Chinos and tank tops are wardrobe staples for me during the warm months. And now that we are back in FL it will worn year round. This is the 3rd pattern I have attempted since last summer to achieve this style. The first pattern was just not big enough in the backside. I needed to add some significant rise and probably some more material in general back there. Other reviewers had made similar comments and were actually using 1 size larger for the back pieces than the front. The second pattern fit my rear well but had too long of a rise in the front. I had a saggy, bunchy crotch once I moved around some. They also did not have any front pockets. I could make one of these patterns work with some alterations, but I had just been too lazy to take out my patterns and actually do that just yet. I was very excited a few weeks ago when someone mentioned that a new designer had put out a new pattern for chino shorts. All the tester photos just looked perfect so I purchased the pattern and gave it a whirl.
Alina Sewing + Design Co is a new pattern designer. This pattern is her first release. Typically I am pretty cautious when it comes to a new designer, but it is clear that she really took her time and put out a great product for her first run. The “Chi Town Chinos” pattern includes two views. The first view is a pair of shorts with a fly zipper. The second view is of a skirt with a fly zipper. Both views include sizes 0-18 (24-36 1/2″ waist). The pattern is available for purchase on her website.
The pattern pdf is very well designed. The diagrams are all very clean. No real photos are used in the directions, which I prefer. Sewing a pair of shorts with a fly zipper is not exactly “beginner” level stuff. When the designer mentions a new technique to use a clear definition follows explaining that technique in detail. Links are also offered for even more information.
The pattern features size layers, so you will only print the sizes you need. I print in black and white and had no issues seeing where to cut for my size. All the pages lined up very easily. There is a printing guide for you that explains which file to use for how you plan to print and what pages you will print for the view and size you are making. My only issue with printing was that one of the notches for the back dart on size 8 just happens to land right in that tiny area that nothing prints on…those who are familiar with pdf patterns know what I am talking about. It was easy enough to figure out but I just wanted to mention it here as I thought I was going crazy and not finding it at first until I went back to my computer screen and zoomed in!
Sewing the shorts took a little longer than my recent projects have taken. Since this was my first time making this pattern I followed every single step exactly as the pattern called for. My favorite part of this pattern is that she has you do a muslin first. Once I saw I was getting a pretty good fit on the muslin I went ahead and cut my size out of my royal blue Rodeo fabric from Joann’s. Not to shabby for around $5. I was easily able to get all my pieces cut from the recommended 1 1/8 yards for 42″ width fabric. My pocket bags and binding were from my very last scrap of Jennifer Paganelli fabric I had been holding onto.
I started sewing the shorts yesterday late in the afternoon. I made it through the zipper installation before calling it a day. I have quite a bit of experience installing a fly zipper, but even so the directions made it very easy to do. The tough part for me is always the waistband and facings. I can always get my zipper in, and have the most perfect skirt or shorts in front of me and totally screw up the waist and ruin them. For me it is just a nightmare catching the facing down neatly while top stitching the front. I have pinned, used tape, glue, you name it. It just looks ugly. I was glad to see I would not have to fight with that in this pattern. You can do it the other way or you can put a pretty bias binding along the bottom edge of your facing. That way you don’t have to worry about that facing coming unfolded while you topstitch it down. See how pretty the inside looks?
Overall, I am extremely pleased with how my shorts came out. Considering these were made from cheap fabric as a “wearable muslin” I think they came out very well. Now I plan on buying some proper twill and making every shade of the rainbow! I also will be making a skirt soon too. Who doesn’t need a denim skirt in their wardrobe? I am very excited to have found Alina Sewing + Design Co and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
The top I am wearing in the pictures is the Essential Tank by Patterns for Pirates. I will have a seperate blog post reviewing this pattern, as I have already sewn up 10 versions of it this summer…lol!
***I am not affiliated with Alina Sewing + Design in anyway. I paid for this pattern and was not a pattern tester***