project. It's an example of my perverse reasoning that one of the reasons I don't make muslins as much as I probably should is that I don't want to buy - or waste - a ton of muslin! I know, it's nuts and completely wrong-headed. I'm working on it. But it always feels good to use every last scrap of a stashed piece. So I cut out version 1 (with no cargo pockets and welt pockets in the back) from this maroon or burgundy (or according to Joe, pink) chambray that had been sitting in my stash for a very long time. I cut all the facings and pocket pieces from a soft plaid flannel. This turned out to be a mistake, as I'll explain later, but it was a thrifty choice.

Jutland Shorts

Although it had been a pretty long time since I did welt pockets on a pair of Art Museum trousers for Joe, that project me taught that welt pockets are not something to fear, so I dove in again. These shorts were actually easier than that, because the welts were larger and less fussy to work with. Chambray also creases and irons really well, which makes welt pockets go together more smoothly. I am pretty proud of these lovely, deep, functional welt pockets, and I love how the tops of the pockets are neatly buried in the waistband.

After I sewed up the back crotch seam, I did have Steve try the pants on briefly. Based on that fitting, I carved out a bit more room in the seat of the pants to allow more freedom of movement. After years of doing this, it still always amazes me that increasing the seam allowance on the crotch actually makes the pants bigger! Weird. But anyway, I seem to have improved the fit with that one small change.

Finally, it came time for me to try my first zipper fly. I used a nice brown metal zipper I got from YKK Zippers (zipit on Etsy). Did you guys know about this shop? My friend Mahriam told me about them and it's incredible! Beautiful zippers at amazing prices! And the selection puts my local shops to shame (sorry, but it's true!). You know you've been sewing for a long time when you can get super excited about zippers, but sure enough, I couldn't resist! I ordered a couple dozen zippers (so cheap!), and they were at my house two days later! It was like zipper Christmas! Check these folks out! They have really nice metal zippers and a crazy selection of every other type of zipper too.

I did a lot of internet research first, and read through several tutorials trying to wrap my head around the process of installing a zipper fly in advance. In the end, after reading several sets of instructions and several tutorials, I ended up following Thread Theory's video tutorial, which they developed for their Jedediah Pants sew-along. At this point, I'm such a newb that I cannot really weigh the respective merits of different methods for installing zipper flies, but that video is very clear and it really helps me to see the process in action. From what I've read and picked up from the online sewing community, it seems that there are several different ways to install a zipper fly, and it's probably best to identify one that you like and can understand, and then maybe do that every time instead of trying every different type of pattern instructions ... would you agree?


Okay, yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself! It turned out pretty well and I only had to unpick a tiny bit! Haha! For all of you sewists out there who feel like zipper flies are a big hurdle, I'm here to say, you can do this! Like so many things with sewing, the intimidation factor is the major hurdle. Once you sit down and start working and following instructions, it's not so bad at all. I had built this one up to be such a big deal in my mind (after all, zipper flies are not intuitive, and looking at a RTW pair or pants, I couldn't for the life of me imagine how it was done), that I was actually happily surprised at how easy it was! (In addition, I have never conquered the lapped zipper, but after this I'm thinking that's worth another try.)

It is possible that I jumped around and squealed a little bit after I completed this, much to the confusion and bemusement of my husband and brother. (Also, yes, i bound the waistband with brown double bias tape from my stash, which looks really nice.)

Jutland Shorts

And they fit pretty well! There are a few things I would change (and I might go back and do a little post-sewing surgery), like the back of the waistband gapes a little bit and starts to sag after a few hours of wear. Basically, Steve needs the guy-equivalent of a swayback adjustment, to accommodate his (totally cute) bubble butt. (Oh, the things we we sewing bloggers are forced to write about! I am so sorry Steve!)

Jutland Shorts

Other things I would do different - I'd pick a different fabric to line the front pockets. The flannel is too grabby, and wants to get all bunched up around the pocket opening. You can see that just a little bit in this photo, even though Steve had pushed the pockets back in right before this.

Jutland Shorts

This must be why the pattern suggests "pocketing material" for the front pockets and why there was special discussion of this on the blog posts and sewalongs on Thread Theory, huh? I just figured, sure sure, "pocketing material" whatever. Well, the flannel seems fine for the welt pockets and the waistband, but in this case, I think a smooth and shiny cotton would have been so much better for those front pockets. Live and learn.

Having conquered the zipper fly, I am ready to make the Jutland pants (cargo pockets and everything) for Steve, as well as maybe some pants or shorts for myself! (Eeek!!) I'm super pumped to have picked up a new skill. Yay me!! In the meantime, Steve wore his shorts again yesterday, despite their issues, so I am feeling pretty good about these.

What are your "sewing hurdles" - any techniques that scare your pants off (haha, I am so funny)?


  1. These are fabulous, Inder! Well done on conquering the zipper fly.:)

  2. I am dying reading about the finer parts of your husband's anatomy. Bubble butt or not, the shorts look great - both on him, and turned inside out. I love the bound waistband. It gives such polished look.

    And also, I TOTALLY hear you on the financial implications of muslining. I feel much the same way. My workaround is old worn-out sheets. I actually have several of these due to changes in our bed size, and I keep them just for this purpose. If you don't have any, a thrifted king sized set will likely last you through several garments, and much cheaper than even cheap muslin.

  3. Nice shorts! So impressed that you sewed real pants for your honey. I've got a zip fly on my short list of things to try, maybe in a pair of shorts for myself. Appreciate the encouragement to try it!

  4. Awesome job Inder, Thread Theory are the best patterns.
    I want to make these for Jed, surprisingly, the Jedediah are a good cut on the slim (Hugo) and chunky (Jed) too.
    My common mistake with zipper flies is to put the zipper shield on the wrong side, can't tell you how many times i have unpicked that little stuff up.

    You are making mens stuff, there is no stopping you.
    xx N

  5. I am in awe! These are fabulous!
    You may have inspired me to trace these off soon.

  6. Brilliant. And he's wearing them - total win! After making a few shirts for Andy that he's NEVER worn, yes NEVER, could I be clearer about that? NEVER! I am rather burnt by the sewing for tha man thing. But I do have willing more-or-less man-sized recipients in Charlie and Jasper now so I really should get making proper shorts like this. Very inspiring. Hmm 'Pocketing material'... who knew?

  7. Wow- these look fabulous!! I love the fabric and your welt pockets are killer... I haven't tried those yet; I'm a bit intimidated by them. I plan to make the same waistband adjustment next time I make the Jutlands for my husband, too- just add a little curve to get it to snug in at the back.

  8. Inder, you just took things to a whole new level! I'm incredibly impressed! They look great!

  9. Inder, these look so good! Your zip fly looks great and your welt pockets are fantastic!! I have made only two zip flys in my sewing career and they are not so bad. It's the other parts of fitting pants/shorts to my body that keeps me from doing more. But I have some fabric stashed that needs to become Maritime shorts or Thurlow shorts so I should be getting more practice soon!

  10. They look great Inder, and wow does he look like a big version of Joe!
    Nice job on the zip fly. I have the Jedediah pants but I think my bloke will prefer the cut of the Jutland pants. You've just reminded me they're having a sale :)
    No sewing phobias, but plenty of things I'm yet to tackle. A laminate or leather jacket is on that list.

  11. You made proper shorts with pockets and a zip fly! I'm so impressed! These look great and I love the fabric. I'm still a bit scared of zippers and I need to tackle a zip fly one of these days. I guess I have a couple years before O is wearing that kind of pants very often so I have some time to work up to it!


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