I very nearly didn’t blog these shorts as I hate the photos but I feel like my blog should be a full reflection of my sewing and if that means I have to share some unflattering photos so be it. They also really could have done with a go over with the iron, which doesn’t exactly help. But oh well.
I originally bought this green sateen from Fabric Godmother with the plan to make Grainline Maritime shorts as I loved Josie’s pair. But then I saw a few Chi-town chinos popping up on my Instagram feed and I really like the trouser version from expansion pack 2 so I thought I would buy that instead.
I really enjoyed making these shorts. The instructions are so thorough and well thought through I think they’re a perfect first shorts/trousers pattern. You are talked through absolutely everything, from how to choose your size, to how to make a muslin/toile, how to sew French seams on your pockets and even how you can customise the pattern.
The instructions start by getting you to do all of your prep first, which I really liked. You apply all your interfacing, sew the belt loops, fly shield, back pockets and finish some seams. It means everything is ready for you when you get to that stage.
I’ve only sewn two fly zips, these and the one on my abandoned Ginger jeans and the instructions were very similar. I’ve seen a lot of people rave about the Ginger jeans zip instructions but I thought these were possibly even better. On the Gingers you have to mark your pivot point and stitching line for the front crotch but on the Chi-town chinos the fly extension interfacing is shaped so that the edge of it is your stitching line. A simple thing to be impressed by and others might not care but I thought that was such a good idea.
I’ve got quite a lot of excess fabric bunching on the front and they’re a little bigger than I’d like them to fit, except on my bum so I think for my next version I’ll size down but do a full seat adjustment. Though lowering the rise a smidge might help too. Mine are a little shorter than as drafted because I did a turned up cuff instead of hemming them, I thought it looked better on me.
I made these over a few days just before going on holiday and I really enjoyed the whole process. I love making trousers/shorts, it’s just the fitting I hate. They’re a great project to work on in small chunks of time because of all the little steps, which I really like. You also get to feel like a sewing ninja when you’re done even though it’s pretty easy sewing, just with a few more steps.
My topstitching is pretty wobbly and the zip bartacks didn’t go particularly well. I tried to use it to cover up some of my iffy stitching and it didn’t really work. I installed my first jeans button – probably not quite in the right place if this photo is anything to go but but I’m still pleased.
This is a dreadful photo but I thought I should show the back as well. I don’t think they’d look this awful if I’d ironed them. You can see where I had a bit of wobble when I was topstitching the waistband facing. I did find that part a bit of a struggle, without having a seam allowance marking to follow. I stuck a bit of washi tape to my machine but it’s not the same. The pockets are perhaps a smidge too wide set and a bit too high. I also didn’t finish all the belt loops.
The pattern includes a really useful waist extension at the centre back seam to give you some fitting wiggle room, which I thought was a nice idea. As part of the sewing process Alina also has you baste the shorts together and pin the centre back so you know if you need the extension or not.
Pattern: Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town Chino Shorts (also a skirt included)
PDF or Printed: PDF
How many pages: 31
A0 file included? No, only US copyshop
Measurements: Waist 31.5″ – Hips 41″
Size made: 12
Alterations: None, except the cuff.
Fabric used: 0.9m Green Stretch Sateen
I’ve definitely got a pair of the trousers planned. I’ve bought some beige gaberchino from Minerva for a wearable toile but ultimately I want a navy pair.
Any changes next time?
Yes, I’ll size down and do a full seat adjustment. I may lower the bum slightly too and I might change the front crotch shape. We’ll see. I’m working on some Ginger jeans at the moment and I’ve been learning a lot about fit that I will probably apply to all my future bottom half makes.
Overall this is just a great, thoughtful pattern, with loads of lovely little touches throughout the instructions and I’m looking forward to making the trouser version and getting the fit right.