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Jones Trousers Shorts Hack

Since the release of the Jones Trouser last spring, I have been thinking of a way to modify the pattern into shorts. The main roadblock to shortening the trousers into shorts was the leg gusset. The leg gusset is an integral part of the crotch curve length, and simply shortening the leg and gusset portion of the pattern layout would result in shorts that do not fit properly. I wasn’t sure how to rectify this issue while still maintaining a zero/minimal waste layout.

I had been putting off thinking about this issue as it felt like something I couldn’t solve, and I was having difficulty seeing how I could lay out the pattern differently. Now that summer has arrived, I realized that I had a hole in my wardrobe for a nice pair of shorts – I only had elastic waist shorts that I throw on for everyday wear. I wanted a pair of pleated, wide-hem shorts to wear casually or dressed up. A pair of Jones Trousers shorts would fill this hole perfectly, and with a little nudge from fellow sewists (@sewsoybean and @la.ila.creates, who both made Jones Trousers Shorts this spring), I was able to finally focus on coming up with a solution. And to my surprise, it was not nearly as difficult as I had let myself believe!

I started by staring at the pattern layout on my computer, and this got me nowhere but frustrated. So I dug out my paper pattern and started messing around with the pieces – moving and shifting each piece around. Through this process, I realized that the angle of the pockets matches the angle on the leg gusset, and these pieces could be nested together by flipping the leg gusset in the opposite direction than I had initially laid it out.

By nesting the leg gusset between the pockets pattern pieces, I could shorten the leg gusset significantly, allowing the legs to be shortened by the same amount. When I began this process, I was not committed to a specific inseam length as I wanted to be flexible in how I modified the layout. So I decided to use my pocket length as the inseam length (10” in this case). I planned to adjust the shorts’ length once I sewed them, as I wanted to include a wide-hem.

How to Adjust the Pattern Layout

Pattern Details: Size H made with Hemp Summercloth dyed with Rit Dye.

Fabric size required for Size H: 37″ wide by 62″ long

First, determine how long you would like your inseam. You can start with the length of the pockets as your inseam length, as I have done, or can start with a shorter inseam (the leg gusset will still be placed between the pockets and there will be a small excess of fabric).

Now, mark this inseam length on the leg pattern pieces. You can either trace a shortened version of the original pattern piece or fold the pattern piece back and out of the way. You can also straighten the outer leg seam at this point if your leg piece is long enough to still include the angle.

Once the necessary pattern adjustments to the inseam length have been made, then the remaining pattern pieces can be adjusted to work with the adjusted leg length. I eliminated the cuff piece and moved the fly pieces to fit within empty spots in the layout. There is a remaining rectangle that could potentially be used as patch/cargo pockets or for another project. Also, depending on the length of your belt loop piece, you may need to cut additional belt loops from the remaining rectangle. Note: If you are making Size I-S, you will make the same changes, but you will replace the cuff piece with the pocket extension piece.

Pattern Piece Cutting

After the pattern layout is fully adjusted, the pattern pieces can be laid out on the fabric and cut out. The pockets and the leg gussets should be placed on the fold. When cutting out the pattern pieces, DON’T cut the fold on the pockets. You will need to cut the fold on the leg gusset since the orientation of the leg gusset has changed. The leg gusset will be sewn back together in the proper orientation. For the remaining pieces, the process of cutting is the same as for the original pattern.

Sewing Process

Now that all the pieces are cut out and ready, the sewing can begin. First, you will need to sew the leg gusset piece together with a flat felled seam or a faux flat felled seam. After sewing the leg gusset together, you can then proceed as directed in the sewing instructions.

After the shorts are fully constructed, you will need to hem the shorts. I tried on my shorts and played around with how long I wanted the inseam to be. I decided on an inseam length of 7″. Due to the slight angle in the leg gusset, I was unable to simply turn up the hem and sew because the hem would not lay flat. At this point, I could have cut off the excess length, but since I wanted a wide hem, I needed to find a solution. After a bit of research and thinking about my finishing option, I decided to open the inseams as you would if you were shortening tapered pants.

To do this, I unpicked the inseam seams to about 1/2″ shorter than my desired hem width. I used a 2″ hem with an additional 1/2″ turned under to conceal the raw edge so I unpicked 2″ of the inseam. The wide hem could then be spread apart so that it would lay flat. To finish the seams, I pressed the raw edge toward the wrong side by 1/2″ and then again by 2″ and pinned the hem in place. Then, I folded and pressed the seam allowance of the split inseam toward the wrong side and pinned them flat. If you know from the beginning how wide you would like your inseam to be, you could stop your inseam seam at the appropriate point.

Once the hem is pinned, you can edgestitch the hem in place. When you reach the gaps at the inseam, just continue sewing so that it looks like a continuous seam from the outside. Then, finish the splits by hand-stitching each edge down. I used a blind hem stitch so that it would not be visible from the right side.

After the hem is finished you can give your shorts a final press and you’re done! I’m very pleased with my finished Jones Trouser Shorts and I will definitely be getting lots of wear out of them this summer. Please let me know if you have any questions about the process for hacking the pattern – email or reach out on IG @goldfinchtextilestudio. I look forward to seeing more Jones Trousers Shorts in the world. Be sure to tag me on IG if you post your version. I love seeing your makes!!

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