Hello friends! For this post we are continuing on with part two of my adventures in making the Loretta Shorts, by Charm Patterns. In the last post I covered the general design elements of the pattern, and some trickier elements of their construction such as the pockets. In this post I’m going to be focusing on the fit of the pattern, what issues I faced and how I tweaked it to be more comfortable, how I removed the waistband, and how I transformed the shorts into both culottes and pants. Let’s get right to it!
In terms of the fit, this pattern is very wide in the legs and has a remarkable crotch depth for a modern design. Most modern patterns I’ve tested have around ten to eleven inches of crotch depth, even for so-called high-rise designs. I have a greater than ten inch difference between my waist and hips, with the widest part of me being almost thirteen inches below my natural waistline. Combine this with a short torso and I have a figure that modern patterns aren’t designed for. This is one of the reasons I’ve been drawn to vintage patterns, which often fit me so much better and have a much deeper crotch as a matter of course. However, when I came to do the toiles for the Loretta Shorts, I was thrilled to discover that I didn’t have to lower the crotch at all. The depth was spot on for me. What I was quick to spot, however, was that if I didn’t add at least two inches of length to the legs, I was likely to be accused of public indecency.
Most of the other changes I made came about not through the toiles, but after making the trousers and having a fully assembled garment to move around in I realised there was more to do. For one thing, the centre back seam was digging in a little too much when I moved around and tried to sit. Then there was the waistband, which ended up being far too tall on me. My natural waist and ribcage occupy the same general space, so tall waistbands can often be tricky for me to fit without them restricting my breathing. I also feel like I could have lowered the back waistband to account for some wrinkling. Altogether, the changes I made to the base pattern were: adding an additional two inches of length to the shorts, tapering in from the waist over the hips and down to the hem, scooping out the back crotch curve by half an inch for a low seat adjustment, adding that same half an inch to the side-seam of that back piece to account for the fabric I would otherwise be removing, tightening up the waist by up to half an inch, and removing the waistband altogether.
It was my brilliant mother who made the suggestion to remove the waistband altogether for the culottes version, and replace it with a facing. After consulting quite a few tutorials, I decided to go with the method of tracing the top three inches of the pattern, including any dart shapes, then folding these darts out and retracing the pattern pieces. Because there is a zipper in the back, I also knew that the facing for the back had to be cut in two pieces, but for the front I removed the centre front seam so it could be cut on the fold. I then interfaced both pieces, and overlocked the base edge rather than folding under and stitching. But you can finish the lower edge of the facings however you’d like. I would also recommend following Melanie Carrico’s tutorial for sewing a lapped zipper with a facing, which I wish I had found before I made my version! In Part 3 I also have a picture guide on this as well!
Transforming these shorts into either pants or culottes is quite a bit simpler than you might think. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these are quite wide in the legs, and it’s recommend to sew these with stiffer fabrics to allow more structure for the pockets. Fabrics like that don’t drape well, and so might not look as good in very wide leg pants. I discovered this myself when I laid a wide leg trousers pattern over the Loretta Shorts, to get an idea of length and hem, but then ended up having to taper the legs by over six inches! So if you already have a wide-leg pants pattern you like, you can pin this over the top of the Loretta Shorts pattern, lining up the base of the crotch seams, and taper the legs in to match the seams of the trousers. You can also take a pair of pants you like and which fit well, and similarly lay them over the top of the Loretta Shorts pattern, aligning those crotch curves and tracing around it. Just make sure that the legs are the same length, and that you include seams! I did this for the culottes version, matching the length of a favourite pair of culottes, adding an inch for the hem, and ensuring the finished width measurements wouldn’t be that much bigger than the ready made culottes.
I honestly feel like those denim culottes are one of the comfier things I’ve made. Even now I feel like I could perhaps have tightened up the waist a little more, and tapered in even more at the hips because they sit a smidge lower without the waistband effectively holding them up. But I do love how the legs flare, and how breezy they are when I move around. You can easily see from the above photos the sort of figure I have, and I know that many of us find attempting to fit such a shape intimidating. But all the toiles, all the time spent tweaking this pattern, produced some darling garments that I have already gotten a lot of wear out of despite them not being all that seasonally appropriate!