And for the gentleman

There’s something about preparing for a vacation that inspires me to take on extra projects. Years ago, I would stay up all night baking bread or cookies that I just had to bring on a camping trip. Now, of course, I dream up extra sewing projects.

This time, my last-minute project was on the selfless side. Three days before leaving for Kauai, I decided Nathan could really use some nice lightweight shorts to round out his travel wardrobe. I really, really considered making a dress for myself, but good sense prevailed; between the two of us, he’s the one who could use a few more pieces in his wardrobe.

Kwik Sew 3504 |

I used Kwik Sew 3504, a jeans pattern I bought after seeing Sunni’s post. I probably wouldn’t have bought it if not for her post, because the cover art looks dated in a way that would have made me wonder if the fit was, you know, “relaxed” or the rise unpleasantly high. All went well, however – the shorts looked modern and fit perfectly without a single change. NOT  A SINGLE CHANGE. Now, men’s pants are most likely less fitted than women’s, but it still seems highly unlikely that a pants pattern would fit anybody straight out of the envelope!

Kwik Sew 3504 |

I guess I’m just jealous. Anyway. I really liked working with this pattern. All the pieces were included – fly extensions, fly shield, belt loops, coin pocket. One feature I also really liked was that they gave measurements instead of markings for wear to place belt loops and bar tacks. For example, the instructions say to place the front belt loops 1″ from the front pockets, and the middle belt loops half-way between the front and back belt loops. I liked this quite a bit more than using tailor’s tacks and hoping they stay put while I constructed the rest of the shorts.

Kwik Sew 3504 |

I used the same olive drab linen as my Mini-ru, from Our Fabric Stash, which was sturdy enough for shorts but lighter weight than a denim. Since these shorts were really a trial run for the jeans I’d like to make Nathan some day soon, I was happy to use a not-too-precious-but-still-appropriate stash fabric.

The zipper fly insertion method similar to my favorite tutorial from Debbie Cook, so I referred to both of them because I still find her pictures really helpful.

Kwik Sew 3504 |

I used my favorite method for finishing the inside of a waistband.

Kwik Sew 3504 |

One of the nicest things about sewing for Nathan is how regularly he wears the things I make for him. It took me awhile to attain the certain sets of skills it takes to make respectable-looking dude clothing, but I’m feeling better equipped and my last three projects for him have all been in high rotation. Along with jeans, I’d still like to tackle making a long-sleeve buttoned shirt with the dreaded tower placket. I’ve been meaning to since I made him a birthday shirt last year.

Kwik Sew 3504 |

We got back from Kauai a couple of days ago, so the shorts will be most likely tucked away until summer. I was delighted, however, to see some radish sprouts in the garden I’d hurriedly sewn before we left! (Yet another last-minute project!) Softens the blow of coming back from a tropical paradise.



65 thoughts on “And for the gentleman

  1. They are just a fabulous looking pair of shorts. I am amazed and a little jealous of your perfectly straight stitching. How long were you sewing before you got to this stage (if you don’t mind me asking)? (I need some hope!)

    1. Thanks, Philippa! Let’s see… it’s a bit hard to pinpoint how long it took, because I don’t sew for my husband consistently. Getting a walking foot and taking the tailored shirt class from Craftsy was when I finally felt confident with shirts, which was in 2012? Before that, I’d attempted 4 button shirts (two for him and two for me). Only two of them get worn occasionally anymore, but I learned a lot on each one! Making pants and jeans a few times helped me sort out fly construction and topstitching. Don’t lose hope! I know a walking foot is another (potentially very spendy) piece of gear, but it’s made all the difference for even stitching. I’ve also heard great things about teflon feet, but haven’t tried one. Finally, going really slowly with top-stitching mitigates a lot of problems!

  2. These look great! I may have to try this pattern for my husband, I’ve been a bit intimidated to make more than just lounge pants for him yet. I really like the fabric you used and would love to know more on how you finish off the waistband interior-is it just bias binding?

    1. Yep, just bias binding! It’s 1/4″. I sew the two waistband pieces together at the waist and understitch the inside waistband. Then I cut 1/4″ off the bottom of the inside waistband piece before sewing the binding on. I fold the bound SA up when I stitch the corners together so it doesn’t interrupt the zipper, and gradually fold it out (you can see an example here on my denim trousers: Then I just stitch in the ditch all the way around! I think it’s much easier and less bulky than trying to fold the SA under. Hope that makes sense!

  3. Wow, those look awesome! I love the fabric – perfect for a relaxed, casual look. And that beach! It looks like you had an amazing trip!

    1. Thanks, Chantal! The linen wrinkled up really nicely in the wash, which (I think) adds to the casual look. It really was a great trip. The beach initially looked crowded, but people thinned out dramatically as we walked down the coast and it felt like we had the place to ourselves!

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! Working on many muslins and versions of my own pants and jeans really helped. I know you could do it without a problem. The upside is that a lot of pants and jeans fabrics are sturdy and easy to work with!

  4. Whoa, they look great! So profesh. My guy might be getting a pair of these soon…

    I also love that method of finishing the inside of the waistband — looks so much simpler than folding SAs and doing that whole dance, and I’m always a fan of any technique that lets me use bright seam binding/bias tape/facings/etc.

