So my boyfriend, very kindly accepted my rather misshapen first pair of shorts. However of all their flaws – including the fact that I originally measured the elastic to the same number as his waist measurement and they completely fell down – the one thing he couldn’t get past was the fact that they had pockets. I was encouraged to try again, but only if I added pockets this time.
Quick Three Things I Learnt
1. There is more than one way to pocket a pant.
2. If there’s a picture in the tutorial, look at the picture. Particularly if it involves cutting.
3. It is possible to turn a ‘mistake’ into a ‘feature’.
Now back to my story
Of my own volition I decided to be a little more structured in my approach to sewing this time around. I admitted to myself that the tracing and guesstimate approach was perhaps a little advanced for my mediocre skills. I hoped that the use of a pattern could move my shorts to the ‘next level’ of wearability. So I scoured the internet for the basic short to end all shorts. The internet told me pretty fundamentally that I should be able to do this without pattern assistance – thanks internet – but I did find some people willing to give a total beginner a bit of a leg up. I ended up going with the Juba Shorts from Imaginegnats.
It seemed basic, yet the drawstring/elastic waist offered room for new skills, and it had a bunch of ‘expansion packs’ in the form of online tutorials listed in the sale blurb. And most significantly…
Oh yeah baby. A Pockets tutorial. A pretty plain short, for men, with pockets. They seemed like good pockets – the sort you imagine in your head when thinking ‘pockets’. My guy would be so impressed with me when I show him what great pockets I made. AND it has a pattern piece. AND pictures. How could I mess this up?
So I cut out my pattern pieces. I feel pretty pro doing this. (Apologies that I used a manky work shoe as a pattern weight). I put my big green cutting board (a pre-BTI item I own because I’m the daughter of a quilter) on my kitchen floor – because both my tables are circles – and got my roller cutter out to pizza cut all my pieces. So easy.
Then I got my handy dandy pocket pattern piece out. Stuck it on. I felt really smart – if I folded along the pocket line I could use a single print out for the front AND back of the pocket. (I’m sure I didn’t invent this oh-so-novel idea.) So I cut out my pocket pieces… And then I cut into my two front panels. Like so.
Right about now the thousand ghosts of veteran sewers past are looking upon this with a giggle. I’d made a very obvious mistake. Thought not so obvious that it would occur to me. On the contrary, attempting not to make a mistake I’d thought long and hard about how to position this pattern piece. So I decided to put it right there. Right. There.
From there, still feeling like an awesome professional sewer, I sewed the front half of the pocket to the front side of the pant piece, flipped it ‘inside’ sewed it down and then sewed the two pocket pieces together to create a pocket piece. I was using my cute little sewing clips and feeling super accomplished. Nobody would be able to tell this was only my first pair of shorts. I was making pretty straight stitches and using my zig zag just the way the instructions say. What could go wrong?
Then, finished my pocket, I took this photo. Look how great it looks? Edges are flush with the original edges of the pant piece. Just like a bought one! Then, as I looked at the piece through the screen of my phone, I realised…. I’d done the pocket upside-down into the pant leg! Aww man! It was a devastating revelation I have to say. I was faced with an excellent pocket…. at the wrong end of my shorts. And the cutting out meant that I couldn’t simply unpick it.
Well. I fixed it. I sewed the pocket together and made a very attractive leg decoration. Just like a bought pair of sports pants. I could totally get away with that if I hadn’t already told the world that I’d messed up a pocket ;).
The worst part is that this was the first pocket. The other one, already cut, was in the exact same condition…. I had to sew it together, knowing it was wrong. Just so I could cut it off again and make the pants sides equal. I did. They look OK now.
After this I couldn’t do the same pocket again to the top of the fabric. There wasn’t room to do two Vs in opposite directions. Or at least, not without making it really obvious what I’d done wrong. So I needed to find another pocket. I mean, plenty of clothes have pockets, there’s got to be more than one way to skin this cat. Second time around I was going with something that wouldn’t go cutting into my now repaired pattern pieces. So I found inseam pockets. They were, as my boyfriend would say, just the bunny. Exactly what I needed.
So after this minor detour I was off again. On my way to great shorts. I’m going to hopefully put the real deal into my next post.
Made with care…. yet to be wearable.