Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts. They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit. In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line. The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket. There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.
I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible. Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation. It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack. As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.
The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it. I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket. I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner. I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front. I am pointing to this area in the photo below. (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)
Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front. That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded. I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.) I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.
Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric. You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty. I love making my shorts out of Supplex. It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool. And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!) Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics. It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer. And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.
Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket. Give it a good press, then topstitch. The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.
Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides. Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.
Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front. I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine. Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew. Press everything smooth. From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look. It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge. I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues. I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum. This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)
I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer. It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.
Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!
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