MrA occasionally buys me clothes. It’s very kind of him, and I wouldn’t want to appear ungrateful, but he knows I prefer to not wear shop bought clothes. It can be infuriating though when he buys me something I really like wearing…

Like these rugby shorts. To the casual observer they may not seem particularly special, but the shape and fit is great. I wore them a lot recently while abroad helping a family member move house. There was a lot of lifting and unpacking, painting garden furniture, washing cars, decorating & clearing gardens* and it was humid! These shorts, albeit shorter than I’d normally wear, were up to the job!

* and a brief trip to Joann!

I really wish I’d made them!

… so I did!

One tiny complaint in the originals is that the pockets open a little bit low and things can fall out of them (i.e. Phone!) when sitting down. This was all the excuse I needed… I could improve them!

Now, as pattern-traces go, this isn’t a particularly tricky one! I spread out a length of Swedish Tracing Paper, flattened out the back half of the shorts, then marked the points; centre back/ crotch/ side/ waist. I folded everything neatly and sketched in the centre back curve…. mark the pocket, join the dots and it’s almost done!

When I drew the front I also marked the pockets and I traced another piece for the pocket facing, along the side and halfway along the top and hem. This gets stitched down in the centre of each front piece.

These have a really interesting construction that I’ve not come across before (which doesn’t necessarily vouch for their rarity!) It looked to me like the ‘back and pocket-facing’ side-seam was sewn first, then the ‘front side seam’ was finished separately and sewn on top of the (already assembled) ‘back and pocket-facing’ seam. It all looked very neat and crisp.

So, I added 3cm to the side seams on the front pieces for a double fold hem. 3.5cm to the top for a 2.5cm waistband & 1cm seam. And 1.5cm seams everywhere else.

This is how I put them together…

  1. Sew the back pockets to the back pieces.
  2. Double fold the side seams on the front pieces. Stitch close to the fold, not the edge.
  3. Sew the pocket facings to the side seams of the back pieces. Finish the seams and press them to the back.
  4. Open out the back pieces and pocket facing, right sides up.
  5. Lay the front piece on top, hemmed-side-seam matching up with the stitched side seam underneath. Pin everywhere!
  6. Sew the fronts to the pocket facings backstitching either side of the pocket opening.
  7. Bar tack top & bottom of pocket opening.
  8. Make sure it’s all lined up & smooth then sew straight down the front of each front piece, catching the pocket facing underneath.
  9. Finish the back seam, inside seam, hem & waistband.

I put some eyelets into the waistband for a drawstring and I kind of wish I hadn’t. In hindsight I would have liked to have topstitched the waistband a few times over so that it would sit flatter, but I’m still really happy with my results.

I had some cheap black polyester (for potential work-trouser experiments) and barely used half a metre on these little shorts. They are a bit short, but I was in a very sunny place when I was wearing them! … and they’re no shorter than rugby shorts! … and they’re still far from hot-pant length…! … and… bah! I’m just making excuses, they’re a bit short, but I don’t care!! In fact, they’re a perfect swim short length, so… maybe…?

Now I’ve got this shape in pattern form, I’m thinking of all sorts of possibilities and variations…. I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to have to go fabric shopping again!

Happy sewing!

Notes to self:

  • Find the right jersey & try some joggers.
  • Remember that crazy pocket attachment… that might not be as much fun on jersey material…
  • Get swim short fabric & mesh for pants!