Smarty pants

Full warning: that is pants = underwear. I’m not American. This is a post about underwear! There are no photos of underwear actually being worn, however, so it should be safe for work. I am going to talk about crotch seams a lot, though.

I’ve been getting a lot of use out of Butterick 5044 recently! This is because of three things: it’s dead simple, it happens to fit me straight out of the envelope, and we’re having the sort of weather where I have been living in minimal clothing when not actually at work. Today I didn’t make it out of the house because it was too warm. I also never made it out of my underwear, ditto. (The joys of living alone.) 

On the subject of underwear: I wear boxer shorts, the baggy woven sort, and have done for a few years now. I just seem to get on better in them. However, especially as they wear out it becomes irritatingly obvious that they have a big, bulky X of intersecting seams right in the crotch, which is not really the place you want a big set of seams … there is a good reason why much underwear designed specifically for the female body has an extra panel between the legs rather than a central seam. 

My master plan, therefore, was to create a Frankenboxer that either removed or covered that set of intersecting seams, for a flat or flattish effect and for (hopefully) much minimised chafing potential.

I started with a copy of the basic leg piece from Butterick 5044, added a flap to the front section in order to create a false fly effect (inspired by what Cindy at Cation Designs does to these trousers here, only much more slapdash) and took ten inches off to bring it all the way up to pants shortness. Then I cut off the parts on each leg that join to create the crotch seam, stuck them together and redrew the result as a single central gusset. I’m not sure how much sense this makes as I unfortunately didn’t get photos of this bit.

These were my first attempt:

checked pants

Yup, it’s more of the checked cotton that is also lining the Harlequin jacket. I still have half the original yardage left. It’s not especially heavy but it is quite stiff – I suspect it’ll soften with washing, though.

The topstitching on the false fly is wonky. I think I just need more practice, or possibly more water in this sort of weather. Bleh.

What you can’t see in this photo is the lining of the gusset piece – a softer cotton that I think was a scrap of an old sheet. Having an extra layer there adds some support to an area under a lot of tension and the slightly softer surface is also good.

They fit nicely! They are a smidgen tight around the front of the leg and do ride up a tiny bit, because with the width of the hem the between-legs section has come out very narrow. But they’re perfectly wearable for non-strenuous activity and hey, it’s not like they’re going to be on display.

For the second attempt, I stuck an extra chunk onto the pattern piece to make it two or three inches longer at the centre front than the centre back, to try and stop the riding up, and altered the gusset to be wider. Then I went fossicking through the stash to see what other cottons I had in the necessary quantity (about a metre, I think). My stash is not actually that big, not much of it is lightweight cotton, and what there is is mostly quilting cottons, so I couldn’t immediately find an obvious candidate. I did, however, find two smaller pieces …

clown pants

The colours haven’t come out perfectly in the photo. The red leg is bright tomatoey orange-red; the yellow leg is luridly fluorescent. (The gusset lining, not shown, is orange with a fire pattern.) My partner took one look at these and said “So … clown pants?”

And the Clown Pants they have become.

I foresee many more of these in my future. I’ve got my eye on a chunk of quilting cotton I got from my mum’s stash that might just be big enough and which is quite soft for quilting, and which has a very fancy pattern. Otherwise, the next time I’m in SCRAP I may have to pick up a few metres of plain coloured cotton and churn out several identikit ones.

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About Craft (Alchemy)

I make things and make things up.
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