Constructing the Hounds Tooth Shorts

I’ve named the MSS Shorts #2 to The Hounds Tooth Shorts.

I thought I’d take a moment to show the difference in fabric usage that my changes to the pattern were able to create. First pic is the layout as given by the pattern.  My fabric is 52″ wide.

I apologize for the angle of the pic and the fact that it’s difficult to see exactly how much fabric is left over which is at the foreshortened far end. I think you can see that I’ve placed the pattern towards the selvage so that at least the left over, because it’s on the fold, will be about 8-12″ wide.  At the far end is about 1/4 yard that is completely untouched.  Even had I been making long pants, instead of shorts, I would have had that long string  left over.  It’s part of my thrifty nature to not want to waste fabric. Especially since this was purchased from my own funds and by extension through my own labor.  Add to that, I’m even more guarded about my funds these days because my expenses have doubled in the last 5 years, however my income has hardly changed. Let’s not go there though. I can really rant and I’d rather write about sewing which I love.

The second pic shows the fabric is better utilized just by cutting the waistband separately and on grain.


I rearranged the pieces slightly and added the pocket as a cut-on piece. I could have cut the pocket as a separate piece to be serged onto the pant. I didn’t feel that resulted in a significant fabric savings and decided to eliminate one seam. The fabric piece I have left is 52″ by 7/8 yard plus a little, but it’s all in shape I can use for another project.  That’s a nice savings, even if I do say so myself.

I don’t think of myself as a fiber snob. I do like good quality and natural fabrics. But I’m also pleased with the qualities of most synthetics. There are some nylons and polyesters that I don’t want to wear next to my skin. I’ve found the ITY knits to be comfortable and some nylon blends to be good.  This fabric is quite nice even though I’m fairly sure it is 100% polyester. I didn’t give it the burn test. I can tell it is not cotton or linen or silk or other natural fiber. The selvedges were all dull without a little bit of luster which tells me this isn’t rayon.  Nylon always seems to be stiff which this isn’t.  It actually has a nice drape. But it does have some body. Not like a Ponte but more similar to the softened linen that I used for the first MSS shorts.

It is loosely woven, which probably contributes to the softness and drape but worries me when it comes to longevity. I’ve had loosely woven fabrics shred before they could be stitched together. I’ve had others that were fine during construction but shredded during wear. There’s nothing like going to work well dressed and returning home in shredded rags.  So I cut and stitched immediately. I cut the front, serged the waistband and crotch. Then  serge finished the top edge. As a matter of fact, I did very little at the sewing machine. This garment is almost completely serged together. But I did add the planned bias tape to the front pocket opening at the sewing machine. Next I cut the back,  serged the waistbands in place and the crotch. I serge finished the waistband and the side seams. I pressed all and then stitched the pockets into place.  To my surprise when pressing the finished pockets, the bias binding on the front pocket opening automatically folded neatly inside and was invisible!

I had intended that the bias be contrasting and decorative as well as finishing that edge. Generally I prefer not to fight with the fabric.  While I wanted the bias to be decorative, I immediately decided to let it fold into hiding.  Because  it wants to be that way, I’ll never have to worry about it peeking out. The front and pocket hang better than if I tried to force the bias into public view.

BTW, this really is a neat pocket.  My top stitching is barely visible following the angles of the pocket. I think the pocket could assume a more decorative role. Changing the shape of the pocket could create different interesting lines on the front of the garment.

I had intended to bind the hems as well and have sort of a coordinating trim at both pocket and hem. Now I’m thinking that plan has gone away and I’d rather the bias at the hem also hide away.  I serged the bias to the hem and pressed it up and to the inside of the pants. I finished the inseams. To hem I stitched along the top edge of the bias and then again 1/4″ above the folded edge.

This way I’m sure the bias at the hem will stay tucked inside. I’m also hoping I’ve put enough thread into these areas to keep my fabric from raveling.

I finished the waistline as per the instructions using 26″ of elastic and butting the edges together over a ribbon to secure the ends. I think it’s important to note that I correctly cut the elastic this time as I think that was part of the fitting issues with my previous pair.  A finally pressing and steaming of the shorts and they were ready to try on.

I’ll share the final fit tomorrow.  I want a chance to wear the pants both to check the fit and to see if the fabric is going to stand up to my lifestyle.

3 thoughts on “Constructing the Hounds Tooth Shorts”

  1. Well, I have never place pattern pieces as proposed in the pattern description. I have learned to put them as economicly as possible, keeping in my the grain line and fabric properties. Besides you could adjust pattern which could have influence on the pattern layout – you could use more or less…

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