The Chi-town Chinos

Hey guys! How are you? I'm doing alright. I'm starting to feel like my energy is back up to a more normal level, so I'm pretty happy about that. Currently, we are having an absolutely beautiful Fall day. It's sunny, the lake is quiet, and people are burning stuff in their burn barrels, so we have this gorgeous, wood burning campfire smell wafting in through the open windows. Our summer this year was down right sucky, it just rained and rained, but maybe it will have been worth it, if we have a nice fall.

Anyway, onto the subject at hand, the Chi-town Chinos! Well the Chi-town Chinos expansion pack No. 2. Are you confused? Let me explain. The Chi-town Chinos is this great shorts pattern designed by Alina Design & Sewing Co. And not only does the pattern come with a cute shorts pattern, it also has a very wearable skirt version as well.  All spring and summer, I watched these great photos of the Chi-town Chino shorts pop up around the blogosphere and on Instagram, and I just loved design. Every pair I saw looked like something I would buy in the store. So, being the pattern addict and magpie that I am, I snatched up the pattern right away. It was in my queue, but I hadn't had the chance to make it yet, when I saw that Alina had put a call out for testers of her soon to be released expansion packs (how did I find this out you might ask? Because I signed up for her newsletter).  Anyway, I signed up to test, thinking that I would be on a long list of people and not get picked, but much to my surprise, I was selected. So I tested Expansion Pack No. 2 which makes the Chi-town Chinos into trousers; Expansion Pack No. 1 is for a slim fitting, bermuda length short, which to be honest I was skeptical about, but all the versions I've seen so far are amazing!

Okay, now that we've cleared that all up, let's get on with my makes.

 I muslined up a size 12, and honestly, the fit wasn't too bad. They were of course a bit too long, and the back needed a bit of work around my bum and thighs, but that's not new for me. Pretty much every pair of pants/jeans/shorts that I've made has needed adjustments in those areas. The cool thing about pattern testing with Alina, is that she set up a private Facebook group for the testers, and we all posted photos of our muslins there (and later our final garments). That was insanely helpful to me, because Alina gave me some fitting advice (in pretty much real time, I might add), but so did the other testers, and it was so helpful to see what other people were doing to make their pants fit their unique bodies. I learned so much!

So I ended up scooping out the back crotch curve quite a bit, and then I did a thin thigh adjustment. When Alina suggested this adjustment, I was like, "umm what? Have you seen my thighs lady? They are not thin." LOL. But she assured me it would work, and it did!!!  It was a huge revelation for me, because it made the fit sooooooo much better. And once I thought about it a bit, it made so much sense to me. It's all about proportion. Because I have a bit of a thick waist/belly, and I have a bum, my thighs are thin in proportion to the size of the pattern. Does that make sense? Anyway, I should mention, that for the final version of this pattern, Alina ended up thinning the thigh because it was baggy for almost all the testers, and she lengthened the crotch curve slightly too, so bear that in mind if you decide to make your own pair. 

So this pair is made out of a grey cotton twill that was in my stash, but originally came from Hart's Fabric. It's a nice weight, but it looks a bit fast food uniform-ish, or even janitor-ish to me. Ha Ha! I'm sure that's mostly in my head, and it won't stop me from wearing them. I think the grey will go with lots of tops in my closet, and be great for Fall/Winter.

I should also mention that the instructions for this pattern are awesome! If you've never made pants/shorts before, the instructions are super detailed and have great diagrams. I had only made welt pockets twice before this, once on a pair of unblogged Thurlow Trousers, and once on my Rigel Bomber, and these ones turned out awesome!! The instructions made them really easy, and Alina now has a little sewalong on her blog too. So don't let welts scare you off. Once you've made one, you'll be addicted! 

Of course once I finished my grey pair, I was in love, so I had to make another pair right away! (And actually I've made a third pair already, which you can check out here.)

Also worth  mentioning: I am having a love affair with funky glasses lately. I've ordered a bunch of cheap pairs from Firmoo (I think the most expensive pair I bought was $39), and while some of them are better than others, I have been having lots of fun playing with glasses as an accessory. Anyway, in the next set of photos I'm wearing a pair that I really like, but I cheaped out on getting the anti-reflective coating (present-Heather is kicking past-Heather for not shelling out the extra $4.99), so they make my eyes look kind of weird in photos. Also, although I have seen Firmoo mentioned on a number of blogs, they did not send me free glasses for a mention. I did watch this video recently though, and it confirmed my suspicions that there is a massive mark up on glasses. Of course something that you cannot go without is severely overpriced. But let's not get me started on that. Back to sewing!

This pair of chinos is made of a mystery fabric that came from deep within the clearance department at my local Fabricland in Calgary. It doesn't look too bad, but it also doesn't have the nice J.Crew chino feel that I was hoping for. Again, still very wearable, and I love the colour, but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect twill. If you have any suggestions for me, I'm all ears.

I thought you might like to see a couple of photos with them uncuffed too (for reference I ended up shortening the legs by 2 inches). I am pretty much the queen of cuffs. I cuff everything. Last winter, I pretty much wore my gingers cuffed with short boots all winter. The only time you'll find me without cuffs is if I have my skinnies tucked into tall boots. I don't know what it is, I guess I like ankle cleavage. 

I didn't have the perfect matching thread, so I went with a light grey. I think it worked out pretty well. Years ago I took a beginner quilting class, and I remember the teacher said that if your quilt is kind of crazy or has a ton of colours, the best thing to do is to pick a neutral thread, like grey or brown, to quilt it with and then the thread will just kind of blend in. I didn't think brown would work in this case so I went with grey. The only place it really shows up in on the bar tacks. Quilting tricks for the win!

I cannot believe how much I had to say about these! When I sat down to write this post, I intended it to be a pretty quick, show you the pictures post, but it turned into a bit of a novel. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

What do you think are you ready to sew some pants?