Loretta Shorts – Part 3

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side-on to the camera with one leg extended. They are wearing brown corduroy shorts and a light brown patterned Adrienne Blouse.

Hello friends!

In a perhaps not-so surprising turn of events, I decided that I should to circle back to the Loretta Shorts pattern whilst hip-deep in several other makes and one sewing course. This did mean that my next post would be late, because I already had a lot on the go. But I decided it was worth it! It didn’t seem fair to have done such a long series of reviews on the pattern without having done the shorts version as it was intended. Whilst reorganising my fabric stash, I was further encouraged by the discovery that I had not one – but two pieces of suitable fabric for this very purpose.

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands facing the camera. They have their arms folded, with one hand resting on their chin. They are wearing light green shorts and a black T-shirt.

Once again, there was a lot to be learned during this process. When sewing the pockets I found that it was always easiest to have the side with the latest line of stitching facing up. In the beginning, this would be the L-shaped stay stitching done along both the vertical and horizontal lines of the front pieces. Then I continued to flip the pieces over as needed, always having a line of stitching visible. In this way I was able to ensure I didn’t catch any pieces I shouldn’t, and that the stitching at the small dot didn’t overlap. I also found that the corduroy didn’t cope too well at that meeting point for the pockets, whereas the smoother green cotton drill did quite well, so I wonder if I might have been better with a less textured fabric for the first pair.

This time, I was also prepared to amend the waist-facing pieces in advance to follow Melanie Carrico’s tutorial to sew the lapped zippers with the facing. Their method is quite clever and produced some fantastic results! Essentially, the facings do need to be shorter than the actual length of the back pieces. On the overlap side I made the facings about three-eighths of an inch shorter, and on the underlap side I made them about one-eighth of an inch shorter. To secure the facing, you would pin both pieces to the back, then fold them back at the centre back opening by the required seam allowance for the lapped zipper. So, right sides together, with the facings sandwiched inside of the outer fabric. Then, stitch them down along the five-eighths of an inch seam line. Trim that corner, and turn the centre back seam out. This now means it’s ready to go for the zipper to be inserted. Melanie also shows how to fold down the top of the zipper tape so that it doesn’t stick out.

However, having now completed the shorts I was also fortunate enough to stumble over a copy of the Simplicity Sewing Book Updated (Copyright 1975) whilst in a secondhand store. And lo and behold, as I was flicking through it, I saw it also had a section on how to insert a facing with a lapped zipper! I have included some (perhaps rather poor) photos from the book here for further reference.

Because I am prone to wearing new makes immediately, and despite the terrible weather at the time of making them, the moment I finished the corduroy pair I popped them on. This was how I was reminded that I had forgotten to let the pattern out since I changed shape during a recent bout of sickness. I am a big believer in sewing for the figure that I have at any given time, and so I altered both pairs to fit much more comfortably. I found them ridiculously comfortable when sitting at the sewing machine. The crotch was low enough that I was even able to do terrible things for my posture and hips, such as sitting with a leg tucked under me. And all without a single wedgie or chafing of any kind! The second pair did take a bit longer to complete, as I had to go hunting for more matching thread and a zipper. But I was very pleased when I put the finishing touches on them.

This image shows the back view of a pair of green shorts, showing the lapped zipper in the centre back.

All in all, I am more grateful than ever that I spent all that time working through toile after toile of this pattern. It was well worth the time spent to get it right!

Estimated hours spent on pattern: 20+
Estimated supplies cost: About $120 for all four pairs, including notions.

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