I lowered the rise by 3.5 inches from the pattern as written (size 18 as the base, but holding the pattern piece up now, it looks more like the size 14 pattern piece width-wise). I made the height alteration using my previously altered pattern pieces.
I sewed up a quick muslin of the shortened front and back pieces, and quickly realized that I needed to add more height in the back of the shorts. They felt like there wasn't enough fabric and that they were going to fall off of me. There was no way I was going to be able to sit in them.
I slashed my muslin, and added in an extra 1.25 inches at the center back, which made a big difference. I ultimately slashed and spread my pattern piece 1.5 inches for the full butt adjustment to give just a little more room and comfort while moving around.
After the slash and spread I also felt like I needed to scoop the back crotch just a little more, so I scooped less than 1/4 inch starting at the spot 3 inches below the lower slash line.
I thought I would have to increase the dart width at the top of the shorts, but I'm so rectangular through my hips right now, I didn't end up needing to.
I've been using a drop cloth from Home Depot as my muslin fabric as a stand-in for the non-stretch denim I will use on the actual shorts, and I've found it so freeing to use the drop cloth - no pretenses of a 'wearable muslin' - I can't wait to get that itchy fabric off! I also don't feel bad cutting it apart and marking right on it.
Here's my little running tally of changes I've made from the original pattern so far -
- shortened rise height (minus 3.5")
- full tummy adjustment
- full butt adjustment (1.5")
- scoop front crotch (approx 1/4")
- scoop back crotch (nearly 1/2"!)
- lengthen back crotch length (3/8")
- lengthen front crotch length (3/8")
- reduced the pocket size by 1" of the width and 1" off the length
What I read into these needed changes is that my front to back width is larger than my circumference measurement would assume. My front to back is wider than my side to side would indicate with this pattern. That makes sense to me, because choosing the pattern size I did originally gave me shorts this were both too big side to side and too small front to back.
In hindsight, I should have chosen a smaller starting size, and made changes from there. I would have needed to make the same changes (although different amounts), but the side to side would have fit me better from the get-go and would have necessitated less fiddling.
I was able to measure the length of the area where the zipper is inserted, and found that I needed a 5 inch zipper. It was nice to be able to buy one and not have to worry about cutting it. If I can stand an extra 1/4 length in height at the front of the pants, I'll add this amount to make the zipper fit perfectly.
I cut the waistband after I had completed the rest of the shorts, and made it about 6 inches longer than I needed. It's super easy to just cut off the excess at the end, so this is what I did.
My buttonhole gave me all sorts of grief on this pair of shorts. It took me 3 tries and it still isn't perfect! Of course, I did a test buttonhole on two layers of this exact fabric and it was perfect, tried to do it on the shorts, and it was giving me a long zigzag. Did another test, perfect, tried to do it on the shorts, and it sewed through half the buttonhole and then wouldn't advance the fabric any further, creating a big ball of fabric to have to remove. Did another test, perfect, tried again to do it on the shorts, and it got held up in the same spot for some reason (although more briefly before I noticed and yanked it through), so it is good enough. I ended up running two tight little rows of zigzag stitches on the side closest to the center front to reinforce. I need to remember to make a longer buttonhole next time because it's really hard to get that button done up and undone.
I love these shorts. I feel like a million bucks in them. The only change I would make to them would be to add in a small amount to the back crotch depth (maybe 3/8"). Otherwise they are my perfect shorts! I'm planning to lie the pattern pieces over the full length pants pieces of the Lander Pants and make some full length pants using the changes I've made to the shape of these shorts. I would love to make some wide leg cropped Landers too...future projects for sure.