Alina Chi-town Chinos (Shorts)

Last night I finished the Chi-town Chino shorts, but they’re the first disappointing result I’ve had for quite a while.

Firstly the pattern. I loved the look of it, but it hasn’t really worked very well for me, particularly with regards the waistband.

Vesta 'Grail' t-shirt (2)

The fly front insertion was the first I’ve ever done and I loved it. It was very un-intuitive (real word?) but by following the instructions I ended up with a fully functional, really nice fly, which I am very proud of.

The pockets are fine, although too small. Not much use. And the back pockets just look terrible, I could not get the angles to smooth out and my fabric was making things worse. I’ll talk about the fabric in a second. The fact that the back waist is left open to allow for a precise fit means that the back curve is excellent – the best fitting part of an ill-fitting garment!

Vesta 'Grail' t-shirt (4)

I chose to use bias binding around the lower end of the waistband facing, which was great, but what the pattern does is it doesn’t have a proper waistband – it’s just the facing folded over and stitched down. I haven’t yet added the belt loops (not sure if I will at the moment), but without a proper waistband the whole thing just looks a bit loose and unfinished at the top.

My fabric has not helped. It’s a fine corduroy from Fabric Focus in Edinburgh. I bought 1m, and easily got the pattern out of that, although there isn’t much left. I didn’t realise when I bought it, but the fabric is actually a polyester mix. It is very light and drapey, but it burns on the iron (yes, I discovered this the hard way), and doesn’t take a crease well. By the end of the project we’d gotten past our initial difficulties and had built a good relationship, but the ceasefire has been cancelled now that I’ve seen how much the waistband, which wasn’t interfaced at all, has stretched out.

Vesta 'Grail' t-shirt (1)

So, a pattern that didn’t really work for me and a fabric that made the whole thing worse. But don’t worry I have some really positive projects to share very soon! This project was intended as a practice run before making the full length trousers but now I’m wondering whether that’s going to be the best trouser pattern for me. I might call this a close escape and find another pattern. Any suggestions, let me know!

Things I discovered during this project:

A pressing cloth is a gift from the gods

Sharp pins are a must (note, I did not have sharp pins)

Enlarge pocket bag if worried about size. Better to be safe than sorry

It is not always necessary to be able to ‘see’ how certain instructions are going to lead to a functioning part of the item you’re making (case in point, the fly opening).

Learning is a series of curves, and sometimes that curve goes down the way. Not much to be done, but pick myself up and try again.

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