Chi Town Chinos

When the Chi Town Chinos popped up a recently, I was interested in giving them a try. I’ve been a dedicated lover of the Sewaholic Thurlow, but this pattern has a feature that sold me—a faced waistband!  I hate sewing on waistbands. HATE. It always takes me fooorreeeverrr to do!  Alina Sewing + Design Co. is new to the indie pattern scene, and tbh, I usually shy away from first time pattern releases. But, I’m happy to report that I was genuinely impressed by this pattern. It really looks like she aspires to the same type of RTW details I’m always drawn to. Oh, and there’s also a skirt variation. Love a two-in-one pattern.

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As expected, I don’t fall into one straight size. I’m definitely pear-shaped, but most of my hip circumference is in the back. For this reason I opted to make a FSA (full seat adjustment) instead of trying to grade between sizes. I used a tutorial on the Colette blog, and it felt like a lot of guesswork—from where to draw the lines, to how much space to add… if you have super nice fabric, definitely play around with muslin first. I ended up adding about 1/2″ in width (1″ total) and 3/8″ to the back rise. I also scooped out the back crotch a tad and lowered the front rise by 1/4″. After these adjustments, which are very typical for me, the fit is basically spot-on, so that was a relief! Next time I may reduce the dart from the FSA and instead take some width out of the side seam at the waist. I feel like they’re not quite hugging my waist the way my Thurlows do, but hopefully minimal tweaks will get me there. I hemmed my shorts to have a 3 1/2″ inseam (instead of 4 1/2″) as is my preference.

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The one detail I did change was to make a separate fly facing instead of using the cut-on facing. I feel that a sewn on facing is more sturdy in the long run. Really the only little nit-picky thing I have to say about the pattern is having to search through the directions to track down the SA’s used for various pieces. I’m in favor of varied SA’s, but since some pieces are 1/2″ (back pockets, zipper facing) and some are 5/8″ (general construction), it’s easy to forget. It would be most helpful to have a single diagram to look at, or at least have them indicated on the individual pattern pieces. The instructions themselves are very hand-holdy, fine if you need it, but I would really like to see them a little more streamlined. I found myself having to jump around in the directions for things like belt loops and how to finish the SA of the facing.

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The fabric I used is a Kaufman Kobe twill in grey from fabric.com and it’s really nice stuff! Getting twill the right weight for shorts can be a bit hit or miss (this is 5.7 oz/sq yd), but this one is perfect. It’s lightweight enough that seams don’t get overly bulky, but sturdy enough that it doesn’t feel flimsy at all. Plus it’s available in a wide variety of colors—I want them all!! The only downside is that they do stretch out a little with wear. While that’s pretty normal for cotton twill, I feel I can only get about two wears out of them before I want to chuck them in the wash to shrink them back down. Overall, I am very pleased with these shorts, and I can see myself making many more pairs in the future.

IMG_2961One last thing… the blouse I’m wearing is Simplicity 1106, previously made here. As before, I omitted the back cutout, and this time I added 2″ width at CB, which I gathered onto the yoke for a small amount of visual interest. Because I added width at CB I took 1/2″ off the side seam on the back piece from waist to hip. While I love that it has a neckline facing, I opted for a bias facing, mostly because I’m out of my good interfacing… Love this pattern for a quick top!

lisa g.


TL;DR

PATTERN: Chi Town Chinos by Alina Sewing + Design Co
FABRIC: Kaufman Kobe Twill from fabric.com
SIZE: 8 (measurements for reference: 5’8″/34″/27.5″/39″)
MODS: used separate fly facing, shortened inseam to 3 1/2″
ALTERATIONS: full seat adjustment, lowered front rise
NEXT TIME: bring them in at the waist, distribute some of the dart intake to the side seams

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floral blouse | Simplicity 1106

I wanted a quick top out of a rayon challis I picked up on clearance at JoAnn’s recently (seriously, I’ve found some great fabrics there lately!). I was originally going to make something a little more detailed, but the heat and humidity has zapped all the energy outta me. Instead, I decided to sew up a simple kimono sleeve top using Simplicity 1106. There’s nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering about this pattern, it’s just a nice, simple top.

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I made view D, which has a front pocket and cute cutout detail in the back. However, I omitted the cutout because I was afraid it would dip below my bra. I meant to measure the cutout so I could see for future reference but I’ve already folded all the tissue up and put it away… oops.

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I always seem to have a problem with tops being too big on top, so I gambled and traced off an XS at the neckline and bust (I measured at the top of the S range), then graded out to the M for the hem. My shoulders may border on the narrow side (I think? Not sure what the standard is for shoulder width though), and the XS turned out to be perfect. The fit through the hip was a little more fitted than I had anticipated, but that’s partially due to the length of the top, which I cut down. I took 2″ off the hem, and 2.5″ off at the side seams to give it a little more of a shirttail. I think this shortened length is good for either tucking in or leaving out.

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The top isn’t actually tight around my hips, I just have the front tucked in this picture.

I know most people (it seems) have a real hate for facings, but I was pleased to find that that is the method used by this pattern. Of course you could always sub a bias facing if that’s your jam, or if your fabric is on the sheer side. I top stitched the facing at 1/2″ to give it a subtle “design feature” element.

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Overall I’m pleased with this top, though I wish I would have paid more attention when cutting! I managed to get the only dead space of the print front and center, with the brightest flowers cutting into the neckline. Meh. The pattern placement on the back looks great, so I’m really bummed that I didn’t get similar placement on the front. Live and learn!

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I should mention that my shorts are another modified Thurlow made in linen. I loved my first pair so much, that I quickly cut out a second pair, and both have been in constant rotation!

—lisa g.