  5. Dude, I hope you get ALL the brownie points because these are fab! Can you elaborate a little more on how you finish your waistbands? I’d love to see some piccies… Love, snoopy snooperson.

  6. These are awesome and look great! And Kaui? I hope you will be sharing lots of pictures. I grew up on Oahu and used to fly over to Kaui!

      1. It was a great place to grow up! I remember biking to the beach with my friends all the time!

  7. These shorts look so nice! I know what you mean – my hubby wears all the things I make him far more often than I wear the things I make myself. But dresses are pretty blouses are just so much more fun.

    Also: fear not the tower placket! It’s confusing the first couple times, but eventually it makes sense. I just used a super long one to make a popover shirt – it’s such a great skill to have!

    1. Your popover looks amazing from what I’ve seen so far! I really like that style of shirt, as well as how tower plackets look, so it’s a skill I definitely need to practice.

  8. Lady, you have some mad sewing skills! Those shorts look fantastic! I would have had a hard time choosing shorts for hubby over a pretty dress…you are so nice.

    1. Before I accept that compliment, I should mention that I’ve been promising to make him shorts and jeans for quite some time now… 🙂

  9. I’m just so impressed with the quality of your work-womanship! They are amazingly polished. (But dammit fitting out of the envelope!?! Same as my husbos Jedediah shorts. What is with that?!).

  10. NIcely done, Morgan! These turned out so well, and I totally get why you would be jealous that not a single alteration was needed. I really like the contrasting bit of fabric to fisnish the waistband – those little details are what makes home sewing so special, in my opinion. Have you started on the jeans project for him yet? Because, with no alterations needed, that would be a winner too.

    1. I haven’t started yet, but I hope to soon while the pattern is still fresh in my mind. I’ve got the denim for it (purchased a year and a half ago…). I will need to add 2″ of length to the pants as it’s drafted for a 32″ inseam, but that’s it! And, all of his jeans seem to be falling to pieces.

  11. These look so great in that fabric and your topstitching is oh so RTW worthy. As soon as I saw the title of this post I immediately felt guilty that haven’t made anything for my man yet. Your altruism is inspiring, I’m gonna brush the dust off the men’s shirt pattern I bought ages ago and cut it out this Easter weekend. Hope your holiday was aces!

    1. Don’t feel guilty! At least not on my account – it took me at least a year to get moving on these. Have fun with your shirt project this weekend!

  12. Great looking shorts, nice job! And very impressively neat topstitching! You excel at dude sewing! Nice radish seedlings – it’s heartwarming to see them grow, isn’t it! I’m also gardening at the moment. Just put carrot seeds and onions in the garden and have got seedlings going on all the window-sills in the house with moringa, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and peppers and some herbs. What else have you planted?

    1. Ooh, are you doing green onions or the big bulbs? And I’ve never heard of moringa! I’m a very novice gardener, but I’m really excited about growing my own food. I’ve got lettuce, rapini, parsley, carrots, and spinach in addition to the radishes, and I want to put in more herbs and some kale soon! I’d love to see a picture of your garden.

      1. Hi I’m a novice gardener too. We moved last year to a house and finally have a garden so have taken full advantage and turned a corner of it into a vegi patch. Before that I did toms and herbs on our old balcony. Still experimenting with the vegi patch but last summer had success with lettuces and rocket, onions from bulbs, toms, herbs, and have pepper bush as in salt and pepper. Also rhubarb, green beans and gooseberries. Neighbours have raspberries that i’m trying to encourage into our garden! Spinach didn’t work for us last year, not sure why, I’m still a newbie at this! Moringa is a leafy plant that is all the rage as the next miracle health food here. I’ll try to do a gardening post over Easter and put some pics up on my new blog I’d love to hear how you get on.

  13. these shorts look perfect! such great topstitching too. and i love how the fabric gets that wrinkled/worn look around the stitching… idk why, but it always makes me happy!

    1. Thank you, Suli! I was thinking I might do a bound waistband tutorial at some point. Aside from that, I constructed these shorts just like jeans, and there are a lot of good tutorials out there! I recommend Debbie Cook’s fly tutorial, and Male Pattern Boldness did a jeans sewalong with lots of good information.

    1. Nice!! I tried to comment on your post but I’m not sure it went through. I’m really, really excited about those gooseberries – yum!

  14. Love these shorts… and how generous of you to indulge in a little unselfish sewing! I remember when I first started sewing, I made the Mr a pair of boxer shorts. When I announced I was going to do that, I can still recall the look of suspicion and not-sure-I’ll-actually-wear-them on my beau’s face… haha. It’s a slightly different look these days, and I think he’d actually like me to try and make him something. I’ll get around to it eventually, I’m sure.
    But lucky you – him being such a great fit out of the envelope! Beautiful detailing (is that a Tailor Taylor shank button?), as always 🙂

    1. Good eye! It is a Tailor Taylor button! It’s funny, the button was the part I was most fearful of when I made my jeans, and now I think I actually prefer over regular buttons.

      I’ll bet your man is hankering for some hand-mades! You do such great work with tailoring techniques. Although I’m sure your to-sew list is miles long after devoting so long to The Dress!

  15. Those turned out great! I started laughing reading about how you dream up extra projects before vacations and stay up all night, do we all do that?

    1. Thanks, Brianna! I think my reaction to almost everything is to respond with a creative project of some kind – sounds like I’m not alone 🙂

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