When the Chi-Town Chino’s were released by Alina Sewing and Design Co, I snagged them up! I had been following Alina via social media and knew she put a ton of effort into these shorts and I was sure the pattern would be amazing. The fit on all of her testers looked top notch. After I downloaded the pattern I proceeded to buy some fabric from Style Maker fabrics. Out of my large fabric stash I, of course, had no fabric that matched the requirements for this pattern! While I waited for the fabric to arrive, I sewed up a muslin.
This pattern includes two views, shorts and a skirt. I chose to make a modified version of the shorts. The pattern also includes two different back pocket versions: angled and rounded along with optional matching flaps. For this pair I chose to do rounded pockets with flaps. I am not much of a flap back pocket person, but I decided to give it a try. I really do love the outcome!
Onto the making process. I am not much of a muslin maker, I like to do more “wearable” muslins. I typically make the first garment as is and if I don’t like how it turned out in some form or other, I tweak it for the next time I sew. In this pattern however, Alina encourages us to make a muslin. That, along with my plans on lengthening these shorts to be bermuda shorts, determined that I better make a muslin. I used some thrifted fabric to make the muslin. After I cut out the pattern, I used some rough measurements to get started. The inseam length on the pattern as is is 4.5″. Since I decided I wanted the shorts to be bermuda shorts, I measured the length of the top part of my leg to determine how much I needed to lengthen them. I ended up going with 7.5″ of added length. Now, in the pattern, she discourages lengthening the shorts longer than mid thigh, so I knew I would have to do more modifications. The shorts are designed to be easy fitting around the hips and thighs, so if you lengthen these to knee length without any other modifications, you will have way too much fabric hanging around your knee. To remedy this I measured around my knee and added about 2″. This is the circumference I was wanting the bottom of the shorts to be. Next I needed to slim down the shorts around the knee. I found the difference between the pattern circumference and the desired circumference. I ended up needing to take out 8.25″ at the knee. Since I was making a muslin, I just started by evenly distributing this from the back and the front pattern pieces and drew a new gradual line from the knee to the original pattern line around my hip area.
After I altered my length and circumference of the knee, I moved on to the waist area. My waist fell in a smaller size than my hips, but it was such a small difference that I ended up going with a straight size 10. In the pattern there is a waist extension guide which is so handy if your waist falls into a bigger size! I didn’t need to use the waist extension, but it is seriously a huge bonus to this pattern so you don’t have to grade if your waist is bigger. Since my waist was smaller, she recommended doing a full seat adjustment, but I ended up opting not to, as my measurements were very close to being a straight 10.
After I had made all the modifications on paper, I moved on to making a muslin. I know, I know, making muslins isn’t fun, but it makes your finished product that much better! You will only need to do the muslin once so it is worth it! In the pattern Alina lays out very clearly how to make the muslin. You only need to cut out the front and back and a slash pocket so it really goes quick. As I tried on the muslin, I decided I needed to take even more out around the knee area. For me, it is easier to flip the muslin inside out, put it back on and pin on the wrong side. Since that is the side we will be sewing on, it goes much easier that way. I pinned the leg area how I wanted it to be, and then took out about 1/4″ at the center back waist. For the hem, you will want to angle the very bottom out, so when you fold it up it folds up nicely into the shorts. If you don’t angle the hem (if you are going to hack it to the bermuda length) it will pucker when sewing the hem. Obviously you won’t need to worry about this if you sew the shorts as is.
Onto the sewing process. Wow, this pattern rocks. The illustrations and steps are so easy to follow. Alina even included tips and links to her blog on many of the techniques. For example, darts, understitching, bar tacks, etc. This makes this pattern perfect for even beginners! It may seem scary to sew shorts, but Alina walks you through the process. You will be shaking your head over how easy it was to sew yourself a pair! I love the method she uses for assembling the zipper and fly. It can seem scary to make something with a fly and zipper but the way Alina lays it out is so simple, there is nothing to fear! Another thing about this pattern I absolutely love, she has us do all the prep work up front. Like pressing the pockets, applying interfacing, the belt loops, etc. I haven’t used a pattern that goes over all the prep work like she did. I loved getting all of that out of the way and it seemed so much more organized to do it this way.
Not only is the pattern instructions and info laid out in a great manner, the fit is perfection. That’s all there is to it. They are comfortable, and fit perfect. No need to say more!
Lets talk about the fabric. I actually had to but fabric for these shorts. I normally have fabric on hand that will work for a pattern because, well, I am a fabric hoarder. I bought 1 1/2 yards of non stretch twill from Style Maker Fabrics. It was the first time I bought from them, and I was not disappointed. I can tell this is great quality. It is so soft and comfortable. They carry a wide variety of colors in the non stretch twill, which is hard to find! I also bought a dark grey twill and I will be making another pair very soon!
Pattern: Chi-Town Chino’s by Alina Sewing and Design Co.
Size Sewn: 10
Measurements: Waist-29″ Hips-39.5″
Fabric: Milestone Brushed Twill in Cayenne from Style Maker Fabrics
Cost: Fabric: $18.00, Zipper: $1.00. $19.00 for a pair of custom fitting shorts? Not to bad 🙂
This pattern is awesome, go buy it now!
Shirt: The Union St. Tee