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Jun 12, 2012

How My Op Shorts Pattern Became Men's Boxers

So I was thinking last night: maybe I should do a muslin of my Op shorts pattern before cutting my corduroy.  Then it occurred to me, if I'm going to go to the trouble of making a muslin, why not make something I can actually wear?  You can probably figure out the rest from the title of today's post.

I had this mens shirting I picked up a long time ago at Metro Textiles, and while it's lovely quality -- almost like Liberty of London -- when I got it home it didn't really flatter me or Michael.  It's so tiny a floral print that from a distance it just reads as specks.

Here's the fabric close up.  It's perfect for boxers because it's very soft and densely woven.

I did pretty much everything for the boxers that I would have for the shorts (no patch pockets or zipper, of course).  When I tried the boxers on, they landed exactly where I'd want the top of my shorts to land -- except the top of my Op shorts pattern is drafted to fold over two inches.  I'll therefore have to add two inches to the top so I have a wide enough waistband to enclose my elastic.

Actual vintage Op shorts

For the boxers, I cut an inch off the top and added a waistband.  The front waistband is flat, with a buttons at the waist and another at the fly, and the back waistband has elastic running through it -- a test for the Op shorts.

The front waistband is smooth, as you can see, giving them more of a vintage look.

I hemmed the bottom by turning up one quarter inch, stitching, and then turning up again about one half inch.  If I want longer shorts, I'm going to have to add at least an inch to the leg.  Otherwise, the fit is good, with enough room in the backside to move around, sit, etc.

And that's the end of my muslin/boxers adventure, readers.  I'm glad I tested the pattern, and I can always use another pair of boxers.

In closing, what is it about that fabric that makes it so meh?  Is it too fine a pattern, or just the blah beige background?  Sadly, I still have a lot of it.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!


  1. The boxers have all the fit and flatter one gent can editorialize upon without getting overly familiar.

    As for that fabric, it screams maternity tunic, lining for a diaper bag, and maybe a headscarf for a new mother to don on a busy day.

    Oh, and if restraints (jackets which zip up the back) become "in", that will be a good look on Michael. Perhaps "daytime bondage" has found both its pioneer and an associated face for the fashion.

  2. Peter you have it in one with that pattern - too small, so over distance it blurs to nothingness. It was so pretty close up too! Make lots of boxers out of it? :)
    I like the longer short. Only rugby players look good in short shorts. And oh my, don't they just look good in short shorts! LOL! That's a big perk of living in New Zealand - All Blacks perving opportunities abound! ;-)

  3. I love the fabric! My husband has some cord shorts he loves! Perhaps I should attempt a pr!

  4. I think the fabric is lovely but you are right: they look better in the close-ups than in the pics from a few feet away.

  5. Nice! Given all the chat about shorts . . . I am curious to know what you think of Marc Jacobs shorts and lace "shirt" outing at the MET Costume Institute Gala and Bill Cunningham's slide show/talk on men's fashion being the vanguard of change on the NYTimes:

    1. For the record, I thought Mr. Jacobs looked great --and the shoes with those terrific buckles. Hurray! And a thrill to see even more of those sartorial details in the Cunningham piece.

    2. I enjoyed the video, but oh my. The Marc Jacobs outfit was a bit much for me. Note the expression on the guy behind him. But I do celebrate the fact that he can wear something so different!

    3. LOVED that video. Dapper that too. That first fellow in the perfectly cut suits is simply exquisite.

  6. Probably make a lovely bias cut chemise for the short, dark woman in your life. A little lace trim and you'll have a niece to sew for before you know it...

  7. Once again, I’m jealous of how quickly you made your wearable muslin. The boxers look great. I like the buttons.

    Some prints change completely at a distance. A certain family member loves to make a grand entrance at a wedding or other such occasion. I don’t blame her. She usually looks fabulous. But this one time I turned to look and – meh. That’s it? But up close, the fabric was absolutely gorgeous. I guess we have to take both a long and short view when choosing a print.

  8. The word I learned a long time ago for a fabric like that is "ditsy," meaning too small in scale and lacking presence.

    My sainted grandmother - the best seamstress in East Point, GA back in the day, and the source of my fascination with sewing - would have consigned that yardage to the "doll's dress" category. Its scale would be perfect for Barbie.

  9. The shorts/boxers turned out nicely and the fit is great. I agree with Sandy about the scale of the print. From a distance it blands into a grey nothing, even though it really is quite pretty close up. It says sleepwear to me.

  10. *generously* I can make little girls' dress out of it! ;) From your blog, Peter, you tend to favor bigger prints than are on that fabric. Small scale is great for baby, doll, and kid clothes, and quilts but can read as 'old' or simply blend in on adult clothes.

  11. One of the reasons I'm so drawn to large prints in bright colours is that they cannot be mistaken for anything else! Small-scale prints often have this drabby effect from a distance.

  12. When a small print "reads" as a solid, you've got to be certain that you love, love, love the "all mixed up" solid color. Try not to think of them as patterned fabric b/c when you pull back, at best you'll only see surface texture.

  13. I love the look of tiny printed cottons, they are so pretty. But I've learned that they only suit very young girls, and kitchen curtains. Mostly I resist buying them.

  14. Not only is the scale of the print too small, the colours when seen at a distance blend to make that horribly BLAH shade. These kind of tiny prints can only work on normal sized people if the 'blurred out' final shade is something harmonious and complementary to your skin tone.
    And we were only talking about colours last week :-D
    It also goes the same for the opposite scale of prints too - I look dreadful in HUGE prints - majorly overwhelming! Only those who are taller and with a grander physical presence can pull large patterns off :-)
    I'm fascinated with colour but also with scale! Actually - that would make for a really interesting topic (if you haven't already covered it fully - though your shorts length post touches on it) hem, waist and sleeve lengths can alter the appearance of the body.

  15. Possibilities for the fabric??? Lingerie, nighties, baby/childrens clothes, doll clothes, drapes.
    No doubt Cathy could use a few things. Or perhaps your sister-in-law.

  16. That material might make a nice slip. I make my own and that is the kind of material that makes a good one. Or a little girls dress, with lace or piping to bring out one of the pretty colors.


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