I started sewing in high school. I wanted to take auto shop, but my counselor said that class was full and suggested sewing instead. Because I was a girl. Girls would rather sit with their needle and thread and not get their fingernails dirty, right?
Full of the kind of resentment only a 15 year old can have at such an injustice, I went into sewing class with very low expectations. I. Was. Wrong. I loved it immediately, and that's in no small part due to my teacher.
She eased us into sewing and was patient and fun. I left there with all of the basic knowledge I needed to expand my skills, and I don't remember a single specific lesson. It's as if I learned through osmosis.
We made two garments: one basic piece with an elastic or draw-string waistband, and one more advanced piece with a zipper and/or button closure. I made jammie pants much like the garment I'm going to step you through now, except the fabric was a blue cotton dinosaur print. Oh yeah!
I got a sense of accomplishment when I finished those pants, and dove into the sweetheart necklined dress I made next with no fear of failure. The dress had the sloppiest hem you ever saw, but actually fit well and made me feel accomplished as a seamstress. That is what I want to accomplish with this post and this project -- you need to feel comfortable with your machine and with your abilities. Sewing is only four basic food groups - sewing straight, sewing curves, sewing zippers, and sewing buttons (OK, it's more than that, but not much). If you can make these shorts, you are halfway there! Let's get to it:
We're sewing View D of Simplicity Pattern 2739. I know it's View D because the pattern envelope told me so.
I will be showing you how I sew the shorts of View D step by step, so this post will be looooooooong even though it's a relatively quick pattern to sew. Seriously, it'll take longer to read this than to sew it.
I take my instructions out and I always read through them to find only the instructions I need. The reason I do this is because once I made a dress (Vogue 8280) that had a really weird layout of instructions and I had to reset (another term for resew) the sleeves FOUR TIMES. So learn from my mistakes friends. Anyway, here are the instructions
These jammie shorts have only eight steps. Yay!! Step 1 is to stitch the front and back together at the inner leg seams. I did that using French Seams. Here they are completed:
Now, remember when you cut your triangles & made little notches? Well, when you pin you want to make sure to line up those notches as well as the edges of your garment, like so:
Big Four patterns (Simplicity, Vogue, McCall's, and Butterick) almost always use a 5/8" seam allowance, which means when you sew you want to line up your raw edges with the 5/8" line
Again, using French Seams, sew the front to the back at the side seams (step 1 of that process is shown above).
I am showing you these instructions from the pattern, but I do it differently because I look at this step as extra and unnecessary work. An easier process is to iron all of my seams away from me like this:
This makes all of them face one way so that when the elastic goes through, it passes over the seams and doesn't get stuck.
This step is for the elastic casing (that's a fancier word for tube your elastic goes through). Get your hem gauge or ruler and fold under 1" (I inserted a piece of paper to make my ruler more visible). Press, making sure your presses seams always face one way (from the previous step).
Then roll under the top 1/4" so that you will enclose your raw edge:
Then pin and sew close to the edge of the casing so that you've got as much room in your little tube as possible.
Tip: Whenever I sew casings, I like to "mark" my end with two pins. Look at the pic below -- the single red pin on the right is where I start sewing, and the yellow and red pins on the left are where I stop sewing. The space in between is where I pull my elastic through.
Step 6 & 7
Using the biggest safety pin that will fit in my casing, I pierce my elastic and run it through my tube going in the same direction as my seams that I pressed and sewed down in Step 4.
Then I slipped on the shorts & checked the fit. Once I was happy, I sewed and trimmed the elastic.
Last step! Sewing the hem on the legs is exactly like sewing your casing in Step 5 -- fold over 1" or so (it's the hem, so make it shorter depending on what you like), press, and then fold that in again encasing the raw edge & press again. Sew & you're done!
Note that this pattern also calls for lace along the bottom of the shorts. I left it off because I
didn't have enough lace decided I wanted simpler bottoms.
But Regan, what do I do with all these hanging threads?
Here's what I do. Looking at the right side of your garment, trim any loose threads.
Turn to the inside of your garment and tug on the long thread (bobbin thread) until the short thread comes through.
Trim threads & you're done!
So do you feel ready to sew?? Pick up an easy PJ or even scrubs pattern and make yourself a pair out of comfy flannel or cute cotton. I'll make a couple more basic sewing tutes with the pattern included so you don't have to wait for sales at Joann's, but hopefully this gets you comfortable with the idea of buying a pattern and making it!!